Each week we will dissect Texas Tech’s football game to find five key developments that will affect the Red Raiders. Here are our thoughts after Tech’s 44-6 win against Northwestern State:
Eric Stephens is back
The senior showed no ill-effects of last October’s gruesome knee injury. He admitted that he probably cut a little too much in the early going as he tried to make a big play, but once he settled down, he scored two first-half touchdowns.
After 19 touches Saturday — 16 carries, three receptions — it’s clear Stephens is ready to resume a key workload for the Red Raiders.
Brewer is ready
The redshirt freshman was calm and collected in his college debut, completing 10 of 13 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns.
Both coach Tommy Tuberville and offensive coordinator Neal Brown were struck by Brewer’s poise when he entered the game in the fourth quarter. His performance validated the notion that quarterback is a position of great strength for Tech.
“The thing about Brewer is he’s not scared of the moment,” Brown said.
Line gains experience
Brown described Tech’s offensive game plan Saturday as “really conservative,” and part of the reason was to allow redshirt freshmen linemen Alfredo Morales and Le’Raven Clark to settle into their first college games without having too much thrown on their plates.
Brown gave both players passing marks after the game, as did quarterback Seth Doege.
“I think those guys did a good job,” Doege said, “and I don’t remember getting hit at all, so I guess that’s a pretty good job from the O-line.”
Bustin starts strong
All that was left for Ryan Bustin to prove after stellar performances in spring practice and fall camp was that he could make kicks when the stadium lights were on.
He answered the bell just fine on Saturday, nailing all three of his field goals and converting all five point-after attempts.
Bustin hit from 31, 36 and 37 yards. None of the kicks came in pressure situations, but it was fine debut nonetheless.
Return of Zou
Tech examined a number of options at the punt returner position during fall camp, including Eric Ward and Alex Torres.
But on Saturday the staff went with Austin Zouzalik, who has occupied the position since he was a sophomore. Behind a fan chant of “Zou!” the Coronado grad had returns of 18 and 19 yards, using a nifty spin move at the start of each to avoid the oncoming gunner.
Compiled by Nick Kosmider and Don Williams