Texas Tech football: Game balls for win over Oklahoma State

STILLWATER, OK - SEPTEMBER 22: Wide receiver KeSean Carter #82 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders celebrates a touchdown against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the second quarter on September 22, 2018 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
STILLWATER, OK - SEPTEMBER 22: Wide receiver KeSean Carter #82 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders celebrates a touchdown against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the second quarter on September 22, 2018 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) /

Safety Jah’Shawn Johnson

It is impossible to quantify the impact senior safety Jah’Shawn Johnson made for the Texas Tech defense in his first appearance of the season.  Finally cleared to play after recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, Johnson was a steadying presence for a Texas Tech secondary that has been shaky at best in 2018.

Johnson recorded five tackles and a sack but his impact can’t be fully measured in statistics.  As one of the two leaders of the defense (along with linebacker Dakota Allen), Johnson’s presence made the Red Raider defense resemble the unit that defensive coordinator David Gibbs had touted all offseason.

Agains the two FBS teams the Red Raiders faced prior to Johnson’s return, Ole Miss and Houston, Tech game up 336 and 462 yards passing respectively.  But Oklahoma State threw for just 258 yards this week, 75.3 yards fewer than it had in its first three games of the season.

With Johnson back on the field, Texas Tech no longer had to rely on redshirt freshman Thomas Leggett and grad transfer John Bonney to quarterback the defense from the free safety position.  David Gibbs was finally able to let each member of his defensive backfield play the roles they were intended to play, including Johnson.

There also appeared to be a difference in the demeanor of the defense with Johnson on the field.  Having its four-year starter and field general back in action helped the rest of the defense know that the team’s last line of defense was once again solid.

As the defense struggled against Ole Miss and Houston, many Texas Tech football fans (myself included) poked fun at the things have changed  hashtag that Gibbs had used all off season when talking bout his defense on social media.  However, it was premature to judge this defense until one of its most important pieces, Jah’Shawn Johnson was back on the field.

Now back to full strength, the defense can finally begin to show what it is fully capable of.  Jah’Shawn Johnson is arguably the most important defender on the roster and he made an unquantifiable difference Saturday night earning him one of our mythical game balls.