Friday, December 02, 2016

Bearcat Preview

So, BG has a big assignment coming up Sunday, as they head to UC to take on the very tough UC Bearcats.  The Bearcats are 6-1 and ranked #25 in kenpom.  Furthermore, they are coming off a very big road win @Iowa State on Thursday...the Cyclones had won thirty-something straight non-conference games at home.

They were 22-11 last year, lost to UConn in their conference tournament in 4OT and then lost to St. Joe's in the first round of the Big Dance, which they have been in six years in a row.  They beat Bowling Green by 33 last year at the Stroh as part of the Bill Frack Challenge.

They returned a lot from that team and were picked to win the ACC this year.  In addition, Troy Caupian, a G, is a co-AAC preseason player of the year and Gary Clark returns as defensive player of the year...and they have a flashy newcomer, see below.

This a very good program.  First, on tempo, they play very slooooooooooow.  Their only game over 70 possessions this year was Lipscomb.  Their win over Iowa State was played at 63 possessions, which is very slow.  They are very good on both ends of the floor.  They are the #8 defensive team in the country based on Kenpom rankings and the #52 offense.  As you can see, they regularly outscore and outdefend where BG ends up.  (Note, not conference only, forgot to take that off the chart).

How do you get that kind of disparity?  Well, BG 307th in EFG% and UC is #27 in EFG% defense.  That's a bad combination.  Plus, the Bearcats are above average at forcing turnovers and are #8 in the country in not allowing FTs.  This is a tough team to score against playing a team that has struggled to score.

Flipping the elements around, we can see why UC is effective on offense.  This is a team that is not interesting in the 3FG.  They don't take many 3s and are bad at making them.  However, they make 55% of their 2 FGs and are #17 in the nation in the # of points they have coming from 2FGs.  They take average care of the ball, but are very good on the offensive boards (#17 in the country...see their size below).  And they get to the line a decent amount and they are an average FT shooting team.  This is much different than the teams BG has been playing, and the Falcons will need improved defense on the interior to keep this game close.

Actually, Caupian is not one of UC;s leading scorers so far this year.  The team's leading scorer is 6'6" SO Jacob Evans, who is scoring 16.9 PPG on 55% and 42% shooting to go with 4.4 rebounds per game.  NC State transfer Kyle Washington is also a beast, scoring 16.3 PPG on 55% shooting with 9.4 RPG...he's 6'9" and will be a handful for BG.  Caupian is only scoring 9.1...he is really struggling to shoot.  He is at 35% and 23% after shooting 38% and 32% last year.  He is contributing 4.5 assists per game and has a better than 2:1 A/T ratio.

The Bearcats play a tight rotation mostly consisting of 8 guys.  They are tall and have a lot of long guys to go inside with.

One possible thing working in BG's favor is that UC played @ Iowa State on Thursday and their next game is at Butler, so they might not have their minds completely on BG on Sunday.  Even having said that, they are the best team on BG's schedule and a very strong favorite in this game.

I was at the BG-UC rugby game and someone asked me what a Bearcat was.  I told the person that they had made it up...which turns out actually to be true.  The origin of the name--and the fact that another college has now COPIED it--is pretty interesting.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Big News: Davidson First-Team Academic All-American

This is a huge honor.  He was 2nd team last year and becomes only the 4th Falcon ever to be first team all-American.

You know already what a good punter he is, so we're not going to rehash that.  What you probably did not know is that Davidson holds a 3.94 grade point average with a double major in mathematics and finance.  Which you didn't.  I'm just saying.

Davidson joins Tyler Tate (2014), Patrick John Jackson (1989, 1990) and John Boles (1975) as the only first-team Academic All-Americans in program history.

Along with men's soccer's Pat Flynn and Joe Sullivan, BGSU Athletics now has three First-Team Academic All-Americans in the 2016-17 school year, only the second time that has ever happened here.

So congrats to Joe.  First-team All-MAC and first-team Academic All-American.  Making us proud on the field and off the field.

The State of the Football Program

So.  2016 didn't go as expected.  No.  No, it didn't.

Here, I am going to take a shot at tackling the questions of why, and where I see the program standing as we head toward 2017.

