Saturday, November 30, 2013

Sweet Victory #9: A note on neutral field

One last note from the big win yesterday before we do the stats review and special teams review.  For now, just a note on the question of a neutral field.

I was against moving our season-ending game last year to Columbus.  There were a bunch of reasons why, but mostly because if the game means something, you have decided to play it on a neutral field.  It worked out better than I thought, but it still wasn't worth it.

Buffalo was bit by the same thing yesterday.  They reported having 26,000...I don't know if they did or not, but let's say they did.  That's a huge MAC crowd.  In the UB stadium, the place is jammed and rocking.  At the Ralph, it was just swallowed up.  Then, add the visual of 50,000 seats empty and covered in snow and an unfamiliar environment...I just think Buffalo lost an advantage in the game and one that could have made a difference.

I understand the issues with attendance on these Friday games and the desire to switch things up.  BG moving to Columbus was to get our alumni base there to the game...that makes more sense than playing the game in your home town but in a different stadium.  (Similarly, BG played Wisconsin at Browns Stadium for a good reason.)

Anyway, I will note that the rest of the MAC teams yesterday played in their home stadiums and some drew as well as BG did at Crew Stadium.  I just don't think its a good idea to take what could be a championship game and give away the home field advantage.

Sweet Victory #9: The Offense...

We've covered this in the first two posts, but BG's offense found a way to produce yesterday.  After some initial success, UB was shutting Travis Greene down.  BG used a QB run and some over the top passes to defeat that, and used big plays to set up scores.  Buffalo tried a similar approach and was unable to get over the top.

The point is, we made the adjustments we needed and found a way to win the game.

BG had 490 yards in total offense and averaged 7.4 yards per play.  BG had 217 yards on five plays, leaving them under 4 yards per play on the remainder.  BG has struggled to be a big play offense over the years, but in Buffalo, that was the difference.

A huge key was that UB only got one sack.  The Bulls were the best sacking team in the MAC, and you had to be nervous about BG's ability to protect Johnson, since that has been a problem in recent games.  Add to that the fact that BG needed to go over the top, meaning long-developing routes that require protection.  BG got the protection they needed on those plays and put the receivers in a position to make plays.

Johnson didn't have a great day with stats...but make no mistake...he's a winning QB who made the plays BG needed to win the game.  He ran out of trouble, he had the run that changed the game, he put those jump balls right where they needed to be.  Don't lose sight of him in the numbers yesterday...he is a dynamic playmaker.

Travis Greene had 129 yards.  UB was keyed on him and it did make a difference.  Greene needed 30 carries to get those yards, which is a 4.3 average.  He is a very tough player, though.  He kept battling.  Anyway, certainly a solid game and he is such a good runner that UB had to key on him, which left the big plays open downfield.  The big Johnson run only works because you have to key on Greene.

The other individual who had a big game was Shaun Joplin.  He had a couple drops but was absolute money in the 2nd half.  Yes, the guy does drop some balls, but he also makes catches no one else makes and he certainly did that yesterday.  Six of BG's 11 completions went to him...for 149 yards, a career high.

Bayer and Beck also had big catches.  BG's TEs are under-appreciated.  Each of these guys is a solid player.

BG was contending with Khalil Mack all day.  Guy had 12 tackles and 2 for loss, but no sacks and while his performance was very good, it wasn't game changing, so credit to BG for neutralizing him to that extent.  He's a great player, sure MAC Defensive POTY and a Sunday fixture next year.

So again, Buffalo won most of the small battles but BG took what the defense was giving them and made some big plays and that was the difference in the game.  BG's offense has come a long way--even since the Buffalo game in Columbus last year, where BG was afraid to throw the ball--and it delivered an East title.

Sweet Victory #9: Defense Conquers the East

It is difficult to say enough good things about the BG defense.  Keep this in mind...BG lost its star rover in the UT game and gave up one offensive touchdown over the next four games.  This is something to appreciate. The BG defense was clearly the difference in the game Friday and in the Falcon season.  They have played an historic level for the last two seasons, and let's give them the credit they deserve.

BG's game plan was to stop UB from running the ball.  Branden Oliver has been a productive workhorse during the season, but we noted in the preview that his per-carry averages were only good.  He got the ball 18 times for 46 yards with a long of 9.  So, yeah...BG stopped the UB running game.

