Texas Tech Running Backs v. Minnesota Linebackers
|Texas Tech Running Backs|
For those of you who thought that there would be a significant dropoff in talent from Taurean Henderson you were wrong. Henderson was an incredible talent, but Woods more than filled in for Henderson as the year progressed. As I think back on the season, Woods lacked the huge play, but I tend to think that Woods may simply be not as explosive or as fast as Henderson, but he is just as productive.
Woods really came into his own by the end of the year. His low points were against TCU (52 yards rushing and 38 yards receiving) Oklahoma (40 yards rushing and 34 yards receiving) and Texas (11 yards rushing and 34 yards receiving), but in each of those games Woods had 10 or less attempts.
As a receiver, Woods was the 3rd leading receiver on the team and from the Texas A&M game forward, Woods averaged 56.375 yards per game receiving.
The Golden Gopher run a 4-3 defense and the linebackers seem like a reliable bunch, but nothing to really write home about. Minnesota was 9th in the Big Ten in rushing defense, giving up 162 yards a game and ranked 95th overall. Minnesota's opponents gained 4.61 yards per rushing attempt.
Although not solely related to the linebacking corp, Minnesota led the Big Ten with 29 takeaways and ranked 10th in the Big Ten with only 53 tackles for a loss.
Sherels, Reese and Hightower are 3 of the 4 leading tacklers for Minnesota and Reese seems to cause the most havoc with 6 tackles for a loss, three sacs, 1 intereception and 3 forced fumbles throughout the year. Mike Sherels averaged 5.25 tackles per game which was tied for 24th in the nation.
Despite the fact that Minnesota appears to have some linebackers some decent size and decent individual stats, the defense as a whole cannot stop the run and if Woods has the running lanes available to him he can put the defense back on their heels which will really set up the passing game.
ADVANTAGE: Texas Tech.