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Leong, Potts connect for three TDs; Raiders hang on to defeat SMU

Taylor Potts and Lyle Leong were too good at passing and catching in elementary school. Leong said they even got separated from playing football together because it wasn’t fair to the other kids. What they did to SMU on Sunday wasn’t really fair, either.

Posted: September 6, 2010 - 12:01am
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Texas Tech’s Taylor Potts congratulates teammate Lyle Leong after a touchdown during Tech’s 35-27 win against Southern Methodist on Sunday at Jones AT&T Stadium. The former Abilene teammates connected for three touchdown passes in the game.  Zach Long
Zach Long
Texas Tech’s Taylor Potts congratulates teammate Lyle Leong after a touchdown during Tech’s 35-27 win against Southern Methodist on Sunday at Jones AT&T Stadium. The former Abilene teammates connected for three touchdown passes in the game.
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AVALANCHE-JOURNAL

 

Taylor Potts and Lyle Leong were too good at passing and catching in elementary school. Leong said they even got separated from playing football together because it wasn’t fair to the other kids.

What they did to SMU on Sunday wasn’t really fair, either, but the Mustangs had no course of action.

Potts and Leong, who later were high school teammates in Abilene and are now senior standouts for Texas Tech, teamed up for three touchdowns to lead the Red Raiders to a 35-27 victory in a season opener at Jones AT&T Stadium.

“It’s like a comfort zone we have,” said Leong, who makes up the receiving end of the duo. “He knows where I’m going to be, and I know where he’s going to put it and how he’s going to throw it. It’s been a blessing.”

Potts, the passer, knows the feeling. His first two TD tosses went to Leong, who had nearly twice as many receptions as any other Red Raider on Sunday.

Leong’s 11 receptions for 142 yards were both career highs, and he matched his personal best with three touchdown catches. Two of those scoring grabs came on well-executed fade routes in the back-left corner of the end zone.

“That seems to work, huh?” Potts said with a chuckle. “He’s a great receiver. He’s great with his hands and he doesn’t drop many. It just seems to work, so why change something that works so well?”

Potts threw for 359 yards and four touchdowns without an interception, completing 34 of 53 passes. At one point he connected with a receiver on nine consecutive throws.

So it was a solid start for a guy who had to win the starter’s job during the preseason, but Potts wasn’t satisfied. He had some misfires early as Tech didn’t score until the final minute of the first quarter, and his fumbled fourth-down snap in the fourth quarter led to SMU cutting what was once a 21-point deficit to eight.

“There’s a lot of plays I definitely messed up that could have helped us huge. They could have kept drives going,” Potts said. “There were times that I did things and put our defense in a bind, so there’s a lot of things I can work on this week.”

Leong’s performance drew nothing but praise, although he deflected most of the credit to Potts and the Red Raiders’ offense in general. But he was arguably the most critical part of the offense, especially because it was short-handed at the receiver position.

Sophomore Alex Torres, Tech’s receptions leader last season, sat out the opener with a back injury. Detron Lewis, who finished with six catches for 79 yards and a TD on Sunday, missed some time in the second half because of cramping.

“With Alex not playing, we needed someone to step up,” Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown said. “And I thought Lyle did that today.”

 

To comment on this story:

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disappointing

Disappointing that things went from good to worse as the game wore on.

Better for us to wear the opponent down instead of us being worn down.

The new strength & conditioning coach needs an adjustment from above.

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On a Scale of 1 to 10: 2

Well, the first time out from fixing something that not only was not broken, but was in perfect condition: (1) The offense was spotty at best--the same players last year would have won by 28. (2) The "much improved" defense was not. (3) The "average" special teams from last year were terrible. Accordingly, here is the question: Did the new coach cause the team to play better? Duh.

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Balanced Attack?

What running game? What improved defense. We haven't had one in years and still don't. Either SMU is really underated or Tech is headed for a mediocre 4-7 season...if they're lucky.

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Negative Whining..

You guys sound like you are either hoping Tech would lose so you could pounce or are expecting Tech to win the BCS Championship this year.

Some folks are not happy unless they are complaining about something... or anything.

It was a Win - It was the first game under new coaching. Potts connected for 359 yards and four touchdowns without an interception. Secondary looked good.

Be happy and find something positive to talk about... Geeez.

WTG TECH!

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Sloppy

Tech looked sloppy. There were several passes of Potts that could have been picked off.

Tech had the superior team on the field but failed to do much with it.

