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Texas Tech Offensive Line v. Minnesota Defensive Line

Texas Tech Offensive Line

Position Player Height Weight Class
T Glen January 6-6 298 Sr.
T Gabe Hall 6-4 293 Sr.
G Louis Vasquez 6-6 341 So.
G Manny Ramirez 6-4 335 Sr.
C Brandon Jones 6-3 314 Sr.

Nationally, the Red Raider offense ranked 113th in rushing offense and 3rd in passing offense, while ranking 11th in the Big XII in rushing offense and 1st in passing offense.

As most Tech fans know, the offensive line is not geared towards blowing teams off of the ball, but creating lanes for runners and a pocket for the quarterback. Considering the few times that Tech actually ran the ball, usually less than 15 times each game, 76.33 yards a game isn't all that bad.

The one issue which always worries me is the lack of ability to force the issue on the goal-line or on 3rd or 4th down. Despite the fact that logic tells me that it shouldn't be that hard to score a touchdown when it's 3rd and 1 from the 1, it actually can be for Tech. Tech converted a measly 35% of its 3rd downs, which isn't necessarily indicative of the offensive line, but there's something there. However, in the redzone Tech was also able to convert 60% of the time for touchdowns, which is a pretty amazing rate for a passing offense.

Minnesota Defensive Line

Position Player Height Weight Class Tackles Sacks
DE Steve Davis 6-2 230 So. 46 4.5
DE William VanDesteeg 6-4 235 So. 36 9.0
DT Neel Allen 6-3 285 Jr. 34 2.0
DT Todd Meisel 6-4 255 Jr. 18 2.0

Without a doubt, the Minnesota defensive ends appear to be the real playmakers of the defense. Davis's and VanDesteeg's size is not all that impressive, but 4.5 and 9.0 sacks certainly is. By the way, VanDesteeg's 9.0 sacks is good for 22nd in the nation. It will certainly be interesting to see how January and Hall are able to match up against linemen who appear to geared towards a speed rush. Allen and Meisel appear to have average stats, and neither one of them are larger defensive tackles.

As we have already detailed, Minnesota's rushing defense is something left to be desired as they ranked in the bottom half of the Big Ten throughout the year and rank near or close to 100th nationally.

The Tech offensive line would seem to have a clear advantage here as Tech is simply bigger. I also believe that Tech linemen are accustomed to playing out in space against pass rushers and it has not posed a problem before so the fact that VanDesteeg appears to have some real speed is not a real concern for me.

ADVANTAGE: Texas Tech.