Killer Option

Tech's issues with stopping a quarterback that can run has been exposed and has cost the Red Raiders so key wins, especially in conference play.

They can run, they can throw and no they are not super heroes, but it has definitely been the kryptonite for the Texas Tech defense all season long – the dual-threat quarterback.

Unlike the pass few seasons when quarterbacks that could sit back in the pocket and pick a secondary apart was the biggest fear of defensive coordinators, this season has been the year of the dual-threat gunslinger.

Out of the Red Raiders seven opponents thus far, five of those teams have carried a dual-threat quarterback on their roster and as their starter.

Texas State, Nevada, Texas A&M, Kansas State and most recently Iowa State have brought a dual-threat quarterback and have been successful to some extent, especially the Big 12          Conference foes.

Tech is 2-3 against those opponents, and all of those games have been played at home.  

With the Texas State quarterback, Shaun Rutherford, ran for 83 yards while only throwing for 38 in the 50-10 loss to Tech, but was the first quarterback to expose a major weakness in Tech's defense.

Tech's next opponent, Nevada, took notice of that and almost was able to pull off the win in Lubbock.

Cody Fajardo was able to gain 139 yards from the quarterback position, which is terrifying when the running back is also breaking 100-yards in the game as well.

Tech was able to come back at the end and win on a final drive led by Seth Doege to win 35-34 in the final minute.

So 2-0 against teams with an option quarterback, not a bad start, but the true test would come against the big boys of the Big 12 Conference.

This is where the problems and issues with stopping a running quarterback has hindered Tech from getting off to a good start in conference play this season.

The Aggies rolled into town, and rolled right back out with a 45-40 victory on the play of Ryan Tannehill. 188 yards passing and 58 yards on the ground is what Tannehill was able to put on the Tech defense.

The next week would not get easier as Collin Klein and the undefeated Kansas State Wildcats came into Lubbock the next weekend looking to continue their success.

Klein was the most dangerous quarterback Tech had faced up to that point and showed why as he led the team in rushing yards with 117 and threw for 146, a true dual-threat in the pocket.

Following a huge upset win over then-No.3 Oklahoma in Norman, Tech came home looking to continue that streak against Iowa State, which hadn't won a conference game till Saturday.

The Cyclones used their newfound weapon in redshirt freshman quarterback Jared Barnett to help propel Iowa State to a 41-7 victory. Barnett threw for 144 yards and ran for 112 yards marking the third quarterback this season that has rushed for more than 100 yards in a game against the Tech defense.

With the fact that the Red Raiders are having trouble stopping a running quarterback, the schedule ahead looks grim.

Tech's final two games of the season come against Missouri and Baylor, which both have proven running quarterbacks.

So the Tech defense will have to find an answer quickly if the Red Raiders want to keep winning and try to make it back to a bowl game as well.


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