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Fournette’s five touchdowns power No. 20 LSU past Texas Tech in Texas Bowl

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LSU’s ferocious and unforgiving defensive front and Leonard Fournette being, well, Leonard Fournette was too much for a game Texas Tech squad as the 20th-ranked Tigers pulled away from the Red Raiders, 56-27 in the Texas Bowl Tuesday night.

Fournette opened the scoring with a two-yard touchdown plunge on LSU’s first possession. Texas Tech seemingly pulled even when Patrick Mahomes hit Jakeem Grant on a beautiful 46-yard lob on 3rd-and-10, but the Red Raiders’ ensuing two-point try failed. The one-point difference lasted all of 24 seconds when D.J. Chark, on his touch catch of the season, took a pitch and raced 79 yards for a touchdown.

The Bayou Bengals pushed the lead to 21-6 when Brandon Harris found Fournette for a 44-yard catch-and-dash score at the 6:41 mark of the second quarter.

The next seven possessions saw Texas Tech grab a handful of momentum and severely outplay LSU, much to the delight of the red and black Houston crowd. After Fournette’s touchdown, the Red Raiders marched 90 yards in nine plays, capped by a three-yard toss from Mahomes to Grant. Texas Tech forced a three-and-out on LSU’s next possession, and then another on the opening possession of the second half.

Texas Tech punted on its first touch of the third quarter, but Dakota Allen stepped in front of a Harris pass on LSU’s following possession, giving the Red Raiders three straight stops (not including an end-of-half possession). Mahomes capitalized with another third down touchdown pass, this one a 31-yarder to Reginald Davis at the 10:28 mark of the third quarter, pulling Texas Tech to within 21-20.

Unfortunately for Texas Tech and head coach Kliff Kingsbury, their Texas Bowl experience peaked at that moment.

LSU raced 75 yards in four plays, the last 43 on another Fournette touchdown run, then intercepted Mahomes off a deflection inside the Tigers’ red zone. Fournette scored again on the next possession, punctuating a four-play, 78-yard drive. After a three-and-out in which Texas Tech lost 13 yards, Harris capped a four-play, 64-yard drive with a 26-yard scoring dash, turning a 21-20 thriller into a 42-20 blowout in the span of 10 minutes.

The clubs traded scores to open the fourth quarter — another Mahomes-to-Grant pass for Texas Tech, another Fournette plunge for LSU — and LSU capped the scoring with a six-play, 65-yard drive ended by a two-yard Darrel Williams run.

LSU, who entered the night ranked 51st in total offense and 54th in scoring, ended the night with 638 yards of total offense on 10.3 yards per play with touchdowns on its last five full possessions. Fournette, of course, starred, rushing 29 times for a Texas Bowl record 212 yards and four touchdowns, plus a 44-yard touchdown reception. Harris hit 13-of-24 throws for 254 yards with a touchdown and a pick, and as a team the Tigers rushed 40 times for 384 yards and seven touchdowns.

Mahomes completed 28-of-56 throws for 370 yards with four touchdowns and one interception but, if possible, his performance out-shined his numbers. LSU virtually eliminated Texas Tech’s running game and sacked Mahomes six times, while forcing him to run for his life on the majority of his completions. Grant caught 10 passes for 125 yards and three touchdowns, and DeAndre Washington closed a stellar career with 11 carries for 37 yards and seven grabs for 81 yards.

LSU closed the season at 9-3, comforted in knowing the bulk of the roster — starting with Fournette — returns next season, which figures to make the Tigers a popular preseason top-5 pick for 2016. Texas Tech finishes at 7-6, comforted in knowing Mahomes returns to campus and the 2015 defense does not.

Perine shines as No. 17 Oklahoma stomps Texas Tech

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A game that was supposed to be about Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield facing his former team for the first time ended up a rout as the Sooners’ one-two punch of Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon ran roughshod over an overmatched and undermanned Texas Tech defense. The duo combined for 355 yards and six touchdowns as the 17th-ranked Sooners won, 63-27.

Mixon and Perine staked Oklahoma to a 21-3 early in the second quarter with alternating touchdowns until a pair of turnovers allowed Texas Tech briefly back into the game. Jarvis Baxter coughed up a Mayfield completion at the Texas Tech 29 and Jah’Shawn Johnson raced it 50 yards to the OU 29, setting up a six-yard scoring toss from Patrick Mahomes to Reginald Davis. Mayfield was intercepted on the ensuing possession by Justis Nelson, who raced the pigskin back to the Oklahoma 32. Texas Tech again capitalized, this time on a 13-yard DeAndre Washington run, to pull within 21-17 with 7:05 to go in the second quarter.

