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September 1, 2012

Tech shuts down NSU in 44-6 romp

LUBBOCK, Texas -- Eric Stephens ran for two touchdowns to lead Texas Tech over Northwestern State 44-6 on Saturday night.

Stephens, back after a season-ending knee injury last year, finished with 58 yards on 16 carries.

The Red Raiders did what they wanted against Northwestern State. The defense succeeded in shutting down the Demons rushing game and quarterback Seth Doege led Texas Tech on scoring drives on five of eight possessions.

Doege completed 23 of 34 passes for one touchdown and 199 yards. He threw one interception and completed passes to at least 10 receivers. Bradley Marquez led Texas Tech with 92 yards on seven receptions.

Demons quarterback Brad Henderson completed 10 of 19 passes for 70 yards. They got only 84 total yards.

It was the first win for the Red Raiders since Oct. 22, when they stunned then-No. 3 Oklahoma to break the Sooners 39-game win streak in Norman.

Texas Tech lost its final five games last season when the defense gave up a school-record 471 points and the Red Raiders were outscored in those final five games by an average of 51-20.

Twice in three weeks, the defense allowed opponents a school-record 66 points and the season ended with a 5-7 record, failing to make a bowl game for the first time in 11 seasons.

With their third coordinator in as many years since coach Tommy Tuberville took over in 2010, the Red Raiders defense have switched to a 4-3 scheme this season and the change proved effective against the FCS team.

Texas Tech's defense, which last season gave up an average of 259 rushing yards and finished last in the nation, kept the Demons running game in check, allowing just 13 yards on 28 carries.

Texas Tech got on the board first when Stephens scored on a 4-yard run. He got the Red Raiders second TD from 2 yards out to put them up 14-3 early in the second quarter. On their next possession, Doege, the nation's leading passer last season, found Kenny Williams for a 2-yard touchdown to give Texas Tech a 24-3 lead at halftime.

Doege played just three quarters before backup Michael Brewer came in. Brewer completed 10 of 13 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns after the Red Raiders had the game sealed.

In all, the Red Raiders quarterbacks completed passes to 13 different receivers.

Tuberville wants a balance attack on offense, but Saturday's win had the Red Raiders running more than passing. They finished with 500 total yards, with 179 of those coming on the ground. They ran the ball 46 times and passed it 33.

Tech was able to keep the Demons off the field by putting together long drives. At one point, the Red Raiders were eight for eight on third downs and had five possessions with at least 10 plays.

The Demons failed to sustain drives. A new wrinkle in their offense, the option, proved ineffective. They were forced to punt on seven of their 12 possessions.

Kenny Williams led all Texas Tech rushers with 74 yards on 15 carries.


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