Stopping the Run

Justin Laney writes about how the Red Raiders had trouble stopping the running game on Saturday.

In Saturday's sloppy 41-34 double overtime win over the hapless Kansas Jayhawks, one aspect of that game stood out to many Red Raider fans was the obvious inability to stop James Sims and the Jayhawks ground attack.

Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville and the defensive staff knew going in that Kansas wouldn't have much of a passing threat, but somehow the Jayhawks managed to stay in the game by purely running the football.

"You can't really give up that many running yards, but we knew they couldn't throw it, and we put them up there and we kind of gambled," Tuberville said. "They broke a couple of them. They tried to play all the runs and you break a line of scrimmage, and you're in there for a pretty good sized run."

When it was all said and done, Kansas had accumulated 390 rushing yards and a mere 29 passing yards. Tech knew the Jayhawks were going to ground and pound all afternoon, but the front seven just could not seem to be able to stop it.

Following the game, senior defensive tackle Kerry Hyder talked about the challenges in stopping the Kansas running attack.

"They were creasing us, and the option game we weren't picking up the pitch man, the quarterback was finding the seams when they didn't pitch it," he said. "That was the biggest part. They found some natural gaps and were able to hit the gaps for big runs."

However, even with all the problems Tech had defending the run, it was the key stop in the second overtime period that solidified the win and turned away a Jayhawk upset bid at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock.

"Yeah, they ran the same things," Tuberville said. "They went down and ran the option play. We changed it up. We decided to take the end man on the line of scrimmage and make the quarterback keep it. But our defensive end just get as much depth as we could. No. 3 was in the back field, he was the guy running, and he was the pitch guy, pretty easy to read. So we saw him go to the right side, and knew, hey, we're going to stop him. We might not stop the quarterback, but we're going to stop him and we had good backside pursuit."  

Tech will look to right the ship against the leading rusher in the Big 12 Conference, Joseph Randle, when the Red Raiders travel to Stillwater, Oklahoma on Saturday afternoon.

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