Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Falcons to Battle Titans on Tuesday

It is a mystery to me why the University of Detroit is not a consistent power in basketball.  They really should be.  They are in a fertile recruiting area in a basketball town.  Their town is picked over by recruiters from around the country.  It just should be something you can count on.

Alas, it has not been.  They have had their moments.  Ray McCallum Sr. took them to the tourney in 2012.  They made it twice in the late 90's.  But they are not a consistent power.

They decided that they had enough of Ray McCallum Sr. after a couple of average seasons and let him go.  (Note for the curious.  Ray McCallum Jr is playing in Turkey as a pro).  They went for Bacari Alexander, a UM assistant and UD grad, and this was an abject disaster.  He won 16 games in two years, was suspended, etc.  And fired.

Then, they went on a coaching search that did not end until the middle of June, when they named Mike Davis to the job.  And I believe they have the man who can do what they need.

Davis can coach.  He replaced Bob Knight and took IU to the Final.  He won 63% of his games at UAB and then he went to Texas Southern and took them to the NCAAs 4 times.  He was 88-20 in his conference games.  Is that something I might be able to interest you in?  He can coach and if they stay with him, I think he might do some big things at UD.

In the meantime, things could be a little rough.  They had only 3 scholarship players around when Davis got there.  Think about that.  He had to wonder how a team was going to end up on the court.

He went to work.  They have two graduate transfers...Angelo State and New Mexico.  The roster has five freshmen on it.  There's also 5 JUCO players.  I suspect they had to wear name tags to the first practice.

They are not expected to be good this year.  They are picked last in the Horizon.  Kenpom has them #329 out of 351 D1 teams.

They are 1-3 this year.  They lost @WMU by 13, @Temple by 16 and @Butler by 21, none of which would be called a catastrophe.  They beat Loyola-Maryland by 28 in their home opener last night, in what would qualify as jesuit-on-jesuit crime.  Loyola-Maryland is also ranked low, but that's a blowout win in your home opener.

They were led by Antoine Davis--the coach's kid, who was headed to Houston before Dad got the job in the D--WHO SCORED 42 POINTS shooting 14 of 21 and 10 of 14 from 3.  He also had 5 assists.

Is that something I might be able to interest you in?

He scored 32 against WMU, 30 at Temple and 20 at Butler.  Overall, he's shooting 49% on 2FGs and 50% on 3FGs.


Derrien King, the grad transfer from Angelo State (Jinks alma mater), scored 17 on 6 of 13 and 4 of 7 shooting.  Gerald Blackshear--a holdover--had 9 rebounds.

Anyway, this team might be on a quicker turnaround than expected.  They are #85 in frequency of 3FGs and #28 in making them this year, to date.  They are terrible at the free throw line.

This has actually turned into an interesting matchup.  Pure road game for the Falcons.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Falcons Beat Pirates with Buzzer Beater

Buzzer Beater!  Falcons win with Buzzer Beater! BOOM!

How do you like that?

The path to that result was far from certain for most of the way.  With hot shooting/spotty BG defense, the Pirates took the lead early, leading by 12 in the first half, 8 at halftime, and then back at 12 again in the second.  It was a surprise.  Hampton had been among the worst shooting teams in the country for two games this year and BG had been defending the shot well, but the world turned upside down for the first three-quarters of the game.

HU was leading through most of the second half.  They had a 12 point lead early in the half.  BG got it down to 2 with about 9 left, but the Pirates built it back up again.  BG got it to 2 again with and then finally strung a couple stops together, leading to a Justin Turner layup to tie the game with 4 minutes left...for the first time since very early.

HU called time and then was called for an offensive foul on their end.  Justin Turner scored again (3 straight baskets in this key sequence) and BG had the lead.  The teams traded stops for a minute and a half or so until Wiggins was fouled picked up a Lillard blocked shot and split the pair. 

With 1;01 left, BG was up 79-74 on a Lillard jumper.  But HU was still in the game.  Fisher made a 3 and then Wiggins was called for an illegal screen and Fisher hit a 2 and the game was tied again with :22 left.

