What a exciting way to spend Thanksgiving, watching The Red Raiders snap the streak in Austin. The first couple of quarters the Defense came out swinging, with 3 punts and a red-zone stop from the 10yd line to only give up 3 in the first quarter. The second was almost as productive as the first with the exception of a big run by Chris Warren late in the second. Until then they had kept them to just 71 total yards. It wasn't until about halfway through the third quarter that the defense started to wear against the run. Then the missed tackles and the size mismatches started to add up. That and being completely soaked in rain probably didn't help too much either.
At times the tackling was sub-par, but other times it was spot on. You could see them getting penetration and making plays. The potential is there with this group, that yes they can stop the run, it is possible. They just have to be able to do it through four quarters. Even though it wasn't the best performance they have had, the defense did their job in helping the team get the win. At times it wasn't pretty, but it was pretty awesome to get the win in Austin! Now to take a look at the position grades for week 13.
Overall Grade: B-
This might seem high considering the defense gave up just over 400yds rushing, but if you factor in being on the road, in the pouring rain. I think this group fought hard and kept the team in the game when it had to. It seemed for almost every big run they gave up they had a negative play to balance it out. This game had quite a few negative plays coming from all three position groups. Coupled with two turnovers and of course the win, I say this is improvement on a very rough year defensively.
DL Line: B-
I saw some improvement from this group this week. They were getting pressure and getting through the line for some negative plays, although there was a few times we could have seen even more negative plays, but the tackling just wasn't there consistently. The more times you see one the line in the backfield disrupting the play the better. That is something this group has struggled with this year.
LB Grade: B-
The production from this group was a little quiet with Micah Awe going down for some time, but the young guys stepped in and made some big plays in this game. D'Vonta Hinton had one of his best games of the season so far and I see him along with Dakota Allen being a force at the LB positions next year.
DB Grade: B
Although this group did not get many targets thrown their way, they certainly stepped up to help with the run in this game. J.J. Gaines had a great game along with Nigel Bethel II getting his first INT. This group is much improved over the start of the year, with young talent that should only get better in the coming seasons.
Now onto the defensive MVP, again another week and another hard choice, but this week goes to.