Since 2000, Texas Tech has been known as an offensive powerhouse. Consistently slinging the ball around and putting up big numbers as Tech was infamously known as a program that was going to outscore you rather than defend. Welcome to 2017 where that is no longer the case. You’ll find no greater evidence of that then in Tech’s 31-13 loss to Iowa State over the weekend. The defense constantly found themselves starting a drive on their end of the 50 and only gave up points on two drives that started on Iowa State’s side of the field. The defense isn’t why Tech lost the game, but when the offense became inept more was needed from the defense and nothing more was done.
This might have been the worst game for this unit this year. The big boys in the middle, Mychealon Thomas and Broderick Washington didn’t get the usual push in the middle they are used to getting and no one on the entire team recorded a sack all game. ISU quarterback Kyle Kempt had ample time in the pocket all day. Eli Howard continued his improved play on the year with a tackle for loss and two quarterback hurries, but going up against this Cyclone O Line proved to be a difficult task.
This is usually the section where I praise what I believe to be the best linebacker unit in the conference, but not today. Dakota Allen and Jordyn Brooks combined for their lowest tackle total of the season with only seven and let Iowa State running back David Montgomery explode for 164 yards. Allen, who only had two tackles on the day, was the most successful at breaking through the OLine but everytime he got through Kempt had already gotten the ball off. Iowa State did a great job of taking the linebackers out of the game by running east to west and passing on the sidelines. Gibbs tried to counter that by blitzing Allen, but with the exception of one tackle for loss, this tactic more so took Allen out of plays.
Despite the respectable game from Kempt, this secondary did a pretty good job limiting Iowa State catches. No receiver for ISU surpassed 70 yards and Kempt was held under 200 yards (for comparison, he put up 343 yards against Oklahoma). Some of this had to do with Octavious Morgan back in the lineup as he had five tackles and a pass deflection, and Jah’Shawn Johnson who also played well as he led the team in tackles with nine. However, the biggest impact was from the emergence of another big time player, walk on sophomore Justus Parker. Parker is loudly becoming an impact player for this defense after his six tackle and two pass deflection game. It got to a point where any ball thrown his way was getting batted down or going for minimal gain. He also came up with the only turnover of the day for the defense with a timely interception to start the game.