BG lined up their hot hand in isolation, and Justin Turner drove and took a shot, but missed.  Lillard with the board, missed the putback and then Wiggins was there with a tap in as the buzzer sounded and the Falcons finished the game with a 81-79 victory.

Statistically, BG was outshot for the game.  Their shooting wasn't too bad--that's about average and they shot 45% and 38%--while Hampton struggled from the 2FG range (38%) but made 46% of their 3FGs to balance that out.  Note they came in making 17%.  Anyway, BG won the turnover battle and the rebounds were pretty even, with two very good rebounding teams.  Hampton is a really good FT shooting team, making 18 of 23 and BG was poor, at 10 of 16.

Overall, the Falcons had 1.05 points per possession and Hampton 1.03 points.

BG was led by Justin Turner, with 21 points on 10-22 shooting.  He added 4 assists and 2 blocked shots and guarded Hampton's big scorer during the time when he finally cooled off.  Michael Laster had his best game as a Falcon, scoring 15 on 7 of 12 shooting and 4 steals.  Wiggins did the double double again, scoring 13 and grabbing 11 rebounds, though they make him work for it more than they usually do.  He shot 5 of 11 with 3 turnovers.

Lillard had 11, most on 6 of 9 FTs. and Plowden also had 11 points on 5 of 7 shooting with 8 rebounds in 23 minutes played.

So, BG moves to 3-2.  They are right back at it again tomorrow against either Detroit or Loyola, MD, who are playing right now.  For an overall assessment, you'd like to think you could have had a less difficult time with this one, but they did end up getting the win.  Most teams in the MAC are probably better than Hampton, so BG will need to continue to grow its game by the time it starts league play.  But, better to do that on the backs of a win.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Past and Future Opponent Land

Oregon  (7-4)  Beat Arizona State 31-29
Maryland (5-6) Nearly put Urban back in the hospital.  But alas.
EKU (7-4) Beat Tennessee Tech 37-6.
Miami (5-6) Second upset in a row, beat NIU
Georgia Tech (7-4) Beat Virginia in OT
Toledo (6-5)  Beat Kent
WMU (6-5) Lost to Ball State
Ohio (6-4) In classic OU November play, whooped Buffalo after losing to Miami
Kent (2-9) Lost to UT
CMU (1-10) NA
Akron (4-5) NA
Buffalo (9-2) Lost to OU

MAC vs. P5:  3-20
MAC vs.  FCS:  10-0
MAC vs Group of 5:  5-8
East vs. West:  8-8

James Morgan was 24 of 31 for 268 yards and 2 TDs.

Hampton Preview

BG Men's basketball now moves along to the Detroit portion of the event they are in...the gotprint something or other.  Anyway, it is not a tournament in the sense that we can't actually, you know, win it.  But, there are two games at Calihan Hall--one of the classic old-school venues in college basketball.

The opponent for game 1 is Hampton.  It is at 5 pm Monday, and then we will either play Detroit or Loyola-MD on Tuesday at a time yet to be determined.

Hampton is a long-time member of the MEAC and this year they are making their move into the Big South Conference.  That's a move up in the sense that the MEAC is the 32nd ranked conference and the Big South is 26th.  (Winthrop, Radford, High Point (Tubby Smith), Charleston Southern, Gardner Webb, Campbell, Liberty, UNC Ashville, Longwood, Presbyterian).

Hampton won the regular season MEAC title last year and then lost to North Carolina Central in the final and went to the NIT.  Even with the move up, they are picked 4th in the Big South.  They have made the postseason for five straight years.  The Pirates have made 6 NCAA tournaments.

We've never played them.  BG beat Campbell from the Big South last year by 6 on the road at their multi-team event.

They have four starters back from that team.  They are 1-2.  They have a win over a non-d1 opponent and then they lost to VCU and Cal, both away.

So, that VCU is a common opponent.  Hampton lost by 12 to them.  BG lost by 11.  Both teams lost the margin with a late run.  They took much better care of the ball then BG did, but did not shoot the ball well at all.

