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October 25, 2008

Texas Tech demolishes Kansas, moves to 8-0

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Graham Harrell passed for 386 yards and five touchdowns and No. 8 Texas Tech breezed past No. 19 Kansas 63-21 Saturday, scoring on eight of its first nine possessions.

Harrell, the nation's leader in yards passing, also scored on a 1-yard run for the Red Raiders (8-0, 4-0 Big 12), who have matched their best start in 32 years. Altogether, Texas Tech rolled up 556 total yards against an outmanned Kansas defense to kick off a brutal four-week stretch that'll include No. 1 Texas, No. 7 Oklahoma State and No. 4 Oklahoma.

Darcel McBath intercepted three of Todd Reesing's first four passes of the third quarter to snuff out any hopes the Jayhawks had of closing the gap.

Kansas (5-3, 2-2) matched Harrell touchdown-for-touchdown through a first quarter that ended 14-14. But the Red Raiders ripped off 49 unanswered points for their 10th victory in 11 games against the Jayhawks.

Harrell's touchdown passes ranged from 55 yards to Edward Britton to 4 to Michael Crabtree. He also connected with Eric Morris on scoring tosses of 10 and 7 yards and found Crabtree on a tackle-breaking 16-yard scoring play. Eleven different receivers caught passes.

The Jayhawks kept trying to disguise coverages. But a week after giving up an Oklahoma school-record 468 yards passing, they were helpless against Harrell and his offensive machine. When they dropped everybody back in coverage, the Red Raiders' career passing leader would simply stand back, protected by huge blockers, and pick out targets.

When the Jayhawks tried to blitz, Harrell almost invariably found the hot-read receiver and kept moving downfield.

Kansas tried a safety blitz on second down early in the second quarter and Harrell connected with running back Baron Batch for 24 yards to the 7. On their second possession, Harrell again frustrated a Jayhawk blitz by flipping the ball to Batch on a simple screen that went 42 yards to the 7.

With Harrell throwing for 247 yards, the Red Raiders scored on their first five possessions of the first half and took a 35-14 lead.

Brandon Williams ripped the ball out of Reesing's hands and McKinner Dixon recovered on the Kansas 38 late in the second quarter and Harrell covered the distance in five straight passes.

Any hope Kansas had in the second half were extinguished by the two quick touchdowns that resulted from McBath's interceptions, and turned a game that had Kansas favored by two points into one of the most embarrassing routs in Mark Mangino's seven years as coach.

Reesing finished 16-of-26 for 154 yards and two touchdowns.

He managed to keep up with Harrell in the first quarter, hitting Kerry Meier with a 33-yard scoring pass to make it 7-7 and then tying it at 14 with a 10-yard toss to Dezmon Briscoe.

Harrell, who had been sacked only once in the first seven games, was sacked on successive plays after McBath's third interception and the Red Raiders wound up missing a field goal in one of their few negative plays of the entire day.


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