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October 16, 2010

Tech falls to OSU, 34-17

LUBBOCK, Texas -- Mike Gundy didn't talk to his players last week about how long it had been since No. 20 Oklahoma State had won in Lubbock.

"We didn't say a word about it all week," he said of the 66-year drought in West Texas. "But what I did tell the team I've been out here with some good football teams and had my butt kicked. So to think that that wasn't in the back of your mind, or in the back of my mind early in the fourth quarter wouldn't be shooting straight."

Justin Blackmon had a career-high 207 yards receiving with a touchdown for the Cowboys, who beat Texas Tech 34-17 on Saturday for its first win in Lubbock since 1944.

Blackmon's 62-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter was the longest play of the game and put the contest out of reach. Brandon Weeden completed 24 of 35 passes for 356 yards, the touchdown and two interceptions.

"He's had the attitude that he has to earn everything he gets," Gundy said. "College players feel like they can just go out there, they've had some big games and the other team's just going to let it happen. That hasn't come across his mind. He likes to play football."

It's the second time in three years the Cowboys started 6-0, and the fourth time overall.

The Cowboys (6-0, 2-0 Big 12) went ahead 21-0 in the first quarter after three rushing touchdowns -- 15 yards by Kendall Hunter, and 4 yards each by Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith -- and Texas Tech couldn't put together enough offense in the second half to make it a contest.

"We dug ourselves a hole," Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said. "It's been a while since we made any plays early. It's been a while since we made anything happen."

Blackmon's previous high for receiving yards came last week against Louisiana-Lafayette, when he had 13 catches for 190 yards. He caught 10 passes Saturday.

Taylor Potts, who had 462 yards passing in last week's 45-38 win over Baylor, went 28 of 43 for 226 yards and a touchdown for Texas Tech (3-3, 1-3).

During halftime he was taken for an X-ray after a hit in the jaw, Tuberville said. Potts returned and played the entire second half, but went to the hospital to get checked for a possible concussion, a school spokesman said.

Hunter, ranked fifth in the nation in rushing coming into the game, finished with 130 yards on 25 carries. He had been averaging 140.

"If you can run it, it will allow you to throw the ball down the field," Gundy said. "A balanced attack gives us the best chance to score points."

The Cowboys failed to score in their first possession of the second half for the first time this season. The drive ended when Bront Bird intercepted Weeden at the Texas Tech 26.

A few plays into the drive Baron Batch fumbled and Jamie Blatnick recovered it for the Cowboys at their own 36. Two plays later, Weeden found Blackmon at about the Texas Tech 40 and the standout receiver ran along the sideline for the 62-yard scoring strike.

The Red Raiders didn't score until their sixth possession, their first drive of the second quarter, when Batch scored from the 1 to whittle the deficit to 21-7. After stopping the Cowboys, Texas Tech needed just 2:41 to pull closer. Potts faked a throw to the outside before finding Cornelius Douglas over the middle for a 28-yard touchdown that made it 21-14.

Texas Tech looked lethargic in the first quarter as the Cowboys piled up 215 total yards to 38 for the Red Raiders. They punted five times and went three-and-out in their first three possessions. By the time the Red Raiders got their initial first down, they were already trailing 14-0.

Potts had only 37 yards passing in the first quarter.

It was the third time this season that Tech has gone scoreless in first quarter.

The Cowboys came out running the ball. On their second possession OSU ran on all five plays before Hunter, averaging 140 yards per game coming in, rumbled 15 yards for a touchdown -- his 10th this season -- to put the Cowboys up 7-0. Of the 61 yards on the drive, Hunter had 46.

The Red Raiders struggled on defense too, giving up plays of at least 25 yards four times in the first quarter.

Weeden went to his top receiver often and successfully. He found Blackmon four times for 74 yards in the first quarter alone.

He was in Lubbock in 2008 when the Red Raiders beat the Cowboys 56-20 when both teams were in the top 10.

"We came in here ... and everybody just, they beat the crap out of us," Weeden said. "It's just a big feat for us, because this is not an easy place to play."


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