It's week three and we will take a look at the defensive grades coming off a big win over Arkansas. After last year's loss to them and giving up over 400+ yards on the ground, Tech redeemed itself with a road win this year. They gave up 228 yards on the ground this time around and kept them to under 100 yards in the second half. So far this year the defense has been doing much better in the second half compared to seasons past. Some might say those are still gaudy numbers for a defense to give up on a national scale, but these grades are based on week to week performance and whether or not the defense did their job to help secure a victory.
This group has shown under David Gibbs' first three games that they're improving. They still have more work to do, but giving up less than 100 yards rushing, 3 points and a strip to seal the deal in the second half is a far cry from last year's defensive struggles.
So let's look at this weeks grade.
Overall Grade: B-
This week's numbers are similar to last week's against UTEP, but only because Arkansas is not as good as people thought after week 1. However, they're still a better team than UTEP. Arkansas did what everybody expected and kept the ball on the ground more often than putting it in the air. In the first half after a first series stop the defense had a tough time stopping the run attack, but they did not give up as many big plays this time around. In the second half they held Arkansas to only two field goal tries for a total of 3 points. It shows they don't have to be a scary defense to get the job done. Now let's take a look at the individual groups.
DL Grade: C+
The D line this week didn't have as much production as they would have liked, but after a tough first half they did settle down some in the second half and made some plays led by Pete Robertson. They must continue to improve though heading into league play.
LB Grade: B-
This group had some plays I'm sure they wish they could have back, but overall they stuck with it to helped to secure a victory. Dakota Allen had a nice showing with a season high of 12 total tackles.
DB Grade: B
This group had the most production in the tackling statistics. Although the coverage at times was lacking I kind of expected that coming into this game as I figured they would throw the kitchen sink at Arkansas to stop the run. They also came up with a couple turnovers, one of which helped clinch the win. Jah'Shawn Johnson was in on the strip and also accounted for 16 total tackles. As with most groups on the defense there is still plenty of work to do heading into conference play, but I like what I am seeing so far.
Defensive MVP: Jah'Shawn Johnson
With 16 total tackles and a strip to put this game to bed Jah'Shawn Johnson is the defensive player of the week.