In fact, for their first two games, they are the worst shooting team in the country, but it's still early.  They are making 36% of 2FGs and 16% of 3FGs (d1 games only) both in the bottom ten.

They do OK taking care of the ball, are good on the offensive boards and OK getting to the line.  They are below average on defending the shot and forcing turnovers, are very good on the defensive boards and very bad in terms of fouling and putting teams on the line.

Again, they've played decent competition to date.

The Pirates are a guard driven team.  Their leading scorer is Jermaine Marrow, a 6'0" Jr.  He is a stat stuffer.  He's averaging over 24 a game, and scored 25 and 26 in their games against VCU and Cal.  He's shooting 43% and 36%, which is not too bad and better than last season.  Also, about five assists per game (and a 1:1 A/TO) and 4 rebounds.  (All games for individual stats).

Their other star guard is Kalin Fisher, a 6'2" SR.  He's scoring 12.3 on 36% shooting and 0-for-9 from beyond the arc.  He is second on the team with 6.3 rebounds.  Both of them are outstanding FT shooters and Hampton is shooting 80% as a team, 14th in the country.  (They finished last year #25 in the nation, so that's not unexpected).  Greg Heckstall, a versatile 6'6" R-JR F is leading the team with over 7 rebounds per game.

They are not tall.  There are a couple of big guys on the team, but they don't play much.  In terms of effective height, they are 242nd in the country.  (BG is 99th).

On a neutral floor, this one could be interesting.  BG should win, but Hampton has a veteran coach and they are used to winning.  It will be an empty arena for that one, which is always interesting.

Sweet Victory: The Defense

The BG defense has been much maligned over the course of this season and it was reasonable based on the results.

The BG defense had little to no success stopping anyone.

In the last two games, they have finally stopped someone, and they have done it with less than a full complement of players.

They held CMU without scoring in the second half and they did the same with Akron.  They have not allowed a touchdown in 6 quarters.

All disclaimers apply.  CMU and Akron are both poor offensive teams and Akron's QB was clearly not 100%.  On the other hand, BG's struggles on the defensive side of the ball occurred against some high-powered offenses as well.  These are teams in BG's conference--not FCS teams--and BG has been stopping them.

And not without some additional adversity.  Look, the defense was going to be a struggle anyway, even if you keep everyone you had when last season ended.  But you have transfers and then discipline issues and then Konowalski and Belton are injured.  Things only got harder.  I know fans are critical of Pelini's management of the defense, but honestly losing all those guys and not being worse than last year was an accomplishment.

BG played yesterday with four down lineman.  That's incredible.  A first for Coach Pelini.  Most teams rotate 6-8 players on the line to keep them fresh, but the Falcons were forced to go old-school with their front.

And they got the job done.  They held Akron to 4.1 yards per play.  Akron rushed for 2.8 yards per carry.  They were 12 of 28 passing, for a decent 12.3 per completion.  The defense got no turnovers but had four sacks.

Names.  Nico Lautenen tied for the team lead in tackles.  Never seen that before.  He also had 1.5 sacks.  Caleb Biggers tied him with 7 tackles.  True freshman.  Kyle Junior with 3 TFL and a sack.  Karl Brooks--who committed after Pelini was here--is also a true FR and had 1.5 sacks.  Jonah Harper and Ty Redding broke up 2 passes each.  Jerry McBride played through two injuries.

And here's the coup de grace.  Akron was 1 of 13 on 3rd down.  You read that right.

You have seen some changes in playing time.  I don't know if they are related to injury or what.  Biggers seems to be getting snaps at the expense of Jamari Bozeman.

Last note.  Gregory will miss the first half of the Buffalo game due to the targeting.  I assume Redding will be in his place.  Coach Pelini says he has confidence in him.

LAST note.  It's going to be fun Friday.  Obviously, BG will be heavy underdogs.  Buffalo has everything to play for.  There will be zero pressure on the Falcons, however.  Who knows what can happen?

