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How can the defense avenge last year’s loss?

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Defensive keys to the game.

NCAA Football: Eastern Washington at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

With Tech starting its run of 11 straight games, how can the defense continue its dominance against Arizona State and beyond?

Defensive Line

Pressuring the QB

Arizona State has given up 12 sacks this season already, and it will be very important for Lonzell Gilmore and company to take advantage of ASU’s weakness. As well as the defense played against EWU, it had a difficult time getting to the quarterback, but this ASU OLine is arguably worse at pass protection. If the big boys up front can get to the quarterback this year, then the result could change drastically from last year.

Linebackers

Stopping the run

Against EWU, this group proved that all the hype they received in the off-season wasn’t a fluke. Jordyn Brooks, Dakota Allen, and Brayden Stringer were tops on the team in tackles and didn’t let EWU get much going in the run game. This unit will have to do the exact same thing against ASU. Kalen Ballage embarrassed this defense last year but with the addition of Dakota Allen expect this group to make it a priority to nip the rushing attack in the bud from the onset.

Defensive Backs

Forcing turnovers

Jah’Shawn Johnson forced a fumble on the first defensive play of the season against EWU. That same focus will have to be there against ASU. Last year in Tempe, this group was not able to force any turnovers while the Sun Devil offense marched down the field time and again. Gibbs has stressed forcing turnovers since he first arrived in Lubbock and it looks like his players are ready to bring their coaches words to light. With ball hawks Johnson and Octavious Morgan, they could pick Arizona State Quarterback Manny Wilkins apart.