Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thoughts on a Victory

This dispatch is being send from an undisclosed location, holed up deep inside Kent, OH. (Note: people here gotta work on the sirens. Sounds like Manhattan, but its not).

Anyway, still jazzed from the huge victory today against Kent State. We've lost two straight where we had the chance to win at the end, and this time we actually got it done. It was among the most exciting football games I have seen in a long time.

The finish was incredible, and I give our coaches full credit for calling the QB draw on that third down play. I don't think there are too many coaches who would have called that, and they would have been absolutely ripped if it hadn't worked out, but it was the right call, executed well. Tyler showed some real guts getting to the end zone.

During the game I was kind of keeping track of situations where I thought our passing game was missing opportunities and not executing, but I think you have to look at the big picture. Sheehan set school records with 44 completions in 63 attempts, and 505 yards passing. Many of those passes were downfield and good throws. Yes, there were a couple of plays where he didn't read what was going on, held onto the ball too long, etc etc. But, he threw 63 passes and there are going to be a few where it doesn't go exactly like it should have.

Freddie Barnes had a huge night, with 22 catches and a mind-boggling 278 yards, which, from time to time, has equalled our total for the entire game. These total figures are impressive on the face of them, and are even more impressive when you know that Kent had to know we were looking at him, and yet he continued to catch the ball.

The most significant contribution can on one specific play. With about 4:40 left, BG had the ball on Kent's 45, following a 15 yard return on a very short punt. Tyler hit Freddie across the middle, and he proceeded to make a simply great individual effort, breaking four tackles in the backfield on his way to the end zone.

It can't be stated how important this was. The entire sequence of events that ended in victory was keyed on this play. If we don't score right away, and have to take (say) two minutes to get into the end zone, then Kent kills a lot more of the clock. They almost certainly don't try to passes and stop the clock, and the chances of us having time for the drive we eventually executed are very slim. In addition, an onside kick would have been required.

Certainly, there are still things to work on. BG still gave up a big TD (on a first play reverse where no one stayed home). From then on, the defense was better, and when you think that Kent got a TD off a blocked field goal and another off a very short field after an interception, the defense held Kent to 3 TDs, which shows promise. Also, they held Terry well under his typical yards per carry, and Keith looked like a freshman out there pretty often.

I'm sure Kent fans are aggravated...they had one stolen right out of their wallet on their home field, on homecoming. (Sound familiar?) Certainly, the two throws on the last drive were a risky decision. I admire them for taking the attitude that they needed to get a first down to win, but their failure to execute played into our hands. In that situation, I am a big fan of running twice and then running your best passing play, and living with it if it is incomplete.

It has been true all year that our players do not quit. We have rallied each time. I thought we were especially resilient tonight, falling down twice by two scores, and each time battling back. I thought our team (coaches and players) kept plugging, looking for things that would work, and eventually started to execute. (The first 10-12 minutes were grim, execution-wise).

More tomorrow, but for now....this was a very exciting football game with a great finish. Our guys finally took care of business in the fourth quarter, and this time, it was the Falcons leaving the home team gritting their teeth.

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