Going into this past weekend against Baylor, I detailed how this running game will be an issue if Tech isn’t careful. That was an understatement as the Bears gashed the Red Raider defense for over 200 yards en route to a 45-17 victory.
The first three quarters were competitive and close as the Red Raiders found ways to stay in the game. Poor quarterback play and poor run defense doomed Tech in the fourth quarter and gave the Bears a chance to pull away.
All that being said let’s check these grades out, which are a complete 180 for the most part from last week.
Defensive Line: C-
The common theme here will be that each group up front had their worst day of the year. The big guys couldn’t get a push and Baylor did what they wanted on the ground for the most part.
Tony Bradford Jr. was the only guy that seemed to be able to make a play, but it just wasn’t enough to impact the game. The fourth quarter wasn’t pretty at all and Baylor had no problems getting a push up front and creating holes for their guys to run through.
I can’t give anyone up front a high grade with how out of hand the game got. That being said, Tyree Wilson and Jesiah Pierre were making plays all over the field. They may not have gotten any sacks, but they did everything that they could to try and impact the game.
Wilson finished with five pressures of his own, so he was impacting the pass game quite frequently. Baylor didn’t gash us through the air at all, so the edge guys did their part there. However the run game is also important and there just wasn’t enough of an outside presence in the run game.
When the guys up front aren’t taking on blocks the right way, there’s not much any linebacker can do for an entire game. It was evident that Baylor was getting their linemen to the linebackers with ease, so the fact that some of them were able to have very low AVDT (Average Depth of Tackle) is insane.
The passing game was fine for these guys. Kosi Eldridge allowed five catches on five targets but besides one that went for 25 yards he was right there on the rest. Krishon Merriweather was a similar story, as he allowed three receptions on four targets and the long was 17 yards.
The run game wasn’t the way that we’re accustomed to playing. The holes weren’t getting filled and Baylor was able to pick up the yards that they needed to get first downs and stay on the field.
Despite the result, our corners played good today and weren’t beaten all that badly. The touchdown that Rayshad Williams allowed was nine yards and was his only catch allowed. Malik Dunlap allowed one of his receptions to go for 30 yards, but the other two combined for 19 so he was solid throughout the night.
The pass coverage was solid all night and has been all season. Adrian Frye seems to be in the rotation slightly but clearly Dunlap/Williams are the guys.
These guys were also fine today as Reggie Pearson Jr. and Marquis Waters were great in coverage and made tackles when they had to against the run. DTD was beaten twice for some big gains but still held his own and made an impact in the run game.
The fact that our safeties that usually play deeper had to make as many tackles as they did shows the type of game that Tech had against the run. Hopefully we can just worry about them help over the top and not as much having to save us from big touchdowns going forward.
Defensive Player of the Week: Krishon Merriweather
He was everywhere for us today making tackles and was solid in coverage. 1.6 AVDT is solid for the day, and it’s hard to say that he should’ve been making more tackles when he had 12. You just would’ve liked to have seen a few more plays made from this entire defense.