As Tommy Tuberville indicated in his post-game comments,
this was hardly his team’s finest hour. The Red Raiders were sporadic on
offense and played their worst defensive game of the season. Still, they gutted
out a win over a very tough opponent, and did so minus starting cornerback
Cornelius Douglas and three of the team’s top offensive weapons. Thus, while
the grades may not reflect it, in many ways this was a glorious win.
Red Raiders couldn’t have done it without Seth. He was without Jace Amaro, Javon
Bell and Bradley Marquez, he absorbed a helmet to the chin, and his left guard
let him down—literally—but Doege still managed to author a sterling
There’s just not much room for complaint. He overshot Marcus Kennard for what should have been a touchdown, and had maybe two other really
bad passes, but otherwise was sharp as blades. People will notice his seven touchdown passes, but it was the zero interceptions that won
Running Backs: It
was a surprisingly quiet day for SaDale Foster, Eric Stephens and Kenny Williams. They got a meager 20 carries between them as Neal Brown never even attempted to establish the
running game. Foster didn’t show much, but Stephens picked up a few key first
downs out of the wildcat. Williams, however, stole the show with his 47-yard
touchdown rumble that should have clinched the game for Tech. The power and
balance were impressive, and he had just enough horsepower to leg it into the
end zone. All the backs did good work in pass protection.
Seth Doege gets the main most game ball, honorary game
balls go to Austin Zouzalik and Alex Torres. These
forgotten players were pressed into service because of injuries and they rose
to the occasion. Zouzalik and Torres may not have the
flash and sizzle of Jace Amaro
and Javon Bell, but doggone it, they got open and
they caught everything. Torres’ diving one-handed stab may have been the play
of the game. Except for that little game winning grab in triple overtime, that
Eric Ward and Darrin Moore just out-physicalled TCU’s defensive backs. And if the refs
are going to allow the receivers to roughhouse, it behooves the DBs to
As an aside, blocking in the second and third levels of the
defense has improved dramatically the past two weeks. SaDale
Foster and Kenny Williams have long touchdown runs to show for the receivers’
great work in this area.
Offensive Line: Beau Carpenter whiffed twice on Devonte Fields and Seth Doege paid the price. Fields is not
the guy to whiff on. Outside of those two miscues, pass protection was good.
Very good even. Terry McDaniel was flagged for a hold, but otherwise was a real
tiger. He had a wicked pancake on an Eric Stephens third down conversion out of
the wildcat in the third quarter. Run blocking wasn’t too hot, but the line
didn’t get much of an opportunity to do it either.
Defensive Line: There
was plenty of good and bad out of this group. Kerry Hyder
continues to be unblockable at times. He’s the sort
of tornadic defensive tackle Tech arguably has not
had since Gabe Rivera. Hyder reminds one of Warren Sapp. But as good as Hyder was, Dartwan
Bush was even better. He played the game of his career and was Tech’s answer to
Devonte Fields. If Bush can play this way on a
regular basis, there’s not need to blitz. That aside, Tech’s defensive tackles
got owned far too much in this game, and that’s what allowed TCU to run the
football. If Michael Starts is healthy, Tech could use him.
Linebackers: Will Smith missed one tackle, but otherwise played very well. The same,
unfortunately, cannot be said for Sam Eguavoen, who
was a tackle-missing machine. If the TCU game is any indicator, he cannot be
relied upon to make tackles in space. Terrance Bullitt has had a quiet season
and he didn’t make much noise against the Horned Frogs either.
play continues to be a real team strength for the Red
Raiders. As per usual, Cody Davis led the team in tackles and D. J. Johnson was
right behind him. Davis and Johnson also took turns picking off Trevone Boykin.
And it was Davis’ pass breakup in triple overtime, which forced the Frogs to
kick a game-losing field goal. As such, it may have been the defensive play of
Bruce the Blanket had a nice game in place of Cornelius
Douglas, and Eugene Neboh was having a fine outing
until LaDarius Brown toasted him for a 60-yard
touchdown in the fourth quarter. That lapse and Johnson’s silly personal foul
penalty were the only major lapses in the secondary.
Special Teams: The
onsides kick, perfectly executed by Kramer Fyfe, was huge. And what a gutsy
call! Every now and again the Riverboat Gambler does rear his head. Ryan Erxleben got more work than he wanted, and responded by
averaging 47.4 yards per punt, including a career long of 60. Kickoff coverage
was solid, too, but Tech allowed TCU over 12 yards per punt return. Alex
Torres’ holding penalty on a kickoff return cost Tech
over 20 yards of field position and contributed significantly to TCU’s first