UTEP Football Defensive Report Card – LA Tech
It's been a roller coaster of a season for the UTEP defense this year and the ride took a downward trip in the 42-21 loss to LA Tech over the weekend.
Here is the defensive report card from today:
Defensive Line: C
The defensive front started off with four pass rushers on Saturday, which would have been great to apply pressure to the Bulldogs' stellar quarterback J'Mar Smith. But the defensive line averted from their early scheme and rushed three pretty much the rest of the game.
Denzel Chukwukelu had another sack for the defensive line, but allowing 152 rushing yards and not creating enough havoc for the quarterback makes this a bit of a step back for the unit from last week.
It was a pretty average performance by the linebacker corps against LA Tech and at various times, the linebackers were nowhere to be found. Sione Tupou has emerged into the anchor of the position group, totaling four tackles on Saturday where he battled injuries throughout the game.
The secondary got roasted on Saturday night, allowing 338 passing yards and a career-performance by Smith. He was able to hit eight different receivers on the night and threw for three touchdowns. The secondary was greedy at times, as they tried to make big plays but ended up costing themselves points. Four LA Tech receivers had breakout plays for 19 yards or more on the night. A late interception by Justin Rogers was probably the high point of the secondary, along with safety Michael Lewis totaling for a career-high 14 tackles.
One week they are on, the next week they fold—that's the UTEP defense we see week after week. Against Florida International, the defense took a step forward and really held down a high-scoring Panthers offense. Versus LA Tech, the bottom line was the Bulldogs simply overpowered the Miners.
Now, which UTEP defense will we see against a throw-heavy North Texas team?