Texas Tech came out firing Saturday against Iowa State and never stopped.
Two touchdown drives spanning less than a minute? Check. A controversial touchdown that survived a review? Yup. An offense that couldn’t be contained? Uh-huh.
And all that occured in the first half alone.
The high-flying Red Raiders amassed 465 yards of offense before the break, reeled off 21 straight points, and eventually buried the Cyclones, 66-31, at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock.
Tech (3-2, 1-2) finished with a jaw-dropping 776 yards, which tied the most ISU had given up in a single game in program history. The Cyclones (2-3, 1-1) also were gouged for 776 in a 73-14 whitewash at Nebraska in 1995.
“I promise you both coaching staffs were preaching this week the importance of a fast start,” Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads said on the Cyclone Radio Network postgame show. “They got it.”
And a fast finish. ISU was essentially out of the running by midway through the third quarter, but did perform well in the ground game.
MIke Warren again provided a bright, if fully overshadowed, spot for ISU (2-3, 1-1). The redshirt freshman from Lawton, Okla., sprinted for 245 yards on 23 carries and became the first Cyclones back to compile three straight 100-yard rushing games since Alexander Robinson accomplished the feat in 2010.
He also was the first to run for 200 or more since the late Ennis Haywood totaled 219 vs. Ohio in 2001.
Warren — who now owns the single-season rushing record — broke off runs of 50 and 47 yards while improving upon his single-game freshman record set in last week’s win over Kansas (175 yards).
"I give every bit of credit to the guys up front," Warren said on the postgame show. "I just love those guys so much."
His 50-yard dash set up an ISU touchdown drive late in the first half that put his team within striking distance at 38-21.
Joshua Thomas capped that possession with a one-yard rumble for his second rushing touchdown of the day.
But the day fully belonged to Tech, which rolled to a 10-0 lead while the ISU offense ran a single play. That play — a Sam Richardson interception — set up DeAndre Washington’s seven-yard touchdown run that put the Red Raiders up 10-0.
The Cyclones responded for a while. Quenton Bundrage scored on a 33-yard pass from Richardson that made the score 10-7 with 7:03 left in the first quarter.
Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes immediately countered with a 75-yard scoring strike to Jakeem Grant, but ISU responded with a nine-play, 68-yard drive that ended in Thomas’s first rushing touchdown.
That’s when things got interesting.
Mahomes hit Reginald Davis for an apparent 33-yard touchdown on the next drive, but replay seemed to show the receiver didn’t get his foot down fully in bounds. Officials review the call but upheld it.
The Red Raiders then added two more touchdowns to lead 38-14 before the Cyclones inched back within 17 by halftime.
ISU used a grinding, Warren-dominated drive early in the third quarter to restore a sliver of hope, but that foray bogged down at the Tech 3-yard-line. The Cyclones settled for a 20-yard Cole Netten field goal and the Red Raiders struck for seven moments later when Justin Stockton darted untouched for a 55-yard touchdown.
Richardson struggled mightily, completing just 10 of 21 passes for 139 yards, the one touchdown and a single-game career-high three interceptions.
Joel Lanning stepped in for the final few series, going 5-for-9 for 41 yards while scoring a last minute rushing touchdown.
Bundrage had three catches for 75 yards and a touchdown.
Allen Lazard gathered in three passes for 34 yards and D’Vario Montgomery snared two for 38.
The Cyclones went for 200-plus yards as a team on the ground for the third straight game — something the offense hasn’t done since 2009.
The ground attack was abandoned for most of the second half, though, as ISU tried and failed to keep up through the air.
"We just didn’t execute to our potential today," Lazard said on the postgame show.
It only gets tougher from here.
ISU faces arguably the Big 12’s best team, TCU, next Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium.
The Horned Frogs humiliated the Cyclones 55-3 to close the 2014 season.
We have to lock in this week," Warren said on the psotgame show.