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Report Card: Texas Tech 48, Texas 45

RaiderPower.com senior writer Joe Yeager grades every Texas Tech position group on its performance in the 48-45 win over Texas on Thursday at Darrell K. Royal Stadium in Austin.

Quarterback

Patrick Mahomes' performance in the first half was easily his worst as a Red Raider. Whether it was the wind and the rain or something else, his typically accurate radar was on the fritz and he missed a plenitude of open receivers. Indeed, so lousy was Mahomes that many a Red Raider was likely wondering when Davis Webb would get his shot. But Kliff Kingsbury stood with his quarterback and everybody but the Longhorns was rewarded. Mahomes snapped back to life and willed the Red Raiders to what could be termed a monumental victory. And as he so often does, Mahomes did it with his wheels just much as his arm. When scrambling or keeping, Mahomes bears more than a passing resemblance (so to speak) to the late Steve McNair. Grade: B+

Running Backs

Fox Sports 1 commentators Spencer Tillman and Tim Brando just couldn’t stop gushing about Texas freshman Chris Warren, but by far the best back—and possibly the best player—on the field was none other than Deandre Washington. He just continues to get better, and his beginning baseline was none too low to begin with. Were the Red Raiders 11-1 rather than 7-5, Washington would be a leading Heisman candidate. Grade: A+

Receivers

On a night when catching the football was no easy proposition, Tech’s receivers were reasonably sure-handed. There were a few drops, but given the conditions, nothing unreasonable. Much more painful was Ian Sadler’s fumble that very nearly precipitated a late collapse by the Red Raiders. But Jakeem Grant's opportunistic performance, some very good work by Devin Lauderdale, and Brad Pearson’s excellent seal-blocking more than made up for Sadler’s error. And let it not be forgotten that Sadler DID lead the Red Raiders with six catches for 108 yards. Grade: A-

Offensive Line

The o-line got little bite in the ground game in the first half, but give credit to Kliff Kingsbury for not abandoning the run. By the third quarter Tech’s road graders were getting to the Longhorn front seven and DeAndre Washington was seeing daylight on a foggy night in Austin. Le'Raven Clark was busted for holding once, and Texas recorded four sacks, but at least a couple of those sprang from Pat Mahomes’ stubborn refusal to unload the ball when the pressure was closing in. It’s an area in which he needs to improve. Grade: B

Defensive Line

Until Tech develops some real depth in the front seven, we will continue to see second-half collapses like the one in Austin, particularly late in the season. Still, the d-line played one whale of a first half, and an extremely disruptive Breiden Fehoko began showing just why he will eventually be Tech’s best interior defensive lineman since Gabe Rivera. Demetrius Alston also gave everything he had, as did Pete Robertson, who forced a fumble in addition to recording seven tackles.Grade: C-

Linebackers

D'Vonta Hinton, Micah Awe and Malik Jenkins made some tackles—23, for those keeping score—but they also missed their fair share. Awe, perhaps because he’s a living bruise at this point in the season, is just nowhere as physical as he was early in the season, and if you’re going to get Chris Warren to the ground, you have to be very physical. Grade: D+

Secondary

Tech’s secondary wasn’t exactly facing Terry Bradshaw, John Stallworth and Lynn Swann, but regardless of the caliber of the competition, covered quite well, and got better as the game went along. J.J. Gaines was his usual active self, recording five tackles, two tackles for loss, a fumble recovery and a sack. He may have been Tech’s Defensive MVP. Tevin Madison also put together a nice stat-line, while Nigel Bethel nabbed a very impressive interception that was all “want to” in addition to great technique. Jah'Shawn Johnson and Keenon Ward did not have tackling performances that they’d want to put in a time capsule. Grade: B+

Special Teams

Jakeem Grant tallied 60 yards on two kickoff returns, and Clayton Hatfield banged home two field goals in awful conditions, one of them a 51-yarder which proved the difference in the final score. Aside from those two heroes, however, special teams were borderline abysmal. Daje Johnson had his way on both punt and kickoff returns, and the hands team very nearly flubbed an on-sides kick, but didn’t thanks to Ja'Deion High, who may very well have preserved the victory for the Red Raiders. Grade: D+


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