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Us v. Them: Texas Tech Offense v. UMass Defense

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v.

The UMass Minutemen (2-1,0-0) v. The Texas Tech Red Raiders (3-0, 0-0)
September 20, 2008 @ 6:00 p.m.
Television: Nope
Radio: Texas Tech Affiliates
Weather: Lubbock, Texas

 

WHEN TEXAS TECH HAS THE BALL:

 

Statistical Leaders Texas Tech
Passing Graham Harrell: 93 Comp., 152 Att., 1,251 Yds., 8 TD, 3 Int.
Rushing Baron Batch: 21 Att., 185 Yds., 2 TD
Shannon Woods: 33 Att., 168 Yds., 4 TD
Aaron Crawford: 8 Att., 26 Yds., 1 TD
Receiving Michael Crabtree: 24 Rec., 395 Yds., 5 TD
Detron Lewis: 17 Rec., 296 Yds., 1 TD
Eric Morris: 16 Rec., 197 Yds., 0 TD
Tramain Swindall: 12 Rec., 130 Yds., 0 TD

 

Statistical Leaders UMass
Tackles Jeromy Miles: 25
Josh Jennings: 26
George Byrd: 23
Tackles For Loss George Byrd: 3.0
Brandon Collier: 2.0
Darnel DeLaire: 2.0
Sacks Josh Jennings: 1.0
Courtney Robinson: 1.0
Brandon Collier: 1.0
Darnel DeLaire: 1.0
Interceptions Jeromy Miles: 1
Josh Jennings: 1

 

Texas Tech Passing Offense v. UMass Passing Defense: Actually, UMass has been pretty good, statistically, defending the pass, but this may be one of those instances where teams are running more than passing because of the success they're having running the ball. In any event, Albany passed for 172 yards, Holy Cross passed for 249 yards and James Madison threw for 85. However, UMass has been less than stellar on defense in general, allowing 36.67 points a game and 383 yards. Although in year's past UMass has been fairly aggressive, this year, that trend hasn't continued as the Minutemen have only gotten to the quarterback 5 times in 3 games. And as an idea that UMass will blitz, 3 linemen, 2 linebackers, and a defensive back each have a sack or half-a-sack.

The Minutemen actually have pretty decent size along the front line, but lack playmakers to date. Darnel DeLaire leads that group at defensive end, but this group just hasn't produced much as of yet.

In the secondary, free safety Jeromy Miles is the team leader has 25 tackles, 1 interception and 1 tackle for a loss. The cornerbacks, Courtney Robinson (6'0"/200) and Sean Smalls (6'1"/210) have pretty good size for BCS teams, much less a FCS team. This group of defenders just doesn't seem to have been tested thus far this year.

For those intimate with Texas Tech, they know that this is going to be an interesting game for Graham Harrell. Captain Leach was disappointed with the way Harrell and the receivers performed this past week and I think he'll get his point across one way or another. First, by calling those players out publicly and the other with playing time, the language that speaks to most football players. I'm expecting Harrell to continue to improve this week in the hopes that he's on pace for an excellent conference season.

Michael Crabtree did have a ton of yards and 3 touchdowns, but I have to wonder if those receptions were more because SMU lost him in coverage or if he really pulled away from his defenders. In any event, it's good to see him have success.

I think we'll see some new receivers this week and for those of you at the game, I'm interested to see the receivers are able to get off the line of scrimmage easily and get into their routes early. I'm interested to see how tough these guys are after being dressed down by Leach. I'm also interested in how much Leach continues to utilize the running backs coming out of the backfield as last week they accounted for 7 passes for 117 yards.

The offensive line is finally rounding into shape and Rylan Reed played almost the entire game at left tackle, while Louis Vasquez continues to get healthy. The Texas Tech offensive line has only allowed 1 sack through 3 games and I would expect this trend to continue.

Advantage: Texas Tech.

Texas Tech Rushing Offense v. UMass Rushing Defense: Keep doing what you're doing. Without a doubt, UMass has been awful stopping the run, allowing 215 yards a game, all against FCS teams. In fact, last week UMass gave up 338 yards to James Madison.

It just so happens that Texas Tech has improving their running game, game by game, and it appears that there are some viable options at running back. The Red Raiders are running for 135 yards a game, and they look really good doing it. Baron Batch rushed 10 times for 98 yards and a touchdown, while Shannon Woods had 86 yards on 13 carries. Both Batch and Woods are running with some explosiveness, not to mention exhibiting quite a few moves, and breaking tackles.

A huge Texas Tech offensive line going up UMass defensive line that has been run through the ringer last week can only bode well for Texas Tech team that has run the ball well thus far.

Advantage: Texas Tech