To begin with, the season was an almost total debacle.  Picked to win the East, BG instead had a lost year.  That included the two worst losses in program history--yes, one of them to Ohio State, but a worse defeat to an 8-4 unranked Memphis team.  (Once again, an unranked 8-4 team dealt us the worst defeat in our history).

BG lost to Toledo again, went 3-5 in the conference, and "salvaged" a 4-8 season only by passing tired horses at the end of the track.  The last 3 games represented improvement only by the incredibly low bar the program had created earlier in the season.

I see three primary reasons for why the season was less than what was expected...which I will discuss and then talk about where the program stands now.

First, we over-estimated how good we were.  This seems clear to me. Most predictors recalled that James Knapke had a much better season in '14 than he actually did, something we pointed out here.  In '16 he was as advertised, only to be replaced by a freshman.  BG's receivers were much less effective than anticipated.  The team never truly developed an outside receiving threat.  Finally, the 0-line had injury issues and in some games were not as effective as they were expected to be, as the most experienced unit in the country.

On defense, we were better in '15 than people remember and there was every reason to think that they could compete in the MAC East.  I think on defense the larger issue was injuries, but a severe lack of depth and numbers was revealed.

Speaking of which, the second reason BG underperformed was injuries.  Yes, every team has injuries.  This one had a lot and more than they could handle.  On offense, there were not too many, just a couple on the line and they were only a couple games.  On defense, however, it was BAD.  You had linemen injured, Austin Valdez played injured a lot, Sanford was injured, both of your safeties (Walz and Hale) were injured, both of your projected starting CBs--Clint Stephens (injured) and Will Watson (suspended) missed significant time.  Behind them, there were injuries to Antonio Sotolongo and others...BG ended up playing freshmen who weren't ready and transfers I don't think they ever thought would play.  BG started 24 first-time starters and four true freshmen.

So, a team that isn't as good as you thought with a lot of injuries that involves a lot of new players.  That's enough, right?

Even within that, however, I think our team was hampered and the season made worse by the inexperienced coaching staff.  The most general complaint is that they spent too much time asking players to do things they could not do and were slow to adjust to a strategy that could help the team win games.  At one point, Jinks said that we could run the ball 65 times a game, but that wasn't who we were.  Until it was, and he revealed that his true self as a coach was running the ball.  And said that would be the program identity.

Coach also kept the wrong QB starting for far longer than he should have.  It was apparent as soon as he made the change that BG had a better chance of winning with Morgan at QB. Lastly, at one point he announced they weren't going to run Donovan Wilson anymore, until it turned out he was "built for November."

By sticking with the air raid and an ineffective QB, BG had 1 minute possessions that put ridiculous pressure on that undermanned defense.  Beyond that, Coach said that they had to make things "simpler" for the defense...that they were asking the players to do things they could not do.  Unfortunately, in this area as well they waited too long to make that adjustment--and probably should have seen it before the season even started.

I have written here many times that we have a head coach with minimal college experience and a staff that had virtually no coaching experience up and down the line.  It is my contention that they mis-evaluated the talent they had and adjusted slowly to the reality that existed.  Had they acted sooner, I think the EMU game could have been saved and the OU and Miami games could be in play.  And the Middle Tennessee and Memphis games could have been competitive and the Memphis game didn't have to be a total embarrassment.

Yes, I hear you.  FIRST YEAR COACHES.  Hiring Coaches like this was a choice the university made.  I believe a more experienced coaching staff with a proven record of college success would have given us a better season and maybe a shot at winning the East.  We'll never know, but that's what I think.

But they chose these guys.  And they aren't (and weren't ever) going anywhere.  BG was not going to do a one and done or even a two and done and I'm not sure I want to be the kind of place where we do.  We're going to sink or swim with these coaches.

Now, to look to the future.  You're not going to get anywhere with me by saying PJ Fleck was 1-11 in his first year, so Jinks is going to be great.  First, Jinks took over a successful program where the coach was hired to go elsewhere.  Fleck was hired to fix a dead program where the coach was fired.  Second, it is ridiculous logic to suggest that an awful first season somehow increases the chances for eventual success.  To the point, Stan Parrish started out poorly and finished poorly.  So did Don Treadwell....4-8 in fact.  There are others...far more than there are PJ Fleck stories.

