LAWRENCE, Kan. — How costly Texas Tech’s 54-16 victory over Kansas is going to be is not yet known.
Minutes after the No. 20 Red Raiders scored 54 straight points to swamp the hapless Jayhawks and remain unbeaten, coach Kliff Kingsbury said he could not be sure how badly quarterback Baker Mayfield was hurt. The true freshman had already passed for 368 yards when he was helped off the field with just seconds to go in the third quarter.
Mayfield has started every game for the Red Raiders (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) who are 5-0 for the first time since 2008 and possibly poised for a breakthrough season behind a true freshman walk-on.
“I just saw him limping off and he wasn’t putting much weight on that (right) leg,” said Kingsbury. “I’ve got to talk to the docs and see.”
Mayfield was hurt when tackled while passing. There was no penalty. He hobbled very slowly off the field with someone helping him under each arm.
He was 33 of 51 with one interception.
With Mayfield in command after Kansas took a 10-0 lead, the Red Raiders surged, and went to 14-1 all-time against the Jayhawks (2-2, 0-1).
Kansas lost its 22nd straight Big 12 game.
“I thought Baker settled in and started finding guys,” Kingsbury said. “The O-line played good the whole day.”
Kansas coach Charlie Weis said the Red Raiders didn’t change anything to ignite their offense.
“No, they didn’t. And that’s what bothers you the most,” Weis said.
Backup Davis Webb threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Eric Ward and a 4-yard scoring pass to Dylan Cantrell. The Red Raiders also scored twice on short runs by DeAndre Washington while rolling up 518 total yards on an exhausting 100 plays.
The turning point may have come with about 5 minutes left in the second quarter when the score was tied 10-all and Kansas punter Trevor Pardula, facing a fourth-and-12 from the Kansas 17, fielded the snap but took off running. The junior kicker, who two weeks earlier averaged a school-record 57.6 yards on five punts, was tackled on the 16 and a moment later Mayfield scored on a 19-yard quarterback draw.
“It was based on whether something happens, you have to take it,” Weis said. “And he kind of got caught in that gray area. In hindsight, he wouldn’t do it. But if he had a certain look, he was able to do that.”
Eric Ward caught seven balls for 122 yards, tight end Jace Amaro caught nine for 96 and Jakeem Grant added seven catches for 92 yards for Tech.
“There was one drive we probably ran zone about six times in a row,” Washington said. “We were able to get eight to 10 yards a carry. A lot of inside plays worked for us today.”
Ryan Bustin kicked four field goals for the Red Raiders, making him 13 for 15 in five games.
Tech tied it 10-all on Kenny Williams’ 1-yard run midway through the second quarter on a 42-yard drive aided by two key Kansas penalties. A roughing-the-passer infraction on defensive end Kevin Young gave Tech a first down on the 14,ans then Dexter McDonald was flagged for pass interference in the end zone.
Bustin made a 23-yarder to get the Red Raiders going in the second. He also had a 25-yarder as time ran out in the second quarter, giving Texas Tech a 20-10 halftime lead. In each instance, the Red Raiders failed to reach the end zone after driving to first-and-goal from inside the 10. Tech had a first down on the 8 but JaCorey Shepherd broke up Mayfield’s third-down pass in the end zone.
Mayfield connected for two long gainers in the final minutes of the half, giving Tech a first down on the Kansas 2. But three straight running plays lost 2 yards and Bustin was called in to kick his second field goal.
The Jayhawks seized a 10-0 homecoming lead in the first quarter on a 36-yard field goal by Matthew Wyman and Jake Heaps’ 25-yard TD pass to Jimmay Mundine. It was the first points the Jayhawks had scored in the first quarter all year and the first time the Red Raiders trailed.
On the 79-yard touchdown drive, the Jayhawks were flagged five yards for false starts on back-to-back plays, resulting in a third-and-12 from the 50. But Heaps hit Tony Pierson for a 25-yard gain and then connected with Mundine on the next play.
Mike Cummings had a 28-yard TD pass to Andrew Turzilli late.