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The bend but don’t break defense comes through in the end

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Defensive grades against Baylor

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Baylor Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

When i was i high school, our defensive coordinator used to have the same expressions game after game, year after year when it came to playing defense. “Our goal at the end of the day is to hold the opposing team to less points than what our team scores, doesn’t matter how you get there.” Pretty basic stuff right? The whole point of the statement was that no matter what happens on defense in the game we have to make sure to hold the offense to few points, and on Saturday after giving up over 500 yards of offense, over 30 first downs and giving Baylor over 36 minutes of possession, none of it truly mattered because this defense held the Baylor offense to two less touchdowns and got the W.

Defensive Line

There comes times in games throughout the season where a coach decides he’s going to put his offensive line to the test and see if they can overpower their opponents. Baylor’s coach Matt Rhule tried this on Saturday, going for it on 3rd & 1 at the goal line with a simple hand off and got stuffed. But then Coach Rhule had the audacity to try and run the ball again, this time to the other side. Once again big Broderick Washington and company stopped JaMycal Hasty at the 1 and forced a turnover on downs. This play was huge as Tech was able to keep it a two score game at halftime and showed that this line was going to be the dominating force in this game. I could talk about Mychaleon Thomas’ fumble recovery or Zach Barnes’ sack and tipped pass, but those two plays there is all you need to know about how well the D line played on Saturday.

Grade: A-

Linebackers

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, Dakota Allen is really really good. Once again the all american candidate led the team with nine tackles, a pass deflection, a quarterback hurry, and a big red zone fumble recovery. Jordyn Brooks made his return with five tackles and together they were able to plug up the middle. The backers did have difficulty with Hasty on the outside as the back was able to gain yards on the edge, but was limited to bits and pieces as he was never able to break a big gain. Riko Jeffers was also a big help in the run game as he was a big part in that goal line stand, and never backed down when targeted.

Grade: A-

Secondary

This secondary has been all over the place this entire season. It was never mnore evident than on Saturday when the bend but don’t break secondary gave up over 400 yards passing to a true freshman quarterback. Saturday also marked the second highest receiving totals of Denzel Mims’ career, second highest of Pooh Stricklin’s career, and third highest of Blake Lynch’s career. A good example of this play was when Baylor was faced with a 4th and 14 to virtually end the game, Baylor QB Charlie Brewer was forced out of the pocket and heaved the ball forward in what initially looked like an incompletion, but instead the ball sailed right into the hands of an open Mims on the sideline for 27 yards. The drive ended in a meaningless touchdown for the Bears, but showed the type of day the secondary had. Where the secondary thrived is making Baylor pay for careless mistakes. Right at the end of the first half with Baylor facing a 3rd & 22, Brewer launched the ball and overthrew his target where Vaughnte Dorsey was ready and waiting to pick off the jump ball for his first interception of the year, which took away a field goal opportunity. Then in the fourth quarter, Douglas Coleman makes a grown man play by ripping the ball out of Tony Nicholson’s hands and running it back for a touchdown, which put the game out of reach. Plays like this combined with the choppy play throughout is what makes David Gibbs’ hair gray, but the fact remains that the secondary did what was necessary and held the opponent to less points than what Tech scored.

Grade: C+