123 yards, that is all the defense allowed in the run game from KSU on 34 attempts. To put that in prospective Tech rushed 40 times for well over double that number (274yds). As someone who has covered the defense all season it has been rough to be excited by their play, but Saturday I think we had seen the best showing yet from the defense. It was almost like the teams traded jersey's yesterday. The Texas Tech offense pounded the ball down their throat with the run and the defense played smart and made tackles. Usually the last sentence has the name K-State in it, but yesterday was all Texas Tech.
The defense showed up early and stayed late. Besides a couple garbage time touchdowns that made the 4th a little more intense, they showed up to play. Did they play a perfect game? No, but they did play better than the week before and the week before that and so on. The play calling didn't change much from the last couple of weeks, but players were where they needed to be and made stops. The defense put the brakes on KSU's run game early and with the offense playing well it forced KSU to pass.
Besides a couple of mistakes, the coverage was where it needed to be too, which was all over the KSU receivers. KSU put up 289yds passing and they had to earn every inch of that. Most of the time when they did make a catch, someone was right there to bring them down. Including 9 total pass break ups, (which is a season high) with one of those coming from Pete Robertson.
Overall Grade: B-
With all the negativity this group has received they have not given up. I saw intensity and excitement from this group as a whole on Saturday. That intensity also stuck around the full 60 minutes too. If they keep this up the next couple of games it will help continue to build the young guys returning next year. For the seniors they finish on a high note in their last game at The Jones.
DL Grade: C+
This group with all it's struggles made some progress, by getting pressure and not getting run over consistently. Although the line did not get much of the glory in this game. The entire front seven working in tandem plugged gaps and opened up space to get in the backfield.
LB Grade: B
This group led by SR Micah Awe had a good showing Saturday. Again Awe was swarming to the ball in his final game at The Jones. Which he now leads the team in total tackles and is in the top 15 in the country in solo tackles. With some big play help from some of the young guys like D'Vonta Hinton, this group helped shut down K-State's rushing attack.
DB Grade: B
This group led by SR J.J. Gaines had a fantastic game, with some of the best coverage I have seen from this group all year. Gaines forced a fumble and was in on a couple big plays that resulted in a tackle for a loss. Jah'Shawn Johnson had a recovered fumble and got the INT that sealed the deal on Saturday. Also Nigel Bethel ll gave the receivers fits when the QB tried to throw near him, besides one blown play in the 4th, he played great coverage and is only going to get better.
Now to the defensive MVP and this week is was too close to call between the seniors.