Also, I don't buy that the team was significantly improved at the end.  Yes, the team won games that it looked like they might lose, but that's only after the team gave up its worst defeats in history twice in four games.

When the season started, you would have expected to beat Akron with a WR at QB, Kent with a RB at QB, and Buffalo with anyone at QB and even that one nearly didn't happen.

This team has a long way to go to be competitive again.  They lose a lot on the offensive line and remain strapped for depth at WR.  They could get some guys back in the d-backfield but lose their top linebacker. And depth at d-line is a continuing issue.

And the staff itself remains a question mark. Nothing they did this year convinced me that they are ready.  On the other hand, we don't have enough to say that they are not going to work.  Four games in I feared that BG had made a historic error.  Those fears softened in the last 8 games, but there's a lot of room for improvement  before they are ready to be competitive with the top teams in this conference on an annual basis.

They are our coaches and we will win with them until they are gone or suffer with them until they are gone.  Even Babers did some shuffling of his staff after his first season , including moving Kim McCloud off of defensive coordinator.  It will be interesting to see if Coach Jinks makes adjustments or not.

Ultimately, Coach Jinks says he has "seen this work before," by which he means what happened at Steele HS where he took a new school and eventually won the state championship.

Whether "this" is "that" remains in question.

Hopefully, Coach Jinks--who frankly inspires confidence when he talks about this--is capable of doing what he says...never mind this talk about being in the G5 bowl talk...hopefully he and his people are learning fast enough on the job to not cause this program to go into the kind of long tailspins we saw at Ball State and Miami.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

All-MAC Teams Announced, BG Has Seven honored

So, the All-MAC teams are out....with the season BG had, they received the honors you would expect, I think...,though I did think there were a couple surprises.  Here they are....

First team

P--Joe Davidson
WR-Scotty Miller

Second team:

LB--Trent Greene

Third team:

RB--Fred Coppet
OL--Tim McAuliffe
OL--Logan Dietz
DB--Jamari Bozeman

So, in terms of surprises of who is on the list...I'm surprised Scotty Miller made first team.  I wouldn't have seen him as having that kind of year.  He was 4th in receptions and 7th in receiving yards.  He's clearly at least second team and I'm glad he was recognized.  Perhaps teams knew they were spending time taking him out of the game.

Also, I think a lot of Falcon fans will be surprised that Jamari Bozeman is on the 3rd team.  He was in on some high-profile misadventures early, but that's partly because of the position he plays and they flawed way we were playing defense.  I'm looking forward to seeing Jamari develop into a true playmaker back there, because we could use it.

Joe Davidson should have been special teams player of the year.  Darius Phillips was named Special teams player of the year by the coaches, but was not even on the first team All-MAC.  Basically, he made 2 returns for TDs whereas Davidson was a stud all year, early on many times a game.  This one should have gone to us.

I think the other picks were all pretty much where they should have been.  If there was one guy who might have deserved third-team honors that didn't get it, it would be Gus Schweiterman.

You can see the rest of the list here.   I think Chris Creighton deserved consideration for coach of the year, but hard to argue with Fleck as the overall choice.  They found a way to honor Terrell and Davis, both of whom were deserving, although Logan Woodside got first-team QB.

BG Easily Defeats Notre Dame College

After NDC took BG into OT last year, the Falcons were ready for the assignment and easily dispatched the other Falcons 86-60.  BG scored the first 10 points of the game, had the lead over 20 mid-way through the first half and the lead was never below 19 points for the remainder of the game.

It was a FAST game.  There were 83 possessions.  NDC likes to move the ball and BG played along.  Which means that even though BG had 86 points, that was only 1.04 points per possession, which is good but not great.  The held Notre Dame to .72 points per possession, which is really good.  In particular, the other Falcons are known for 3FG shooting, but they made only 3 of their 28 attempts.

Wes Alcegaire had 20 and 5 rebounds, Wiggins 13 and 7 rebounds, Lillard 13 and 10 rebounds, Denny 11 and 6 rebounds and Dylan Frye had 10 points.  Ali had 9 assists over 2 turnovers...both of which are mitigated by the fast tempo of the game.

