Saturday Night was a tale of two halves for Keith Patterson’s defense.
The first half wasn’t all that bad after the first two drives for Texas Tech. However, finding yourself down 14 points after being on the field for 13 of the opening 15 minutes was about the worst case scenario.
Well, really 21-7 wasn’t that ideal either.
The entire second half though? I’d call it ideal, and you can call it what it was: a complete domination.
Tech held the Cougars to 53 yards in the second half, forcing three turnovers and four punts. The Red Raiders scored 17 points off of turnovers.
Riko Jeffers had a pick-six to tie the game at 21 with about 7:00 left in the third quarter and the tide completely turned in favor of the Red Raiders.
Watching the game in Houston at NRG Stadium I noticed one thing that was totally different from previous years; Tech RESPONDED to coaching. It was very obvious that the game plan was to get more pressure on Houston quarterback Clayton Tune.
Tune was picked four times and he was just overall really bad when he had any sort of pressure on him.
The Red Raiders wore down the Cougar offense and flat out dominated.
I’ll grade the position groups and give some stand out performances.
DEFENSIVE LINE: B+
I would give them C+ for the first half, as they were still trying to gain their footing and shaking first game jitters. However, A+ for the second half. Jaylon Hutchings and Tony Bradford Jr. absolutely got after it and both had huge momentum shifting sacks early in the third quarter. Devin Drew had a very solid game with five tackles as well.
I wrote an article previewing the season for the defense and I said that Tech has the best linebackers in the Big 12. Folks, they are as advertised. Colin Schooler led the Red Raiders with 10 tackles on the day, Krishon Merriweather had seven, Jesiah Pierre had five, Jeffers had four and a pick-six as mentioned, Brandon Bouyer-Randle had four tackles as well.
This group is electric. This group is worth the price of admission alone.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: B
I give this group a B strictly on the blown coverages on two of the three first half touchdowns allowed. They were bad at times and I think it has to do more with learning how to gel as a unit and not lack of talent. They had bright spots though, as Reggie Pearson Jr. had eight tackles with an interception, and Eric Monroe had five tackles with a shoe-string interception late in the third quarter. Give this group a couple of games to mesh and this group has the potential to be one of the best in the Big 12.
The blown coverages were huge and were the reason Houston had two wide open touchdowns in the first half. The second half was what everyone was waiting on, and shows the potential to be a force is there.
Let’s go 1-0 this week Tech Fans. SFA is up next this Saturday at 6:00 p.m.