Friday, October 20, 2017

25 questions for the dog

Who's a good boy?
What is their body of work?

NIU has been one of the most dominant teams in the MAC, threading the needle with coaching changes and keeping a consistent track record.  Their secret has been hiring internally. Their streak of West titles was snapped last year but they have a P5 win @Nebraska this year.  Their consistent track record of success would be the envy of any team in the MAC.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 27 which is a pretty normal number.

Who are their statistical leaders?

Sutton Smith is for real.  In addition to being mid-season All-American, he is #19 in forced fumbles, #1 in sacks and tackles for loss.

Jawuan Johnson is #3 in INT.

What is their turnover ratio?

They are -2.  They have lost 14 (same as BG) and gained 12.


How is their QB play?

Well, it wouldn't be NIU if they didn't have QB injury issues.  Ryan Graham was supposed to be the guy, he was injured and then some Santa-guy was in there, but now the starter is R-FR Marcus Childers.  He seems pretty good.  He's completed 64% of his passes at only about 10 yards per completion, but with 4 TDs over 1 INT.  He's thrown only 54 passes.  His efficiency is 138 as compared to Morgan at 102.

What is their scoring and yards per play?
Actual statue being made at NIU
Not made up

They are pretty good.  They are #5 in the MAC in scoring and but 10th in yards per play.  Which is weird because they are also not great on 3rd down or in the red zone, both of which usually boost scoring.  They have 2 non-offensive touchdowns.

Can they run the ball?

They are traditionally run heavy.  They are this year, but they aren't great...they are #6 with 3.8 yards per rush, which is nothing to write home about. Their lead rusher averages 5.3 yards per carry.

Do they pass the ball?

They are in the middle of the pack in pass efficiency, though Childers is off to a good start, as noted above.  They usually have one big play WR, but if they do he has yet to reveal himself.

How was their run/pass balance?

No surprise here, they have run on 58% of their plays.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They are 8th in the MAC at 38%.

Do they score in the red zone?

They are not good....4.2 points per trip.

Do they protect the quarterback?

They are OK...sacks on 6% of their passing plays.

Which one is the real dog?

Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They are the best defensive team in the MAC both in scoring and yards per play.  They allow only 3.9 yards per play.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are #1 in the MAC at 2.4 yards per play.  That's #3 in the nation.  Worrisome for BG.

Can they be passed on?

Not easily.  They are #1 in the MAC in passing defense.  53% completions with 11 yards per completion and then 5 TDs and 10 INT, the last number of which is tied for MAC lead.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are #1, allowing only 24%.  That's #4 in the nation.

Do they defend in the red zone?

Not surprisingly, they allow only 3.5 points per trip, which is really good.

Did they pressure the QB?

Yes.  Yes they go.  Sacks on 9% of their opponent's passing attempts.

Special Teams:


They are pretty good.  #4 in the MAC in net punting.  No blocks and no TDs allowed.

Punt Return?

They are 7th in net punting.


Christian Hagan is struggling at 4 of 10.  He's 3 of 7 inside 40 and 1 of 3 beyond, and has been blocked twice.


7th in the MAC.  Teams start on the 25.

Kickoff Return?

Decent, they start on their 24.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

Sorry Diesel.  BG 47, NIU 27
As rough as the matchup last week looked, it looks worse this week.  NIU is good at all the things BG is bad at.  They have a really good defense which will cause BG huge problems up and down the line and while their offense isn't great, they have a mobile QB and a good RB who, if history is a guide, will look better against the BG defense.  NIU is a 14 point favorite on the road.  Can't be a good feeling for BG.  Nothing we have seen from BG suggests the Falcons can make this very competitive but maybe we will see something we haven't seen yet.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Another football de-commit

So there's that.  Raveion Hargrove has de-committed.

He is a highly-recruited, 3-star RB from the Dayton area.  He has a lot going for him.  Here's what I wrote when he committed.

This just makes things more difficult for our current coaching staff, who are now 1-6 but fans were hanging onto the idea that it appeared that they could recruit.  You had to wonder if the losing was going to spill over into this area.  Don't know if it has, but it can't be helping.  It is the 2nd de-commit since the season started and they were both 3-star players.

Some teams in the MAC have recruited well while losing.  You do offer playing time, not redshirts.  Also, some teams have gotten stuck in a rut and been unable to get out.  Let's hope it isn't the second, because recruiting has been the only thing we appeared to be doing right.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Wagner on QB Situation

So, there's the news today.  The "if we had a game today" isn't exactly a 100% endorsement of Morgan playing, but given how Coach has discussed it I would expect to see it be Morgan and Loy on Saturday.  BG then has a long break before the Kent game, if that ends up helping.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Jinks Presser: Package Expansion

So Coach Jinks had his presser today.  Not too much newsworthy...obviously, he has to talk about his QB and that did come up.

