By Kurt Voigt
The Associated Press
NORMAN — Texas Tech fell from the top-ranked pass defense in the country to fourth after allowing 275 yards through the air to West Virginia on Saturday.
It’s doubtful the Red Raiders mind in the least, or have any doubts about the effectiveness of their secondary, after a 49-14 throttling of the Mountaineers.
Texas Tech entered its game with West Virginia allowing a paltry 117.4 yards passing per game, even after struggling in a 41-20 loss to Oklahoma a week earlier. The Red Raiders are now allowing 143.7 yards passing per game, but they held Heisman Trophy hopeful quarterback Geno Smith, who was 29 of 55 passing, to only five yards per attempt.
The win was enough to allow Texas Tech to jump into the weekly Associated Press college football poll this week at No. 18.
It also served notice that the Red Raiders’ pass defense is for real.
The performance of Texas Tech’s defense might have shocked some across the country, but it was quarterback Seth Doege and the Red Raiders’ offense that enjoyed a coming-out party on the national stage.
Doege’s 499 yards passing led the country this week. The senior was 32 of 42 passing and had six touchdowns, helping Texas Tech jump from seventh to fourth in the nation in passing offense with an average of 369 yards per game.
For those who wondered if Texas Tech would continue its wide-open attack in the post-Mike Leach era, third-year coach Tommy Tuberville has answered that question once and for all. The Red Raiders were seventh in the nation in passing in Tuberville’s first season with an average of 318.9 yards per game, and they upped that to 345.4 last year — again finishing seventh nationally.
Most importantly, they’ve already equaled last season’s win total this season.
West Virginia wasn’t the only Top 5 team to go down this week. No. 3 South Carolina, a week after dispatching of Southeastern Conference East foe Georgia, ran into one of the top rushing defenses in the country at LSU.
The Tigers held the Gamecocks and standout running back Marcus Lattimore to just 34 yards overall rushing in their 23-21 win.
Not to be outdone by its SEC West rival, Alabama reminded everyone exactly who the top rushing defense in the country is in a 42-10 win over Missouri.
Or, top defense overall, for that matter.
The Crimson Tide allowed only three yards rushing by the Tigers, bolstered by sacking Missouri quarterback Corbin Berkstresser for minus 50 yards. The defending national champions are now allowing a 55.3 yards rushing per game, 181.2 yards overall — both tops in the country.
Louisiana Tech might have fallen from the AP poll after its 59-57 loss to Texas A&M, but it leads the country in scoring offense with 53.8 points per game. ... Oregon is second with an average of 52.3 points per game. ... Nevada running back Stefphon Jefferson had 185 yards rushing on 34 carries in a 42-27 win over Duke and leads the country with an average of 162.9 yards. ... Marshall’s Rakeem Cato didn’t play last week, but he has now passed West Virginia’s Smith and is tops with 385.2 yards passing per game.
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