Sweet Victory: The Offense

Not going to lie.  The first 25 minutes or so were ugly for the BG offense.  Four punts, two turnovers.  Seven first downs.  Lots of missed connections.

It wasn't looking good.

And then, as noted in the overview, BG had that long drive at the end of the second...five first downs on that drive alone--and the Falcons were able to get into a rhythm that saw them score TDs on 3 of its last 4 possessions to put the game away.

I think the 4th down play was key.  BG went for it on 4th and 1 from its 29 on that key drive and converted.  I think when you see that kind of confidence in what you do, the teams feels it and moves from there.

BG had 5.9 yards per play, which is really good.  They ran for 5.4 yards per carry--also very good, and that includes sacks--and completed a high percentage of passes (19 of 27).

By the time it was done, it was a strong offensive performance.

Once Doege got rolling, he showed what he can do.  He completed 15 straight passes to start the second half and went 15 of 17 for the half.  BG didn't rack up the yardage--it was only 9.4 per completion--but the high percentage passing combined with the run allowed BG to keep the chains moving and they got the big pass to Miller when they needed it.

Scott Miller had 6 catches for 100 yards as he moves up the career reception charts for the program.  That's his 11th career 100-yard game, tying him with Charles Sharon for 3rd on the all-time list.

Morris had 3 for 30 and a TD.  Justin Sawmiller was in the rotation as well.

On the rushing side, Andrew Clair reminded us again that he is simply a difference maker.  He was 12 for 112 for an average over 9 yards.  Frye was 14 for 60, Loy was 8 for 47 and Denley 3 for 23 including a key 3rd down run.

BG's line seemed to play much better.  They've moved a couple guys around, put Kurtz at C and moved Bright back in at G.  Matt Tanner also got the start at the other G.  BG had a much more consistent running game and Doege was sacked twice, which isn't get on 29 drop backs but it was good enough to allow BG to keep passing.  Earlier in the year, BG was hesitant to drop back due to protection issues.

BG was 8 of 14 on third down.

And there were the two turnovers.  BG turned the old coach's saying on its head by winning the game despite losing the "turnover battle."

Last note.  BG is using a two-QB system right now with increasing frequency.  Coach has developed a package of plays for Grant Loy essentially to run, wildcat style.  Because Loy is a QB, however, the pass remains open and has to be accounted for.  Pelini says that it forces the defense to prepare for two different things and makes their task harder.  I know that a lot of fans hate these two QB things, but it isn't that different from what Florida did with Tebow from a tactical perspective.  I'm surprised we don't use it more in red zone and short yardage.

Either way, it has helped us generate some momentum and I think it makes the offense's job easier.'

Sweet Victory: Back-to-back edition, Overview.

And there it is.  For the first time in two years, BG has strung together back-to-back wins.

Well done, team.  I admire your grit and determination.  Enjoy it.

BG beat Akron 21-6 in a front of essentially no one at InfoCision Stadium in Akron.  Yes, that's right.  Akron scored 6 points and no touchdowns against Bowling Green's defense.

Let's get all of the disclaimers out of the way.  The preview Friday showed that Akron is not a strong team offensively and their QB Kato Nelson was hobbled and not at 100%.

With all the obstacles and difficulty this defense has faced this year, though, we're not going to feel sorry because we faced a team going through some of their own.  In fact, BG was also facing obstacles on defense.  DeMontae Haigler woke up with some kind of injury and couldn't play and Croslen didn't play either and BG played the entire game with four defensive lineman, something that Coach Pelini says he has never done.

So, BG had that going on against a team in the conference and we were on the road and BG's defense held them and the offense woke up late in the second quarter and scored enough for BG to win and celebrate.

How did it all happen?  The first 25 minutes or so were not promising for BG.  The offense had drives of 32, 27, 10, and 7 yards, followed by an INT and then a fumble.  Akron had kicked an early FG and then turned the INT into a FG and led 6-0.

At this point, the game turned around.  Loy had fumbled and Akron had it on their own 45.  They drove to the BG 36 but had a holding penalty and the Falcon defense got off the field.  The offense started at their own 10.