Perine answered with his second touchdown of the day, this time from 10 yards out with 3:31 before the break, and Oklahoma intercepted Mahomes for the third time in the first half inside its own end zone with just 10 seconds before the break to kill any semblance of red-and-black momentum.

Oklahoma opened the second half with a four-play, 75-yard drive punctuated by a 13-yard strike from Mayfield to tight end Mark Andrews and, after a 28-yard Red Raiders field goal, added another Perine score with 7:04 to play in the third quarter, pushing the lead to 42-20 and effectively putting the game out of reach.

Mahomes sneaked in from one-yard out on the following possession to bring the score to 42-27, but the Red Raiders did not score again. Mayfield added a 15-yard scoring strike to Durron Neal to close the third quarter, Perine scored his fourth touchdown of the day with 8:18 remaining to put OU in the 50’s for the second straight week, and Alex Ross notched a nine-yard paydirt plunge with 2:26 remaining to close the scoring.

Perine posted his best day since breaking the FBS rushing record against Kansas last season, registering a season-high 201 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries. Mixon added a career-high 154 yards and two touchdowns on 16 attempts. Mayfield added an economical 15-of-22 passing for 212 yards with two touchdowns and a pick.

As a team, Oklahoma pounded out 405 yards and seven touchdowns on 57 carries.

Standout cornerback Zack Sanchez left the game after just one snap with a lower-body injury and did not return.

Mahomes completed 26-of-40 throws for 233 yards with a touchdown and four interceptions, and Washington led the Red Raiders’ ground efforts with 19 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown.

For Oklahoma (6-1, 3-1 Big 12), it was a second straight impressive showing as the Sooners look to mount a post-Texas surge and stay in contention for the Big 12 and national championships. Texas Tech drops to 5-3 (2-3 Big 12) on the year with losses to TCU and Baylor in addition to today’s thumping.

Most concerning for Texas Tech – beyond the final score, obviously – was another game in which the defense allowed 600-plus yards and turned the ball over four times. That’s the formula that saw Texas Tech miss a bowl last season and, if not corrected, could end 2015 in a similar fashion.

No. 17 Oklahoma leading Texas Tech after turnover-filled first half

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An up-and-down, mistake-filled first down closed with No. 17 Oklahoma holding a 28-17 lead over Texas Tech in Norman.

Oklahoma held a 21-3 and was well on its way to pushing the score to 28-3 when Jarvis Baxter fumbled at the Red Raiders’ 29-yard line. Jah’Shawn Johnson claimed the loose pigskin and raced it 50 yards to the Oklahoma 29. Texas Tech scored four on a six-yard Reginald Davis touchdown grab.

On the ensuing possession, Baker Mayfield toss an ugly interception into the hands of Justis Nelson, which he returned to the Sooners’ 32. Washington, again, punched it in four plays later, this time from 13 yards out.

Samaje Perine‘s second touchdown pushed the lead to 28-17, but the Sooners missed a chance to extend their edge even further. Taking over at the Texas Tech 20 after Patrick Mahomes second interception of the day, Dahu Green dropped a would-be touchdown on third down, and Austin Seibert nudged the ensuing 32-yard field goal wide left.

But Texas Tech, again, returned the favor when Mahomes was again intercepted – his third of the half – in the Oklahoma end zone just before the break.

Oklahoma opened the game by running roughshod over a porous Texas Tech defense. Perine carried 15 times for 132 yards and two scores in the half, while Joe Mixon added eight attempts for 67 yards and two more scores. Mayfield, who came in the center of attention in his first start against his former school, completed 8-of-12 throws for 113 yards and an interception while adding 19 yards on the ground.

Texas Tech had its first touchdown removed due to penalty as Davis turned to block in the Oklahoma end zone as Mahomes scrambled, but as Mahomes let up and tossed to Brad Pearson for an apparent score, Davis was flagged for offensive pass interference. The Red Raiders settled for a 34-yard Clayton Hatfield field goal.

Mahomes completed 14-of-24 passes for 120 yards with a touchdown and three picks while adding eight carries for 28 yards. Washington has rushed 12 times for 73 yards and a score.

Oklahoma out-gained Texas Tech 329-232 in the half.

Oklahoma will receive to open the second half.