Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Midseason report: Texas Tech
By David Ubben
Record: 5-1, 2-1 Big 12
It's been a fun season in Lubbock so far, and at the season's halfway point, the Red Raiders have already equaled all of last year's win total. The offense has been good but not great, but the reason for the success and top 25 ranking halfway through this season: the defense.
Art Kaufman came in to become Tech's fourth defensive coordinator in four years, but he's working with speed, depth and talent unlike anything his predecessors had. It's already paying off. Texas Tech leads the Big 12 in total defense and is the only team in the league giving up fewer than four yards per play. That defense was never more impressive than when it held West Virginia to just seven points for most of the game. The No. 5 Mountaineers did manage a late meaningless touchdown in Texas Tech's 49-14 win .
The Red Raiders have impressive depth at receiver, and Eric Stephens' return has bolstered quarterback Seth Doege's efforts. Outside of a lopsided loss to an angry Sooners team, Texas Tech has looked great every single week. A Week 6 win over Iowa State in Ames was nothing easy, and last week's rout of West Virginia shot the Red Raiders into the polls after a strong 3-0 start against weak nonconference teams. That schedule's toughened up now, and Texas Tech's looking a whole lot tougher. Last year's victory over No. 1 Oklahoma gave Tech five wins for the season, but it didn't win again all season. The second half will be about changing that after knocking off the Mountaineers last week.
Offensive MVP: Seth Doege, quarterback. Only Geno Smith has more touchdown passes than Doege's 21, and the duo are the nation's only quarterbacks with at least 20 touchdown passes over the first half of the season. Doege's spreading it around, too, which makes Texas Tech's offense even more difficult to cover. Darrin Moore's caught seven touchdown passes, but no Tech receiver has more than 400 yards receiving, despite Doege throwing for almost 1,900 yards in six games.
Defensive MVP: Cody Davis, safety. Apologies to defensive lineman Kerry Hyder on this one, but I'm going with Davis, the team's most experienced player and leading tackler. A year ago, Texas Tech couldn't stop much of anything, but Davis has been a rock on the back line for the Red Raiders and has 45 tackles with a pair of interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown against Texas State. He also has 1.5 tackles for loss and a pair of pass breakups.