The Falcons made 78% of their free throws, including 5-5 by Wiggins, who might be making the biggest one-year improvement at the line in program history.  Truly amazing.

So, BG is 3-4.  Things get a little tougher.  They play @UC on Sunday and then @Evansville the following Tuesday, both of which are tough assignments.  More to come on those.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Preview: Hot Falcon-on-Falcon Action

So Tuesday night the Notre Dame College Falcons come into the Stroh in what is supposed to be a guaranteed win night for the Falcons of Bowling Green.  Last year, it nearly was not so, as BG had to go overtime to beat the Falcons of Notre Dame in an early November tilt.  NDC were 21-11 last year and were picked #4 in their conference this year.  This year they are 3-2.  This is their first D1 game.  (They play tonight as well against Lake Erie College so their record coming in will be different one way or the other).

They are a DII team.

They had two guys go for 20 in last year's game.  One of them is gone----and the other, Will Vorhees--is back.  He had 20 points and 6 rebounds against BG last year.  He's 6'8" and a JR from Columbus Grove.  He's averaging 23 with 9 rebounds this year and shooting 49%.

They also have Kyauta Taylor, who is scoring 19 points, with 4 3FGs/game.  That's #8 in the country in DII.  He's a 6'2" JR G.

They have two other players in double figures and they score 80 a game.  Also, they are #7 in DII in blocked shots, due mostly to Ja'Sean Lewis, a 6'8" SO F.  He's #2 in the nation on an individual basis.

Anyway, this is a game that Falcons of Bowling Green should win, but last year struggled to get done.  I think everyone in orange and brown would like it not to be this year.

Also, the game is the opening match between BG and Notre Dame, who will also play for the national I-AA Rugby Championship on Sunday.

Trent Greene MAC East Defensive POTW

Trent Greene's last game as a Falcon was a big one.  See below:

Greene led the Falcons with eight tackles in a 27-19 win over Buffalo last Friday. Among those eight stops were three tackles for loss and two quarterback sacks. 
Greene also had a forced fumble and a fumble recovery as well as a pass break-up in the victory.

BG has had some pretty good brother bloodlines...Villipiano, Haneline, Redd...I'm sure there are others.  The Greene men certainly can hold their own in that've got the program's number one rusher and an All-MAC LB (2nd team 2015) who was in on 238 tackles over the last two 17 TFL, 6 sacks and 3 forced fumbles.  And I'd expect All-MAC honors again.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Football Verbal: Jamari Rouse

Coach Jinks told the media after the Buffalo win that the coaches had Saturday off and then it was on the road to recruit for them.  This is huge for BG.  The Falcons simply must restock the program with players--and then hope the coaches get better in the meantime.  But you have to have them both in place.  So far, recruiting has appeared to be a strength for these guys, but that game is only in the first quarter.

So, they nabbed a quick commit yesterday, right on the heels of the Buffalo win.  The young man is Jamari Rouse, a DT from Deerfield Beach, FL.  He's 6'2" and 262 and listed as a 3-star composite recruit on 24/7. He had offers from Temple, Syracuse, North Carolina, Buffalo, Charlotte, Georgia State, Idaho, Middle Tennessee, Ohio, Southern Miss and Youngstown State.  They have him ranked as the #7 DT in Florida, which sounds pretty good to me.

This is good to see.  Coach has made it clear that his vision for the program is to win in both phases of the game...unlike a coach we won't name (rhymed with Shmino Shmabers).  We definitely need bodies on the d-line.  Graduation is OK to us this year, but you need 8-10 rotation lineman.  Of the recruits we know about, there are four D-lineman now and maybe a fifth depending on how Walter Haire is classified.

Rouse is a big upside get for a team that can use guys like him--fast, athletic and football-saavy d-lineman.

Deerfield Beach is still playing, making their way into the state semi-final last Friday.

