Keys Look Back: Texas Tech Defense

Scott Fitzgerald looks back at the defensive performance by the Red Raiders in their season opener.

3rd Down Conversions: 3/14

QB Pressure: – 3 sacks for 14 yards and 1 QB Hurry. 3 batted passes.

Sudden change – 2 TO by offense, 3 points allowed off those short fields.

I wanted to see several things from the Texas Tech defense against Northwestern State. I like the total of only 84 total yards given up. (LSU gave up 95 total yards to this team last year, SMU allowed 126.) 

You look a little deeper and with the team losses of (-11) yards and Henderson losing 14 yards on sacks and the rushing yards given up are still less than 50, which I think for a first effort is pretty good.

Texas Tech answered the call on 3rd down conversion percentage, which is probably the best stat of the bunch at only 21%.

Coupled with that 3rd down conversion percentage, there were 10 drives by Northwestern State that did not end a half.

Seven of those drives ended up in punts and the other three ended in field goal attempts, the Demons making 2 of the 3.

For NWSt. being a running team, the Red Raiders put pressure on QB Brad Henderson, sacking  the Demons QB three times and adding one documented QB hurry.

I'd also take the batted passes by the defensive linemen as a way of documenting pressure on the QB.

For comparison, the Red Raiders' only 3 sack game last year was vs. New Mexico, and I can't remember anyone other than Scott Smith batting down a pass last year.

The intangible stat that I think is also indicative of a changed defensive mentality is that when the defense was put in a bad position by the offense, they responded with some of the best plays of the game.

After the Doege interception in the first quarter, the defense held Texas Tech territory and forced a field goal attempt, which was missed.

Also, after the Stephens fumble, the defense immediately put pressure on the Demons with a safety blitz from D.J. Johnson that resulted in a sack and a series that ended in a made field goal.

In all, if I'm handing out letter grades, I give the defense a B+.

They did what they should have done against an inferior opponent. Would have liked to seen them force a turnover, but when the opponent doesn't put the  ball in the air much, there isn't as much of an opportunity.

Also, I'd much rather have a defense focus on stopping the ball carrier at the point of attack and not try to strip the football, miss, and the opposing ball carrier gets another 5-6 yards.

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