FORT WORTH, Texas – Seth Doege and Texas Tech backed up their big victory — even though it took a while.
Now, the 15th-ranked Red Raiders have to get ready for another big challenge.
"On the sideline you could tell no one had any thought of losing the game," Doege said after throwing a career-high seven touchdowns in Tech's 56-53 triple-overtime victory at TCU on Saturday. "We were in it the whole time. All week we had been preaching to take it to the next level."
A week after their impressive five-touchdown victory over then-No. 5 West Virginia, Texas Tech (6-1, 3-1 Big 12) overcame an early 10-point deficit and Doege threw TD passes in each overtime period.
The Red Raiders let a 10-point lead late in regulation get away.
"That is one of the most emotionally taxing games I've been in," safety Cody Davis said. "How we kept fighting and pulling through."
Tech plays next Saturday at fourth-ranked and Big 12-leading Kansas State (7-0, 4-0), which won 55-14 at West Virginia on Saturday night.
After an upset victory at third-ranked Oklahoma midway through last season, the Red Raiders finished with five losses in a row for their first losing season since 1992. That ended a Big 12-record streak of 18 consecutive years of bowl eligibility.
Before going to TCU, Doege recalled the letdown of last season and the Red Raiders "being on such a high and going to such a low."
They might have been exhausted, but they left TCU already bowl eligible.
"This was a team win because we didn't play that great and were able to find some way to win the game," coach Tommy Tuberville said.
Texas Tech moved up three spots in the new AP Top 25 poll released Sunday.
League newcomer TCU (5-2, 2-2), which lost its first Big 12 home game against Iowa State two weeks ago, has lost consecutive home games in the same season for the first time since their last two home games of the 1998 season.
"Welcome to the Big 12," said Frogs coach Gary Patterson, then the defensive coordinator and now in his 12th season as head coach. "I do believe this. I believe we proved we can play in it. Are we unhappy we lost? Yes, but it was a heck of a game."
It was the first triple-overtime game in TCU history, and the highest-scoring home game ever for the Frogs, who next play at Oklahoma State. The only time they were in a game with more points scored was a 62-55 win at Houston in 2003.
The last time the Horned Frogs had been in a game with so many points was their 70-35 loss at Texas Tech in 2004. That 15-touchdown spectacular came two years before only field goals were scored in TCU's 12-3 home win that was the only other game in the series since the last Southwest Conference season in 1995.
After redshirt freshman Trevone Boykin threw a 60-yard TD to LaDarius Brown on third-and-20 with 2:25 left in regulation and Tech had a three-and-out, the Frogs tied the game at 36-all with 18 seconds left on freshman Jaden Oberkrom's 42-yard field goal, the fifth of his Big 12-record six made kicks.
Texas Tech responded after TCU scored first in overtime, then the Red Raiders opened the second overtime with a little trickery out of the wildcat formation. Running back Eric Stephens took the snap and handed off to Darrin Moore, who flipped it back to Doege, the quarterback who lined up wide and then threw a 25-yard TD to Jakeem Grant.
"Resiliency. This team, we fought," said Alex Torres, who had an 8-yard TD catch to end the game. "The way they battled back was impressive. To get a touchdown and field goal to tie the game, they definitely went into overtime with the momentum. ... Offensively, defensively, we had to bail each other out. That game tells a lot about our team."
For the Red Raiders, who have had plenty of big-scoring days in the past, it was the most combined points ever in a game they played — surpassing their 66-42 loss to Baylor last November. It was the first time they were in a game when both teams scored 50 points.
"We made a lot of mistakes, but we've been working real hard for a game like this, to win a game when you don't play your best," Tuberville said. "I think that's what this sport is all about, you've got to find a way to win on the road."
And they'll be trying to do that again next weekend.