When pressed in the press conference as to whether or not
Texas Tech can play much better than they did against West Virginia, the
coaches hemmed and hawed and basically beat around the bush. The upshot of this
question-begging was that the Red Raiders came close
to maxing it out against the Mountaineers. There are certainly small
improvements to be made here and there, but essentially, the Red Raiders were
hitting on every cylinder.
ever-volatile Seth Doege bounced back from one of his worst games with quite
possibly his best game. Yes, Doege did throw an interception, but that one was
entirely on Alex Torres as Torres would be the first to admit. He threw two
other passes that could have been picked, but hey, Tech had four chances to
intercept Geno Smith and didn’t get it done. Bottom
line, Doege was laser accurate, comfortable and in command. The corner pass to
Eric Ward for the touchdown was suitable for the Louvre. And his timely
scrambles helped the Red Raider get untracked early.
Running Backs: With
the exception of SaDale Foster’s spectacular 53-yard
touchdown streak (allusion intended), Tech’s backs had a fairly pedestrian day.
Kenny Williams ran tough as is his wont, and Foster,
Williams and Eric Stephens were excellent in pass protection. Foster did drop
of Torres bobbling a perfect pass, which led to Doege’s
lone interception, there were no egregious errors from this group. And
considering that the receivers were down two players (Javon
Bell and Bradley Marquez), and that Jace Amaro played the second half with busted ribs, the
performance was unbelievably good. Downfield blocking has never been better at
Tech. Ever. Darrin Moore had a very big day and Amaro
showed why he will be an obscenely rich man in the
Offensive Line: Beau Carpenter allowed the only sack of the game for either team, but it was really
a coverage sack. Doege should have unloaded the pill. Outside of that partial
miscue, pass protection was absolutely stellar. The Mountaineers, who blitzed
more than a little, could do nothing to disturb Doege. The line gave him a very
clean pocket. It was a physical performance from the boys up front, who pretty much abused WVU’s front seven in the passing game. Run
blocking was only sporadically good.
Defensive Line: The
Red Raiders never sacked Geno Smith, but they did
manage to pester him quite a bit and didn’t have to bring extra rushers to do
it. Kerry Hyder was his usual disruptive self, and Dennell Wesley also made his presence felt. The
Mountaineers had to hold Dartwan Bush to keep him
away from Smith; unfortunately, the officials seemed not to notice. Run stop
was very good in the first half, but deteriorated a bit in the second. Both
Bush and Jackson Richards got walled off occasionally on off tackle rushing
defensive gameplan was to stop the run first, and
toward that end, Blake Dees started for Will Smith. The run-stuffer from
Alabama did the job with five stops. West Virginia’s receivers occasionally
found the seam behind the linebackers and in front of the safeties, but
resulting damage was minimal.
without Cornelius Douglas, this was the best unit on the field for either team.
Cody Davis, who had 13 tackles and two pass breakups, played like an All
American. Not since Dwayne Slay’s single-handed
destruction of the Kansas State offense back in 2005 have we seen a Tech safety
dominate like this. Davis’ open field tackling saved Tech
dozens of yards and possibly a couple of touchdowns.
Cornerback Eugene Neboh was a
neutralizer. He broke up four passes and played perfectly on deep ball after
deep ball. Bruce Jones filled in for Douglas and there was no drop-off
whatsoever. Truth be told, he covered better than Douglas has at any point this
season. Tre’ Porter was tasked with shadowing Tavon Austin, the nation’s most dangerous receiver, and he
Special Teams: Fortunately,
the offense and defense played so well that special teams breakdowns had not
effect on the outcome. Kramer Fyfe, attempting to keep the ball out of Tavon Austin’s hands, squib kicked twice. The second gave
WVU the ball at the 45 and facilitated the Mountaineers’ first touchdown.
Later, he kicked to Austin, who promptly returned the ball to midfield. A pooch
kick in the second half was much more effective. Ryan Bustin
missed a 42-yard field goal with a mighty gale at his back.