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Texas Tech up to sixteenth in the nation for total defense

The near-immaculate performance against UTEP has stationed the Red Raiders as a top 20 defense in the nation.

UTEP v Texas Tech Poto by John E. Moore III/Getty Images

The Texas Tech defense had another solid outing against the lowly UTEP Miners on Saturday night. The first string defense allowed no points, and the UTEP offense was only able to produce 131 yards in total. Every level of the defense had some great moments, and the total team effort provides some optimism that the rest of the season will be led by a stingy defense. Here are the defensive grades from Tech’s 38- win over UTEP:

Defensive Line: A

UTEP v Texas Tech Poto by John E. Moore III/Getty Images

The Red Raider defensive line came up with another solid outing after their week one show against Montana State. Broderick Washington had another dominant game with three tackles and a sack, while also putting together multiple additional QB pressures and limiting the inside running lanes. Eli Howard and Nelson Mbanasor each played better than they did against Montana State, as Howard had multiple QB hurries and Mbanasor had another TFL. To cap things off, Tony Bradford was credited with his first college half-sack in his debut for Tech. With a night game in Tuscon coming up it will be important for the defensive line to perform against the dynamic Khalil Tate, and I am confident this line can do just that.

Linebackers: B+

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 07 UTEP at Texas Tech Photo by Travis Tustin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The linebackers had a great game stopping the run, however they had a couple of blunders in coverage that led to some first down passing plays. Jordyn Brooks and Rico Jeffers had huge games and were present at the line of scrimmage on almost every run play. Brooks had 11 tackles and is now leading the Big 12 in tackles. The outside backers were great against the run, however both Adam Beck and Evan Rambo made a couple of zone coverage mistakes that caused a long completion and a touchdown preventing pass interference by Adrian Frye. The linebackers still look like the best position group on the team from a talent perspective, however there is still work to be done before Big 12 play.

Defensive Backs: B+

The defensive backs had a fairly easy game thanks to UTEP's quarterback situation. Zech Mcphearson had the team's first interception called back for a questionable penalty, and the rest of the DBs allowed less than three yards per attempt for UTEP, with only 54 total passing yards given up on 19 attempts. Aside from a few Adrian Frye DPI's it was a clean game, and even those looked more like coverage errors by the linebackers. The corners and safeties will get their first proper test this week vs. Arizona.

Defensive Player of the Week: Jordyn Brooks

Jack Pepper Media, @jackstroworld

For the second straight week Jordyn Brooks took home our player of the week honors. The senior linebacker had 11 tackles, 2 QB hurries, and 1.5 TFL. Brooks was responsible for 6 solo tackles, meaning a lot of his work was done on individual run-stuffs. Brooks is the leader of this defense, and his individual performances are a big reason why the Red Raiders have been so great to start this year defensively.