SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) Behren Morton completed 27 of 43 passes for 256 yards and three first-half touchdowns, leading Texas Tech to a 34-14 victory over California in the Independence Bowl on Saturday night.

Tahj Brooks ran for 98 yards and a score as the Red Raiders (7-6) shook off a terrible start. They shut out the Golden Bears (6-7) for the final three quarters to win the 47th edition of college football's 11th-oldest bowl game.

“The was the best, most complete game we’ve had all year,” Texas Tech coach Joey McGuire said. “I really thought we played extremely hard, very physical.”

Texas Tech led 24-14 at halftime and Brooks, the nation's fourth-leading rusher, scored the only touchdown of the second half on a 7-yard run in the third quarter.

It was the third straight bowl win for the Red Raiders, who fumbled the opening kickoff. Cal freshman Fernando Mendoza then rifled a 25-yard touchdown pass to Monroe Young to give the Bears the lead 15 seconds into the game.

California had a golden opportunity to extend it, but Mendoza was injured on a third-down scramble to the Texas Tech 5. Cal passed on the field goal and was stuffed after Jaydn Ott took a direct snap.

Texas Tech capped the ensuing 93-yard drive with a 27-yard touchdown pass from Morton to Coy Eakin before Mendoza returned on the next possession.

“No way I can’t go back into the game when we have everyone else fighting injuries,” Mendoza said.

He needed just 94 seconds to help the Bears regain the lead. Ott's 1-yard touchdown run was preceded by a 51-yard pass from Mendoza to Trond Grizzell.

“Everything after that didn’t go very well,” Cal coach Justin Wilcox said.

Texas Tech had another immediate answer and tied the game at 14 with a 15-yard TD pass from Morton to Mason Tharp.

The Red Raiders' defense forced a three-and-out early in the second quarter and the offense continued to chew up yards - and points. A 14-yard strike from Morton to Loic Fouonji gave Texas Tech its first lead, 21-14.

A short field goal by Gino Garcia just before halftime made it 24-14. Garcia added a 37-yarder in the fourth quarter.

Ott finished with just 45 yards rushing on 16 carries.

“We were able to limit what he did, so we made them more one-dimensional," McGuire said. “Made (Mendoza) throw into coverages we wanted him to throw into.”

Texas Tech lost its previous two trips to the Independence Bowl, both to Ole Miss in 1986 and 1998.


California: The future is bright for the Golden Bears, but they didn’t get enough out of their young stars Saturday. Mendoza struck on the first play, but turned the ball over four times (three interceptions, one fumble). Ott was stymied throughout the night.

Texas Tech: Morton proved the Red Raiders don’t have to simply rely on Brooks. The sophomore helped the team recover from an awful start and matched Cal’s early scores before the defense found its footing.


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