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Big 12 football: Texas Tech riding defense, yes defense, into showdown with K-State

by Berry Tramel Published: October 26, 2012

From the desk of promising developments, four Big 12 schools rank among the nation's top 23 in total defense. Kansas State is 23rd, TCU is 17th, OU is 15th and Texas Tech is seventh.

That's right. Texas Tech. Which explains why the KSU-Tech game Saturday in Manhattan has Big 12 title implications and why Tommy Tuberville is again a hot commodity.

The man who coached Auburn to a 12-0 record in 2004 has coached Tech into Big 12 title contention. He's reminding people again why he's a good coach. Tech is 6-1 overall, 3-1 in the league. If the Red Raiders can upset Kansas State, they will forge a three-way tie atop the Big 12 with KSU and OU.

Tech was 13-12 combined in Tuberville's first two thankless years replacing the popular Mike Leach. The Raiders ended 2011 with five straight defeats and they gave up 66, 31, 66, 52, 41, 38, 41, 45 and 34 points in Big 12 play.

But this year, Tech's defense has stiffened. OU beat the Red Raiders 41-20, but Tech routed West Virginia 49-14 when the Mountaineers were riding high.

“There's more athletic ability and depth,” Tuberville said. “We're playing more people. Last year we were all beat up with our starters. We played a lot of kids who were first-year players or walk-ons. We've got a lot more depth.

“We're just a more solid defense because we've got more players. We still teach the same things, fundamentals and techniques, but this year we've got more guys we can send into a game.”

The Red Raiders will be tested against third-ranked Kansas State. KSU quarterback Collin Klein has become the Heisman Trophy front-runner. Of course, West Virginia QB Geno Smith was the Heisman front-runner two weeks ago.

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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