Few expected Tech to rely on their running game as much as they have this season. DeAndre Washington and Justin Stockton have been standouts on offense, helping prop up a shaky Davis Webb over the course of the season. The fact that the latter of the two backs is a freshman makes the impact much more impressive.
Statistically, Washington has rushed 89 times for 458 yards and one touchdown; Stockton has provided a jolt in his debut campaign, with 263 rushing yards and three touchdowns from only 28 carries.
Texas Tech gashed West Virginia for 565 total yards Saturday with 217 coming on the ground, led by Washington, who finished with a game-high 132 yards on 29 carries.
In all, the Red Raiders attempted 46 passes and 38 rushes on Saturday.
“I thought our running game improved,” said offensive coordinator Eric Morris at Monday’s press conference. “DeAndre ran the ball well. Justin had that one really big run. Usually, when you rush the ball for 200 yards, it’s a pretty successful night, but we stalled out a couple times in the second half.”
Despite much (deserved) criticism, Webb has thrown for 19 touchdowns against 11 interceptions at this point in the season; last year, he had 20 and nine respectively while splitting duties with the now-departed Baker Mayfield.
Defense Earned Mike Smith's Respect
The NFL veteran came to shift the fortunes of a school whose approach to defense has been best described as a minor annoyance. As full-time defensive coordinator following the departure of Matt Wallerstedt, Smith’s troops still haven’t won a game, and have been outscored in those three contests, 127-82.
However, it didn't really dampen his disposition Monday.
“What I loved about [the defense during the West Virginia game] is that none of those guys complained,” Smith said, before beating his chest twice to signify ‘heart’. “We don’t have a lot of depth, and it is what it is B-Jack [Branden Jackson], he’s our best defensive player. Pete [Robertson], you can’t get him off the field. Can’t get Keenon Ward or JJ [Gaines] off the field. I couldn't be more impressed. If we played like that every week, we’ll be pretty good. I didn't like the way we finished, but with seven minutes left, they had about 370 yards of offense, and ended up with 550. So, we gotta get some of these backups to play, and they've gotta produce and get better.
It’s on us coaches to get them there. There’s no excuses. They've gotta contribute and gotta help.”
Racking Up the Sacks
Pete Robertson is the first Texas Tech player to register a sack in three consecutive games since Scott Smith did it in the final three games of 2011. The junior linebacker racked up sacks against Oklahoma State, Kansas State and West Virginia and almost had two against the Cowboys, but was called for an illegal blow to the quarterback's head.
Robertson is tied with three others for the lead in the Big 12 in sacks with five. That also ranks him among the leaders in the nation in both sacks per game (.83) and total sacks.