(Photo credit: Annie Rice/Avalanche-Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK)
Texas Tech earned its first victory of the season with a 41-3 home thrashing of FCS foe Tarleton State on Saturday night in Lubbock, Texas.
Spurred by a Malik Dunlap's 54-yard pick-six in the opening stages of the game and an effective, if not spectacular, offensive performance, Texas Tech (1-2) seized control quickly and never let the overmatched Texans gain much traction.
The Red Raiders' offense still struggled at times, with starting quarterback Tyler Shough and backup Behren Morton each getting a half in charge. Texas Tech finished with 416 total yards.
Dunlap jumped a route and picked off quarterback Victor Gabalis' deep pass on the Texans' third play of the game and raced down the sideline for the score and an immediate jolt of confidence for the Red Raiders.
It was the first of three interceptions for Texas Tech.
Shough's 2-yard run and his 25-yard strike to tight end Mason Tharp gave TTU a 21-0 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
Buoyed by that quick start, Texas Tech shifted into power football mode, with Tahj Brooks taking center stage. The senior running back carved out 140 rushing yards in the first half, with his 38-yard scamper setting up Shough's touchdown. His output helped the Red Raiders churn out 271 yards and a 24-0 lead by halftime.
Things didn't get much better for the Texans' high-octane offense in the third quarter. Tarleton needed a short field goal from Adrian Guzman with 5:04 left in the game to avoid a shutout.
After the teams exchanged punts to begin the second half, Texas Tech's Dadrion Taylor-Demerson picked off another Gabalis downfield throw to set the Red Raiders up at the Tarleton State 27 yard line.
Morton entered the game and led the offense on three straight scoring drives -- a field goal after the pick, a picture-perfect touchdown throw to Myles Price on a fade pattern in the end zone, and another scoring toss to Jordan Brown to nudge the lead to 41-0.
Morton finished 8-of-13 passing for 72 yards with an interception, while Shough was 10 of 20 for 123 yards.
--Field Level Media