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Defensive grades: TCU

The defense was dominant for large parts of the night against the Horned Frogs. Sadly, the offense let them down.

Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

This game was a crime against the concept of offense. Two offenses were dominated by two strong defensive performances. There were moments Tech gave up explosive plays, but this was the most complete game Keith Patterson’s squad has mustered.

Defensive line: D

The line still struggled mightily to generate any organic pass rush and Duggan found huge holes for his explosive runs which is why they grade out so low. The complete inability to generate any pass rush means Patterson is forced to blitz which exposes weaknesses on the backend.

Eli Howard has to be better once he returns, as he is the veteran leader of that group. Most annoying were the drives TCU just bullied this group. Depth was slim, but I can only grade the performance on the field. Duggan basically played running back all night, and TCU rushed for 270 yards. In a night the secondary played really well, the front was controlled by TCU too often.

Linebackers: B-

This group continues to impress, even in a more mundane performance. Riko Jeffers deserves a special note, the guy was just all over the field. Merriweather continues to be dominant, and this group is just so freaking good.

The vast majority of the rushing yards came on two runs where the back end was caught out of position. Otherwise this group held TCU to 2.8 YPC. The only effective pass rush came from the backers and safeties, so I will give them a pass getting beat by Duggan’s legs on occasion.

What’s scary is that this was not even a particularly good game for these guys, and they forced TCU regularly to kick field goals despite prime field position.

Secondary: B+

Zech McPherson had his best game of any secondary member this year. That interception was a big boy pick, he just wanted it so he took it. Overall, the group held Duggan to a pathetic passing stat line with 73 yards.

There were still open receivers Duggan missed, and a deep ball wrongfully called incomplete, but for the first time all year they didn’t look like a liability. This season has sucked, but all Red Raiders should take pride in this group. Every week they get better, and they always play hard.

For all this groups issues, they also fly to stop the run. TCU burned them on Duggan’s long runs up the middle, but these guys come down with a purpose.