DOEGE AND MOORE HOOKING UP | WR Darrin Moore was somewhat of a known quantity last year, but 12 catches for 221 yards, 18.42 YPC, and 1 touchdown is a really nice way to announce your presence to the rest of the Big 12. Texas Tech has lacked a true #1 threat (apologies to Lyle Leong and Detron Lewis) since Crabtree left. Both Leong and Lewis were an integral part of the offense last year. In fact, the scoring of Leong was uncanny and unbelievable at times, but Moore is more physically imposing than Leong, while Lewis was never the game-breaker that I thought he would be as a true freshman, but he certainly caught his fair share of passes. The one thing that just about everyone has noticed was the fact that those passes from QB Seth Doege weren't short dumps that required Moore to make plays after the catch. What Doege and Moore did do was look like they've been playing catch for years, and maybe they did do this all of last year. The chemistry was really something special and I have to believe that the idea that Moore created such a stir with his performance last Saturday, at the very least made New Mexico take notice and had to spend some time as to how to account for a 6-4/215 receiver that can go over the top of most defensive backs.
FORCING TURNOVERS | Any time that a team is +3 in turnover margin, that's fantastic. The problem of course last week was that there were fumbles on Texas Tech's side of the offense and you could chalk those fumbles to just bouncing the right way for Texas Tech. And as many of you pointed out after the game, forced fumbles and interceptions are almost impossible to predict. I've always thought that there really isn't any meaningful way to think that a defense will continue a trend of turnovers, especially after one game. In fact early last year, the Texas Tech defense was making sacking the opposing quarterback, Brian Duncan looked like he was going to be a beast at defensive end as he had 6 sacks in the first 4 games and 1 sack the rest of the season. While Jarvis Phillips already had 4 interceptions after the first 3 games. It's sort of like the market, past performance is not always indicative of future success. For this defense to be successful, just like any other defense, they must work to continue to force opposing teams into mistakes and poor decisions. The week before last, it was a start in the right direction: 7 TFL; 3 pass break-ups; and 4 forced fumbles.
So much more after the jump.
POROUS RUSH DEFENSE | There's no pretty way to spin this other than the defense has to be better. I mentioned after the game last week that the rush defense wasn't necessarily better in the second half. In the first half, the defense gave up 142 yards on 35 touches for an average of 4.05 yards per touch. In the second half, the results weren't any better. The defense gave up 171 yards on 37 touches for 4.62 yards per touch. The defense was saved in that half by the fact that none of those drives resulted in a scoring drive and there were 3 punts and 4 fumbles for Texas St. in the second half. The 2 longest drives by Texas St., 64 yards in the first drive (resulting in a fumble) and 41 yards in the last drive (ending in the half). The hope is that DC Chad Glasgow actually did make some halftime adjustments and that certainly appeared to be the case as the running lanes that appeared in the first half weren't as prevalent in the second half.
NEWCOMERS PERFORMED | It was rightly pointed out, as I tried to list all of the freshment who played or players who had a redshirt removed. I forgot, again, about DT Delvon Simmons, who the announcers said that he played, but I haven't been able to find in any boxscore. Still, you had players like IR Marquez Bradley, who caught his first touchdown pass on his first reception of his career. RB DeAndre Washington looked a bit nervous, but he also looked electric with 6 carries for 38 yards and 1 touchdown. LB Blake Dees (8 tackles and 1 TFL) and LB Sam Eguavoen (3 tackles) seeing significant playing time. SS Pete Robertson (fumble return) and DE Kindred Evans (1 TFL; 1 sack; 1 forced fumble).
NEED MORE FROM RUNNING BACKS | There was some good and bad to the running backs not seeing any screen passes. On one hand, the running backs did receive 28 carries for 164 yards and 5.8 yards per carry. But there was nothing in terms of a screen game. What OC Neal Brown did try to do, I think, was rather than involve the running backs in the screen game, he tried to involve the receivers with passes and jail-break screens. I think that Brown will still use the running back screen, especially to help relieve pressure defense, but I think that he was maybe trying to make sure that all of the skill position players received some touches and were involved in the offense. Obviously, WR Darrin Moore was the big recipient of Doege's passes last Saturday, but other than the 12 passes to Moore, Doege found 7 different receivers. Granted, the most that they caught was 2 catches and you want to see players other than just Moore get down the field, but the running backs out of the backfield can help open up the offense as well, especially considering that RB Eric Stephens may be the most dynamic play-maker on the team.