Following a 49-45 loss to Oklahoma State where the Red Raider defense surrendered 610 yards of offense, defensive coordinator Lyle Setencich resigned and was replaced by Ruffin McNeil. Since that change, the Texas Tech defense held six of its final seven conference opponents below their season averages in total offense.
The young starting unit, comprised of two freshmen, four sophomores, two juniors, and three seniors has shown gradual improvement throughout the season playing possibly it’s best game of the campaign in a 34-27 upset win over then third-ranked Oklahoma.
Texas Tech enters the bowl season with the Big 12 Conference’s third-ranked defensive unit, the highest a Red Raider defense has been at the conclusion of the regular season under Mike Leach. The Red Raiders are allowing 367.1 yards per game and rank 50th nationally and third behind Kansas and Oklahoma in the Big 12 standings. The Red Raiders are especially strong in the secondary – the unit ranks 17th nationally and first in the conference.
- The Raiders have forced 14 fumbles this year by 11 different players.
- In the first four games of the season, Tech allowed 405.5 yards and 28.3 points per game. Since Ruffin McNeill took over following the Oklahoma State game, the Raiders have yielded 347.9 yards and 24.5 points per game. Tech gave up three touchdowns via interception returns in that time. Removing those from the equation, the defense’s allowance has been 21.8 points over the last eight games.
- In four losses this season, Texas Tech has surrendered more than 212 yards rushing in every game. In six of the Raiders’ eight wins, they have held those six opponents to less than 115 yards. In other words, Tech is 6-0 this season when holding opposing rushers to less than 115 yards.
Coach Groh Says …
“They’re similar in scheme to a number of teams that we’ve played. Certainly more similar to what we’ve seen than on the other side of the ball. Similar to Pittsburgh and Connecticut in their schemes, probably pretty similar the staff thinks toward those two teams, especially Connecticut in terms of personnel.”
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