Baylor held Texas Tech (a very potent offense) to 5 of 11 on 3rd down and forced the Red Raiders to punt 6 times. One of the things that Tech knew they had to have was a good 3rd down conversion percentage. Without explosive players in their receiving corps, the Red Raiders had to extend drives by making plays on the critical downs. Despite giving up some passing yardage, Baylor did a decent job on 3rd down for most of the night. They had three 3 downs and out and 9 total stops, including 2 fumble recoveries and 2 interceptions (including one interception that was returned for a touchdown). It really helped the mental frame of mind of the team when team when the defense came out and got 2 straight 3-downs-and-out against the Red Raiders. This allowed the Bears to stretch their lead to 10-0 prior to the Tech offense getting untracked. In the second half, the Baylor defense was able to stiffen more often and get the ball back to the Baylor offense more often.
The Baylor defense did a better job of tackling overall. They continue to give goode ffort and use their team speed to get to the ball.
Don’t under-estimate the importance of the stop the Baylor defense got after the on-side kickoff by Tech. Tech did a great job of executing the on-side kickoff. At that point, the score was 24-21. If the Red Raiders are able to convert it into points, the score is either tied or the Red Raiders would be ahead by 4. This could have really changed the emotional feel of the game. The Bears got the critical stop in a sudden-change situation. Tracy Robertson (13) got great pressure on Doege, forcing a quick throw to a short crossing route. Rodney Chadwick (26) made a quick, sure tackle on the play. On second down, the Bear defensive line collapsed the pocket around Doege and forced a checkdown throw to the back who was well-covered by Elliot Coffey (4). The back dropped the ball, but the play would have gone for no gain, even if he had caught it. On third down, the Red Raiders tried a draw and Tevin Elliot (18) tackle the back almost immediately for a 2-yard loss. On 4th down, the Red Raiders had to punt from their 38-yard line, having been able to gain 1 yard in three downs – terrific job by the Baylor defense on that possession.
The starting defensive line for the Bears was Terrance Lloyd (11) at strong end, Tracy Robertson (13) at strong tackle, Nicholas Jean-Baptiste (90) at nose tackle, and Tevin Elliot (18) at weak side end. Overall, this group did a good job of limiting the Tech running game (by choice of the Tech staff or by performance of the Baylor defense) and getting decent pressure on the Tech quarterback when Doege held the ball long enough to get a chance at him.
Tevin Elliot had a very solid game, coming up with 5 tackles, one for a 3-yard loss. Tevin did a much better job of working tight from the backside. He stayed squarer and was on the spot better to take the cutback. Once, when he did a very good job of this, Tevin picked up a facemask. Tevin has a tendency to tackle a little too high and is susceptible to this penalty. Right after his facemask, Tevin picked up a dead ball personal foul when he got into an altercation with the Tech left tackle. I didn’t see what Tevin did, but after Tevin did whatever he did the Tech took a swing and miss at Tevin. Tevin was close to Doege several times in the game, but the quickness with which the Red Raiders throw the football made it tough to get to the QB quick enough.
Nicholas Jean-Baptiste contributed 1 ½ tackles for losses. Nicholas did a very good job of coming off of a pass rush to pick up the Tech running back trying to sneak by him on a draw. He did a great job of releasing off of the block to make that play. NJB made a real good move on a stunt going away from the play to get inside of the guard and redirect to get the Tech running back several yards deep in their backfield. Ultimately, this play forced a punt by the Red Raiders. This stop allowed the next series for the Bears to open the margin to 45-28. NJB is still a little too active. He crossed the face of the Tech guard too quickly and opened a large running lane for the Tech back – too big for the Baylor linebacker to that side to cover. In a 3-man rush, NJB drove the center right back to the feet of the Tech quarterback. That was impressive. Late in the game, NJB got another good hit on the Tech QB with a great bull rush.
Tracy Robertson came up with 1 sack for a 5-yard loss on the opening Tech drive and got an additional quarterback hurry. On the first drive sack, Tracy looked like he was going to twist behind NJB, but when the Tech quarterback stepped up in the pocket, the Baylor DT came off of that rush path and redirected right into the face of Doege. Tracy got pressure acouple of other times, but could not close the deal.
Terrance Lloyd recovered a fumble. Several Bears had a chance at the mishandled handoff, but it was Terrance that got on the ball. Terrance got a piece of Tracy Robertson’s sack on the first drive when he stepped inside of the Tech right tackle as Doege stepped up in the pocket. Remember, Lloyd is just a sophomore.
Kaeron Johnson (49) got a good rush and was credited with a quarterback hurry. Kaeron was able to get right to the throwing hand side of Doege. He got a hand on Doege’s arm, creating a fluttering ball that fell just out of reach of the Baylor linebackers. Gary Mason, Jr. (10) was credited with 1 tackle for a 1-yard loss. He did a good job of staying square and caught the Red Raider running back trying to cutback outside of him. Chris McAlister (31) got a good pass rush, but picked up a real iffy roughing the QB call.