And then, BG put something together on offense.  The Falcons got the ball with 2:45 left in the half and marched the full 90 yards before Doege hit Dorian Hendrix with a 7-yard pass to put BG in the lead heading into the locker room.  The drive included BG converting a 4th and 1 from its own 29 and converting a 1st and 20 set of downs.  BG scored with :10 left in the half.

I just feel like that was huge.  You play pretty poorly on offense but the defense keeps you in the game and then get that late drive, especially the 4th down play, and take advantage of some penalties and take the lead.

The second half was all BG.

More depth issues emerged for BG when Montre Gregory was called for targetting on the second possession.  It looked like one they usually reverse to me, but it is what it is.  I don't see a lot of consistency in how those are called.  Ty Redding checked in and did a nice job, in fact.

BG got the ball on its own 23.  They used the Loy option quite a bit more in this game...which included a Loy pick on this drive called back due to Akron offsides.  In all, BG went on a 7 play 77 yard, 4 minute drive--highlighted by Doege to Miller for 42 yards and a Frye TD--to give BG a 14 to 6 lead with 1 minute left in the 3rd.

Here's an odd feeling I had.  At this point, you're pretty sure we can hold them for the win.

And then the finale.  BG catches a break because the kickoff returner put his knee down on the one yard line with the ball.  BG gets a 3 and out.  The offense starts on their own 48.  The Falcons covered the 52 yards in 8 flipping minutes to put the game away.  That's right, a 13-play, 52 yard, 8:00 dagger drive.

That includes converting a 3rd-12 on a Denley RUN, a 3rd and 10 to Wayne-Prather, committing a false start on 3rd and goal from the 2 and then scoring from the 7.

At that point, it was 21-6 mid-way through the 4th and the game was over.  Akron had a last drive which BG stopped and then it was as follows.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Falcon MBB: Two Signees in the fold

So, the early signing period for basketball is open and the program has netted two signees.  Both of them have been noted here in the past, but we have some more information on them now.

One of them is Davin Zeigler out of Cleveland Benedictine.  As mentioned when he committed, Davin comes from a basketball family.  Trey Zeigler is a cousin of his and his Dad played at Cleveland State.  Here's some info from the BGSU release.

A 6-2 guard out of Benedictine High School in Cleveland, Ohio, Zeigler heads into his senior year in 2018-19 after being named Preseason First Team All-Ohio by Prep Hoops. A four-year varsity player for coach Rob Stircula, Zeigler has led the Bengals to a pair of conference championships.

Benedictine has accumulated a record of 59-16 under the leadership of Zeigler – a multiple-year captain for the Bengals. As a junior, Zeigler averaged 19.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists on his way to earning All-State Honorable Mention Honors. Zeigler was also named First Team All-Conference and Second Team All-District.

As for Chandler Turner, he comes from the same high school that Justin Turner played at, though they are not related.  He's 6'7" and had a good amount of interest.  Coach says they had been targeting him for a few years.

Last season, he averaged 19.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists on his way to earning All-City honors for the second-straight year....Turner had several other Division I offers, including Buffalo, Kent State, Northern Illinois, Milwaukee, IUPUI, and Cleveland State.
BG has 3 seniors on the roster (Wiggins, Lillard and Uju) and one scholarship free, which leaves 2 more players to be recruited.  This part of recruiting has changed a lot.  With the advent of graduate transfers and regular transfers and also the importance of JUCO players, there is a declining emphasis on high school players. 

As an example, Buffalo had three signees announced and they are all JUCO players.

All that to say that there's a whole other world of recruiting that will happen after the season ends, like it or not.

Welcome to the Falcons, Chanlder and Davin.

Football Verbal: Chris Oliver

BG has yet another interim-era verbal commitment.  This young man is Chris Oliver, a two-way lineman from Erie, PA.  He plays at Cathedral Prep which is a legendary football program in that region.

He's listed on HUDL as 6'4" and 293.  There's another news story that mentions him from his junior year and he was in the 260s so that's decent.  Note that he thanks his personal trainer in the statement above.