So, forcing UB to throw the ball 45 times was a victory to start with.  Even then, the Bulls struggled.  They were 21 of 45 passing for 221 yards, but if you deduct the 30 yards BG picked up on 5 sacks, you end up with the Bulls getting 3.8 yards per attempt on the 50 plays they dropped back to pass.  So, BG stopped the UB passing game too.  (And, some of those yards came in garbage time).

In total, UB had 15 first downs, 6 of them after BG led by 17.  The Bulls averaged 3.4 yards per play and were 5 of 17 on third down.

That's an outstanding, title-winning defensive effort.

A lot of players contributed.  One you had to notice was Ted Ouellet.  It is easy for interior lineman to get lost in the shuffle...there's no stat for eating up two blocks.  This guy was an absolute beast yesterday...5 tackles, 3 for loss, two sacks and a hurry.  Here's a senior who came to play.

Aaron Foster had a great game.  Guy moved positions due to injury and has excelled at CB.  He was great.  He gets tested a lot because Truss is so good on the other side.  There were at least a couple situations where they threw jump balls similar to the ones that Joplin and Bayer caught, and Foster won those one-on-on battles every time.  He led the team in tackles and had 2 pass break ups.

Not to single anyone out, though.  Great defense is a team effort.  Brian Sutton also had 6 tackles...both Paul Swan and Bryan Thomas had 1.5 TFL.  Jarius Campbell had a sack.  BG has a cohesive defensive unit without weaknesses, and they played at a very high level yesterday.

Sweet Victory #9: How the East Was Won

Yes, sweet victory indeed.

The Falcons made us all proud yesterday.  They went into a game they had to have, a one-game contest with everything on the line, and they delivered.  They were ecstatic and they deserved it.  For all the hard work and all the down years--for our seniors including the dismal 2010 campaign--this was a chance to be rewarded, and they did it.

So, for everyone...the coaches and players who made it happen and for those loyal fans who rooted them on the whole way...enjoy it.  We know this is not a given.  Enjoy it.

I think everyone was expecting a defensive struggle and they pretty much got it.  On a play by play basis, both defenses won most of the battles.  The difference in the game was that BG's defense was once again virtually impenetrable...while the BG offense was able to make 4-5 big plays that were the difference in the game.

The first half was certainly dominated by the defenses.  BG took the lead in the first quarter when Travis Greene bolted for 33 yards to the Buffalo 30, but BG had 2 shots to make 1 yard for a first down and could not, leaving Tyler Tate to give BG the lead, 3-0.

Coach Clawson said after the game that the BG game plan was to take the run away from UB...and they were certainly successful, more on that later.  He said we wanted to force the Bulls to pass the ball.  In the 2nd Quarter, they took up that challenge, with Licata completing 4 passes for 58 yards including a 30 yard strike down to the BG 5.  Buffalo converted the TD and Buffalo led 7-3.

BG had opportunities to score before halftime, but they could not get untracked against the Bull defense.  BG had a drive start on the Bull 40, but could not make any yardage at all, so the game was 7-3 Buffalo at the half.

I don't think you could feel too bad.  BG made some mistakes in the first half...a couple dropped passes, an ill-timed illegal procedure, failure to convert a fumble into points...etc.  Not a huge amount of mistakes, but in a game this tight, it was enough to but BG behind.

As we have often seen this season, the 3rd Quarter was different.  

BG started and drove the ball to the UB 19 on the strength of a Johnson-Joplin 31 yard connection, but then Johnson threw a pick and the Bulls had the ball back on their own 21.

The BG defense came to the rescue...UB got 1 first down but was sacked twice and ended up with 7 yards on 5 plays for the drive and a punt.

BG started on its own 29.  In what would become a theme, BG made big yardage on a perimeter vertical route where the BG player appeared to be pretty well covered but Johnson would put the ball in the right place and the BG player would win a personal battle for the ball.  In this case, Alex Bayer for 48 yards to the Bull 21.  Bayer made a great play on the was impressive for a TE, and BG was in business.  A couple plays later Johnson hit Joplin for 23 yards and the BG TD to give the Falcons the lead, 10-7.

