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Defense/Special Team Grades: Texas Tech

Photo: John Gutierrez-USA TODAY Sports



The Texas defense had a mixed bag of results in a 27-23 defeat at the hands of Texas Tech. The secondary continued to have its fair share of struggles, and the inability to get pressure on Red Raider quarterbacks hurt the Longhorns at times. Let’s take a look at how the defense and special teams graded out:

Defensive Line

In his final game at DKR, Poona Ford put together another good game filled with hustle plays. Ford finished the game with 2 tackles for loss and a sack, and the type of effort he shows on a consistent basis will help him find a home in the NFL next year. Chris Nelson and Malcolm Roach flashed several times and played solidly against the run. After sitting out the first half for a targeting penalty last week, Breckyn Hager played with his hair on fire for much of the third quarter, registering a tackle for loss. TaQuon Graham also registered his first career sack and played well in a reserve role. While the defensive line struggled to get constant pressure on McLane Carter and Nic Shimonek, they played a solid game overall and made plays when they needed to.

Grade: B+


Malik Jefferson and Gary Johnson were asked to do a lot against the Tech offense. Johnson looks most comfortable when he is playing close to the line, getting to play the run and blitz as a pass rusher. When asked to drop back in pass coverage, Johnson struggled. He was excellent in stuffing the run though, and led the team with 2.5 tackles for loss. Jefferson led the team in tackles with 10 and played well overall. Texas will dearly miss him next year with his likely early departure for the NFL.

Grade: B

Defensive Back

Kris Boyd was the MVP on the defense on Saturday. #2 played a heck of a game and showed good technique and coverage skills on several pass breakups. He was rewarded with a big interception. Opposite of Boyd, Devante Davis also grabbed an interception, but had a much rougher game overall. Davis always seemed to be a step behind the receiver and had several coverage busts. Deshon Elliott dropped an easy interception and tripped over himself on Tech’s game winning TD. Antwaun Davis and Jason Hall struggled against the pass-happy Red Raiders and are liabilities in coverage.

I stated in my score prediction and offensive preview of Texas Tech that Texas had to slow down Keke Coutee, and Coutee ended the night with 9 catches for 168 yards.

Grade: D

Special Teams

Michael Dickson continued to make his case for the best punter in the country. Dickson bombed 9 punts for an average of 50.9 yards, including a 67 yarder and 7 punts that landed inside the 20. Joshua Rowland also connected on all 3 field goal attempts, with a long of 40.

The worst special teams play of the game came on a kickoff after Texas Tech was given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and was forced to kick off from the 20. Kyle Porter bobbled the kickoff and inexplicably took a knee, costing Texas field position.

Grade: B

Jameson McCausland is originally from Frisco, Texas, where he grew up a Longhorn fan. His two favorite sports are football and baseball, both of which he covers for HornSports. He enjoys spending time with family and friends in his spare time. Jameson is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.

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