Falcons Win Tight Game with EMU
OK, I made fun of them for having a "scrappy" defense, compared them to blind dates, etc. EMU almost got their first win against us tonight. Luckily, we hung on and got the win.
Right now, this is what the MAC is---Survivor. No one is excelling, and the team that doesn't play themselves out of contention will be the ones who win.
With that in mind...we won. We're still on the island. And that matters.
It was actually a fun night to be at the Doyt. Passable homecoming crowd, fans got into the game when it was close, and it was an exciting game. We were, at one point, in some serious trouble, but we eventually pulled it out. We played hard and well down the stretch. Yes, EMU is winless. Keyword: we stayed on the island.
The turning point of the game came in the third quarter. Up 21-17, EMU was on our 43. Eric Deslauriers got himself wide open in the end zone and dropped a sure TD. That was actually on a first and 23 play, and EMU completed one pass for 10 yards, and then on third down we stopped Deslauriers 2 yards short (that kid defines a downhill runner). They sent out their very reliable kicker (Andrew Wellock) who missed a key FG (looked like a poor snap/hold from where I was).
So, from a potential 28-17, to a potential 24-17, to 21-17. BG took the ball on a 12-play, 78 yard, 4:07 drive to take the lead. 24-21 Falcons, which was the eventual final score.
The offense was good enough. Chris Bullock had 99 yards and the winning TD (6.2 avg), and AT had 67 positive yards (though he lost 20 on sacks). (Freddie got the ball 5 times on the run to little effect....he scored on a 4 yard run). Bullock has clearly won the starter's job, and I believe will be a consistent performer at BG for his career.
The key thing is that while the offense struggled to score for most of the game, we got drives when we needed it. One was the TD drive off EMU's missed opportunities. The other was when we got the bal with 7:05 left and a four point lead. Obviously, a good drive (even one that doesn't score) wins the game. We got just that.
After a Partridge drop, we were facing a 3-10 on our 26. AT goes back to pass, and finds Freddie at midfield. Barnes makes "a play" on a ball behind him, and helps cement the game for his team. We then ripped off another first down, and stalled out from the EMU 36. But, we ate up 4:01, and when Rojas dropped the punt on the 6 (more later), EMU's inconsistent offense was faced with going 94 yards to win.
That is the kind of player I think Freddie is. He isn't a receiver, and is just learning the position, but when the ball was in his vicinity with the game on the line, he went up and got it. That's what you need to win games.
The defense also struggled much of the day. EMU racked up some big TOP numbers and yardage numbers, especially in the second quarter. Our tackling was back to the old Falcons. They were passing all over us.
But, in the fourth quarter, with the game on the line, the D answered the call. They got much more physical, delivering some serious hits in the open field. And, most importantly of all, the D line took over the game. The pass rush was devastating. Parks and Briggs were living in the pocket, and all of a suddden, EMU didn't have time to exploit our young D-backs. After BG took the lead, EMU went three and out twice, both times with sacks on third down. Other hurries were evident, and the EMU QB rarely had any time to set up at all.
Terrell White continues to be a stud player for us. Nine tackles (tied with Briggs for team high), 2 INTs, 11 break up, one sack and one hurry. The one time walk on RB is our best defensive player on a unit where playmakers are emerging. I would hope he has a shot at defensive POTW in the East.
A couple more notes. After much agony over special teams (punting especially), we really excelled there today. Rojas was an absolute weapon. He punted five times. Four of them ended up inside the 20. The final punt, where the LOS was the EMU 36, and he pooched it so it was downed on the six, was a critical play saving 15 yards. (fans in my area were saying we should go, but we made a decision and executed to make it work). Ellis made his kicks, no returns were broken--only a roughing the punter spoiled the effort. So, for all the wailing, these units really delivered today.
Finally, Eric Deslauriers is a special player. He was open all day, just as he was open all day every time we ever played him. Yes, he dropped a big pass. He was also 10-172 and 2 TDs. If he doesn't play in the NFL, the CFL is a certainty (he is Canadian). He's a credit to himself and their program.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Falcons Win Tight Game with EMU