After minimal time arguing grades and maximum time procrastinating, let’s examine the best defensive game for Texas Tech thus far.
Defensive line: A+
In spite of the C grade they were given last week against Oklahoma, the defensive line doubled-down the effort this week against Oklahoma State. It only took three downs in the first drive for the D-Line to force a turnover that set a tone for the remainder. As Oklahoma State tried to double-team one lineman, another one would step up; Broderick Washington, Eli Howard, Nelson Mbanasor, Tony Bradford Jr., and Jaylon Hutchings all saw significant time in the backfield. The pressure on Sanders kept up the entire game, helping provide opportunities for the defensive backs to make key interceptions. Additionally, against one of the best runningbacks in the nation, the defensive line played smart football when it came to containing Chuba Hubbard. Between mixing up pressure and dominating physicality at the line, this defensive line showed their incredibly high ceiling of performance. Consequentially we now all know just how effective they can be, and will be asked to keep it up against a strong Baylor offense. Easy A plus for me.
The match up I was most excited for going into this game was Jordyn Brooks vs Chuba Hubbard - and it did not disappoint! Jordyn Brooks and Riko Jeffers were instrumental in plugging up holes that Hubbard has made a habit of exploiting. Brooks also was placed as a spy on Spencer Sanders numerous times through out the game. His athleticism and patience kept the dual-threat QB to under 50 yards rushing (!!!). No surprise that Brooks earned the Walter Camp National Player of the Week as well as the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week awards. Just look at these stupid good numbers:
Riko Jeffers had himself a game, as well, having 6 tackles and 1 tackle for loss - but really keeping Sanders from hitting anything easy over the middle. Jeffers, unfortunately, accrued a late-game ejection for targeting (it really wasn’t) and will have to sit our the first half against Baylor. Ce la vie. For the linebacker unit the transition from a D last week to an A plus this week is, again, all too obvious for me.
Defensive backs: A+
Talk about a turnaround. Last week against Jalen Hurts the defensive backs gave up a lot of passes downfield; something DC Keith Patterson is adamant about limiting. Their D- grade was well deserved, making their response this week was all the sweeter. Missing Adrian Frye, the DB core needed Douglas Coleman to step up and he stepped up big. Coleman accounted for two interceptions bringing his season total to an FBS leading 5 interceptions. Demarcus Fields, likewise, got hands on the ball and came away with an interception that set up the offense to extend the lead by 20 points. We saw excellent positioning by all of the defensive backs: Coleman, Fields, Zech McPhearson, and Alex Hogan each had a pivotal pass deflection that kept Oklahoma State from big plays. The performance they put on against Oklahoma State will be the same level of intensity they need to stick it to Baylor this weekend. A plus.
Player of the week: Jordyn Brooks
No secret here, Jordyn Brooks is the big man on campus for Texas Tech. Last season his presence was shadowed by a bustling Dakota Allen, but now with the limelight resting on his shoulders he has shown out big time. Brooks racked up 19 tackles, 3 sacks, 4 TFL, 1 forced fumble, and a QB hurry. An insane statline like that had Keith Patterson saying it was “the best he’s ever seen.” Well earned, Jordyn. We’ll need that level of intensity this weekend!