In the opener against Northwestern State, it was Art Kaufman's surprising defense that stole the show, while Neal Brown's offense treaded water a bit. That scenario reversed itself in San Marcos as it was the offense that was well nigh unstoppable while the defense showed a crack or two.
Quarterbacks: Seth Doege started slowly for the second straight game, but once he got the opening-series jitters out of his system, he was close to perfect. Doege hit passes short, intermediate and deep, to the left and to the right. He distributed the rock to a vast array of receivers. And, oh yeah, he tossed five touchdown passes. Doege's shot to Javon Bell on a crossing pattern in the end zone for six was a thing of beauty. It was Doege's best game since the win at Norman last season. Michael Brewer was very solid in mop-up duty.
Running Backs: The three-headed monster of Kenny Williams, SaDale Foster and Eric Stephens averaged 8.4 yards per carry—a major improvement over the showing against Northwestern State. That said, it is clear that Stephens is still nowhere close to 100 recovered from his knee injury. At this point, he just does not have that old burst. Foster had a bull-like run for 10 yards in the fourth quarter that was the most impressive of any Raider back. I thought for sure it was the wide-bodied Kenny Williams toting the pill, but no, it was mighty mite Foster.
Receivers: The receivers put on an awesome display. Texas State's defensive backs simply could not cover these guys. Darrin Moore returned from suspension and made an immediate impact. Javon Bell made his long-anticipated Tech debut and did not disappoint. And Jakeem Grant may have been the most impressive receiver of the lot. He is a space monster, meaning that when he gets the ball in the open field, he is a beast with which to contend. No drops from a receiver for the second straight game.
Offensive Line: The Bobcats played a more aggressive defensive scheme than Northwestern State did, but Seth Doege was none the worse for wear because of it. Doege and backup Michael Brewer were not sacked, and rarely even had to maneuver in the pocket to avoid a rusher. Pass protection, in other words, was just about faultless. Run blocking was much improved too. Holes were numerous and cavernous for Tech backs, and Le'Raven Clark and Terry McDaniel did particularly good work here.
Defensive Line: It was a quiet night for this group. Because Texas State played the entire game from behind, the Bobcats had to throw the ball more than they would have liked, cutting lose 31 aerials. And the Red Raiders, sticking to a four-man front almost every snap, got nary a sack, although Leon Mackey and Dartwan Bush each got a pressure. The defensive tackles did a pretty good job shutting down the inside runs; containment by the defensive ends was somewhat less successful.
Linebackers: Option attacks stress linebackers to the limit, and it must be said that Tech's linebackers cracked under the pressure. Terrance Bullitt had a bad night, frequently overrunning plays and missing tackles. Will Smith and Blake Dees also missed tackles, while Sam Eguavoen got torched for a touchdown pass. Smith made six tackles, which tied him for tops on the team.
Secondary: The defensive backfield certainly had its moments. A few were bad, but most were good. Cody Davis had his second straight great game, punctuated by an 88-yard interception return for a touchdown. That play more than makes up for a missed tackle. D. J. Johnson recorded six tackles, but needs to be a more physical presence. Coverage from Cornelius Douglas and Eugene Neboh wasn't great, but it was good. Neboh dropped one easy interception. Jeremy Reynolds made his interception opportunity count.
Special Teams: Ryan Bustin has yet to miss a field goal, and after the Texas State game, has a 50-yarder to his credit. He may be a special kicker. Kramer Fyfe had trouble getting the ball into the end zone on kickoffs, although kickoff coverage was somewhat better than it was against Northwestern State. Austin Zouzalik didn't do much with his punt returns, but SaDale Foster had a nifty 40-yard kickoff return. The Tech brass needs to see that Foster gets more touches than he's getting right now.