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Report Card: Oklahoma State vs. Texas Tech

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I'm pretty sure that I'm done trying to accurately predict how this team will play. I thought this game was going to be close and I could not have been more wrong. Happily, wrong.

Offensive MVP: Graham Harrell Was unbelievable. Just shredded OSU's defense and played to the Cowboys' weaknesses, whether it be dropping it in the zone, playing over the middle or getting the ball to the running backs, Harrell made the pass.

Defensive MVP: Darcel McBath McBath was responsible for 2 turnovers, one forced fumble and another interception.

Special Teams MVP: Eric Morris I'm not sure who really deserves this, but Morris did a nice job of fielding punts, except for the one rugby kick that was downed deep inside Texas Tech's side of the field.  Perhaps the real MVP is the Texas Tech offense who never gave Dez Bryant the opportunity to field a punt.

QUARTERBACK
 

A+

As I looked back at my game notes I couldn't help but note that I didn't have much written down about Graham Harrell (40-50; 457; 6 TDs) because it was effortless. As mentioned above, Harrell did a masterful job of taking what the defense gave him, which included dropping the ball over the zone for easy completions, taking advantage of an over-zealous OSU defensive front by throwing the ball to Batch and Woods. Finding countless receivers on slant routes which appeared to be open all day long. Just amazing. Tracking the numbers, Harrell had 9.12 yards per attempt, again, pretty amazing considering Harrell's longest pass was only 28 yards and he completed 80% of his passes. Taylor Potts (5-5; 60; 1 TD) looks quite a bit better when he has a veteran offensive line around him, huh? Potts completed all 5 of his passes and had 12.0 yards per attempt with and exhibited the arm-strength that we know Potts possesses.
RUNNING BACK
 

A+

It's almost sick how much production this position is getting. Here's the total yardage: 30 touches for 242 yards. This translates into 8.06 yards per touch. Shannon Woods (9-36 rush; 1 TD; 5-77 receiving; 2 TDs) showed the "I'm going to run over your ass"-attitude that seemed like was lacking the last few games and looked great breaking tackles and making plays. Meanwhile, Baron Batch (11-79 rush; 5-50 receiving) was incredibly effective running the ball and there were times last night that I took for granted that he was gaining over 7 yards a play. Here's the deal, and it's not just Woods and Batch, but this team is playing as an entire unit. There was another play where Batch went for 38 yards early in the first quarter, and although the line blocked well, Woods was barreling down the hole to create that space for Batch to pick up those yards. This is a collective effort.
RECEIVER
 

A

I think I counted five mistakes on the day: three drops (it could have been two), Britton's fumble (possibly Harrell's fault) and Morris' fumble (hold onto the ball). Other than that, a near flawless game. Eric Morris (10-97; 1 TD) continually got free on numerous slants, nothing special, that resulted in a quietly effective game. Michael Crabtree (8-89; 3 TDs) was impressive, much like we talked about last week and the week before last. He is so strong and so fast, it's almost unfair. Loved how he slipped in-between two defenders for nice gains and loved the athletic ability displayed on all three touchdowns. Detron Lewis (7-93) was also quietly effective and he will be an absolute stud next year. Edward Britton (2-21; 1 TD) almost caught another touchdown, while Lyle Leong (3-36), Tramain Swindall (3-34), Jacoby Franks (1-11) and Todd Walker (1-8) kept the machine moving. Much like the running backs, these guys get lots of credit for blocking like I've never seen. This is a special unit that is completely selfless and more dangerous as a unit as a result of it.
H-BACK AND TIGHT END
 

B

Nothing here in terms of offensive production, but when Texas Tech ran the 2-tight end set, they ran the ball, and ran if fairly effectively. Adam James just has to be patient because I'm pretty sure that Captain Leach is already scheming of ways to utilize a matchup nightmare for opponents.
OFFENSIVE LINE
 

A+

Goodness. What a dominant performance by the team, but the realization is that the domination starts up front. I think this is the biggest difference between this year's team and last year's team, the ability to pick up almost any blitz and give Harrell plenty of time to make the right decision. It's amazing to see this offensive line, especially in comparison to last year against Missouri, where the offensive line gave up 3 sacks for 22 yards and the pressure caused Harrell to make several bad throws. Not any more. This offensive line is making all of the right reads and it's pretty amazing to watch. The entire line was good, but for whatever reason, I thought the blocking of Stephen Hamby was exceptional this week, as was Brandon Carter and Marlon Winn. All three of these guys easily handled their opponents.
DEFENSIVE LINE
 

