The Red Raider defense looked inspired Saturday night, holding Iowa State to only a field goal through the first 3 quarters and playing better run D than they have all year. QB Graham Harrell enthused, “I thought our defense played great. That’s the best I’ve seen our defense play since I’ve been here.”
Leach is impressed with the reinvigorated defense, remarking, “The biggest thing was the enthusiasm of the unit and flying around the ball… There’s none of this almost making plays; I saw guys making plays on the ball.”
Young defenders are seeing significantly more playing time since Ruffin McNeill took over as defensive coordinator, and their raw talent shined through against the Cylones. Sophomore DT Rajon Henley had an outstanding game, racking up1 sack and 2 tackles for a loss. LB Marlon Williams, DE Brandon Williams both made big plays as well, and true freshman Bront Bird saw significant playing time.
The D-line looked much more active against the Cyclones, and was rewarded with 3 sacks and 7 tackles for a loss in the game. After the game, McNeill was excited about the play of the defense.
“We’re attacking a little bit more up front” said McNeill. “Our philosophy for great pass coverage is a great pass rush.”
Offensively, the Red Raiders had another big night. Graham Harrell completed 36 of 43 passes for 425 yards and 4 touchdowns through the air and another on the ground.
After stalling a bit on and not scoring on the first drive for the first time all season, Texas Tech came out on fire, building a 21-0 lead by the end of the 1st quarter.
Once again, freshman wide receiver Michael Crabtree led all receivers with 154 yards on 10 catches with 3 touchdowns. Crabtree’s 3 receiving touchdowns brings his total to 17 on the year, tying the Big 12 touchdown reception record set by former Oklahoma State receiver Rashaun Woods.
Despite a few stalled drives and blown defensive plays toward the end of the game, Coach Leach said that he felt good about the overall game. “I thought it was a good win because we had contributions on all three sides of the ball.”