BG kicked the KO OB, but Buffalo chose to make BG kick it again and they paid off, as the Bulls ended up on their own 41 to start.  BG's defense forced a 3-and-out and Buffalo punted BG down to its own 7.

And here is the moment where a division title was won.  BG false started, putting themselves on their own 4.  If Buffalo can get a 3 and out and good field position, they have to figure they can convert something on a short field.  After the game, Coach Clawson said BG called a zone read "kinda sorta" which he explained meant that BG did not usually read someone on the right side of the defense.  However, Johnson saw the UB player "crash" toward the ball and he more or less freelanced and ran the ball around the right side...for 56 yards.

Coach said he had the freedom to make that call, but that reading it was not an assignment for him.  This is what you get when you have a QB like Matt Johnson.  He is just a dynamic player.

That play was by far the biggest in the game.  UB goes from licking their chops in the danger zone to being on their heels.  They rallied, however, and BG faced a 4th and 5 from the 35 after 3 Greene rushes.  On 4th down, Johnson hit Beck for 13 yards to convert the first down (a stop on that play changes everything, too) and then two plays later Travis Greene ran 14 yards for the BG TD.

That was a 93 yard TD drive for a title.

There were about 2 minutes left in the 3rd and with BG up 17-7, you had to feel pretty good.  Here, I think the Rocket game actually helps the Falcons, I don't think focus was going to be an issue.  In fact, BG forced a 3 and out and then Buffalo responded by doing the same to BG.  Buffalo started on their own 27 and made some noise, completing two passes for 29 yards, but the Falcon D buckled down from there, forcing 2 incomplete passes and getting a sack to end the drive.

BG put the game away starting on its own 19.  BG made one first down but was facing a 3rd and 9 when BG went high over the top down the left again, this time to Shaun Joplin for 62 yards, with Joplin making an incredible athletic play to beat his man for the ball.  BG was on the UB 7, Johnson ran the ball in for a TD and the BG seniors started to think about which Gatorade container to dump on coach.

UB finished with 15 first downs...but 6 of them came from this point forward.  Think about that for a second...

Anyway, it was a complete team win.  The defense was outstanding once again, and the offense made big plays to get the team the points it needed to win the game.  More later, but that's how it flowed.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Falcons celebrate division title!!!!

And here it is....Coach Clawson surrounded by his players after today's victory at the Ralph...a 24-7 game that was not actually that close.  Sweet Victory!  More to come....huge congrats to our guys, who have worked hard for years to get this program back in position to win a title.  Mad love today.  Mad Love.

Pre-game appreciation.

And here we go!

It has come to this...this is, in many ways, the moment we have pointed to since that awful 2010 season, when BG red-shirted guys to build for this exact moment...the chance to play for a trip to the MAC Championship.

A few thoughts before kickoff...

Now, when we don't know the result, I want to say that I think our coaches have done a great job re-building this program.  I was shocked when Brandon was let go, but obviously things were worse on the inside than it looked.  This team had some holes in its recruiting class, and a lot of young guys got put on the field when they weren't totally ready.  Now, there is a benefit to that--they are seasoned veterans.

Our coaches have methodically improved this team and now have the team ready to win.  Clearly, they have done a great job with the defensive side of the ball, not just with great players but with depth.  You lose a guy like Gabe Martin, and the team continues to produce.  

On offense, the progress might have been a little slower, but two season-changing decisions were made that should be noted.  The first was putting Travis Greene at RB...he now has the 3rd best season in program history, measured by total yards.  That was innovative in the face of necessity, but it was far from an obvious move and it was good coaching and it should be recognized.  That was not an automatic move.

The second was starting Matt Johnson.  Schilz had started a bunch of games for us and most coaches covet a senior QB, especially.  It was clear, however, that Johnson was a dynamic player and the better player even as a sophomore.  It was a gutsy decision (at the time) and they deserve credit for making it.

I know you'd like a big win over a BCS opponent somewhere along the line and you'd certainly like to have beaten Toledo, but Clawson and his staff are very good coaches and have done a great job getting us where we are.  Furthermore, I believe that the program is built in a way that can be sustainable.  Of course, the future remains to be seen.

