DALLAS (AP) — Baker Mayfield, believed to be the first walk-on true freshman quarterback to start a season opener for a BCS school, threw for 413 yards and four touchdowns while running for another score as Texas Tech beat SMU 41-23 on Friday night.
It was quite a debut for the 18-year-old Mayfield and new Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury, the former Red Raiders quarterback and at 34 the youngest coach at a BCS school.
Mayfield, who completed 43 of 60 passes, made a nifty cut to avoid a defender on his 11-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter before throwing two TDs in the final 6 minutes — 3 yards to Jakeem Grant and 22 yards to Reginald Davis, who caught the pass near the line of scrimmage on the right side and ran across the field, breaking two tackles before scoring.
Texas Tech has won 15 games in a row against its former Southwest Conference rival. SMU has lost 17 in a row against Big 12 teams since a win over Kansas in the 2000 opener that was the first game played in its current stadium.
With presumed starter Michael Brewer dealing with a back issue, the Red Raiders knew they would be starting a freshman in an opener for the first time in school history. When Mayfield started ahead of Davis Webb, the appearance was even more historic.
Mayfield certainly seemed at ease under the Friday night lights — just like the past two seasons as a starter at Lake Travis High School in Austin, Texas, while winning a state championship. The 43 completions were the most by a Texas Tech quarterback in his career start.
That is the same high school where SMU's Garrett Gilbert won two state titles.
Gilbert, starting his second season as a graduate student at SMU, completed 41 of 62 passes for 388 yards. He scrambled 23 yards for a touchdown with 5½ minutes left in the third quarter, but the Mustangs didn't get in the end zone again until Prescott Line's 2-yard run with 1:05 left in the game.
Gilbert transferred to SMU from Texas, where he played in the BCS championship game as a freshman four seasons ago against Alabama when he took over for an injured Colt McCoy. He started all 12 games for the Longhorns in 2010 and got a medical redshirt after starting only two games in 2011 before a shoulder injury.
Kingsbury threw for 12,429 yards and 95 TDs in 43 games with the Red Raiders from 1999-2002. Last season, he was Texas A&M's offensive coordinator with Heisman Trophy-winning freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel.
The last time Texas Tech has played a regular season game on a Friday was in 2002, when Kingsbury threw for 407 yards and six touchdowns in a 49-0 win at New Mexico.
Both teams had 14-play opening drives that ended with field goals.
Baker was 7-of-9 passing for 46 yards on his first series, the last pass a drop by Davis near the 10 that would have been a first down. Baker was sacked on the next play before Ryan Bustin kicked a 43-yard field goal.
The Mustangs then got to the 10 before Chase Hover's 27-yard field goal. Hover also had kicks of 34 and 51 yards before halftime, but was wide right on a 27-yard attempt to end the first drive of the third quarter.
After that short miss, Tech drove 80 yards in 13 plays with Mayfield throwing a 10-yard TD to Brad Marquez for a 20-9 lead.