As is typical with lineman, there's not a lot of information on him. They don't rack up stats and they don't end up in news stories very often.  There's no 247 profile on him.  A tweet from his school notes when he got the BG offer and that it was his first FBS offer.  He had offers from Notre Dame College, West Virginia State, Slippery Rock...based on a scroll of his twitter feed.

This post notes that he's expected to play d-tackle in college...noting that this is a tweet from his high school.

The lack of rankings don't have to mean anything.  We've seen what happens with guys with big star ratings--it's no guarantee they even make the field.  He plays at a state champion program.  They are 9-3 this year and they are playing today in the first round of the state playoffs.  If he's got the fire in the belly, let BG be the place where he proves everyone wrong.

Welcome to the Falcons, Chris.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Falcon MBB Beat North Carolina Central

So, BG got the job done last night against North Carolina Central.  There was a dicey period in the second half, but BG won by 15 after NCCS had lost by 20 and 21 to Clemson and Cincinnati, so in the end I think the result worked out as we would have hoped.

BG led by 14 at halftime and had the lead as high as 18 in the early second half.  I don't really start to worry until it gets below 10, which it did with 12 minutes left.  The Eagles kept chipping away, getting the lead to 7 at one point.  Between 8 minutes and 5 minutes, Zacarry Douglas nailed 3 3FGs and with 5:17 left the lead was down to 4.

Coach Huger took a timeout and BG came out and finished the deal, going on a 7-0 to lead by 11 with just inside 2 minutes left to play.  In all, BG had a 15-4 run to close the game after that timeout.

Looking inside the numbers, it was a slow paced game at 64 possessions.  Last year, BG only played  2 games with fewer possessions.  So what this means is that any stat you see is more impressive than on a fast-paced game.  BG ended up with 1.18 points per possession, which is their best this year would have been the 5th best last year.  That's as it should be, but doing what should be is not a bad thing.

They got there with good shooting.  BG shot 58% on 2FGs and 35% on 3FGs.  Last year, the D1 averages were 50% and 35% respectively.  BG combined that with a strong game in terms of taking care of the ball.  The Falcons did not rebound very well, but were only called for 11 fouls to NCCS with 19.  BG was 11-17 from the line (not very good)  but NCCS was 2 of 7.

Meanwhile, NCCS shot better than BG would like, with 45.2% on 2FGs and 38.5% on 3FGs and 26 of 57 FGAs from beyond the arc.  However, they turned the ball over more than they should in a 64-possession game and didn't get any help at the free throw line, and that was what resulted in the .94 points per possession, which was about what VCU had.

For BG, Wiggins continued to lead the way.  He had 22 points and 13 rebounds in a slow-paced game, which is pretty good.  He shot 10 out of 11 from the field and had only 2 turnovers.  He only got to the line for 5 FTs.  He only made 2, but has been around 80% for the year, which puts pressure on teams in terms of whether to foul him or attempt to defend him.

Justin Turner scored 20 with 8 of 15 shooting and 3 of 5 from 3FG.  The biggest surprise was Jeffrey Uju who scored 13 points on 5 of 9 shooting and made a trey to go with 4 boards.  We'll wait for a larger sample size to be sure, but I think that Uju appears to be a much-improved player.

Dylan Frye struggled to shoot but had 8 assists over 1 turnover.  Michael Laster added 4 assists in 15 minutes.  Lillard struggled to shoot but had 6 rebounds.

Anyway, BG is now 2-2.  Next up is Hampton from Calihan Hall in Detroit.

25 Questions that Zip

What is their body of work?

I think it is safe to say this program is languishing.  Bowden has been here seven years--and has won everywhere he coached--but Akron appears to be immune to his skills.  He's 34-49 in seven years and 4-5 and 2-4 this year.  Akron did win the East last year and beat Northwestern this year--the Wildcats will play in the Big Ten Championship.  Their two MAC wins are over CMU and Kent, which is a lot like BG's could be. 

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 26 which is pretty normal.  The offense is very young.

Who are their statistical leaders?

