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Harrell throws for 536 yards, scores three times as Red Raiders crush Eagles

LUBBOCK, Texas -- A good start was all Texas Tech needed to beat Eastern Washington.

The Red Raiders know that won't be enough when the competition gets better.

Graham Harrell threw for 536 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for another score to lead No. 12 Texas Tech past Eastern Washington 49-24 on Saturday night.

"We are a spotty team," Texas Tech coach Mike Leach said. "I don't think that we played what I consider well more than three series in a row on either side of the ball."

The pass-happy offense of Texas Tech was in midseason form against an overmatched opponent. Harrell was 43-of-58 with an interception.

He connected with eight different receivers but it was a quiet night for Michael Crabtree, the nation's leading receiver in 2007.

The All-American finished with 73 yards on nine catches, one a 4-yard TD in the first quarter.

Eric Morris and Detron Lewis caught nine passes each for Tech. Morris got 164 yards and Lewis had 163 yards.

It was the third time in as many seasons that Harrell has thrown for more than 500 yards in a game, but he wasn't impressed.

"That was a pretty sloppy game and offensively we were pretty sloppy," Harrell said. "We've got a long ways to go and a lot of room to get better."

Tech scored more on the ground than in the air. Shannon Woods rushed for two, and Harrell, Aaron Crawford and Baron Batch each had one.

Matt Nichols, last season's MVP in the Big Sky Conference, threw one touchdown and completed 36 of 61 passes for 335 yards. He also threw three interceptions. Tony Davis caught 13 passes for 114 yards to lead the Eagles.

First-year coach Beau Baldwin lost his debut at Eastern of the Football Championship Subdivision. The Eagles defense pressured Harrell at times but only enough to slow Tech's usual scoring pace.

Tech had one dubious statistic. The Red Raiders set a record for the number of penalties in a game, with 18 for 169 yards.

Leach said he was "incredibly disappointed" by the penalties.

"I think we're going to find in a lot of them that we didn't have good technique and that's focus," he said.

The previous high in number of penalties came in 2000 against Baylor when Tech had 17. The record for yardage came against Rice last year when Tech gave up 183 yards on penalties.

The Red Raiders came into the game with their highest preseason ranking in 31 years and proceeded to roll to a big lead. Leach saw inconsistency in his team's tempo, offensively and defensively.

"To go out there and, you know, football's real important for two or three series but it's not important the next two after that, that's madness," Leach said. "We have to get better and we have to improve."

Texas Tech scored on three of its first four possessions before Eastern could get anything going.

Woods, who lost his starting role at running back last year, made it 7-0 on a 2-yard run on Tech's opening drive.

Harrell capped a 10-play drive with a 3-yard TD run. But Tech missed the extra point -- its first miss in 234 attempts -- and Tech led 13-0 with more than half of the first quarter remaining.

Harrell and Crabtree connected for their first score of the season when Crabtree pulled down a TD pass in the corner of the end zone late in the first quarter. Tech got a 2-point conversion with Harrell hit Detrone Lewis over the middle to put the Red Raiders up 21-0.

Crabtree caught 22 touchdowns last season.

"After the first quarter you catch up to the game speed that they have and after the second quarter, it felt like a Big Sky game," Nichols said. "We went out and made some good plays but just didn't make enough."

On the Raiders next possession, Eastern's Matt Johnson intercepted a pass at Tech's 44 and returned it 37 yards to the Eagles 7.

Five plays later Alexis Alexander ran it in from the 1 to pull the Eagles within 21-7.