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Texas Tech vs. NC State Notebook: Red Raider Run Defense Excels

Despite the loss to NC State, the Texas Tech run defense has shown great improvement this season.

Texas Tech’s Big 12-leading rushing yards allowed per carry took a hit against NC State on Saturday night — but not a big one — as the Red Raiders fell to the Wolfpack, 27-14.

The Red Raiders entered the game allowed 2.2 yards per carry, which not only led the league but was also No. 8 in FBS.

NC State ended up with just three yards per rush, pushing Tech’s average to 2.3 yards. But, the Wolfpack’s 111 yards nearly matched the 137 yards the Tech defense had given up in its first two games against Murray State and Houston.

Right now, that’s significant improvement for the Red Raiders, as they allowed 4.0 yards per carry a season ago.

SERIES STATS: The Red Raiders dropped to 1-5 against the Wolfpack and now have a five-game losing streak. Texas Tech’s only win over NC State came in 1952, 54-7, in Lubbock. Saturday’s game was the first time since 2003 that Texas Tech visited NC State, a game the Red Raiders lost, 49-21.

WILSON RACKS UP SACKS: Texas Tech pass rusher Tyree Wilson had a productive game against the Wolfpack. He had two sacks and three tackles for loss, part of a team-high 11 tackles. He was the only Red Raider in double-digit tackles for the game.

With his two sacks, Wilson now has 12.5 career sacks and 2.5 sacks for the season entering Big 12 play next week.

NC State linebacker Payton Wilson was the only Wolfpack defender in double-digits with 10 tackles.

TURNOVER WOES: It’s early, but Texas Tech has work to do in terms of its turnover margin.

The Red Raiders entered Saturday’s game at minus-2 in turnover margin. The Red Raiders left Raleigh at minus-5.

Texas Tech forced just one NC State turnover on Saturday while the Red Raiders gave up the football four times. Two of those turnovers helped lead to points for the Wolfpack.

Texas Tech quarterback Donovan Smith threw a pick-six to NC State defensive back Aydan White. Before that, Drew Hocutt, filling in at punt returner for an injured Adrian Frye, muffed and lost a punt. NC State recovered, and the Red Raiders were fortunate that the Wolfpack were only able to turn it into a field goal.

MISSED OUT ON A STREAK: The Red Raiders went into Saturday’s game looking to secure back-to-back wins over ranked opponents in consecutive weeks since 2008. But, Tech came up short. Back in 2008, the Red Raiders beat No. 1 Texas and No. 8 Oklahoma State back-to-back. Had Texas Tech won on Saturday, it would have been the first time it beat ranked non-conference opponents in consecutive weeks.

OFFENSE STEPS BACK: In the first two games of the season, Texas Tech averaged 536.5 yards per game in an offense led by new coordinator Zach Kittley. That led the Big 12 and was No. 7 in FBS. The NC State defense put a dent in that average.

The Red Raiders managed 353 total yards in the game, with most of that coming in the air. Smith had 214 yards and Behren Morton came off the bench for 85 yards in garbage time. The Red Raiders gained 54 net yards on the ground.

That dropped their three-game average of total offense to 475 yards per game.

MCGUIRE TAKES FIRST LOSS: Saturday’s game represented the first loss of coach Joey McGuire’s career in college football. He was seeking to join Dell Morgan (1941), Mike Leach (2000), and Kliff Kingsbury (2013) as the only Texas Tech coaches to win their first three games.

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