Against Tech, Byndom sets tone for struggling defense

Lauren Giudice

Carrington Byndom’s season hasn’t been what many expected, as he has struggled and been inconsistent at times.

But against Texas Tech’s No. 12 offense, Byndom had his best game of the year and the rest of the Texas defense followed suit.

He and fellow cornerback Quandre Diggs were forced into key roles early in their careers at Texas. The two were consistent last year and key facets of Texas’ No. 11 defense. But Byndom’s injuries and tackling struggles has had opposing receivers licking their lips in anticipation of matching up against the Texas secondary.

If his play against Texas Tech is any indication, things may be turning around for Byndom. Maybe it was the defense’s impressive second half against Kansas, but there was something different about Byndom and the defense when they thwarted the Red Raiders.

“I think I just brought a lot of confidence this weekend,” Byndom said. “Knowing that they were going to throw the ball a lot of times, I was going to get a lot of opportunities. So I think I just brought the confidence that I was lacking into this week.”

His confidence was apparent. While the defense’s main issue has been stopping the run, Texas has allowed some costly plays through the air as well. Texas has allowed passes of 82, 75, 44, 73 and 80-yards in games this year.

Texas Tech’s Seth Doege went 26-for-44 with 329-yards when he faced the Longhorns in Lubbock. Doege leads the country with 31 touchdown passes, but the struggling Longhorn defense held him to just one touchdown strike.

“We had our best game but that doesn’t mean we should start feeling highly about ourselves,” defensive tackle Desmond Jackson said.  “We just have to keep moving forward.  We can’t say ‘We have arrived now’ we just have to keep moving forward and everything will fall into place.”

Byndom broke up the Red Raiders’ game tying two-point conversion attempt in the third quarter. In addition, he sealed the win when he blocked a Red Raiders’ field goal attempt in the fourth quarter. Had the Red Raiders made the field goal, it would have been a one-score game.

“He has to be one of the stars of the game,” head coach Mack Brown said. “I thought he played with confidence. I thought he might get an interception because they were throwing it his way a lot today. But he played with a lot of confidence, and he’s more healthy, too. He’s been banged up all year, but really proud of him. He was happy after the game.”

Byndom said the defense’s lack of success has been frustrating for him to witness. While Byndom took steps forward, the defense followed and did the same by only allowing Texas Tech two touchdowns and forcing three field goals. It was clearly the Longhorns’ best  performance of the year.

Though Iowa State is not one of the top teams in the Big 12, this game will be another important test for the defense.

“For our defense, we’re definitely improving and growing up as the season has gone along,” Byndom said. “It’s still a work in progress, but each week we’re continuing to get better, and we still have a long way to go.”

Printed on Friday, November 9, 2012 as: Byndom turns corner after key victory