By Betsy Blaney
LUBBOCK, TX (AP) – Taylor Potts came off the bench and threw for 188 yards and three touchdowns to lead Texas Tech over No. 14 Missouri 24-17 on Saturday.
Potts didn’t start for the first time this season but came in late in the first half and threw TD passes of 8, 5 and 16 yards on three straight possessions by the Red Raiders (5-4, 3-4 Big 12) spanning the halves to wipe out a 17-3 deficit.
Missouri disappeared for two quarters, but Zaviar Gooden’s interception at the Tigers 2 kept the game close. Still, the Tigers failed to move the ball into Red Raiders territory.
Blaine Gabbert completed 12-of-30 passes for 95 yards for the Tigers (7-2, 3-2), who have lost two straight and will have a tough time making up the difference on first-place Nebraska. Missouri lost to the Cornhuskers last week.
Red Raiders coach Tommy Tuberville has said all season he wanted his team to get 150 rushing yards a game. Texas Tech got 198 yards on 51 carries, with Baron Batch going for 134.
Missouri had chances with less than five minutes remaining in the game. Gabbert threw two passes into the end zone from Texas Tech’s 34 that appeared catchable. But neither Wes Kemp nor Jerrell Jackson could pull the ball in for a tying score.
Potts watched from the sideline as backup quarterback Steven Sheffield started. Sheffield completed 11-of-20 passes for 99 yards.
When Potts went in the Red Raiders offense began to click at the same time that Missouri’s began to struggle. After the first quarter, Gabbert’s passes lacked accuracy. He completed only three in the third quarter for 15 yards.
On the third play from scrimmage, Marcus Murphy took a pitch from Gabbert and rumbled 69 yards for a 7-0. It was the longest rushing play of the season for Missouri. The teams traded three-and-outs before Kendial Lawrence bested Murphy’s run and went 71 yards untouched along the far sideline to make it 14-0.
The two TD runs gave Missouri just 2 fewer yards (140) than they got the whole game in its 31-17 loss at Nebraska (142). The Tigers finished with 260 rushing yards on 31 carries. Lawrence had 102 yards on six carries
Sheffield, who started his first game of the season, struggled to put drives together. On five of the seven drives with Sheffield taking snaps the Red Raiders punted. They got a field goal to trail 14-3 and lost a fumble on the other two possessions.
With about five minutes left in the half Tuberville pulled Sheffield and put in Potts, who promptly led Texas Tech on 16-play drive, capping it with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Detron Lewis.
After dominating the first quarter, Missouri got 85 total yards in the second and 22 in the third. The Tigers managed only three first downs in the second half.
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