Instant Analysis: UTEP

The Red Raiders played strong all game against SMU, but took a step back against UTEP, allowing 31 points by the Miners. The good news is, that even after playing a poor first half, both sides of the ball stepped up and played great in the second, outscoring UTEP 28-3.

Defense takes a step back

Defensive coordinator Lyle Setencich's "Bend but Don't Break" defense is supposed to stop teams from putting the ball in the endzone and prevent them from converting 3rd downs.

After holding SMU to an outstanding 4 of 15 on third down conversions, the Red Raiders took a step back on Saturday by allowing UTEP to convert 11 of 18.

The Texas Tech defense did not have a good first half against UTEP, but they were able to step it up in the second and hold the Miners to only 3 2nd half points. Overall though, the defense did not have a good outing.

UTEP amassed 431 of total yards on offense, attacking the Red Raiders in the air and on the ground. The secondary showed signs of weakness with poor tackling and bad decision making.

One sign that the defense is struggling is the secondary is being forced to make a lot of tackles. This usually means that the running backs are getting past the linebackers or that the quarterback is completing a lot of passes. This was just the case against UTEP. Here are your 4 leading tacklers for the game:

S Darcel Mcbath – 9 tackles
LB Paul Williams – 9 tackles
S Joe Garcia – 7 tackles
DB Marcus Bunton – 6 tackles

Overall, the Tech secondary made 40% of the tackles in the game. Not a good sign.

This will need to be corrected before the Red Raiders head to Stillwater to face Oklahoma State in 2 weeks, or it could be a long afternoon.


Crabtree is the real deal

Paging Michael Crabtree. Are you coming back to Earth anytime soon?

After a tremendous performance in Tech's season opener against SMU, where he caught 12 balls for 106 yards and 3 touchdowns, Crabtree showed an excited home crowd that this is something he'll be doing on a regular basis.

Against UTEP he reeled in 15 catches for 188 yards. He only found the endzone twice on Saturday, but I guess that will do for a redshirt freshman.

Through 2 games, he has been absolutely phenomenal, especially considering how young he is.

"I think it's better than average," said head coach Mike Leach. "He has done some good things. He has a quality that you'd like all football players to have. Anytime there is a game he hates to come off the field. He loves to be out there in some capacity. He's got all those things you would like in a player, and the enthusiasm has definitely rubbed off on the other players."

We'll really see what the Freshman Phenom is capable of come Big 12 play, but all signs are pointing toward an incredible season.


Attendance

The crowd at the game looked very good and really got into it in the 2nd half when the Red Raider started to make their run.. The official attendance for the game was 52,403.

The Texas Tech ticket office is only allowing fans to buy tickets to the Texas A&M game via a season ticket or in a "package" format, where you pay $120 for a ticket to both the A&M and UTEP/Northwestern State.

Oftentimes times when teams sell tickets this way, they'll show a high number of tickets sold for a game but not many people actually show up.

This was not the case for the UTEP game. Jones Stadium was full, with empty seats only in the high corners of the stadium. The students came out in full force, filling the student seats to capacity and then filling up the grassy North endzone as well.

Way to go Red Raiders.


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