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Saturday, September 1, 2012
Texas Tech rolls over Northwestern State

By David Ubben

Not much to take away from Texas Tech's 44-6 win over Northwestern State, besides the literal truth that the Red Raiders are in another league from their opponent on Saturday.

Seth Doege threw an interception (he had just 10 in 2011) before he threw a touchdown, but he finished 23-of-34 for 199 yards, a touchdown and the interception.

The biggest thing that brought a smile to my face? Seeing Eric Stephens return and score a pair of touchdowns. It's his first action since suffering a horrific knee injury against Texas A&M last year. The Red Raiders still weren't sure how he'd handle live contact.

Tommy Tuberville said this week the plan was to get Stephens 10-15 touches, and he did even more. Stephens carried the ball 16 times for 58 yards, and caught three balls, too. That's a good indicator for Stephens' future. Tuberville said that plan was flexible depending on how Stephens was feeling, and getting him 18 touches in a blowout win suggests he certainly felt good, or at least good enough.

Stephens isn't as fast as he was last year, but we'll see how he responds when Big 12 play starts.

Northwestern State isn't a team that's going to test your defense, but new coordinator Art Kaufman has to feel very encouraged about no major busts that cost the Red Raiders.

The Red Raiders gave up just 84 yards of offense and racked up 500 of their own. Texas Tech couldn't stop anybody from running the ball last year, but Northwestern State had just 13 yards on 28 carries.

Few outside Lubbock are going to be truly impressed by those numbers, but it's something to build on for a defensive unit that was one of the nation's worst last year.