This appears to be the year of defensive football for Texas Tech, which hasn’t been the case in recent history. Not only do they have the talent, they are coming together as a unit and proving to be too much for opposing offenses and have been wrecking everything for the most part. This was the case on Saturday as they held the Wolfpack offense to 20 points and kept Devin Leary in check as the Wolfpack’s lone touchdown pass came from their wide receiver Thayer Thomas.
Unfortunately for the Red Raiders, there are two sides of the football and the other decided not to show up. Donovan Smith threw an abysmal pick-6 that proved to be the points needed to seal the victory.
Texas Tech did allow a rushing touchdown as well, but against an explosive offense like this 20 points should be more than enough to come away victorious at the end of the day. Let’s take a look at how I graded the performance on the defensive side of the ball.
Defensive Line: B
Although NC State ended up with over 100 yards rushing, a lot of that came when they were trying to run down the clock. Besides the touchdown run, there weren’t many other big plays allowed on the ground. The dual-threat option in Leary managed to gain a whopping -12 yards because of how many times he was sacked, so that’s a positive sign that the Red Raiders didn’t let him kill them on the ground.
The defensive line didn’t contribute any sacks, but they held strong in their pass rush lanes and didn’t allow any space for any sort of scrambles to take place. They created enough havoc for others to make plays and take advantage of the amount of blockers that the big guys up front were taking on.
Overall this is a solid outing from this position group, and they’re going to need to be better against Texas. Quinn Ewers is expected to suit up, but it hasn’t been confirmed as to whether or not he will be playing. Regardless, I would like to see these guys contain the run a lot better, and we will truly see how good they are upfront.
There wasn’t much of an impact made from this group. They made some plays and allowed some as well, which could be due to the health of Krishon Merriweather. Jacob Rodriguez saw some more game action than he has the rest of the season, and made some nice plays.
There weren’t too many threats this week that the Red Raiders needed to key on, but the performance has to be near-perfect this week as Bijan Robinson presents that biggest threat possible.
Tyree Wilson, ladies and gentlemen. That is all you need to know as one of the best edge defenders in the nation put on a show. He finished with two sacks, three and a half tackles for loss and 11 tackles overall.
Jesiah Pierre added in a few stops as well, and he’ll need to play a bigger role as unfortunately the Red Raiders lost Bryce Ramirez to a leg injury for the season. He is in our thoughts and prayers and we hope for a speedy recovery for the stud.
Malik Dunlap wanted to send a message to his former school, and he did just that. He was targeted seven times and only allowed one catch. He was huge for us on the outside and Rayshad Williams also held his own without allowing any big plays.
Muddy Waters and Keyon Blankenbaker were excellent in the slot as well, showing the overall talent and depth of this secondary. The only touchdown allowed was credited to Kosi Eldridge on a wide receiver pass, and that was really the only big play allowed through the air all day.
Reggie Pearson Jr. and Dadrion Taylor-Demerson were their usual selves, not allowing anything big and contributing to the run game. I really enjoyed watching DTD run around the field and make plays all over, his presence is definitely known by the offense as they don’t really like to run any plays towards him.
Tyler Owens also made some plays subbing in and has shown off the depth of the safety position consistently since he arrived at Texas Tech. He has next-level speed and can fly around the field with ease as well.
Defensive Player of the Week: Tyree Wilson
Who else was it going to be? The stud edge defender showed off his talents as he was a dominant force all game. His two sacks came at huge times and he did everything he could to keep us in this game.
His draft stock is rising with every performance he puts on. Eventually he’s going to be looked at the same way that Travon Walker was coming into the draft, except Wilson has shown what he can do on a consistent basis. Will Anderson is still the number one overall prospect in the draft class, but Wilson is making a strong case for himself as well.