Past and Future Opponent Land

Ohio State (11-1)  Edged Michigan.
North Dakota (9-2) Off.  In FCS Playoffs next week.
Middle TN (8-4) Beat FAU 77-56 (!!)
Memphis (8-4) Beat Houston to end Herman Era
EMU (7-5) Beat CMU
OU  (8-4) Beat Akron
Toledo (9-3) Lost to WMU
Miami (6-6) Beat Ball State.  Incredible finish to year.
NIU (5-7) Beat Kent
Akron (5-7) Lost to OU
Kent (3-9) Lost to NIU

MAC produces 6 bowl eligible teams...WMU, UT,  OU, Miami, EMU and CMU


FBS:  13-21
P5:  4-10
FCS:  9-4

West:  12
East:  5

Barnes Record Broken

Freddie Barnes held the NCAA FBS record for receptions for a season for 7 years  It was broken yesterday by Zay Jones of East Carolina, who finished with 158 catches.  Congratulations to him.  Also a great moment to remember one of the great individual seasons in Falcon history.  Good memories, Freddie...Tyler...and the rest of the offensive unit.  That's a lot of catches.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Falcons Win: More....

So, a few elements to the game.  We have already covered the idea that BG should have put this game away multiple times.  They did not and UB ended up accepting the gift.

On offense, BG did what they said they were going to do.  They ran the ball 67 times and passed it 21 times.  And, it worked.  Coppet had 160 yards on 20 carries, Cleveland 109 yards on 16 carries and Wilson 107 on 25 carries, so that's 8, 6.8 and 4.3 yards per carry, respectively.

Conversely, UB ran the ball 27 times for 117 yards as a team.  They had 38 of those on one play.  BG did what they wanted to do both ways, which was control the running game.

The passing comparison was less attractive.  Morgan was 12 of 21 for 146 yards, which is certainly not great.  He was sacked twice and Knapke was sacked once in his honorary start for Senior Day.  He did not turn the ball over, however, and BG had 10 passing first downs on 12 completions, which is pretty good.

UB on the other hand, had a lot of success passing, in short bursts that look good.   Grant Rohach started for UB and while he struggled for much of the game, he ended up 20 of 35 for 334, which is 16.7 per completion, which is just an awful thing to see for a defense.  Marcus Milton and Robert Jackson did not play, so BG was playing short on an already short hand.

When BG got pressure, they had a shot.  They sacked Rohach 6 times for 50 yards and got a lot of pressure on him other times, including on the game's final play.  I liked the look.  BG got pressure with 3 at least once, Terrance Bush made a big open field sack and BG did a nice job of keeping in rush lanes to contain Rohach in the pocket, because he was willing to go out and run.

Trent Greene has 2 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in his last game and Terrance Bush 1.5 sacks in his last game.

In the end, UB ended up with 5.9 yards per play and BG had 5.6 yards per play.  However, the Falcons ran 88 plays and was surprisingly 8 of 15 on 3rd down (basically, only failed inside the UB 35) and had 35 minutes of possession.  Schweiterman had a sack, as did Shannon Smith and Konowalski had a half sack.  Nate Locke was very active, with a hurry, a TFL and a pass break up.    Those guys are all slated to return.

On special teams, Buffalo missed 2 XP, which did have an impact on the game and would have made a difference on the last drive. BG had a couple good returns...Zimmerman had a good punt return and kickoff return and Watson had a nice PR to set up good field position.  Zimmerman nearly fumbled away a punt on a play that he was injured on--he was OK last time I heard, thankfully.

Anyway, that's how the last game shook out.  We'll have more to come moving forward.

BG gets expected win over Morgan State

BG got the win you'd expect over a badly overmatched Morgan State team, beating them 90-58.  I wasn't there and there isn't too much to say about it.  Morgan State is ranked among the 20 worst teams in D1 by kenpom and they are on the road and BG did what they should do, which is beat them soundly.  You don't learn too much about your team in a game like this, except that you beat a poor team soundly.  FWIW, they only lost by 6 to Towson and Brown, and Towson isn't a bad team.  Anyway, you want the win and you got it.

BG had 1.08 points per possession and Morgan State a deadly .7 points per possession in a very, very fast 83 possession game, which is the fastest D1 game I can find for BG back to '02.   You'd expect to see pretty lopsided stats, and they are.  BG outshot Morgan State by a lot, an advantage that was negated by BG having a high number of turnovers.  But BG was good on the offensive boards and made 18 of 25 FTs for 72%.

