The Texas Tech Red Raiders had a rough day overall as they lost to Ole Miss. However, there are some positives to take from the game, one of them being the running game had flashes of being excellent at times, especially early on.
The first play I want to focus on is the first rushing touchdown scored by Da’Leon Ward. This was a 15 yard run that was sprung by great blocking by all five lineman for the Red Raiders. It was a simple zone read play, but since the blocking shined, Ward was able to end up in the end zone for 6 points. Below is the pre-snap shot. Ole Miss came out with three down lineman, an edge/ linebacker hybrid on the strong side, one linebacker, and a bunch of defensive backs. This worked well for the Red Raiders as there were less players for our offensive lineman to block.
The blocking ended up being pristine on this play, and it was an amazing success as right tackle and captain Terrence Steele was able to get out wide on the edge rusher and right guard Jack Anderson was able to hook the end and drive him inside. Center Paul Stawartz and left tackle Travis Bruffy usually go to block two linebackers but since there was only one, Stawartz was able to lead block for Ward so that he could get to the third level of defenders. As you can see from the picture below, there is a huge hole forming between Anderson and Steele that Ward easily maneuvers through.
The play went off without a hitch and Ward was able to drag the high safety into the endzone with him. Another shoutout is needed here, as inside receiver Seth Collins got a really nice block on one of the safeties. He didn’t pancake him or anything like that, but he did get enough on him to give Ward a clean running lane to work with.
Ward’s second touchdown of the day was more of a praise to the running back than to the offensive line, although both did a very good job here. If Ward simply follows his blocks, he would get some good yardage, but it’s the cutback lane he finds that springs him for the score.
As you can see here, the right side of the offensive line gets a good push up front but it seems as though Ward will eventually get caught. Travis Bruffy, the left tackle get a good block on the defensive end that makes way for Ward to have a cutback lane.
The running game was not perfect the entire game but it had flashes of what it could become. This team will be very run-oriented the entire season because of both the good running back this team possesses and also the veteran offensive line that the team has as well.
What did you think of our overall running game against Ole Miss? Let us know in the comment section below!