B

I'm still not sure how this defensive line held Oklahoma State's Kendall Hunter to 112 yards, but I think that part of it was OSU giving up on the run a bit. Hunter touched the ball 12 times in the 1st half, and 10 times in the 2nd half, but the problem is that OSU could never effectively get going on a number of series. For example, OSU's series, it was Henley that knocked down a 3rd down pass that looked like it was going to be completed for a first down, but forced an OSU punt. The next series, Hunter gained 3 yards, but 2 Robinson incomplete passes resulted in OSU punting the ball. By the time that OSU scored on their subsequent series, I think that Gundy felt that he had to speed up the process a bit in the 2nd half. I always hate it when people do this, but I'm going to do it anyway, Hunter had 2 carries, each going for 26 yards, which accounted for 52 of his 112 yards for the day. That's not bad for a scrappy defensive line. Colby Whitlock (3 tackles; 1 TFL; 1 blocked pass; 1 sack) was again incredibly impressive, although he didn't have quite the game that he had last week, but Whitlock's solid and consistent performance is pretty damn good by anyone's standards. Richard Jones doesn't even see the boxscore, but his presence was certainly felt. Chris Perry (3 tackles; 1 TFL; 1 sack) had his best game of the season and subbed in for a DNP for Brandon Sesay. I'm not sure what's going on with Sesay, but he had better get his tail in gear. It's impressive that Perry has now moved past the point of being a spot player to being a guy who sees quite a bit of time. Rajon Henley (1 blocked pass) returned, but it was Sandy Riley (2 tackles), Daniel Howard (1 tackle) and Brandon Sharpe (1 tackle) who all subbed in the defensive end position. McKinner Dixon (3 tackles) had a nice tackle down the line of scrimmage and for the first time in quite a while Brandon Williams (1 tackle) had a relatively quiet night.
LINEBACKER
 

B

I thought the linebackers were going to be the key to the game last week, but I wasn't how much time they were actually going to see. I supposed that Daniel Howard might see some time in the Joker position so he could go on a delayed blitz to contain Robinson if he scrambles and Hunter. That's not at all what Texas Tech did, but instead McNeill relied on the strength of his starters, in particular Brian Duncan (11 tackles), Bront Bird (4 tackles, 1 BrUp) and Marlon Williams (2 tackles). I thought Bird looked pretty comfortable in coverage, but there were a couple of instances where he couldn't shed a block from Pettigrew. For the most part Duncan did a good job of containing any cutbacks, except for the longer Hunter runs. Those are two big exceptions, but Hunter and the rest of the linebacking crew did a good job of containing Hunter. I was surprised to see Victor Hunter make an appearance, but he may be the best run-stopping linebacker on the team, so no qualms there.
DEFENSIVE BACKS
 

B

There was some good and some bad, but the nice thing was that there was plenty of fight in this group. Darcel McBath (5 tackles; 1 FF; 1 FR; 1 INT) was responsible for 2 turnovers and single-handedly ended four drives where McBath also knocked down two passes intended for Dez Bryant and the two turnovers. Daniel Charbonnet (5 tackles; 1 TFL; 1 FR) could not have played any better as well in support of the run. Jamar Wall (3 tackles) bit pretty hard on Bryant's 47 yard reception and I believe that Wall was covering Bryant on the 17 yard reception. Again, I don't expect Wall to be perfect because Bryant is that good and for the most part he had a pretty good game. Perhaps the most important thing is that he never gave up on any play, despite being beat. L.A. Reed (2 tackles) had a pretty good day but Oklahoma State's 2nd receiver is a forgotten man for the most part. I seem to recall Brent Nickerson getting some time in at corner, but didn't notice anything remarkable watching the game again. Anthony Hines (1 tackle) is slowly but surely rounding into shape and had some pretty big hits from the safety position.
SPECIAL TEAMS
 

A

What special teams? Matt Williams made all 8 PAT's. Check. Donnie Carona averaged 67.2 yards per kickoff with 2 touchbacks. Check. Eric Morris averaged 13.7 yards per punt return. Check. Jamar Wall and Detron Lewis averaged 26.5 yards per kickoff return. Check. Jonathan LaCour didn't punt because there was no need to punt. Check.
COACHING
 

A

I want to start with Ruffin McNeill, who again continues to impress. I was almost positve that we'd see more of the Joker package with Howard, but that's not how McNeill rolled. Instead, McNeill went with his base package, slipping into both nicke and dime packages as the situation called for and it was a thing of beauty. Maybe the best thing about all of this is that McNeill inherently trusts his players to make plays and his players trust him to put them in the right position to make plays. Much as Leach is to the offense to do the same thing, McNeill does the same thing on defense, and it's becoming a bit tiresome to talk about how McNeill continually makes the right adjustments through the game. As far as Leach is concerned, I thought he and Harrell called a wonderful game and it's such a symbiotic relationship, you can't have one without the other, that it works so well. I thought that Leach did a good job communicating to Harrell to run at the blitz, or rather, make sure and shovel or screen pass to the side and/or position where the blitz was originating. I'm not sure what else to say other than it's so nice to see Leach get this offense humming like a well-oiled machine.