Red Raiders + Cowboys = shootout. Lately it has been that simple.
Unfortunately it was more of the same for the Red Raider defense on Saturday against Oklahoma State. Despite shutting the Cowboys out in the 4th quarter, the defense gave up 45 points and over 600 yards in a losing effort. Here’s how each level of the defense did.
Defensive Line: D-
Oklahoma State running backs routinely gashed this defense for chunks of yardage at a time. They accumulated 224 yards on just 30 carries and didn’t need tons of huge plays to boost those numbers. This unit was never able to bring the quarterback down and was overmatched for most of the day. Kris Williams recovered a fumble that led to Tech points, but I can only award so much credit for falling on a loose ball. It’s fluky, and this performance overall was not.
Senior captain Luke Stice made some of his best defensive plays of the season in this game and may see additional reps over the remaining games. He and Jordyn Brooks had the Red Raider sacks on the day and the unit did a solid job overall in the passing game. No Cowboy running back caught a pass out of the backfield, but they did do plenty of damage on the ground once they got to the second level. There’s only so much you can do when backs are hitting the hole at full speed.
Defensive Backs: D-
James Washington is a stud and this group was always going to struggle to contain him, but his 82-yard touchdown grab after Tech cut the lead to three was demoralizing. The Cowboys deserve a lot of credit for designing a good game plan. They had an answer for every coverage that we tried and quarterback Mason Rudolph had a great day. If it weren’t for Paul Banks III forcing a timely fumble, this grade may have been lower. The Cowboys averaged nearly 20 yards per reception.
Overall Grade: D
This game was hard to distinguish from others at times and ended how too many others have this year. The defense was gashed for the biggest part of the day but made a couple huge plays that could have given the offense the chance to win it. Tech is now dead last in the country in yards allowed per game and one of the worst in points allowed. The Red Raiders have to win out to become bowl eligible now, and the defense will be counted on down the stretch.