Elliot Coffey (4) continues to have solid performances at the middle linebacker position. Elliot picked up 9 total tackles, with a ½ a tackle for a 2-yard loss and a forced fumble. Elliot’s tackle for a 2-yard loss came off of an outside blitz by the MLB. He recognized draw on his way to the quarterback and redirected to pick up the tackle. Elliot has improved at playing down hill. His tackle of a2 -yard loss came off of base technique where he quickly recognized the play and ran through his gap for a quality tackle. This is good football. Elliot needs to provide the safeties with better underneath help. When he recognizes pass, he must get under the in-breaking routes. Elliot made a good break on the ball to get a forced fumble with 4:47 in the 3rd quarter. Ahmad Dixon got a little bit of that forced fumble, too.
Rodney Chadwick (26) was credited with 6 tackles total. Rodney’s worst play of the day came on 3rd and 1 at the Baylor 5-yard line when he was coming on a weakside, outside blitz. He met the “wildcat back” 5 yards deep in the back field. Rodney didn’t bring his feet with him on his tackle. He stopped his feet, lost power, and reach for a tackle. Rodney has had a problem with this ally ear. He must improve on tackling “through”people to become an effective player. Rodney turned his shoulders to the sidelines (a real no-no) on an inside run and allowed a Tech back to cut behind him for a touchdown. Rodney did play downhill real well on an inside run, but these instances of brilliance are too rare.
Ahmad Dixon (6) had 8 tackles. Ahmad got a real good hit on the Tech undersized tight end, James, when James turned out to catch the ball and got drilled by Ahmad. Ahmad ran right through Mr. James on a bubble screen, making the tackle of the receiver for no gain. Ahmad has become VERY effective against bubble screens – probably better than Antonio Johnson was. Ahmad needs to work on his angles working to the slant. He is not getting in the throwing lane as effectively as he could. Ahmad needs to become more reliable in coverage when he has trips to his side. Opponents have been able to get the #2 receiver to that side open behind Ahmad way too often.
K.J. Morton (8) had 9 tackles and 1 interception with a 26-yard return. K.J. did a great job of undercutting the deep dig by the outside receiver for his interception. In addition, K.J. did a great job returning the ball down to the Red Raider 20-yard line. For most of the game, K.J. did a good job of supporting against the quick offense of the Red Raiders. He was sure on his tackles – which is a must against these kinds of passes. Ward did run over K.J. once at the goal line when K.J.’s feet slipped as he supported – stuff happens sometimes. K.J. needs to have his pads over his toes and he could minimize slippage. K.J. was victimized by the razzle-dazzle wide receiver reverse pass by #85 (no commentary needed). It is one thing to be beaten, but K.J. must make the tackle to give his team another chance to line up and play defense.
Joe Williams (22) had the play of the game when he jumped inf ront of a stop route and took it back 90 yards for a touchdown. Joe did a great job of jumping the route (made more possible by the position on the field). He stepped right in front of the Tech receiver and took off down the sidelines. Joe ran out of gas about the 10-yard line, but managed to out-leg Doege to get credit for the touchdown. Also, Joe led the defensive secondary with 3 pass broken up and he added 4 tackles for the game on top of that. Joe’s best breakup of a Doege pass was on the opening play of the game. The Red Raiders isolated Joe on the wide receiver and ran a post route behind the safety coverage on the inside receiver. Joe was in great position onthe play and was able to undercut the throw and knock it away. Joe almost came up with the ball as he fell to the ground. It was a heck of an effort. Joe got another pass break up when he worked over the top of a post cut and reach all of his 5’-whatever height to tip the ball from the 6’4” Tech receiver right between the receiver’s hands. On a critical 3rd and1, Joe took advantage of a high throw to hit the Tech wide receiver behind the line of scrimmage on a bubble screen, forcing a drop. This was a big play – excellent redirect and good hitting.
It’s getting to be a habit, but Tyler Stephenson (27) was victimized by an excellent “fake the slant and swirl out” route on the first play he took K.J.’s place. This is the second time Tyler has given up a TD on his first play in the game.
Mike Hicks (17) had a couple of times where he got beaten in coverage by quick moves by the Tech receivers. But he came up with 7 tackles and recovered one fumble. Mike did a very good job of coming off of an underneath route to help break up a post throw in front of Joe Williams. This is good redirecting. Mike was victimized by several quick stops tothe inside receiver in trips, but he always did a good job of coming up to make an immediate tackle. The middle linebacker should be able to give him more help on these plays.
Sam Holl (25) had 5 solo tackles on the evening. Overall, Sam had a better game of stepping upon the run and filling the cutback lane on the backside or fitting like a linebacker to the playside. Sam did a better job of running through the receivers when he broke on the ball. Sam needs a lot of underneath help in his coverage, but solid tackling can limit the damage. When Sam knows that blitz is coming, he should probably shuffle down on the receivers tougher. He knows the ball will be coming out quickly so if he can “close grass” on the receiver, he might be able to get a more effective hit. Josh Wilson (33) came in to the game in nickel situations. He needs to squeeze hiscoverage a little closer on the deep digs.
I didn’t mention Ward’s wide receiver reverse for a touchdown in my commentary because there were just so many failures to make a play that it would be impossible to list them all. Suffice it to say, the Bears missed a lot of tackles, played passively, and gave up an easy score.
You’d like to see the Bears have a better defense, but this group is improving and they out-played the Tech offense on Saturday.