Week 2 is in the books for what was an exciting game for Tech fans. After squeaking out a win in El Paso last year, Texas Tech dominated the UTEP Miners. We know the offense is going to start to scare a few teams, but today we look at the defense and what's the difference was between week 1 and week 2.
In week 1 it looked as if they were fielding a very similar defense that went 4-8 last year after giving up over 600 yards with 317 yards of that being on the ground. Really the only positives that you could see on paper was the turnovers last week. This week while the defense gave up 414 yards with 227 rushing yards on 46 attempts. You can see dramatic improvement overall from last week. I think after a week to get the jitters out and defensive leader Pete Robertson back in the mix. You saw a very different defensive look out there.
Also the defense was on the field 40 minutes of this game and held UTEP to just 3 points in the second half.
Let's take a look at the positions and overall grades for week 2.
Overall Grade: B+
Again this week I am a little torn on the grades. Last week I thought it might have needed to be a bit lower Defense Grades Week 1 but this week had me swinging in the opposite direction. I was leaning towards an A- for this week, but after digesting the game and looking over the stats I give them a solid B+ because the Defense still needs some work but as a group they stood in there strong and bent but did not break!
There are some big plays they would like to have back, like the 91-yarder that Aaron Jones broke off (how this kid didn't get picked up by a Power 5 school is beyond me.) Without his injury I'm sure UTEP would have had more yards on the ground than they did, but the defense still would have contained him fairly well. If you take away that one big play he only rushed for 48yds on 16 carries.
Now to dive in to the position groups and name a defensive player of the game.
DL Grade: B+
After a terrible showing last week the D Line showed up in this game led by Pete Robertson and returning Gary Moore this week. The line combined for 4 tackles for a loss, one sack and a big fumble and rumble return from Keland McElrath. We also got to see freshman Breiden Fehoko zip through their line to get a tackle for a 6-yard loss. This is the kind of progress we have been looking for from this group and hopefull we will continue to see them improve. The line proved they could make the stops when necessary.
LB Grade: B+
With Micah Awe back from last week's injury he picked up where he left off. Going after the ball and is only second in tackles behind Dakota Allen, who had a great game with a team high 10 total tackles, one of those for a loss. The rest of the group had a solid showing and much like the D Line they bent but did not break.
DB Grade: B
This group had a solid showing but just not as many numbers this week because the other two groups were making so many plays, but there was still solid production here. J.J. Gaines had a good game with 6 total tackles and a pass break up. Although there wasn't any interceptions this week. I think that had more to do with UTEP's running game plan than anything. Last week showed that if you keep throwing it up this group will sniff out a throw and take it to the house!
Now its time to name the Defensive Player of the Week.
This was a tough one but I think most will agree.
Pete Robertson, he brings more than just numbers to the table. He brings leadership and intensity to the entire defense. He is vocal and not scared of anyone on the field. It also doesn't hurt he puts his money where his mouth is. He had 4 tackles, 2 for a loss, a sack, a pass breakup and a hurry all in his first game of the season for him. That is why I am naming him the Defensive Player of the Week.
So what do you think? Did I grade too high or too low. Let me know in the comments below.