Defensive Line: B
The defensive line had a tough time getting pressure on Houston quarterback Clayton Tune, which was why Houston was able to move the ball up and down the field for the 1st quarter.
The second half was when they really cranked up the pressure. Both noseguards, Tony Bradford Jr. and Jaylon Hutchings, would each get a sack.
Tackle Devin Drew led all defensive lineman in tackles with five. The momentum really started to shift for Tech when these guys started putting pressure on Tune forcing him to make mistakes.
If there is a position group Tech fans should be most excited for, it’s this linebacker group. Made up of transfers and experienced players such as Colin Schooler, Riko Jeffers, Krishon Merriweather, Jesiah Pierre, Brandon Bouyer-Randle, and Kosi Eldridge.
If you watched the game you saw that these dudes were all over the place last night and flying around to the ball. It seemed like anytime Houston needed a big play, these guys were stepping up and making great tackles in open space to stop them.
Schooler finished the game with 10 tackles leading the team, Merriweather finished with seven tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and Riko Jeffers racked up four tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss, one interception returned for a touchdown.
I think this group will be the biggest key for Tech defensively moving forward because they have a lot of experience. There is also a ton of talent and depth at that position.
The secondary struggled early on, giving up some big plays and touchdowns to Houston. The first quarter everyone looked out of sorts and the Cougars took advantage of that.
After that, the secondary turned into the no-fly zone from there on after picking off Tune four times.
The receptions coming from Safety Eric Monroe, Cornerback Adrian Frye, Linebacker Riko Jeffers, and Wisconsin transfer Safety Reggie Pearson Jr.
The secondary held Tune to 174 yards and only 4.6 yards per attempt. They were all flying around to the ball and preventing the big plays.
Pearson Jr. led the way with eight tackles, an interception, and a forced fumble. Monroe finished with five tackles and an interception. Cornerback Damarcus Fields finished the game with four tackles and one pass defended.
This was a great test for the secondary given the speed Houston has and these guys answered the call and stepped up.
Head Coach Matt Wells and Defensive Coordinator Keith Patterson should be proud of how these guys responded to adversity being down early in the game and how they shut down this Cougars’ offense in the second half!