Matt Fox led the Falcons in scoring with 18 points.  He shot 7 of 11 with 4 3FGx.  Dylan Frye had 15 points on 5 of 6 shooting, Wiggins has 12, and Denny had 11 on 3 of 11 shooting.  Denny added 7 rebounds, Lillard 8 and Worrell 9.  Denny also had 8 steals, which is just a crazy number.  Ali had 7 assists and Rodrick Caldwell had 5.

Neither Justin Turner nor Jeffrey Uju saw action.

This kicks off a quiet week for BG.  Tuesday they play Notre Dame College and then the following Sunday they play @Cincinnati, probably the toughest game on their schedule.

For now, BG is 2-4.

Falcons Close With Win...or 3

So, BG finished with a win over Buffalo, winning 3 straight at the end for the first time since 2001.  I'll have more reviews of the season coming up, but for now we'll just say that this wasn't 2001 and just because PJ Fleck was 1-11 in his first year doesn't mean that every coach who has a bad first year is going to the Cotton Bowl.  Also, winning the three easiest games on your schedule at the end doesn't automatically constitute improvement.

But, for now, I am happy that BG got the win.  I'm happy that our seniors--who are two-time champions--are leaving with a win as their last memory.  They do deserve that.  And, as much as I am not going to buy into the turn-around narrative, heading into the off-season with a win is a lot better...provided that it doesn't leave some in the program with the idea that they've fixed everything and we're good to go.

Which I don't think we are, but that's another post.  (And I hope our coach doesn't think so and I don't think he does, but it worries me).  Anyway.  A win leaves a much better taste in the mouth.  And is more fun.

It was an extremely entertaining game with a big finish, if you like that kind of thing.  It was the kind of day where BG couldn't stand success and kept letting the 2-9 Bulls back into the game until making the final play to win.

In the first half, the new look BG running attack was nearly unstoppable.  And, in fact, the BG defense was dominant.  After a fumble on the first drive, BG got a 3-and out with a sack and the offense got the ball back and drove 60 yards on a 7-run and 1-pass drive to get a TD and a 7-0 lead.

The defense got another 3 and out and the offense drove to the UB 27 on 6 running plays.  Coppet was stopped just short and BG ran to the line to run the QB sneak but Morgan was stuffed and UB got the ball back.  Mark that down.

UB drove to the BG 43 on one first down but got a false start on 3rd and 1, didn't convert and punted the ball into the end zone.

BG then ran a 13-play drive down the field, getting to a 3rd and 3 from the UB 24.  Wilson only got 1 yard on 3rd down and then Morgan was sacked on 4th down and BG turned the ball over on down.

UB went 3 and out.

BG drove again, from their own 30 to the UB 36.  It was 3rd and 3.  BG got a yard on that play and then an incomplete pass on fourth down.

So, there's 5 minutes left in the half.  BG has dominated and could easily have 21 points in they had been able to execute on 3rd down...and to a lesser extent on 4th down.

So, UB got a 27-yard pass and a 38-yard run and scored two plays later.  The XP was blocked, but what shouldn't have been a game was a game.

BG took the ball over with about 4 minutes left.  They get a one-minute TD drive capped by a 52-yard Coppet run for a TD and its 14-6.

Off a touchback, UB started on their own 25 and got nothing on the first play.  Charmingly, BG called time out.  (about 3 minutes left).  UB than made BG's defense look completely vulnerable at the end of the half, marching down the field for a TD in 2 minutes.  BG up 14-12, after 2XP missed.

BG got the ball, and actually UB is calling timeout to get the ball back, which they don't.  So, it is 14-12.  Just shouldn't be, but it is.

UB gets the opening kick off and drive inside the BG 30.  On 2nd down Trent Greene for BG lays the lumber on Rohach, forced a fumble and then recovered it.

Taking the turnover, BG drive to the UB 29, CONVERTS a 4th down and 5 but then gasses out on a 3td and 5 and this time kicks a FG to go up 17-12, but still a missed opportunity.

