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Another week and another blown lead for the defense

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Defensive grades against Kansas State

Kansas State v Texas Tech Photo by John Weast/Getty Images

There will once again be the same old statements made by the coaching staff and the fan base. “We have to coach better,” “the offense keeps putting the defense in bad situations,” “we may still have work to do but at least we’ve improved.” All those statements may be true but that doesn’t let this defense, that has now blown it’s third 4th quarter lead of the season, off the hook. The West Virginia implosion seemed to be the worst it could get after having a 96% chance of winning that game before the wheels coming off, however the Red Raiders outdid themselves by losing a game that had Tech at a 99.1% chance of winning with less than four minutes left in the game. At this point, it’s impressing that Tech finds new ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and this defense, even though improved, is not immune to criticism of poor play late in this game.

Defensive Line

One thing we saw from this unit after Kolin Hill’s ejection is the depth Tech has o the line. Tony Jones came in to replace Hill and had his most efficient game of the season with two sacks and three tackles for loss. Not only did Jones show out, but Eli Howard used his big mitt to bat away two passes and one of them went into big Mychealon Thomas’ hands for his first career interception. The line overall played a complete game up until midway through the fourth quarter where there was zero pressure on Skylar Thompson and he was able to sit back and sling the ball down the field. This could very well be an instance of scared coaching, but either way this contributed to the end result.

Grade: B

Linebackers

Coach Gibbs received the worst news you could hear going into this game, which was that star linebacker and leading tackler Jordyn Brooks would be out with an illness. However in stepped Riko Jeffers who played admirably with six tackles. Brooks’ speed and run stopping ability was missed, but the unit held up well throughout the game led by Dakota Allen’s seven tackles, with one in the backfield. This group did a decent job of containing the vaunted K-State rushing attack and even held them to their second lowest rushing output until overtime began with three straight rushing attempts from K-State running back Alex Barnes led to the game winning touchdown.

Grade: C+

Secondary

K-State’s three headed monster of Dalton Shoen, Byron Pringle, and Isaiah Zuber made light work of our secodnary throughout the day. The Texas Tech DBs made third string quarterback Skylar Thompson look all conference late in the game as he completed 5 of 8 passes to lead the Wildcats’ rally. Thompson played well, but his job was made that much easier by the fact that the K-State receivers were constantly open. To make matters worse, this secondary did not record a turnover for the first time since the Arizona State game. The defensive line deflected more passes than the defensive backs on Saturday, which should just about sum up how well they played. There are no excuses for a secondary that allows a third string quarterback on one of the slower paced teams in the conference, to go 80 yards down the field in less than three minutes and score the game tying touchdown. Would it have been easier if there was pressure on the quarterback? Yes. Would it have been easier if the offense hadn’t given up an interception return? Yes. Would it have been easier if our kicker could make just ONE FIELD GOAL? Of course. But that does not excuse this secondary from getting carved up by a quarterback and group of receivers that had no business even being competitive.

Grade: F