Texas Tech: Inside The Numbers

Texas Tech came out with a win. That was the bottom line on Sunday. But inside the ugly victory are some impressive numbers for a team in their first game.

LUBBOCK — Texas Tech's opening win over SMU on Sunday wasn't the prettiest victory the Red Raiders have had in past years, but it was a win, extending Tech's opening game win streak to eight.

But inside the numbers told a different story when you look at the personnel missing from the game and the fact that SMU is probably a better opponent than most people think.

"Now we can look at the film and guys will understand what we're talking about," Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville, who is now 2-1 in first games with new teams. "They look at their effort, look at the little things they did wrong, and we'll take it one game at a time and just look forward to going to Albuquerque this week and taking on New Mexico."

Overcoming The Injuries

Tech played without key wide receivers Alex Torres and Austin Zouzalik, as well as offensive linemen Mickey Okafor and Beau Carpenter. That left the positions gassed at times during the game, especially in the second half along the offensive line.

The Red Raiders used only six linemen throughout the game, something head coach Tommy Tuberville hopes to avoid the rest of the season. It kept Tech from being able to run the ball better and keep quarterback Taylor Potts from being sacked.

"We rushed 31 times for 102 yards," Tuberville said. "I think a great game for us rushing is probably 150 yards on the same amount of running plays.

"But we gave up two sacks that we're disappointed with. The running game, we'll get better. We didn't do a whole lot, but there's a lot of things in our game plan that (offensive coordinator Neal) Brown did not run. We just pretty much put the pressure on Potts, and he did a good job. We made some strong runs at the end and that was a big plus for us."

Turnover Battle

Tech won the turnover battle thanks to a solid pass rushing attack off the edge from Brian Duncan and Tyrone Sonier, allowing the younger defensive backs to play closer to SMU's receivers and grab balls out of the air from quarterback Kyle Padron.

Padron, who threw only four interceptions in seven games last season, was picked off three times by Jarvis Phillips, Tre Porter and D.J. Johnson. He was also sacked three times and completed only 55 percent of his passes (21 of 38).

Tech also forced a fumble on a punt return to set up the first touchdown. The Red Raiders converted three of the turnovers into touchdowns, giving up the ball of downs after an interception by Porter in the second quarter.

"We got some pressure on the quarterback and some disguises as far as our coverages, and the guys played well" Tech defensive coordinator James Willis said. "They played well on their keys and keeping their fundamentals. The biggest question coming in was our youth in our secondary. But I feel like they responded well. They got put in some bad situations and that happens sometimes in a game. Sometimes players have to overcome that."

Taylor Potts was sacked twice and had one result in a fumble, but never threw an interception, something he had not done in almost a year (at Houston, Sept. 26, 2009).

Red Zone

Tech was able to score each of its five chances inside the red zone on Sunday, all resulting in touchdowns. The two blocked field goals by Donnie Carona (51) and Matt  Williams (47) were both outside the 20-yard-line. Tech controlled the line of scrimmage each time they entered the red zone, a big key Neal Brown mentioned last week in keeping their composure and being able to finish plays.

It was also a nice mix of runs versus passes inside the red zone. Of the 13 plays ran inside the red zone, Potts completed 5 of 6 passes for 37 yards and four touchdowns while the Red Raiders ran the ball seven times for 27 yards and one TD. Tech needed only one play to score inside the red zone three times and often had big, long plays to move inside the 20-yard-line each time.

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