LUBBOCK, TX - NOVEMBER 01: Head coach Mike Leach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders coaches from the sidelines during the game against the Texas Longhorns on November 1, 2008 at Jones Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Sheffield threw for 490 yards and seven touchdown passes in his first career start Saturday night.
"You'll have to stay tuned, I suppose" Leach said. "That's what makes sports exciting is it always changes."
The Red Raiders backup quarterback was 33-for-41 and finished with TDs passes of 52, 6, 4, 72, 28, 12 and 25 yards to five receivers.
It was the second time this season that a Texas Tech (4-2, 1-1) quarterback notched seven passing touchdowns. Taylor Potts, out with a concussion this week, threw seven in a 55-10 win over Rice.
Texas Tech put the game out of reach by halftime. The Wildcats (3-3, 1-1) got into Texas Tech territory only once in the first half and punted five times.
Sheffield, who had 370 yards by halftime, threw two TDs to Detron Lewis and Torres, and one each to Tramain Swindall, Jacoby Franks and Lyle Leong.
Leach praised Sheffield poise and said he was a "real inspiration" to the team.
"He did the things you really want a quarterback to do," said Leach, who got his 80th win and is three games shy of surpassing former Red Raiders coach Spike Dykes. "He played decisive and worked the pocket really good and made some things happen with his feet not just recklessly running around but getting himself in position to make additional plays."
The junior quarterback from Pflugerville, Texas, believes he earned the starting spot.
"In my eyes, yes, but it's not my decision," he said. "I've been waiting for this for a long time, and I've worked real hard for this. I'm glad things are going the way they are."
Potts, who did not dress for the game, watched his competition from the sidelines.
Sheffield's first-half yardage set a school record, besting the 367 yards thrown by B. J. Symons against Mississippi in 2003.
Three Red Raiders receivers tallied 90 yards or more. Lewis caught eight passes for 100 yards, Franks had three passes for 99 yards and Swindall got 97 yards on five catches.
Sheffield threw to 11 receivers before leaving the game with about 10 minutes remaining.
Texas Tech's running game kept Kansas State off-balance. Baron Batch rushed for 86 yards on nine carries and Harrison Jeffers got 55 yards on seven carries.
The Wildcats offense was anemic in the first half. They sustained only one drive in the first half, managing four first downs and hanging onto the ball for more than six minutes on their opening possession. Grant Gregory got sacked three times -- twice by Brandon Sharpe and once by Ra'Jon Henley -- before Carson Coffman replaced him late in the second quarter.
Wildcats coach Bill Snyder said his team couldn't stop the Red Raiders, who could "have scored 500 points" if the game had gone on long enough.
"I don't think I've ever experienced a game like this," he said. "I think we're a little bit better football team than the outcome indicated. But we certainly didn't present ourselves that way today."
Kansas State's first score came from its defense. Sheffield threw an interception on his first pass of the second half when Wildcats end Jeffrey Fitzgerald stepped in front of a ball meant for Alex Torres and returned it 17 yards to make it 38-7.
It wasn't until quarterback Carson Coffman replaced Gregory that the Wildcats showed some life. He was 11-for-17 and finished with 131 passing yards.
Coffman found some success in the third quarter but it didn't translate into a touchdown. After a 52-yard pass to Daniel Thomas and a 29-yarder to Jeron Mastrud, the Wildcats failed on a fourth-and-5 and gave the ball back to the Red Raiders.
Kansas State scored its second touchdown -- and its only offensive one -- midway through the fourth quarter when Keithen Valentine ran for an 8-yard touchdown to whittle the margin to 59-14.
Valentine got 96 yards on eight carries.