BG's defense delivers again, forcing a fumbled inside the UB 40, which BG recovered.  There's about 6 minutes left in the 3rd and BG has a chance to take a commanding lead on a very short field.  They drove to the 11 yard line, but a loss of 1 on first down left them with a tough 3rd down and they did not convert.  (As Coach points out, with this system you need a good first down gain).  Anyway, BG gets a FG but misses an opportunity to put UB out.  20-12, 4 minutes left in 3rd.

UB drove the ball to the BG 34, and then on 4th down Terrance Bush made a huge play, sacking Rohach in the open field for a 12-yard loss.  This time, the offense capitalized.  In a drive that stretched 8 plays and into the start of the 4th quarter BG drove to the 1 and then ol' Leonard Skattebo drove it into the end zone.  Up 27-12, BG's defense gets a stop on the next drive.

BG has the ball on its 43-yard line with 10 minutes left and a 15-point lead.  Should be in good shape, eh?  I mean, should be in MUCH BETTER shape, but still.

BG has a 3rd and 6 on the UB 32, but they were sacked and punted into the endzone.

7 minutes left.  BG gets a sack on first down for -9.  And here the worm turns.  UB completes a 30-yard pass, a 52-yard pass and a 7-yard pass to score THREE PLAYS later to make it 27-19.

BG gets the ball back with 5:50 left.  In no way, NO WAY, does anyone want to give the ball back to UB.  You need about 3 first downs--UB has 1 timeout--to bleed the clock.  There's a big 3rd and 2 from the BG 43.  Cleveland converted and then got 15 on the next play.  UB uses its timeouts timeout with 3:13 left.  Wilson gets 10 yards down to the UB 24.  Here, you have to feel good.  UB is out of time outs...less than 2 minutes.  BG should be able to bleed the clock.  Should finally be over.

Except Cleveland fumbled and UB recovered.  UB now begins to move down the field, essentially without being contested.  With :28 left UB was on the BG 15 and threw a pass to the 1.  Tavarous Wade made the play of the game as he was alone with the WR and kept him out of the end zone on the 1.

UB runs to the line, tries a hand off, but it is dropped and they have to fall on the ball.  There's a very good chance the clock would run out before they could clock the ball, but BG has an injured player and the clock stops for that.

With :04 left, UB throws an incomplete pass.  Clock shows :00, cannons are going off...but not so fast my friend.  There' s :01 left after a replay.  BG send the house up the middle, Rohach flings it into the end zone and falls incomplete, and BG finally wins the game, if only because there was no more time to give Buffalo another chance.

Wow.  Quite a finish in the same end zone the North Dakota game ended in.  Well, a win is a win and all that.  BG had the better of the play the whole way, with the exception of very dreadful defense at the end of both halves.  BG won and deserved to win.  More to come.

Friday, November 25, 2016

THE GAME: BG and Morgan State

At noon on Saturday I know you are thinking about....Morgan State

Well, a few people will be.  MOST people around here will have their eyes on the Horseshoe, but there will be some eyes on the Stroh Center.

BG is playing Morgan State in a game the Falcons should absolutely win.  The Bears were 9-22 last year, and finished t-9th in the MEAC.  Their final RPI was 329 and their final kenpom was 304.  And, they lost four starters from that team.

They are picked to finish 12th in the Blue Ribbon and 9th in their media poll.  They have made 2 NCAA appearances, in 09 and 10, with 2 first round losses out as a #15 seed.

Right now, they are #333 in and are 2-3 for the year, 1-3 in D1 games.  They beat Campbell at home, and lost to Towson, Houston and Brown, all on the road.  They played Wednesday night in Providence RI. Not sure if they went home in the meantime, but that's a pretty good amount of travel.

Not to build expectations too high, but BG and Morgan State, thus far, are two of the worst-shooting teams in D1.  BG is ranked #313 in effective FG% and Morgan is #303.  Morgan combines that with 21.6% turnovers...which leaves them #334 in offensive efficiency.  Now, to their credit, they are very effective on the offensive boards, with 36%, which is in the top 60 in the country.  They also do a good job getting to the line and are #9 in the nation in making FTs, with over 80%.

On defense, Morgan State has been easy to shoot against.  They allow 54% effective field goal %.  They generate an average number of defensive turnovers. are very poor on their defensive boards (38.2%) and average at letting opponents get to the line.

