Kings­bury earns essen­tial vic­tory

Red Raiders en­hance coach’s job se­cu­rity by get­ting past Bears.

Austin American-Statesman Sunday - - SPORTS SUNDAY - By Suzanne Hal­libur­ton

AR­LING­TON — Texas Tech’s 38-24 vic­tory over Bay­lor at AT&T Sta­dium turned down the heat just a bit on coach Kliff Kings­bury, who is in des­per­ate need of a win­ning sea­son to keep his job in Lub­bock.

The win was more per­func- tory than spec­tac­u­lar, although it started in dra­matic fash­ion when Tech’s Keke Coutee re­turned the open­ing kick­off for a 92-yard touch­down. The Red Raiders ended their scor­ing em­phat­i­cally when de­fen­sive back Dou­glas Cole­man stripped the ball from Bay­lor wide­out Tony Ni­chol­son and re­turned it for a 31-yard score.

Tech (5-5, 2-5 Big 12) goes home to pre­pare for next week’s game against TCU and then will close the reg­u­lar sea­son at Texas on

Nov. 24.

“We like our team,” Kings­bury said. “We think we’ve had mo­ments where we feel like we can play with any­body. We just have to be more con­sis­tent.”

Bay­lor (1-9, 1-6), a week re­moved from its first win of the year, plays host to Iowa State next Satur­day and then ends its sea­son at TCU.

Although the score sug­gested a tighter game, Tech was in con­trol from the open­ing kick to the fi­nal three rush­ing calls for tail­back Des­mond Nisby to wind down the clock. Forc­ing four turnovers that trans­lated into 17 points gives a team that sort of clout.

Red Raiders quar­ter­back Nic Shi­monek com­pleted his first 10 passes against a soft Bay­lor de­fense de­signed to thwart any sort of long play. He was 24 of 29 for 246 yards with touch­down passes to T.J. Vasher and Cameron Bat­son. Tail­back Tre King also scored from a yard away.

Kings­bury said the of­fense never re­ally re­cov­ered from some clumsy play near the goal line mid­way through the third quar­ter. On first down and goal from the Bay­lor 3-yard line, Shi­monek stretched for­ward for what ap­peared to be a touch­down. But af­ter a re­view, of­fi­cials ruled he was inches short. A play later, King fum­bled just as he was cross­ing the goal line. A re­view of the play con­firmed the fum­ble, which was re­cov­ered by Ty­rone Hunt in the end zone, giv­ing the Bears a touch­back and the pos­ses­sion at the 20-yard line.

But Bay­lor couldn’t take ad­van­tage of the op­por­tu­nity. On sec­ond-and-4 from the 31-yard line, quar­ter­back Char­lie Brewer fum­bled. De­fen­sive line­man My­chealon Thomas fell on it at the 35-yard line. The turnover set up Clay­ton Hat­field’s 39-yard field goal, giv­ing Tech a 24-7 lead.

Tech to­taled only 337 yards, the sec­ond fewest it’s gained this sea­son. And Bay­lor was on the field for nearly 13 min­utes longer than the Red Raiders.

“I just think at times we just get stag­nant,” Kings­bury said. “In the first half, we didn’t have many pos­ses­sions, missed a cou­ple of things you’d like to hit. Sec­ond half, it was a lit­tle funky af­ter we fum­bled on the 1. I felt like we didn’t re­cover. And you get in a sit­u­a­tion where we are try­ing to run some clock and didn’t have many ex­plo­sive plays af­ter that.”

Bay­lor’s Brewer, a true fresh­man mak­ing his sec­ond straight start, was the of­fen­sive star. He threw for 417 yards, com­plet­ing 43 of his 63 at­tempts. Both the at­tempts and com­ple­tions set school records. Brewer threw touch­down passes to Den­zel Mims, Pooh Strick­lin and Gavin Holmes. But Brewer couldn’t pull his team closer than 10 points in the sec­ond half.

Tech sacked Brewer just once. But he fum­bled twice and had a pass in­ter­cepted in the end zone with 17 sec­onds to go in the first half.

“When you have all those turnovers,” said Tech de­fen­sive line­man Brod­er­ick Wash­ing­ton, “you erase all the ugly.”

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