Grading the Performance: Defense

Texas had its best defensive performance possibly of the entire season by keeping the usually high-scoring Red Raiders to 22 points in Lubbock Saturday afternoon.

Carrington Byndom's pass breakups in the end zone were huge in keeping the Tech offense to 22 points.

The Longhorns got solid play at all three levels, and particularly cornerback Carrington Byndom who had a few huge pass breakups directly preventing more points for the Texas Tech offense.

A good performance was needed by Texas this weekend and it came through in a big way to give UT its first win over a ranked opponent in two years.

The Horns held Tech to just four yards per rush, which is clearly Texas' best effort so far this season, especially since Tech has had some success running the ball this year. The defensive tackles all played reasonably well, as did Cedric Reed in replacement of Jackson Jeffcoat at end. While Alex Okafor registered the only sack of the day, if there's one troublesome sign, it's that the Horns didn't really generate much of a pass rush against the Red Raiders.
Grade: B

While the Texas linebackers won't be mistaken for a group of future Butkus winners, they looked immensely more capable against Tech when given more opportunities to succeed. Steve Edmond made a fantastic play on a pass on a third down in the fourth quarter. Kendall Thompson saw more action than Demarco Cobbs. Peter Jinkens, Tevin Jackson and Dalton Santos also contributed.
Grade: C+

The Horns secondary played its best game of the year against a pass-heavy team, giving up no big plays and no touchdowns. Carrington Byndom recorded his best game of the year with several passes defended as well, including two in the end zone and another in the end zone on a two-point conversion attempt. Kenny Vaccaro had a relatively quiet day, in part because he was rarely beaten in coverage. However, the Horns are still giving up too many third-and-long conversions. Both Quandre Diggs and Adrian Phillips were victimized at various times Saturday.
Grade: B+

The biggest stat of the game? Points against. Texas gave up just 22 points. That's 16 below Tech's average. Texas seemed to hit on a formula of playing a less risky, stunting defensive front against the spread attack. The move, whether it was precipitated by Manny Diaz, Mack Brown or another staff member, paid big dividends Saturday.
Grade: B+

Nick Rose booted all but one kickoff into the end zone for a touchback. Alex King punted four times, including one that was downed inside the 10. It looked like a Tiger Woods sand wedge. But the big play of the day came from Byndom. As Tech was attempting its fourth field goal of the game, Byndom came flying around the right side to block it. Texas took over with a two-score lead and the Red Raiders never saw the ball again.
Grade: B+

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