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Will the real Red Raider defense please stand up

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Defensive grades against Houston.

Texas Tech v Houston Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

After a lackluster second half against Arizona State, Tech’s defense came out in rare form on Saturday forcing a once heralded Houston offense to commit FIVE turnovers. With the exception of two garbage time touchdowns given up to Houston’s backup QB, the defense was in complete control from star to finish. The defense was been a force against Eastern Washington and the first half against Arizona State, is this a sign of things to come?

Defensive Line

For the third game in a row, the Defensive Tackles Mychealon Thomas and Broderick Washington have been forces in the middle, the difference in this game is that the Ends joined the party as well. Kyle Allen consistently had to roll out of the pocket as the entire D Line was able to make their presence felt. Eli Howard was the big man on the end as he forced two Kyle Allen fumbles, and Tony Jones seemed to be “Mr. Right Place, Right Time” as he was able to recover two of the three fumble Tech had on the day.

Grade: A-

Linebackers

Move over Jordyn Brooks, it’s Dakota Allen’s time to get shine. Allen was virtually unstoppable against Houston. He led the team in tackles for the first time this season, and was consistently in Kyle Allen’s face. Not to mention Dakota Allen started the game off right for the defense getting an interception on the third play of the game. Brooks’ impact was felt in the passing game as he had a passing deflection and also got his first interception on the season. The duo also helped hold Houston’s dynamic running backs to only 58 yards and less than 3 12 yards per carry.

Grade: A+

Defensive Backs

After the poor showing against Arizona State, this unit seemed to be on a mission to erase to prove that performance was a fluke and they did just that. With the pressure put on from the other units, the secondary was able to focus on outplaying the Houston receivers and it showed. Houston’s best offensive player, Linell Bonner, was held to only 66 yards, and was never able to get going. Though Steven Dunbar picked up some of that slack for the Cougars, the secondary was still able to limit the receiving group as a whole. The sure tackling has been a big difference this year as the Cougar receivers weren’t able to break many tackles and gains were limited. Vaughntae Dorsey, Jaylon Lane, and Jaylon Lane all showed to be the aggressors as they each had 5 or more tackles on the day. The defense went into prevent mode late in the fourth quarter which led to the passing day for Houston looking better than it was, but as a whole, this was the best game this unit has played thus far. The secondary seemed to be even bigger winners on Sunday as Kingsbury announced that Dorsey “felt great today and no lingering effects,” after taking that devastating knee to the head during Saturday’s contest.

Grade: A-

If this defensive group as a whole play like this during conference play, the sky’s the limit for this team.