LUBBOCK, Texas — Nic Shimonek threw for six touchdowns, receiver Dylan Cantrell had the go-ahead score on a 3-yard run in the final two minutes and Texas Tech beat Arizona State 52-45 in another high-scoring duel Saturday night.
Kalen Ballage had one TD for the Sun Devils after tying an NCAA record with eight scores in a 68-55 victory in the desert last year.
Manny Wilkins’ deep pass on fourth-and-30 was overthrown on the final Arizona State possession as the Sun Devils (1-2) fell short after rallying from 18 points down at halftime and 14 behind late in the third quarter.
The Red Raiders started 2-0 for the fourth time in five seasons under coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Cantrell already had two touchdown catches, a one-armed grab for a first down and a leaping catch on the 90-yard go-ahead drive when he took a handoff from Shimonek on a sweep and stretched the ball over the goal line just inside the pylon with 1:55 remaining.
A senior from the small East Texas town of Whitehouse, Cantrell said the rushing TD was his first since high school.
“It was in the game plan,” Cantrell said. “If it was the right situation, then we were going to roll with it.”
Shimonek, who finished with 543 yards passing, had five scores at halftime after a one-hour weather delay before kickoff.
Cantrell had a career-high 160 yards receiving and Keke Coutee set career marks with 12 catches for 186 yards. Coutee had one score.
“He’s a talented player,” Kingsbury said of Cantrell. “It happened to be his night. All of them made plays. But he had some big-time catches for us.”
Wilkins threw for 326 yards and three touchdowns. N’Keal Harry had 13 catches for 148 yards and a tying 21-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
“Come back like that, we could have won the game,” Wilkins said. “We should have won the game. I feel like I should do a better job getting us going early.”
Ballage, who finished with 56 yards in 16 carries, got the ASU rally going with a 1-yard plunge early in the second half.
Shimonek was 37 of 50 and has nine touchdowns with no interceptions in 80 attempts in the first two starts of his career.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils finished with a losing nonconference record for the first time in six seasons under coach Todd Graham. But they did well to get back in the game after losing top pass rusher Koron Crump to an apparent injury early.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders probably should have had a much easier victory than they did, but they still have a shot to be undefeated when No. 9 Oklahoma State visits in two weeks.
Arizona State: Pac-12 opener at home against Oregon next Saturday.
Texas Tech: Final nonconference game and first road game at Houston next Saturday.