Doege threw today.  They will decide by tomorrow if he can go, which he will only do at 100%.
If he cannot, then Grant Loy will have an "expanded package" on Saturday (the mere possibility of which might explain our recruiting success).  You will see Loy playing more at the expense of Morgan.

He noted that OU adapted to stop BG's run with 9 in the box.  He says NIU will start that way and BG will need to throw from the very beginning.  NIU leads the conference in run defense and they are not going to let BG get rolling on the ground.

Morgan was out practicing his long balls during the presser.

Redding is questionable for Saturday.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Past and Future Opponent Land

Michigan State (5-1)  Beat Minnesota 30-27
South Dakota (6-0) Defeated Indiana State 56-6.  Started week #4 in FCS.
Northwestern (3-3) Beat Maryland
Middle Tennessee (3-4) Lost 25-23 to UAB. Still operating without Stockstill and James.
Akron (4-3)  Beat WMU on the day after biblical rains.
Miami (2-5) Lost to Kent without Ragland
NIU (4-2) Won 14-13 @Buffalo
Kent  (2-5) Upset Miami
UB (3-4) Lost 14-13 to NIU.  This team is much improved.
UT  (5-1) Won at CMU
EMU (2-4) Lost to Army


FBS:  11-26
P5:  4-17
FCS:  10-1

West vs. East.  4-4

Some positive notes and a couple general ones

So there were a couple positive things out of the game Saturday.

The first is Andrew Clair.  This young man is a very good player.  He had 148 yards on 18 carries and that's over 8 per carry and he scored twice.  He is a true freshman and he appears to be the real deal.

Both Fred Garth and Marcus Milton had big picks for BG....nice plays by both of them.  They also ended up as BG's #1 and #2 passers.

Cleveland was also effective.  His numbers went down because he got the brunt of the carries when OU was jamming the box.

Jake Suder is money.

Joe Davidson had another really good game.

Other notes:

Teo Redding was injured early and missed most of the game, which is a real shame given that he kind of had a break out last week.  BG got decent play out of Phoutavong and even Pough was open deep.

Guyton did play.  He was targeted numerous times but did not finish with a reception.  There were a couple drops and then he was targeted on the pick-six.

BG held OU to 2-11 on 3rd down.

I know Falcon fans want to see Loy get a shot.  I'm just guessing he isn't close, because Coach has said that if he thought someone else could play they would be in there.  I don't know how much longer Doege will be out and I don't know if they are considering declaring it a season-ending injury and re-redshirting him.  At this point, I would doubt it.

Great to have Cam Jefferies back.  He had 3 breakups and probably played his best game as a Falcon.

Take The Flag Down

So I wonder how the Dino-Babers-is-the-worst-coach-ever crowd is faring today?

Very disappointing day.  Bowling Green played a really solid first half and was down 21-16.  The Falcons had largely controlled the OU running game and I felt like the corners were playing really well.  BG's defense had a couple nice turnovers, though the offense had also turned the ball over twice, including one soul-crushing pick 6 from deep in its own zone when either Morgen or Guyton or possibly both did the wrong thing.  BG was running very effectively, however.

The second half was another story.  OU made adjustments.  They went to a double TE look and went to read option and pitch option plays.  On defense, they moved their safety up into the box and dared us to take advantage of the 1-1 opportunities that created.  (The pitch option stuff started in the 2Q.  This is common in the redzone for them and has been for years.  Rourke is in the top five in the nation in rushing touchdowns).

What were the results of those changes?

  • OU outscored BG 27-14 in the second half to send the Falcons to 1-6.
  • BG crashed heavy from the outside twice in a three-play span allowing Rourke 75 and 29 yard runs.  (The first is bad enough, but you go to the bench and then come out and do the same thing again?)
  • OU passed three times in the second half.
  • What was BG's counter-adjustment to OU bringing in 2 TEs and running the ball?  This was apparently unanticipated. After the game, Coach says we were undersized at the point.
  • On offense, BG tried to exploit those 1-1 matchups with numerous long routes which found WRs open deep but with the ball overthrown.  Precisely zero completed.
  • BG's plan B to attacking a full box was to continue to try long throws over the top.  Apparently, there is no other way to do it.  In fact, Coach said as much.

Look, Solich is a good coach.  He did what good coaches do and what we used to do when Clawson was here.  We had apparently no other plan, rather than doing things you have seen won't work and then shrugging after the game.

I know that you can say that the players have to make plays.  That's what coach says.  You know, though, part of coaching is to see players get better.  You'd like to see a player get more accurate throwing the long ball.  You'd like to not see the defense not run themselves out of position time and again in every game. 

Coach says we don't tackle the QB.  Literally been a problem all season.  Players have to make plays but aren't coaches supposed to be teaching?

You know the position group that was most improved yesterday?  CB.  The only position coached by a Babers holdover.

