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The Red Raider defense saves the day against SFA

Tech defense exhausted, beaten, does enough to save the win.

NCAA Football: Stephen F. Austin at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Well, overall it wasn’t pretty.

It was actually very ugly.

The Texas Tech defense was put in rough spots all game for the second week in a row, and if you take a closer look, they honestly played better against SFA than they did against Houston, as they should have.

Of the 22 points given up, seven were from a pick-six from Tyler Shough, there were three field goals allowed, and a touchdown pass with a failed two point conversion that kept the game at 21-19 Red Raiders early in the fourth quarter.

First, I’ll give the good stats.

SFA was held to 32 rushing yards on 29 attempts, that comes out to a 1.1 average per carry. Next, the Lumberjacks were only 5-for-21 on third down, about 23%.

Unfortunately, that is where the good news ends.

The Red Raiders gave up 343 yards through the air to an FCS team, on 38 completions, about 5.8 yards per completion. They also struggled to get off the field on fourth down allowing 5 of 8 attempts on fourth down to be successful.

Then, there was time spent on the field.

For the second consecutive week, the Red Raider defense spent almost twice as much time on the field as the offense did, this week was especially bad, as the Lumberjacks had 40:07 time of possession, compared to Tech’s 19:53.

I’m going to analyze the defensive performance and grade the individual groups, be prepared these aren’t as pretty as last week.

DEFENSIVE LINE: A

This is the only group earning an A this week as the SFA running game was non existent thanks to the big men up front. Jaylon Hutchings finished with five tackles and a sack, while Tony Bradford Jr. ended with four tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. Philip Blidi had three tackles and Nelson Mbanasor had three tackles with 0.5 tackles for loss. This was the golden group on Saturday, especially in the final series when Jaylon Hutchings was in on every play in the four down stop.

LINEBACKERS: B

The linebackers played well to stop the run. It also seemed like they were in on a lot of tackles after a completed pass. However, that was 5-8 yards down the field most of the time, and they were picked apart by the quick slant all game long. Colin Schooler led the linebackers with seven tackles, while Riko Jeffers had six.

DEFENSIVE BACKS: C

The defensive backs have great stats, Three of them with seven tackles, those being Reggie Pearson Jr., DaMarcus Fields, and Dadrion Taylor-Demerson. But if you want to be honest, a lot of these tackles also came after completed passes in front of them. This defensive unit gave up 343 yards in the air. That’s not good against a team like Texas, much less an FCS team like SFA. The coverage needs to tighten up before Big 12 play.

You can attribute a lot of the break downs and miscommunications within this defensive unit on being tired and over worked. Out of the possible 120 minutes for time of possession so far this season, the defense has been on the field for 76 minutes and 44 seconds.

The defense has been relied on all season to save games and they have been up to the task so far. This unit needs some rest during the games to stay fresh.

They need it soon.

The Red Raiders take on FIU this weekend at 6:00 p.m. at Jones AT&T Stadium.