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Blidi shines as defense completely neutralizes Murray State

Philip Blidi had two sacks to start off the season as the Red Raiders defense was solid all-around besides a few mistakes

NCAA Football: Murray State at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into their first game of the season, Texas Tech wanted to make a statement on both sides of the ball against an opponent that they should be able to take care of. They did just that as they won handily 63-10 and gained some momentum going into this week against Houston.

Krishon Merriweather lead the team in tackles with seven and Philip Blidi had a great coming out party with four tackles, three tackles for loss that included two sacks. He was one of those fringe guys that I said needed to step up in the defensive line preview, and he did just that.

Tech didn’t force any turnovers, but they were applying plenty of pressure and were dominant from start to finish. Murray State had a total of 50 yards on the ground on 41 attempts, showing that the Tech defense never let up and maintained their dominance throughout the game.

The grades will reflect that, as the front seven had a standout performance. The defensive backs let up some big plays, but only allowed one touchdown and clamped up the receivers for a majority of the game.

Defensive Line/Edge Defenders: A+

Constant pressure was applied, and there were no running lanes opened whatsoever. Tyree Wilson made six tackles and was all over the field, and I expect a lot of these plays to turn into sacks for him throughout the year.

Blidi, Jaylon Hutchings, Tony Bradford Jr. and Myles Cole were all over the place with each having over three tackles. This is the depth that I was talking about, and there’s still a few more guys that they will rely on later in the year that can have an impact as well.

Linebackers: A

This group was also flying around the field. Merriweather is the clear leader of the group and will be a guy that can see his draft stock rise up if he continues to rack up tackles and play solid in pass coverage.

Kosi Eldridge, Jacob Rodriguez, Dimitri Moore, Tyrique Matthews and Jesiah Pierre all found themselves on that stat sheet with two or more tackles each. Merriweather, Eldridge and Moore were on the field the most of the group, with the others getting in during the later portion of the game.

These guys were making stops and defending the pass as well, which is going to be key next week against Houston.

Defensive Backs: B-

It’s tough to give this type of grade when the score is the way that it was, but some of the big plays that were allowed are the type of plays that better teams will make you pay for.

DTD, Rayshad Williams and Adrian Frye had a few mistakes each that were uncharacteristic. These are things that are easily coachable, but will surely need to be addressed. Besides those big gains, the guys on the backend were great, especially in run support. There were guys making tackles for loss and getting to the ball carrier quickly, a sign of a fast group of DB’s.

Player of the Week: Philip Blidi

Blidi deserves this recognition this week after leading the team in sacks and being a menace inside. He’s going to need to continue bringing this type of pressure going forward and I believe that he will do just that.

He was on the field only a few snaps less than the other two main guys on the interior, but had an impact nonetheless. I’m looking for him to bring his A-game against a formidable opponent in Houston this week.

Be on the lookout for defensive grades and the defensive player of the week following every game, including a preview of the defensive assignments for the upcoming week!