The Bears are being lead this year by 6'5" JUCO transfer Tiwian Kendley.  He is scoring 21.7 PPG, but it is a very inefficient scoring.  He uses a shit load of possessions.  In fact, he is #11 in the country in percent of his team's possessions used.  He shoots 36% and 27%.  He also averages 6.6 RPG with almost 5 turnovers a game.

Also in double figures is Phillip Carr, a 6'8" JR.  He's scoring 17.8 PPG on 57% shooting and 8.6 RPG.  Kyle Thomas (6'7" SR) is scoring 10.8 PPG on 42% shooting and 6'7" FR David Syfax (from Detroit Pershing) is scoring 10 PPG on 50% shooting.  Their assist leader is Martez Cameron at 3.2 per game over about 3 turnovers per game.

The Bears are coached by Todd Bozeman, who coached at Cal and actually was the cause of them having to forfeit their entire 94-95 season and most of the next one.  He ended up with an eight-year show cause penalty.

On paper, this was put on the schedule to be a winnable game and it should be.  This team is nowhere near the team BG beat on Monday night.  Now, that's certainly no guarantee, but BG should be able to get this one done for a second straight win.

25 questions about the end

What is their body of work?

They are having a tough year at 2-9.  This is Lance Leipold's second season, and they both have been losing seasons.  In fact, Buffalo has had only one winning season since Turner Gill left after the 2009 season.  They beat Army and Akron, and lost to everyone else, including FCS Albany, who finished with a 7-4 record.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 24...which is on the young side.

Who are their statistical leaders?


What is their turnover ratio?

(Most of the stats below are conference only).  They are -4, which is not surprising given their record.


 How is their QB play?

Like BG, they are playing a R-FR QB, 6'7" Tyree Jackson from Michigan.  He's struggled worse than Morgan has, with a QB rating of 104.  He is their second leading rusher.

What is their scoring and yards per play?

They are last in scoring and #9 in yards per play.

Can they run the ball?

They are #5 with 4.6 yards per carry.  Their lead RB is #4 in the MAC with almost 107 yards per game and his 5.8 yards per carry is tied for the conference lead.

Do they pass the ball?

They are 11th in pass efficiency.  Jackson has only completed 54% of his passes with 6 TD and 6 INT and 11.4 yards per completion, all of which are pretty average to poor.  For the third week in a row, BG is playing a QB- compromised team, though this one is actually a QB.

How is their run/pass balance?

They are very evenly split at 51%

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

No.  They are 10th at the MAC average at 36%.

Do they score in the red zone?

Not really.  First, they have only 17 red zone trips, lowest in the MAC.  They score only 4.2 points per trip, which is not good.

Do they protect the quarterback?

Pretty average.  They allow sacks on about 5% of their passing attempts.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They are also #11 in scoring defense and in yards per play allowed.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are #11 in rushing defense and #10 in yards per carry allowed.  Excellent opportunity for further exploration of the real Mike Jinks.

Can they be passed on?

They are better here, #8 in pass efficiency defense.  They allow 56% with 10 TDs and only 4 INT.  They allow 14.3 yards per completion, which is just bad.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are 10th in the MAC, allowing 47% conversion.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They are not bad at 4.9 points per trip.

Do they pressure the QB?

They are average with 4.9% sacks.

Special Teams:


They are dead last in net punting.  They have been blocked twice and have a TD return against (all games).

Punt Return?

Not bad at 7 yards per return, which is pretty good.


He's poor.  All games, he is 11 of 18 and 9 of 12 inside 40.  Long of 45, blocked once. (All games)


They are last in the MAC.  Teams average starting on the 35.  They have allowed a return TD.

Kickoff Return?

They are 10th in the MAC in kick returns.  They start on the 25 in all games.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

Well, this is it.  The way BG is playing now you'd expect to win this game.  Buffalo is just not very good.  I don't know if Coach Leipold has his program going in the right direction or not, but he is really struggling.  I get the feeling BG's players are trying to leave with a better taste in their mouth, and I'd hope to see that kind of an effort in what promises to be a deadly quiet football environment at the Doyt.  BG matches up well against this team and I would hope that BG finishes the job and heads into the off-season on a "positive" trajectory.