Friday, April 16, 2004

With the Spring game past, I thought I would take a minute to compare the 2002 and 2003 BGSU Football teams, just for the fun of it.


The 03 Falcons actually scored less than the 02 team, and by a full TD. Scoring went from 40.8 to 33.6 in the one season.

Obviously, there are a number of factors in that number--not the least of which was a tougher schedule. Still, its an odd result, because:

The '03 team had almost 6 more first downs per game.
The '03 team had almost 9 more rushing yards per game.
The '03 team had more than 70 more passing yards per game.
The '03 completed 8.3% more passes than the '02 team.
The '03 team ran 15 additional plays per game.
The '03 team had 1:54 more TOP.
The '03 team had 5% higher 3rd down conversion.
The '03 team had 1.1 yards per pass more gained, on average.
The '03 team ran the ball less (52.5%) than '02 did (55.7%).

Why--Two specific reasons--turnovers, and red zone efficiency.

In 2002, BG was 61 of 63 in the red zone. Those 61 scores were an amazing 52 Td's and 9 FG's. (No missed red zone FGs). That's 339 points on 63 trips to the red zone--or 5.4 points per trip. The percentages you see are often misleading because a FG and a TD count the same, but to get 5.4 points EACH TIME you are in the red zone. Its mind boggling.

2003….59-70….45 TD's, 14 FG's. That works out to 312 points on 70 trips, or 4.45 points per trip, and nearly a point less per trip than the year before. There were six missed FG's in the red zone, in addition to five other errors. But the key variable here is seven fewer TD's in a year where there were seven more chances to score.

Clearly, the 2003 team was not able to match the deadly precision of the 2002 team in the red zone.

Turnovers are the other problem. Coach Brandon has identified this as an issue, and it’s 100% true. Winning 11 games with a -6 turnover differential is no small feat, and a tribute to our D, and our O for creating new scoring chances time and again. In 2002, we were plus 9, so the difference is 15 TO's, more than one per game. In raw numbers, we committed ten more turnovers (in two extra games, granted), with eight of them being fumbles and two more interceptions. Even factoring in the extra plays, we still had a worse record turning the ball over.


This has been the subject of some debate here. Numerically, there is little doubt that our defense had a good season. First of all, in an odd coincidence, despite playing two more games, we gave up the exact same number of points as in 2002--304.

The 2003 team allowed 3.6 fewer points per game than the 2002 team.
In total offense, BG gave up four fewer yards than in 2002.
Sacks were up from 1.3 per game to 2.4 per game.
Third-down conversions were 33% for the 2003 team, as opposed to 41% for 2002. (Getting off the field was a noted strength of the D in 2003).

By almost every other measure, however, the 2003 defense was a little worse than the 2002 defense.

Yards per play, was up slightly in 2003 (5.4) over 2002 (5.1)
Rushing yards allowed per game was up in 2003 (153.4) as compared to 2002 (131.7)
Yards per rush was up as well, from 3.9 to 4.2.
Completion percentage by the opponents was about the same (2002: 53.8%, 2003: 54.7%)
Yard per pass was 6.8 in 2003 as opposed to 6.4 in 2002.
The opposing team ran five more plays per game.
We picked up 22 turnovers in 14 games in 2003, as opposed to 27 turnovers in 12 games in 2002.
We had three defensive TD's in 02, none in 03.

Special Teams

These are hard to rank, but on balance the workman like stuff was OK/a little weaker, but we didn't make big plays on special teams in 03 like we did the year before.

In terms of placekicking, Shawn Suisham was much worse in 03 than he was in 02. Now, in 02, he was really, really, good, hitting 12 of 14. Still, UM limited his chances and didn't always show confidence in him. His 66.7% was well below that, and tied for sixth in the MAC. He also missed 4 extra points (% was 11th in MAC), and kicked a lot of kicks out of bounds.

Nate Fry had a tough job coming in for Pat Fleming at punter. In his senior year, Fleming punting 3.6 times per game (!) for an average of 39.2. Nate's numbers were about the same, with 3.5 punts per game (!!) and a 40.2 average.

KO returns--while this seemed like a lackluster part of the game during the season, but we were third in the MAC, and increased our returns from 19.9 per game to 20.3 per game.

Punt Returns--Exactly the same (8.1 average) as the season before.

KO Coverage--This facet of the game was considerably worse in 03. Some may recall that UM preached KO coverage big time, and it showed with a 15.9 average in 02. In 03, the average was 18.9, 9th in MAC.

Punt Coverage--Much improved. In '02, teams averaged 15.7 yards in PR against us, but in '03 that tightened up to 9.4 yards.

Big Special teams plays--Another big fall-off here.

In 03, we blocked 2 punts, while in 02 we blocked 7 punts.


The offense controlled the ball and just created chance after chance after chance. The defense was plenty good, and the special teams were adequate. However, as has been noted, if the offensive production falls off, then we need better play on D and special teams to make up for it. I think its there--at least on D, but that remains to be seen.

No comments :