The number one defense in the nation isn’t the Alabama Crimson Tide, that honor belongs to the Texas Tech Red Raiders. This has to be a typo right? You’re seeing this right, but the what are people going to immediately point to? Over the last few years, there has been an argument towards the type of competition each team plays and how that factors into what the statistics show. Although, the argument seems to always point to the amount of depth in the SEC. Let’s just look at this objectively for a moment. What ever the competition, a team needs to step up to play and Texas Tech has thus far.
Not a lot of people are buying into the Red Raider defense and even fans are very hesitant to buy into the defense as one of the best in the nation. The biggest reason for the skepticism is the fact that Texas Tech has only played the Iowa State Cyclones, New Mexico Lobos, Texas State Bobcats and Northwestern State Demons. The case for this unit as a top defense isn’t helped by their FBS oppenents’ offensive production this season. Out of the three FBS teams they have faced, none are in the top 90 offensively.
As we can look to the big picture, realize that last season was a rough one for TTU. They surrendered 39.9 points per game and they even gave up 66 points twice. That abysmal performance led to the hire of Art Kauffman. Kauffman stressed putting his players in the right position to succeed on defense. He wants the players to understand the importance that if you focus on gap-control and just do your job, great things will happen.
The secondary has been a big part to the accomplishment. If you look specifically at the last game against Iowa State, you’ll see how the Cyclones’ receivers were not able to get separation and break free from the Red Raider secondary. The initial jam at the line of scrimmage threw the Cyclones off course. ISU only managed 73 passing yards. Talk about total domination. The secondary has been playing tight coverage and so far the results have contributed to opponents averaging just 82 yards per game.
To put it simply, the defense has been outstanding. Opponents are converting on third-down just 29.6% of the time and being held to only 167.5 total yards per game. Their interception total from 2011 has already been matched (5) after four games and the amount of pressure the defensive line has put on quarterbacks has contributed to nine sacks.
Texas Tech han’t played an offense anywhere near where the Big 12 is in firepower, but this defense can make a statement to the country on Saturday if they can shutdown the Oklahoma Sooners.