Kansas is a bit better than their record would suggest. The
Jayhawks have played well at times against good teams, but boiled down, Tech’s
performance in this game does not inspire a great deal of hope and optimism.
There are no signs that red zone woes are being resolved; meanwhile the
performance of the defense continues to deteriorate.
Perhaps the return of injured players will cure some of the
ills. Failing that, this team will rely on the arm of Seth Doege and the hands
of the receivers to try to pull out wins over Oklahoma State and Baylor to
close out the season. The task is a tall one.
Doege is closing in on a truly outstanding senior season. If the Red Raiders
were a top 15 team, Doege would be in the thick of the
Heisman race. He certainly couldn’t have played much better against Kansas.
Doege threatened the 500-yard passing mark and threw three touchdown passes.
Very few of his offerings were really bad passes. One exception was the
overthrown ball, which was intercepted. If Tech scores a touchdown on that
possession, the Red Raiders likely roll rather than sweat one out in overtime.
Running Backs: SaDale Foster, Kenny Williams and Eric Stephens only
carried the ball 17 times, but their efforts didn’t justify more opportunities.
Foster had one nifty run in the second half; he also caught six passes.
Williams, showing Emmett Smith-type leg strength, broke a tackle after catching
a dump-off over the middle and broke it for 20 yards. But that was it. Eric
Stephens, sad to say, is no longer making people miss, nor is he showing the
old vision and cutting ability.
with Seth Doege, these guys are the team’s salvation. Eric Ward did drop a
critical ball on a slant, but still managed 12 receptions for 180 yards. He is
a workhorse receiver. Darrin Moore continues to be the team’s top possession
and red zone wideout. He is practically unstoppable
on curls and outs. His whippet-like snatch of a crossing ball for a touchdown
in the second quarter was really nice. Jakeem Grant
dropped one pass, but was still a valuable contributor. Tyson Williams
continues to improve. Alex Torres was called for a low block, but his blocking
was excellent nevertheless.
Offensive Line: Run
blocking was well nigh nonexistent. LaAdrian Waddle
may actually be Tech’s best run blocker right now, but
both he and Beau Carpenter have lapses in pass protection. Deveric
Gallington’s hot grounder to Seth Doege caused the
quarterback to take a knee in order to field it. The loss of yardage was
significant. On the whole, pass protection was good. Le’Raven
Clark was flagged for his second chop block in as many games.
Defensive Line: Ironically
enough, given that Kansas rushed for nearly 400 yards, the defensive line
actually hung in there reasonably well. But Kansas’ first drive, an effortless
thing that resulted in a touchdown, was a nightmare. And the defensive ends had
trouble dealing with the speed option. Otherwise, however, these guys did a
decent job. Kerry Hyder notched eight tackles, two
tackles for loss and a sack. Dartwan Bush also
recorded a sack. Branden Jackson saw many snaps and
responded with seven tackles. He also had terrible troubles with the option.
Linebackers: Sam Eguavoen actually played perhaps his best game of the
season, although he was hardly immune to the missed tackles
which plagued the back seven. Blake Dees and Will Smith routinely overpursued and were out of position on cut back runs. Dees
partially redeemed himself with a big tackle for loss
in the second overtime. Still, there’s no denying that the blame for allowing
Kansas’ huge rushing totals falls heavily on this group. Tight end Brandon Bourbon
was left all alone for a touchdown.
the exception of Cody Davis, tackling by the defensive backs was no better than
by the linebackers. None of the corners, particularly Tre’
Porter, tackled worth a darn; Cornelius Douglas was sorely missed. D. J.
Johnson’s pass breakup to seal the deal came right after Dees’ tackle for loss.
Pass coverage--Bruce Jones getting burned on a fly that was overthrown
notwithstanding--was good. But then Kansas is not much of a passing team.
Special Teams: Ryan
Bustin hit two short field goals, but missed a
potential game-winner from 41 yards into the teeth of a stiff wind. Ryan Erxleben punted well given the conditions, and Kramer Fyfe’s
kickoffs were perfectly fine. The squib kick, incidentally, seems to have been
put on ice. Austin Zouzalik continues to come on as a
punt returner. Kickoff coverage was average at best.