We are going to need to figure it out.  Our running game is going to face full boxes the whole way in.  Maybe Doege helps that.  Not sure if that long ball is his game, though.  And other teams are going to go to 2 TEs and run us over, too.

Meanwhile, Miami without Ragland lost to Kent and suddenly the one win we do have goes from looking pretty good to looking like less than that, especially since we nearly lost the game anyway.

We're a snap off the butt of a lineman from being 0-7.

Look, this was an uphill assignment, as noted in my preview.  I felt in the first half like we were finally getting some traction and then the second half just showed the same problems again.  We hoped for incremental improvement this year.  It is clearly not going to come on the record.  Whether it comes in the margins remains to be seen.  It has not been seen yet.  Not sure we are worse than last year but we aren't better.

I know we are recruiting well, but that's just part of the game.  I am looking for any evidence we can do any of the other things we need to do to be successful.

Friday, October 13, 2017

25 Questions about Camp Ohio

What is their body of work?

It's old mascot day
OU has 8 straight non-losing seasons, during which time they won 10 games only once.  This success is probably the best period in the history of their football program.  Prior to the arrival of Solich, they had only 8 non-losing seasons in the previous 30 years.  From 1985-95, they won only 19 games for example.  This year they are 4-2, with wins over Hampton, Kansas, UMass and EMU, and losses to Purdue and CMU, the last one coming in Athens, which can't be going down well.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 25 which is a pretty normal number.

Who are their statistical leaders?

Bradd Ellis is #3 in passes defended in the nation.
Nathan Rourke is #4 in rushing TDs and #17 in scoring.
AJ Oulette is #20 in rushing yards.

What is their turnover ratio?

They are -3, which is tough for a 4-2 team.


How is their QB play?

The OU style is to have dual-threat QBs.  That's what Solich has done since Nebraska.  They have one who is a little truer DUAL than usual this year.  His name is Nathan Rourke, who is from Oakville, ON and played last year in JUCO before transferring.  He's #4 in the MAC in passing efficiency and also averages 4.9 yards per rush INCLUDING his sacks with 9 TDs.

What is their scoring and yards per play?

This is an unusually potent offense.  They are #2 in the MAC in scoring and #3 in yards per play.  No nice way to put this, BG is going to have to play better defense than they have been playing (or keep
getting red zone turnovers) to stay in this game.

Can they run the ball?

This is always their calling card.  They are tied for first with a team average of 4.9 yards per carry.  AJ Ouelette is the #1 rusher in the MAC at 6.3 yards per carry.

Do they pass the ball?

This is the part that seems much stronger.  They are #4 in pass efficiency.  61% completions at 12.5 yards per catch and 9 TD over 3 INT.  That's very effective.

How was their run/pass balance?

No surprise here, they have run on 61% of their plays.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They lead the MAC at 51%.

Do they score in the red zone?

They are deadly.  They score 6 points per trip, with 25 TDs and 4 FG in 31 trips.

Do they protect the quarterback?

They are OK...sacks on 6% of their passing plays.

Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

Normally they are a very strong defensive team, but that's a little down this year.  They are #6 in scoring defense and 3rd in yards per play allowed.

Do they defend the run effectively?

Yes.  They are only allowing 3.3 yards per carry, which is 2nd in the MAC and that's a warning sign for the Falcons.

Can they be passed on?

They are not great here.  They are #8 in pass efficiency defense.  They allow 59% completions on 11.9 yards per completion and 14 TD on 4 INT.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are very good, #2 in the MAC.

Do they defend in the red zone?

Not very good, they give up 5.3 points per trip.

Did they pressure the QB?

They are decent, 6% of overall sack attempts.

Special Teams:


They are pretty good.  #4 in the MAC in net punting.  No blocks and no TDs allowed.

Punt Return?

They are 4th in the MAC in punt returns.  No TDs.


This is Louie Zervos, in his 17th year of kicking in the MAC.  He is 8 of 10 and 4 of 6 over 40 with a 46 long.  Has been blocked once.


5th in the MAC.  Teams start on the 25.  They have 11 touchbacks.

Kickoff Return?

Not good...they start on their 22.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.
This is from a dream I had the night
I ate the worm in the tequila.

This is not going to be an easy one for BG.  On the other hand, CMU beat them and I don't think they're the best team in the MAC so it can obviously be done.  BG will need to continue to develop on the offensive side of the ball....probably with more passing than against Miami...and then improve on defense, especially against the run.  The dynamic we saw in Oxford with all the yards against will not work Saturday in the Doyt.  On the other hand, you have a young team at home coming off a win.  Maybe they can pull a bigger surprise.  OU is a 9.5 point favorite, but this one would be every bit as surprising and as rewarding as last week's.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Injury Report

Compiled from the Blade and Sentinel...

Doege will dress, probably won't play
Cam Jefferies is practicing and is expected to play.
Malik Brown is practicing and is expected to play.

Matt Domer had surgery and is out for the year.