The Texas Tech defense was a huge disappointment
While no one thought Strong was going to look like Joe Montana on Saturday, most expected the Texas Tech defense to hold BYU in check well enough to make this game winnable. However, that didn’t happen, especially in the first half.
Sure, seven of the points the Cougars’ points came via a defensive score when Strong and Brooks were unable to make a clean handoff inside their own 10 leading to a BYU fumble recovery in the endzone. Still, the defense had to know that any hope of a win was going to rest on its shoulders and defensive coordinator Tim DeRyuter’s side of the ball couldn’t deliver.
We should have known how this game was going to go when, on the second play of the night, BYU broke off a 55-yard run. Coming into the game averaging below 70 yards per game on the ground, the Cougars had 57 yards rushing on their first drive and they would end the night with 150 in total.
Meanwhile, Tech didn’t manage to get any consistent pressure on BYU QB Kedon Slovis, who is a statue in the pocket. With no sacks, the Red Raiders didn’t come close to making Slovis uncomfortable at all, and only rarely did the senior have to absorb any contact when delivering the ball.
Also, Tech went a second straight game without taking the football away from its opponent. Now, in five conference games, the defense that sets its weekly goal at three takeaways has managed to collect only three in total.
On a night when Tech gave the ball away five times, it sure would have been nice to see the Red Raider defense help a wounded and struggling offense by giving the other side of the ball a short field. The closest Tech came to a takeaway was on BYU’s second drive when Dadrion Taylor-Demerson got his hands on a pass just as it arrived in the hands of a receiver. Though the pass fell incomplete, it was a missed opportunity for a takeaway deep in enemy territory when the game was still up for grabs.
In the end, Tech’s defense put up stats that were better than the reality of its performance. Holding BYU to 20 offensive points was nice but it was also due in large part to the fact that BYU played an extremely safe game in the second half after taking a 24-7 halftime lead.
Tech gave up 9.3 yards per carry to BYU running back L.J. Martin and an average of 5.0 yards per carry to one of the worst rushing teams in the nation. That’s not the type of effort this team needed from its defense on a night when we knew that the offense was going to be hamstrung.