The Red Raiders opened their 2011 season at home against the Texas State Bobcats, marking the 950th overall contest in the program's 86-year history. Texas Tech won the coin toss and elected to receive. Their first drive would end in a punt by Ryan Erxleben from their own 26 yard line. The first score of the game came by way of a 40-yard Texas State field goal by Will Johnson on their first drive. On the next drive the Red Raiders fumbled the ball on their own 41 yard. Texas State capitalized on this turnover with a rushing touchdown by Marcus Curry. The Bobcats' Will Johnson kicked the extra point, to bring the score to 10–0. The Red Raiders' first score of the 2011 season came on their next drive, in which Seth Doege completed a 41-yard pass to Darrin Moore and another 10 yard pass to true freshman Bradley Marquez for the touchdown. Donnie Carona successfully converted the extra point for a score of 10–7. On the kickoff following the touchdown, the Bobcats' Shaun Rutherford was tripped up by his own defender and fell at his own 1 yard line. On the next play, Bobcats' quarterback Shaun Rutherford was penalized for intentional grounding which resulted in safety giving the Red Raiders' two more points and the ball back. Neither team would score during the remainder of the first half, and at halftime the Red Raiders trailed 10–9.
The Red Raiders dominated the second half, shutting out the Bobcats. In the third quarter the Red Raiders scored three touchdowns, the first on a 20-yard pass from Seth Doege to Darrin Moore. Following the first touchdown, Texas Tech unsuccessfully attempted a two–point conversion but held their first lead at 15–10. The second score of the third quarter came on the Red Raiders' next drive when Eric Stephens ran 46 yards for a touchdown. Donnie Carona added the extra point to bring the score to 22–10. On Texas State's next possession, the Bobcats fumbled on their own 36 yard line. The Red Raiders capitalized on the fumble with an Eric Stephens 2 yard rushing touchdown four plays later. Donnie Carona converted the extra point. That drive was the last of the third quarter, and brought the score to 29–10.
The fourth quarter scoring again consisted of three Red Raider touchdowns. The first was a 20-yard pass by Seth Doege to Tramain Swindall, during their first drive of the quarter. The second score came four drives later, when DeAndre Washington ran 23 yards for a touchdown. The final touchdown of the game came on the next Red Raider drive with 3 yard pass to Eric Ward from backup quarterback Jacob Karam. Donnie Carona successfully converted each of the three extra point attempts during the fourth quarter. The final score was 50–10.
After a bye weekend on September 10, Texas Tech faced New Mexico on the road in Albuquerque on September 17. The Red Raiders fielded a young team, especially on defense, with true freshmen Blake Dees and Sam Equavoen getting their first starting assignments at linebacker, and redshirt Jackson Richards starting at defensive end. Texas Tech came into the game with a 35–6–2 all-time record against New Mexico.
Despite two weather delays in the game caused by lightning strikes nearby, the Red Raiders rolled to a 59–13 rout of the Lobos. Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege tied a school record by completing all 15 of his first 15 passes. Overall, he finished 40 for 44, a 90.9 completion percentage, setting an NCAA record for quarterbacks with at least 40 completions in a game. The former record, 49 for 59 (83%), was held by Red Raider Kliff Kingsbury.
Doege connected on a pair of first-quarter touchdown passes to Darrin Moore as the Red Raiders jumped out to a 14–0 lead. Doege hit Eric Ward on a 1-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter, and wide receiver Austin Zouzalik threw a touchdown pass to Darrin Moore as Texas Tech increased its lead to 28–0. Texas Tech's lead was 38–7 at halftime. Texas Tech's domination continued in the third quarter as Doege threw scoring passes to Ward and tight end Jace Amaro. Texas Tech's final touchdown in the fourth quarter came as true freshman Ronnie Daniels, a graduate of Albuquerque's La Cueva High School, ran in the ball from nine yards out. For his performance in the game, Doege was nominated for the Capital One Impact Performance award. He was also nominated for and won the AT&T ESPN All-America Player of the Week award. Doege was named the Big 12 Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Week for his record performance, sharing the honor with Missouri running back Henry Josey.
Seth Doege rallied the Red Raiders from a two-score third quarter deficit to win 35–34 with the game-winning touchdown toss to Eric Ward with 36 seconds left. Wolf Pack quarterback Cody Fajardo broke loose for a 56-yard touchdown to give Nevada a 28–14 lead over the Red Raiders with 5:29 remaining in the third quarter, but Texas Tech's defense held Nevada to a pair of field goals in the fourth quarter as the Red Raiders mounted their comeback. Trailing 34–28, the Red Raiders got the ball with less than 5 minutes remaining and drove 56 yards in 9 plays for the winning score. Doege connected with Ward on a fourth-down play from the Nevada 4-yard line for the winning touchdown.
