Saturday, November 24, 2007

Rocket Recap

As the dust settles, the raspy voice returns to normal, and the euphoria leaves, its time to finally recap the Falcons beat down of the Rockets last night at the Doyt.

Suffice it to say....beating Toledo is always good. Kicking their butt is always good, too. And it was good Friday.

You had the feeling right from the start that we were playing to win the game. I really love it when we bring out this part of our sort of has an Urban Meyer, foot on the gas pedal kind of feel.

So, when we went for it from the UT 1, I felt pretty good. No, we didn't make it, but we had them backed up and Coach had sent a clear message. We were playing to win.

We got a gift safety, and then started from our own 17 after no one caught the free kick. After what amounted to a 3-out, UT made another big mistake, roughing our kicker and giving us a first down. We got to the UT 29, it was 4-3 and even though Vrvilo could kick from there, we went again, and this time, Tyler ran for the first down. (Tyler ran quite a bit in the first quarter and then stopped, but I had the feeling it really opened things up for us).

We got the the 17, and it was 4-3 again. This time we line up for a FG. Coach says UT was in a "certain look" and the holder called fake. Uh, well, coach, the whole stadium (except Amstutz) saw Brighton staring down the sidelines waiting for the OK. Anyhow, the played worked, Brighton hit Winovich, and we moved the chains. On the next play, AT hit Barnes and it was 9-0.

That drive, in my mind, encapsulates what we came out to do. UT ran only five offensive plays in the entire first quarter.

The game's next key moment came early in the second when UT drove down to our 7 for first and goal. Our defense came up big again, as Jalen Parmale carried twice for four yards and then Lenehan threw an incomplete pass on a throw to the corner where the receiver was open for a long time before he threw it.

At that point it was 9-3 and we led 16-3 at halftime. The game's next key point came in the third. UT had taken the open drive, and relief QB Clint Cochran hit Nick Moore for a 37 yard score on a 2-1 play action. It was 16-10. If things went the wrong way, we were suddenly staring down the barrel of a 2003-type smoking.

They didn't go wrong. Less than one minute later, Tyler Sheen threw a lofting pass to Jermiah Kelly that juuussssttt got over the fingertips of the defender. Kelly caught the ball, cut inside UT's porous defensive backs, and finished up a 52 yard score. The lead was back to two scores again, and the rout was on....FOR US, this time.

The final proof that it was our night came on a pass from Tyler Sheehan to Freddie Barnes in the late third. Barnes dove for it in the UT end zone, and it glanced off his fingers....right into the hands of Chris Wright. I didn't see Wright there, and assumed the ball fell incomplete, until I saw sparks flying out of the cannon. That made it 30-10.

From there, it was all mop up duty.

Where to start?

The most important thing in understanding this game is knowing that UT came in leading the MAC in scoring. And they got 10 points. Yes, they were missing Aaron Opelt (stop whining Amstutz), but they still had their top ten national TB, Parmele. And, while he didn't have an awful game (19-82 for 4.3/carry), his long carry was 12 yards and he didn't score. Big kudos to our defense, who tackled the crap out of him, raced to the ball, wrapped up and pulled him backwards.

Cochran did end up with 202 yards passing, but he was unable to make the comeback because of the pressure he was under. He was sacked three times and hurried numerous times, and completed just over 50% of his passes and was picked 3 times. The defensive backfield also played a very strong game.

On the offensive side of the ball, we were simply outstanding. Tyler was 20-34, a little below his normal %. However, he still had 225 yards and two TDs. No sacks, no INT. An efficient, controlled performance that brought us the win.

We also ran the ball well. Anthony Turner had 96 yards on 19 carries, and Tyler ran 10 for 43. Even Willie Geter looked good, with 37 on eight carries. In all, we rushed for 201 yards on 44 carries (4.6/carry). Very nice.

A note: all football starts on the line, and we dominated the line of scrimmage Friday night. We had holes to run through, and Sheehan had all day to throw the ball. Our offensive line is the program's consistent strength over the past few years, and they were great. Equally great was our D-Line, who came out and played very well, are healthy now and really productive the last two weeks.

Oh, did I mention Anthony Turner, our Slash? 96 rushing yards, a TD pass and two receptions for 15 yards. Pretty good weapon.

Overall, a statement game from our program. Not this game, so much, because UT is on a down year. No, I'm more talking about running the table through the last four, including a win at a good Buffalo team and winning our rivalry game, both comfortably.

More in the coming days. Coach Brandon, a review of our seniors, bowl game chances, etc.

Suffice it to say this. First, we're on our way (almost for sure) to a bowl game.

Second, we bring almost everyone back next season.

It is so much nicer to close the regular season feeling like this, and not feeling like we did last year. A great deal of credit should go to our program. They turned it around, and we did it with six new assistants, a new QB, and let's not forget that we essentially did it without Corey Partridge and Eric Ransom, both of whom were expected to be big parts of the attack.

We ended up East co-champions, and can only look at that OU loss with some regret, but hey, what's done is done. Win the bowl game this year, win the MAC next year.

Roll along.....


Anonymous said...

Wish you also did WBB. Our team is great. Kate Achter had an All-American performance Saturday night.

Orange said...

Thanks for reading. I wish I could. I just don't have the time to focus on another team. The women's basketball team is one of the great success stories in the history of our athletic program.

Anonymous said...

Correction: UT ran FOUR plays in the first quarter. ;) Friday was a GREAT day to be a Falcon, from sun-up to well past sundown.

Again, a fantastic recap!