Photo By Steven Chapman

Report Card: LSU 56, Texas Tech 27

RaiderPower.com senior writer Joe Yeager grades every Texas Tech position group on its performance in the 56-27 loss to LSU in the Texas Bowl Tuesday at NRG Stadium in Houston.

Quarterback

Given the dropped passes, the lack of a running game, and an offensive line that was overmatched, Patrick Mahomes played a whale of a game. No quarterback in college football extends plays and throws accurately on the run as well as Mahomes, and he proved that fact on at least five occasions against a talented LSU defense. Mahomes missed open receivers from time to time, and had ball security issues, but at the end of the day, was the main reason Tech was still in the ballgame well into the third. Grade: A-

Photo By Steven Chapman

Running Backs

If I gave “incomplete” grades, DeAndre Washington would get one for this game. He had one nifty 22-yard run, and netted positive yardage on several other carries, but 10 rushes is truly an inadequate sample to judge what Washington was capable of doing against the Tigers. He did figure in the passing game, however, with seven receptions for 81 yards. Grade: C+

Receivers

This group was terrible in the first quarter, but improved as the game progressed. Jakeem Grant and Reginald Davis both dropped a couple of passes, but both redeemed themselves with sparkling plays later on. Grant grabbed a game high 10 passes for 125 yards and three touchdowns, and was easily the biggest thorn in the side of the LSU defense. In open space, the Tigers simply could not tackle him. Ian Sadler and Cameron Batson did some good things, and Brad Pearson—with the exception of one whiff on a bubble screen—was nails as a blocker. Grade: B

Offensive Line

There’s no sense in trying to sugarcoat it—LSU’s front seven handed the Tech offensive line its tukhas. The Tigers pressured Pat Mahomes up the gut, around the edge, and anywhere they wanted to. The result was six sacks and Mahomes scrambling for his life on almost every pass play. Rarely did Mahomes see a clean pocket. The Red Raiders didn’t run the ball often enough to get a good feel for what run blocking was like, but trace results were not promising. Certainly, LSU was all over the read option Mahomes ran a few times early in the game. Grade: F

Defensive Line

Rika Levi played passably well, and Pete Robertson flashed on a couple of occasions, but for the most part, the defensive line was manhandled. Not that that was a surprise. Still, the line played well enough to keep the game within reach before collapsing in the second half of the third quarter. Same old story. The pass rush was invisible. Grade: D

Photo By Steven Chapman

Linebackers

The loss of D'Vonta Hinton early badly hurt a linebacking corps devoid of depth. But even without Hinton to assist, this group fought hard and made some plays. Micah Awe was perhaps the only Red Raider on defense who was physical enough to play with the Tigers. He had 17 tackles and laid a few good licks. Hats off to him. Dakota Allen interception was a spectacular play. Grade: C-

Secondary

The nastiest surprise of this game was the inability of Tech’s defensive backs to cover and make plays when the chips were down. Nigel Bethel was the only cornerback who showed a pulse against the Tigers, while Tevin Madison, and more egregiously, Justis Nelson, simply couldn’t make plays when the game was in the balance. Jah'Shawn Johnson was in a running war of words with the Tigers, but the words stood in place of deeds. Grade: F

Special Teams

Taylor Symmank, returning from injury, was in good form. He could latch on in an NFL camp as a free agent. Clayton Hatfield did reasonably well on kickoffs, but the Tigers averaged 26 yards per kickoff return, which is not good at all. The Red Raiders averaged only 13 yards per kickoff return, largely because LSU feared kicking it to Jakeem Grant, and booted it to Tyler Scalzi instead. Probably a wise move. Grade: B-


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