The Red Raiders traveled to Lawrence, Kansas to open Big 12 Conference play against the Jayhawks. The Red Raiders fell behind the Jayhawks 20–0 in the first half but scored 24 straight points to take a 24–20 lead in the second quarter. True freshman DeAndre Washington scored on a 1-yard run for Texas Tech's first touchdown, and Seth Doege hooked up with Eric Ward for a 40-yard touchdown pass on Texas Tech's next possession. Ward's touchdown came just one play after Texas Tech safety D.J. Johnson intercepted a pass by KU's Jordan Webb. Johnson intercepted Webb again on Kansas's next possession, and Doege found Jacoby Franks for a 13-yard touchdown to give Texas Tech a 21–20 lead halfway through the second quarter. Donnie Carona added a 46-yard field goal to extend Texas Tech's lead to 24–20, but the Jayhawks scored just before halftime to take a 27–24 lead.
Texas Tech put the game away with a 21–0 run in the third quarter. Eric Stephens scored on runs of 1 and 8 yards, and Ward pulled in another Doege pass for a touchdown and a 45–27 Red Raider lead with time running out in the third quarter. Texas Tech's final touchdown pass came after an interception by Red Raider linebacker Cquilin Hubert in the end zone. Doege finished with 366 yards passing, and Stephens added 124 rushing yards in Texas Tech's Big 12 season-opening victory.
In the final game between Texas Tech and Texas A&M as Big 12 Conference opponents, the Aggies jumped out to a halftime lead and held on for the victory. The Aggies scored on five of their six first-half possessions to take a 31–20 lead. Aggie quarterback Ryan Tannehill opened the scoring with a 19-yard touchdown run, but the Raiders tied the score at 7–7 with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Adam James. Texas Tech's offense added a pair of Donnie Carona field goals and a touchdown run by Eric Stephens to stay within 11 points at halftime. Stephens rushed for 102 yards on 22 carries, but he was lost for the season when he suffered a knee injury late in the third quarter. Stephens was on pace to become the first Texas Tech 1,000-yard rusher since 1998, averaging 114 yards per game through his first five games of the season. He finished the year with 570 yards on 109 carries and eight touchdowns.
Alex Torres 30-yard pass from Seth Doege (Donnie Carona kick)
Donnie Carona 40-yard field goal
Alex Torres 11-yard pass from Seth Doege (Donnie Carona kick)
Kenny Stills 58-yard pass from Landry Jones (Mike Hunnicutt kick)
Mike Hunnicutt 22-yard field goal
Trey Millard 3-yard pass from Landry Jones (Mike Hunnicutt kick)
Donnie Carona 37-yard field goal
Tramain Swindell 14-yard pass from Seth Doege (Donnie Carona kick)
Jaz Reynolds 45-yard pass from Landry Jones (Mike Hunnicutt kick)
James Hanna 22-yard pass from Landry Jones (Mike Hunnicutt kick)
The Red Raiders' victory over the Sooners ended Oklahoma's 39-game home winning streak, which started in 2005 after a loss to TCU in the season opener. The game was the Sooners’ first Big 12 Conference loss at Owen Field since 2001, and only the third time the team has lost at home under Bob Stoops. The Red Raiders were named the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week for games of the weekend of October 22.
Seth Doege threw for 441 yards and four touchdown passes, three of them to Alex Torres, as the Red Raiders built a 24–7 halftime lead. Texas Tech's lead grew to 31–7 as Doege connected with Torres on a fade route for Torres' third touchdown of the night. The Sooners came storming back on a night in which the opening kickoff was delayed more than 90 minutes because of stormy weather. Oklahoma closed to within 31–24, but a Donnie Carona field goal and a touchdown pass from Doege to Oklahoma native Tramain Swindall built Texas Tech's lead back to 41–24. The Sooners added two late touchdowns, but tailback Aaron Crawford recovered Oklahoma's desperation onside kick attempt with time running out, and the Red Raiders were able to run out the clock for the win. With the victory, Texas Tech entered the national rankings for the first time in the season. The AP sports writers' poll placed Texas Tech at No. 19, and the USA Today Coaches Poll included Texas Tech at No. 22.
A week after upsetting Oklahoma, Texas Tech hosted Iowa State, which came into the game with a 3–4 record and a 0–4 mark in Big 12 play. The Cyclones jumped out to a 21–0 lead, but the Raiders scored on a Seth Doege touchdown run to narrow the halftime lead to 24–7. However, the Cyclones scored on their opening possession of the second half, and their defense shut out the Raiders for the rest of the game as they held on for a 41–7 rout. Iowa State rang up 368 rushing yards and over 500 yards of total offense.