John Lako is #7 in total tackles
Alvin Davis is #7 in interceptions

What is their turnover ratio?

They are -11, which is last in the MAC.  (Unless otherwise noted, all stats are MAC-only.)


How is their QB play?

Well, that depends.  Kato Nelson is their normal starter and he's not bad.  Not a great passer but can run the ball.  He was injured in the NIU game and was not close to playing last week against EMU...a game in which the offense really struggled.  Nelson is questionable for the game tomorrow.  Without him, it gets much easier for BG, especially with their history of troubles with running QBs.

What is their scoring and yards per play?

Last week, BG put on their big second-half show against the worst offense in the MAC.  Akron is second worst, 11th in points and in yards per play.

Can they run the ball?

Nope.  They are last in rushing at 2.9 yards per carry.

Do they pass the ball?

They are 11th in pass efficiency.  One of two teams in the MAC completing 49% of their passes with 6 TD and 10 INT.  They do get 12.2 yards per catch, which is not bad.  Williams and Smith both have big play potential for the Zips.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on 52% of their plays, which is run heavy.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They are last in the MAC at 30%.

Did they score in the red zone?

When they get their, they are not bad at 5.3 per trip, but they have only 11 red zone trips in 6 games.

Did they protect the quarterback?

They do not.  They are sacked on 9% of their passing attempts.

Little known Akron company
That supplied all materials
To Wiley E. Coyote

Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They are 7th in scoring defense but 4th in yards per play.  Part of that discrepancy might be their awful turnover ratio.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are 8th in yards per carry allowed.

Can they be passed on?

They are 5th in pass efficiency defense.  They allow 61% completions for 9.8 per reception.  The latter is really good.  They have allowed 4 TDs and have only 2 INT.

Did they get off the field on 3rd down?

They do.  They are 4th in the MAC with 35%.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They are pretty good, with 4.5 points per trip allowed.

Did they pressure the QB?

They are OK, with sacks on 6% of attempts.

Special Teams:
Akron also hired a high school coach once. 
And yes, that's Jim Tressel


They are 2nd in net punting.

Punt Return?

They are 2nd in punt returns with a TD.  This is Jeremiah Knight, he's a good one.


Gasser is real good.  He's 13 of 17 for the whole year, long of 49, 7 of 8 inside 40.


Opponents start on the 25.

Kickoff Return?

They start on the 24.

Miscellaneous, Intangibles?

This is another of these who loves football games.  Akron is playing for bowl eligibility and given that they added South Carolina to replace Nebraska on the schedule, they will need to win their remaining MAC games to get to 6 wins and bowl-eligibility.  Based on the last Akron game I saw on #maction, the stands will be empty and any motivation will have to come from inside.  This team is a good matchup for BG and that's especially true if Nelson doesn't play or isn't 100%.  Love to see BG put 2 in a row together.

BG is a 6.5 point dog. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

North Carolina Central Preview

BG returns home to the Stroh to take on North Carolina Central, a team that played in the Big Dance last year out of the MEAC.

Here's some facts.

First, NCCS is a HBCU in Durham, NC.  Prominent graduates include:

Herman Boone, portrayed in Remember the Titans
Mike Easley, former Governor of NC
Ivan Dixon, Hogan's Heroes
Harold Hunter, first AA to sign an NBA Contract
Maynard Jackson, Mayor of Atlanta
Sam Jones, NBA HOF

They Finished 6th last year in the regular season and the won the tournament.  Played in first four, lost to Texas Southern

This is a successful program. They've won 20 games in 3 of the last 5 years.  Former DII National Champions.  As mentioned, they play in the MEAC, which is the 31st ranked conference out of 32

They are picked 2nd this year in the MEAC by Blue Ribbon.

It is the first meeting between the Eagles and the Falcons.  BG did play Norfolk State and Morgan State from the MEAC last year.

The Eagles are 0-2 this year, however, they lost to Clemson and Cincinnati by 20 and 18 points respectively.  Both those teams are ranked, so this game will be significantly different for them.

