Wednesday, December 26, 2012

25 Questions that go Bowling...

Recently released CAT Scan
of Interim Coach Allen Baer
What is their body of work?

They had a great year.  They were 10-2, with their only losses @Stanford and Utah State.  They beat Brigham Young, San Diego State and La Tech and won their last 6 games.  This is a team that knows how to win and is playing with a great deal of confidence.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 28 on their two deep which is a lot.

Who are their statistical leaders?

We talked about this earlier in the week.  QB Fales is the 3rd most effective passer in the country and the most accurate.  Benwikere is tied for 3rd in interceptions and Travis Johnson is tied for 7th in sacks and 10th in TFL.  Noel Grigsby is 13th in receiving yards.

What is their turnover ratio?

They are pretty good at +8 which puts them at #25 in the country, which surprises me, but there it is.


How is their QB Play?

Very, very good.  David Fales is their QB.  He started at Nevada, went to a junior college and then moved to San Jose State last December.  This is his first year with them.  He is not a threat to run, but his passing game is very, very efficient.

What is their scoring and yards per play?

They score 35 points a game which is in the top 30 in the country.  They earn 6.4 yards per play, which is also very efficient.

Can they run the ball?

Their lead RB is De'Leon Eskridge, who will go over 1,000 yards sometime tomorrow and averaged 5.1 yards per carry.  Their official rushing average is 3.5 yards per carry, but when you factor sacks out they are at 4.2 yards per carry, which is good.  They did not run the ball well in a number of their games, however, and BG is going to have to have success in this part of the game to compete.

Eskridge, BTW, played three years for Minnesota and had 4 100 yard games for the Gophers.

What exactly is your profession?
Do they pass the ball?

They are 2nd in the nation in pass efficiency.  I mentioned Fales completing 72% of his passes.  One of the things we look for is trade offs--was that accomplished with a steady diet of bubble screens and easily completed passes.  They get 13 yards per completion, which is very, very good and when it is paired with 72% completion, it becomes a deadly combination.  BG had a strong pass defense this season and it will need to show up.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on 47% of their plays, which is more than you might expect. (sack adjusted).

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

As you would expect, they are good.  They convert at 45%.

Do they score in the red zone?

4.7 points per trip is slightly above average and 4.3 trips per game is a strong number and not unexpected.

Do they protect the quarterback?

They do give up sacks....but also pass a lot.  It works out to 5.6% of attempts which is just average protection.  Also, they gave up 13 sacks in one game.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They are 25th in the nation in scoring defense with 21 points per game.  They do allow 5.2 yards per play, which is not especially great, so we will keep our eyes open for what the underlying answer might be.

Do they defend the run effectively?

Their rush stats look good but they are a little big deceiving.  They get a ridiculous number of sacks, which counts against rushing.  On actual rushing attempts, they allow 4.6 yards per carry which is not a great number.  BG simply has to get this done to have a chance.

Can they be passed on?

Their pass efficiency defense is 40th in the country.  However, they allow 58% completions and 11.7 yards per reception, which is on the high side.  Their efficiency is helped by having 15 INTs and only 18 TD passes.  If you can stay away from negative plays, they do give some yards upt.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They do, they allow 33% first downs, which is 23rd in the country. (BG is 5th).

Do they defend in the red zone?

They allow fewer than 3 trips per game and 4.5 points per trip, both of which are very solid number.

An exclusive review of game film reveals
the secret to the SJS pass rush.
Do they pressure the QB?

They are downright ridiculous here.  They have 40 sacks which is 5th in the nation (BG is 9th).  That means they get a sack on 9% of their opponent's passing plays.  One thing I noticed is that they had a bunch of sacks early and then fewer as the season went on, so perhaps something was noticed. The offense can also impact this.  It is possible after seeing those sack numbers teams only threw five step drops with max protect...something I thoroughly expect BG to do tomorrow.

Special Teams:


Their net punting is 36.7 which is slightly better than BG's, which means good but not great.  None blocked.

Punt Return?

At last a weak point...they only get about two yards a return and are among the 10 worst teams in D1.  Zero blocks, no TDs, long of 10.


Lopez was 15-15 with a long of 45 and 3 over 40.  Somehow, he managed to miss 3 extra points, however.


Really good.  Teams start on the 24 and they had 23 kickoffs.  Note, they kickoffs are handled by the punter.

Kickoff Return?

They are very, very good.  They are 6th in the country in yardage and have 2 TDs.  This is going to be pretty important...I'd expect a lot of pooch style kicks to keep the ball away from their guys, much like we did for Dri Archer.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

First, they have an interim coach.  You never know how players will react to that...although without actual numbers, it seems like it doesn't have the impact you would expect.

Second, San Jose State has a long trip, which normally is a disadvantage, though they have been in DC all week.  The 3 pm game time helps mediate this as well.

To me, this is a great test.  BG's defense was highly ranked in the MAC, and we will find out how good we really are tomorrow against probably the best offense we have seen this year.  BG needs to control the running game and contain the passing game to win.  If San Jose State is effective running and passing, then I start to get cold shivers.

On offense, BG has got to establish the run.  If we can, then maybe we can open up some passing lanes.  I expect the Falcons to be very cautious throwing the ball.  They don't want to give up sacks and INTs, and for that reason, I would expect us to use very safe passing plays.

It is easy to see why the Spartans are strong favorites.  BG will need to provide a great effort, especially on defense, which I am looking forward to seeing if they can do.

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