The Red Raider defense headed to Austin very short-handed on the line, with ends Brandon Sharpe and Rajon Henley not making the trip. Despite their absences, the line was able to hold the Longhorns to 135 rushing yards but gave up 2 rushing touchdowns.
The line was especially effective in taking away the option, limiting Colt McCoy only 5 rushing yards on 8 attempts.
DE Daniel Howard, the Red Raiders' lone starting end who traveled to Austin, played every snap in the game. Richard Jones, who moved over from defensive tackle because of the lack of depth at end, recorded 1 sack on Heisman hopeful Colt McCoy, something that he said was "amazing." Of the experience, he explained, " I was in shock, like, ‘I couldn't believe I actually just did a tackle on speed rushing.' I'm more of a powerful man, but it was fun."
Linebacker Bront Bird played the best game of his career against UT, recording 8 tackles, including 3 tackles for a loss. Because the defensive line was so shorthanded, Bird lined up at defensive end on some packages, and did a superb job of getting pressure on the running backs and quarterback.
The defense only allowed 135 yards on the ground, and the majority of that can be contributed to the outstanding play by the linebacking corp.
The secondary gave up 205 receiving yards and only 1 passing touchdown to the Longhorns on the night. They also picked off 2 passes, one of which was by true freshman DJ Johnson.
While the secondary did a good job of keeping the ball in front of them and not allowing the big play, the Longhorns were able to complete too many 6 to 8 yard receptions, especially toward the end of the game, which allowed UT to drive downfield and score the final 10 points to seal a victory.
Overall Grade: B
The defense battled a short field all night, as 2 of Texas' 3 touchdowns came on drives of less than 50 yards. With one touchdown coming off a Jordan Shipley punt return, the defense gave up only 27 points, a good showing considering their competition and their lack of depth. Still, for Texas Tech to beat the elite teams of the Big 12, the Red Raider defense needs to be able to cut down on mistakes and keep their competition out of the end zone.