Patrick Mahomes' magic makes up for poor defense in Texas Tech's win

Ian Sadler caught two of Patrick Mahomes' four touchdown passes for Texas Tech. Michael C. Johnson/USA TODAY Sports

Texas Tech named Patrick Mahomes its starting quarterback an hour before kickoff, a move that paid off big-time in a 59-45 win over Sam Houston State on Saturday. Here's what we learned:

What the win means for Texas Tech: A lot to like, a lot to work on. Scoring is not going to be a problem for these Red Raiders with Mahomes at the helm. The sophomore put up monster numbers in his fifth career start: 425 passing yards on 63 percent passing, 48 rushing yards, four touchdowns. Mahomes brings an impressive mix of confidence and creativity to the job and will scare the heck out of opposing Big 12 defenses. But this opener did provide an important reminder that Tech still has work to do on defense. New defensive coordinator David Gibbs has made some progress, but SHSU still beat this group for some big gains.

What the loss means for Sam Houston State: The Bearkats should be proud of the fight they put up in the first half. They'll need to find a bit more consistency at quarterback after Jared Johnson and Jeremiah Briscoe traded turns leading the offense against Tech, but both showed big-play potential. After reaching the semifinals last year, SHSU should once again be one of the better teams in FCS this season.

Stat of the game: Texas Tech has averaged 602 yards of total offense in Mahomes' last four starts. He really knows how to make this offense move when he's behind center. Against Sam Houston State, he connected with 10 different receivers and connected on some big shots, including a 64-yard touchdown to Devin Lauderdale and a 53-yard score to Ian Sadler.

The game turned when… Texas Tech defensive back J.J. Gaines grabbed this defense's first takeaway of the year and took it to the house. Gaines' 47-yard interception for a touchdown to start the third quarter helped his unit finally settle down after a shaky first half. Sam Houston State put up 31 points, 374 yards and 7.2 yards per play in the first half, and the Red Raiders were missing defensive leaders Pete Robertson (undisclosed) and Micah Awe (forearm). They found some confidence on D after Gaines' big play.