Well, what do you know? Tech still holds the upper hand in the Tech-SMU "rivalry." What did I think about this game?
It's safe to say that Graham Harrell was able to get over his troubles from a week ago and return to his regular old self again. He finished with a 65 percent completion percentage with 418 yards passing and five touchdowns. I'll admit he made some bad throws here and there, but they were nowhere near as bad as they were a week ago. As long as he shows positive progress, I'm happy.
I would have to give Harrell 4.5 stars, but he loses half a star for fumbling the ball while getting hit from behind. I guess you can't be too hard on him for that.
When did Tech get a running game? The Red Raiders put up a whopping 180 yards rushing, including 86 yards by starter Shannon Woods and 98 yards by backup Baron Batch. Batch also ran in one touchdown.
The one thing I'm most impressed about with the running backs is that they are doing a great job of keeping their legs pumping. I kept complaining last year that our backs would fall over as soon as they were touched and had very minimal yards after first contact.
We've always been told by the mainstream media that Tech wouldn't be able to compete on a national stage without a running game and a defense (more on the defense later). Well, I say this to the mainstream media: "Look out for Texas Tech!"
On a side note, I noted during the game that Aaron Crawford was nowhere to be seen on the sideline. On the drive back down to Austin, I saw on the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal that he has been sidelined with a case of turf toe. I hadn't heard this before, and I wonder how long this always nagging injury will bother him.
(5 of 5 stars)
Michael Crabtree made his return to awesomeness after a couple of slow games to start the season. He snagged the ball eight times for 164 yards and three touchdowns.
Eight other receivers also caught balls in the game, but Lyle Leong was not one of them. The word on the street was that Leong is in the "doghouse" and was relegated to the scout team. I don't know what happened. Anyone out there have some insider information? Do you think this is the same doghouse that Woods occupied last year?
Our offensive line did a great job of protecting Harrell (except for that one play) and opening up holes for that well-known Texas Tech running game. How well is the Great Wall of Lubbock going to hold up against conference foes? That's the important question. Also, kudos to Marlon Winn for throwing up all over the SMU defensive end!
Defensive Line & Linebackers
I'm combining the defensive front eight for this week because I pretty much think the same thing for both these groups, and I don't want to type it twice (my boss says I'm not allowed to copy and paste anymore).
The front eight did a pretty average job. They didn't give up the big run by either the running back or the quarterback. Unfortunately, I was unhappy with the lack of pressure on the young SMU quarterback. It was a very "ehh" performance by the D-line and 'backers.
At the beginning of the season, Daniel Charbonnet was named the starter at the strong safety position. Many questioned his toughness and/or his athletic/physical ability.
I didn't. I had already tagged Charbo as the "Headhunter." After his performances in the Insight Bowl and against OU two years ago, and as a special teams specialist last year, how couldn't you?
Anyway, Charbo picked off the SMU quarterback three times to break the school single game interception record. Darcel McBath and Jamar "THE shutdown corner" Wall also came away with an INT apiece. I can't really think of a previous Tech secondary performance that even came close.
Ugggghhhhhh!!!!!!! I will absolutely LOSE IT!!!!!1!!!11 if we lose a game because freakin' Donnie Carona missed another field goal.
I think I covered it all. The coaches' poll just came out and has us at No. 10 in the nation. The last time we broke the top 10, we rolled high and mighty into Austin to face another top 10 squad. That team was led by Vince "everyone in the world knows I'm gonna keep it and run into the end zone" Young. Tech was not. It was ugly.
Let's hope we do a better job of not letting the press clippings affect our performance.