This is a whole new regime and the team still needs fine tuning. Tech will not win the Big 12 but should have a winning season.

ESPN was much nicer and better than the announcers in San Antonio last year.

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Red Raiders

Not much in the way of changes so far, but we had a pretty good product to begin with. I thought Potts looked pretty good out there and looked comfortable leading the team. That's a big victory in itself. It was ugly, but we got the W. It's going to take more than a few weeks of pre-season to get the defense where it needs to be, so in the meantime I think we're going to be forced to rely on the spread as much as we did last year, and stick with the (suddenly unpopular for whatever reason) approach of lighting up the scoreboard until the defense gels.

It was great to see the Raiders back in action!

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Yes Tech won. But there where

Yes Tech won. But there where a lot of things that needed to be worked on. For one thing. Potts, seriously you fumble the ball when it was placed in your hands on a fourth and short conversion. Geez. Then on top of that the throws where sloppy. The funnies thing that I saw was when Potts would get sacked while looking at the guy that sacked him. Deer in the headlights. You know you have two legs when a defender is closing in "RUN!" Oh wait your scared to get hit and have a concussion. I was waiting to see you get one. I was hoping that you would. Then maybe we would have walked away with a twenty point lead instead of 8. Coach Tubberville please don't play Putz(Potts) anymore. Yes I said Putz at least ESPN had it right when they said his new name.

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Yes Tech won. But there where

Yes Tech won. But there where a lot of things that needed to be worked on. For one thing. Potts, seriously you fumble the ball when it was placed in your hands on a fourth and short conversion. Geez. Then on top of that the throws where sloppy. The funnies thing that I saw was when Potts would get sacked while looking at the guy that sacked him. Deer in the headlights. You know you have two legs when a defender is closing in "RUN!" Oh wait your scared to get hit and have a concussion. I was waiting to see you get one. I was hoping that you would. Then maybe we would have walked away with a twenty point lead instead of 8. Coach Tubberville please don't play Putz(Potts) anymore. Yes I said Putz at least ESPN had it right when they said his new name.

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Disappointing

People commenting on here are upset that people are not 100% positive about the mediocre effort we saw. Most points scored by SMU on Tech since 93'. Barely holding on to win against a team that is considered a 'lesser' opponent. I'm waiting to see this incredible defensive mind Tubberville supposedly brings to the table. I'm hoping he shows it to all of us.... Currently appears to be a less potent form of last years defense, and a less potent version of last years offense. Nervous...

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truthpaste

This is not a cheering section for Tech and Hance and his administration. This is a group of football fans who saw a poorly played game Saturday from a team that has touted it was a defensive giant.

I do not want to see Tech lose and I certainly do not think that Tech will go very far this year with a complete change in the coaching staff, but when I se a mediocre team, I will call it that way.

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could be worse and will get better

Potts is not the sole issue with our offense. It was good to keep him in the game the entire time. He exposed three glaring errors Sunday carried over from his style last season that surely will be dealt with this week.

His pass into thin air in the 3rd quarter was to an in-motion Baron Batch who was tussled and pushed out of bounds without a penalty called. Over half of the stadium couldn't see that and it wasn't mentioned on the telecast.

He threw three floaters that we almost picked, but only two of those was really his fault. The dropped / missed easy completions weren't addressed by the media, especially in light of how much he was dogged for the easy-to-pick passes. Potts dropping the snap was awful, but every receiver does that, let's just wait until he does it again to trash him.

If he chokes against NM next week, let's bring in Sheffield in a hurry, but if the receivers and Potts get it together in practice, it shouldn't look anything like SMU.

Our defense was clutch in turnovers, but in regular series fell apart, especially after the start of the 4th. This is where Tubberville's clout should come in handy next recruiting. If not, we'll never see a BCS bowl under this staff and running Leach off will remain 100% unjustified. Speaking of which, Leach would have kicked twice where the coach was playing to our emotions. Let's go easy on that one, Tubberville!

There is no reason that we shouldn't have a winning season, and given that we were dealt this hand by the crooked administrators, it's alot better than it could have been.

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James

I was looking for a site that would tell me how many minutes everybody played, but could not find one. I did not hear Cry Baby Adam on the PA . Did he play?

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Coaches?

OK, how many of you Monday morning coaches have ever been named/payed to coach an organized team? Until you do, kwitcherbiching! :)

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@swcowan3

You do not need to be a paid coach to know when a team is sloppy. Everybody has th right to express their opinion on the way the team looked and they were sloppy.

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