With the 24-3 victory yesterday over EMU, BG completed the middle part of their schedule doing exactly what they had to do, and that's a good thing. After a brutal September, October was looking decidedly doable, and the Falcons did. That meant beating up on Akron, UMass and EMU (teams with a collective 1 FBS win) and then picking up a win over a Miami team that showed yesterday that they are pretty good too.
That was all completed. BG had to win all 4 and they did. It has been a while since we've had a team that could even drive its way through easy competition, and if you want to look for our program making progress, there it is. BG has won 5 in a row, which they have not done since 2004, when the team won 7 straight.
The key has been defense. BG has emerged as a stifling defense...and while we have been beating teams that have struggled to win, Akron, Miami and (to an extent) EMU had not been struggling to score. Every week, this defense is establishing itself as a dominant force.
Yesterday was ridiculous.
- EMU was held to 11 first downs, 3.5 yards per play and they ran only 51 plays in the game.
- EMU had 3 turnovers.
- The defense scored a touchdown.
- The defense produced 5 sacks and 3 hurries.
- EMU was 3 of 12 on 3rd down.
- EMU threw an INT with 14:24 left in the 2Q in BG territory. For the remainder of the game, they ran two plays in BG territory, and that was on the last drive.
- In other words, EMU never even threatened after the beginning of the second quarter.
On an individual level....
Chris Jones is making a very strong play to be the MAC Defensive MVP. Yesterday, playing D-tackle, he produced 2.5 sacks and a touchdown.
Gabe Martin led the team in tackles, had 2.5 sacks, forced a fumble and had an interception.
That's pretty good. Honestly, I have been going to BG games for a hell of a long time, and I don't remember us having a period of defensive dominance like this.
It is giving some BG fans the bends...we just aren't used to winning games the way we are. And part of that is to have the offense play very safe, figuring that we can score what we need if we don't make it easy on the other team by giving them a turnover. (Not to draw an undue performance, but this was the model the Ravens used to win the Super Bowl).
Todd Walker called it the "recipe" after the game. BG is now facing the tough part of the schedule. OU finally lost, but the game will be down there, and then BG plays Kent, who is in the MAC East driver's seat.
The question is...will the recipe work against those teams? I think it is our identity. We'll talk in a later post about the offense, but it becomes increasingly apparent that if the recipe were to fail that our offense is just not going to ramp it up enough to win a shoot out. The one little beacon of hope in there is the Miami game, where the offense probably had its best game of the season.
Coach continues to say that he is calling plays conservatively...which I am sure is true. For much of the game, the BG attack was inept even at that.
So, one of two things. Either we find what we had against Miami or we win the way we have been. OU has been far from unbeatable (and we have a bye leading up to the game) and the game Kent game is on our field and then we finish on a neutral field against Buffalo. Each of those games is winnable or loseable.
I will say this.
It is great to be playing meaningful games in November.
It is great to see our team win five in a row.
It is great to see us develop an identity.
It is great to go out and feel like your team has a shot at winning every time.
I'm looking really forward to watching us line up for the next two games.