The Eagles are led by 6'9" Raasean Davis, who is pre-season all-MEAC. He scored 15.7 last year with 8.1 rebounds and was 3rd in the NCAA in FG% (67%).  Their leading scorer this year is Randy Miller, a transfer that started at Mt. St. Mary.  He's 6'3" and scoring 15 PPG on 43% and 46% shooting.

6'8" Zacarry Douglas is improving scoring 9.5 PPG and 8.5 RPG.  Guards Reggie Gardner and Jordan Perkins were third-team All-MEAC preseason.

As a team, they are shooting 34% for the year, but again, they've been playing tough competition.

This is one BG just needs to win and hopefully win comfortably.  They're coming off a pretty one-sided loss at VCU on Monday and this is a part of the schedule where they need to get some W's.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Pelini Presser

Coach Pelini had the chance to address the media Monday.

He said something interesting things.

First, he talked about a new drill he did with the oline and dline playing 1s on 1s.  They start every practice with it and he feels that it has made the team better and more physical.

Second, they looked around for guys who were being under-used on the current roster.  For the second week in a row that focused on Grant Loy, who is being used in a change of pace wildcat package, except he can also throw.  I continue to think that Pelini would feel better with Loy in, just based on how Nebraska used to play.

For example, Karl Brooks (True FR) caused the fumble Junior scored on.  Cedric Mitchell contributed on special teams.  Caleb Biggers has started the last 2 games as a safety.

So, I think everyone knows that the first two Jinks recruiting classes were thought to be good.  There were some losses and this year's class is currently way below the standard of the first two.  Even so, a new coach will have some talent on the way, if players can be retained.  We shall see.

Havoc > Falcon MBB

Woof.  Long night in Richmond.  VCU is notoriously tough at home and notoriously difficult to prepare for and BG felt the business end of that with a 72-61 defeat.  That score does not capture the game, however.  VCU led by 14 at halftime and 20 a couple minutes into the second half.  It was as high as 25 and was still 20 with 4 minutes left and BG got some garbage time to get the margin to 11, but it was a thorough beat down. 

BG turned the ball over way too often to win.  There were 27 turnovers--that's 36% of your possessions thrown away.  That's what Havoc is supposed to do.  Coach complained after the game that most of the turnovers were after breaking the press, but VCU traps you in your end and BG was not able to keep the ball moving or capitalize on the pressure with open baskets.  By the time BG was settled on offense, there were often 10 seconds left on the clock.  VCU presented something BG simply didn't handle.

That percentage of turnovers is the most since 2013 against Wright State.  On top of the turnovers, BG made only 36% of its 2FGs, which was comparable to only 2 games last season.  BG had .81 points per possession, which is not a winnable number. Surprisingly enough, VCU didn't have a great offensive game.  They had only .95 per possession and shot 45% on 2s and 27% on 3s.  If they had had a better offensive game, it would have been way worse.

One other thing that BG did that hurt them--in addition to turning the ball over--was commit fouls.  At halftime, BG had five players with 2 or 3 fouls.  Eventually, the fouls evened out, but BG was in foul trouble early and BG just never got into a rhythm or settled the situation down.

I guess if you are of a mind to, you could think that BG played OK defense, especially given the number of turnovers on the offensive side.  On the numbers, the BG defense was good enough to win, but time will tell if that was poor shooting or replicable quality defense.

Demajeo Wiggins led BG with 18 points and 13 rebounds.  He shot 4 of 7 from the field and 10 of 11 from the line.  He did make 6 turnovers.  Frye had 12 on 4 of 7 from 3, but had 1 assist and 4 turnovers.  Justin Turner had a rough 10 with 4 of 11 and 0 of 3 shooting, but added 6 rebounds and 4 assists and only 1 turnover.

The BG bench went much deeper, but it was a struggle.  Laster was 1 of 5 shooting with 7 rebounds and 6 turnovers in 17 minutes.  Fields and Sierra were each also 1 of 5 shooting.

Anyway, it was a forgettable night.  Things should look easier Thursday with North Carolina Central at the Stroh.