December 1, 2021

Excellent Pix

Unlimited Technology

Red Raiders’ defense gets back on track

Here are five key takeaways from Texas Tech’s 41-14 win over Kansas in Week 7:

Fast starts

Texas Tech has gotten itself into trouble this season by falling into early deficits, but that mistake was avoided in this one. On the opening drive, Texas Tech drove the ball 75 yards downfield in 10 plays for a touchdown. It was a pivotal drive in a game where the Red Raiders needed to make a statement. The opening score seemed to give the offense momentum and that confidence carried into the rest of the game.

Standout in the secondary

As Texas Tech’s defense has been rummaged by injuries this season, Dadrion Taylor-Demerson has been a pleasant breakout player in the secondary. He picked off Kansas quarterback Jason Bean early in the second quarter, his second takeaway of the season. Taylor-Demerson has been active on defense, not only playing in pass coverage but also helping the Red Raiders slow down the run. He was one of the few bright spots in the Texas game, and his performance against Kansas showed he can be a recurring impact player for this defense.

Ezukanma getting back involved

After back-to-back breakout performances to start the year, Erik Ezukanma has had a quiet last few weeks. In this matchup, the game plan clearly took a different approach to getting Ezukanma involved. He was given a handful of jet sweeps, including one that went for a touchdown. He also got involved in a number of short yardage screens. Even if it isn’t the explosive downfield plays that he pulled off earlier in the season, getting Ezukanma involved is a necessity for this offense.

Two quarterback threat

Sonny Cumbie has proven now that his offensive package with backup quarterback Donovan Smith is here to stay. Smith has been used throughout this season in short-yardage and red zone situations due to his ability in the run game. The Red Raiders often call option plays when he’s on the field, forcing the defense to make a quick decision. As much as Texas Tech has used this package, this game felt like the one where it was most effective. Smith rushed the ball six times for 37 yards. He also got some pass attempts in, including a 47-yard bomb that fell right in the hands of Ezukanma. Where two quarterback systems can sometimes cause consistency issues, it feels like Texas Tech has figured its own out effectively.

Back on track

This section needs to be prefaced with the fact that the Kansas offense is really bad. But, today’s performance from the Texas Tech defense was important. As poor as Bean’s arm looked when he was throwing it, he’s still a threat in the run game and Texas Tech was able to completely eliminate that. He ran the ball only five times for just 14 yards. The Red Raiders’ defense held Kansas to just 273 yards of total offense and 14 points through the entire game. This wasn’t a season-defining performance from the defense, but it got them back on track after a rough showing against TCU.

Find more Texas Tech coverage from The Dallas Morning News here.

Source News