"It's tough to pin down a weakness for BGSU one quarter into the season. Special teams? Solid. Offense? Fluid. Defense? Opportunistic. A more complete team in the MAC may not exist."
Ryan Autullo, The Blade.
So says Ryan the Vowelmeister. (At four games, we are a third of the way into the season, but who am I to nitpick.) Like all Falcon fans, I remain cautiously pleased and optimistic about our season. Our win yesterday over WKU was what we should have had--a solid domination of a team we were supposed to beat. It was a nice, 20K+ crowd on a beautiful night in BG. We're starting to feel like we might be back. There are no dominating teams in the MAC (the closest might be Ball State)--we've got as good a shot as anyone to win the conference. Good day in the nation.
The overall review of the offense is positive. 28 first downs, 425 yards, some running success, plenty of points. Let's take a look.
Tyler Sheehan continues to be a force for this team. He was 31-42, three TDs, no INT and was only sacked once. He manages the offense really well, is in command, and rarely misses a throw. We don't even make audibles from the sideline anymore--he calls them all right on the field. He is still a SO, and has his big games in October and November ahead of him, but I am very encouraged at what I have seen.
We ran a little adjustment in the second half that put the game away. We have run it before. We call it fastball--it is a no huddle attack that puts a lot of pressure on the D and doesn't let them substitute, and just keeps pushing them down the field. It is a great way to set the tone for a half, and put the defense on its heels. And since we're planning it, we can put our best plays in.
We did some nice work with Anthony Turner, too. He's too good an athlete not to be on the field, and we got him some snaps. He actually lined up at RB in a couple key situations, and he can run the ball of a hand off. Its a nice mix--they can't key on him like they do in the direct snap. He is just a really strong runner. They also have to keep it at least in their minds that he might throw--and someday he will and it will be wide open.
Tyler Sheehan was injured at one point (apparently minor) and we brought in Anthony Glaud, who supposedly is #3 but seems to be our first choice to run the full playbook. He was very effective, for the record, and I think we can be confident that we have respectable depth at QB if Sheehan does get injured.
Finally, the question of the week was whether we can run the ball. Bullock and Geter got 16 carries (in 82 plays). Bullock averaged 5.1 and Geter 7.6, so that's an improvement. Still, coach said we took the starch out of them with the fastball, and we had them worn down. Things are good, so I'm not complaining. But I hope we can call on a running game if we need it.
The defense continues to be the thing that surprises Falcon fans the most. We just looked so poor last year, and this year, we just seem to have some great athletes out there and we are bringing solid game plans and a persistence we didn't see in the past.
Now, to be fair, we gave up yards to WKU, even when the game was in doubt. Black and Hayden both ran for 100 yards or more, though partly on some big runs. They are both good players and in space are going to get their yards. In fact, WKU had outgained us at halftime and came within 12 yards of us for the game.
Having said that, we really one had one bad drive. In the fourth, WKU drove ten plays, aided by some personal fouls and a BS pass interference call, and got their first score. WKU had seven first half drives, and turned it over on four of them. On 13 possessions, there were 3 TDs, five turnovers, and five punts--each of those in 3 or 4 plays.
It has been so long since we had a defense like this that we forget--its OK to force turnovers and score off them. Other teams do it all the time. It helps the team win.
We are assembling a real corps of damn good defensive playmakers. Let's look at what we say yesterday.
- Jahmal Brown forces fumble
- PJ Mahone 2 INTs
- Erique Dozier, INT, 12 tackles
- John Haneline 11 tackles
- Antonio Smith, INT 8 tackles
And that doesn't include Diryal Briggs, who had a quiet game. Black was very elusive and hard to sack. And it doesn't include Kenny Lewis, who made a big play against Temple.
Finally, special teams. As Vowel Boy said, they were solid.
- Vrvilo was 2-2 on FGs.
- Kickoffs were a little spotty. I don't know why we just don't let him drill it deep. One time, he squibbed one out of bounds, they made us kick again, and he drilled it to the goal line and then we tackled the guy on the 22.
- We have the best kickoff returns we have had in a long time. Roger Williams is going to break one. And, he founded Rhode Island.
- Punting was solid. No adventures. 39.4 average, 38.0 net. Three inside 20.
- Punt returns. I don't know. Charles did OK, 9+ average. But, he makes me real nervous. He just looks like a train wreck waiting to happen. Perhaps I am wrong.
- @ Kent
Our fate is still unknown. But, I like where we are right now.