And for the Falcon fans, I just have this to say.  Enjoy it today.  If, like me, you were at that legendary season-ending WMU game in 2010 (the one that makes Clawson shudder when he talks about it), you've earned it.  The team is playing its most meaningful game in 10 years...since BG beat UT to win the West and move on to its only MAC Championship appearance (and on our field).  We wanted to be here and we are.

We might win, we might lose.  I have a feeling that this team knows itself now and will deliver the win but I'm obviously biased.  I know everyone will be disappointed if we lose, which is why I wanted to make the point now...we've come a long way, we're playing meaningful late-November football...Roll Along, you know?

25 Questions for the Big Game

Who goes here?
What is their body of work?

They are having a good season.  They are 8-3, with wins over UConn and Ohio, and losses to Baylor, OSU and Toledo.  At the time of their 5 OT win over Stony Brook, things were not looking good for them, but they have delivered since then.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

29, which is a lot.  17 of 22 players on 2-deep are Juniors or Seniors.

Who are their statistical leaders?

Khalil Mack leads the nation in forced fumbles, 13 in TFL and 8th in sacks.
Alex Neutz is 9th in receiving TDs.
Branden Oliver is 8th in rushing yards and 6th in yards per game.

What is their turnover ratio?

Best in the MAC.  They are +16.  With 10 lost, they are second only to BG (8)


How is their QB Play?

Joe Licata is much improved, even as a SO.  He is 5th in the MAC in pass efficiency.  He completes 61% of his passes (an average MAC number), but has 21 TD and 6 INT and yards per completion of 12.1, all of which are good.  Not a threat to run.

What is their scoring and yards per play?

They are 5th in the MAC in scoring and 6th in yards per play, so their offense has been good if not great.

Can they run the ball?

Yes, they can, although they are far from the conference elite.  They are 5th in the MAC in rushing yards per game, but 7th in yards per rush.  Oliver is 2nd in yards per game in the MAC, but that's misleading.  Guy gets a ton of carries.  He gets 5.2 yards per carry, which is 7th in the conference.

Do they pass the ball?

See above for Licata.  As a team, they are 4th in passing yards per game and 4th in pass efficiency.  As coach noted, they are a complete team.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on 58% of their plays, which is very high.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They are OK.  5th in the MAC.

Do they score in the red zone?

Very often.  They have 4 trips per game and 5.5 points per trip.

Do they protect the quarterback?

Yes.  They allow 1 sack per game, which is 3% of passing attempts.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They are very good.  They are 2nd in the MAC in scoring defense and 3rd in yards per play allowed, behind BG in both categories.

Do they defend the run effectively?

Yes, they are 2nd in the MAC in yards per carry allowed.

Can they be passed on?

No.  They are 2nd in the MAC in pass efficiency defense.  They allow only 52% completions with 12 TD and 14 INT.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

The lead in the MAC in preventing 3rd down conversions.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They allow fewer than 3 trips per game and allow only 4.25 points per trip.

Do they pressure the QB?

They lead the MAC with 35 sacks.  That is almost 10% of passing attempts, an incredible number.  BG is simply going to have to protect Johnson...whether through play calls or blocking or keeping extra guys in.  BG cannot get to the point where they are one-dimensional in the game.

Special Teams:


They are 9th in net punting.  Their kicking is decent but they do give up a decent number of returns.  No TDs allowed

Punt Return?

They are 11th in punt return average. Only 8 returns this year.


He has a long leg, maybe inaccurate.  He's made 2 over 5, but is 7-9 inside 40 and 3 of 8 between 40 and 50.  Long is 51.


They are 8th in kickoff coverage.  Teams are starting around the 26.

Kickoff Return?

They are starting on the 28.   They are 2nd in the MAC in yards per return.

Here it is.  How will it play?
Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

A few notes.  First, Buffalo has given up the home field advantage by playing in the Ralph.  Yes, they might have a big crowd, but the surroundings are still not home.

This is BG's biggest game in 10 years.  And, it is certainly the biggest game of the Clawson era.  It is similarly big for the Buffalo team...they have won the East more recently, but it didn't involve any of these players.  How the teams react to the big game will tell a lot.

The defenses are pretty even.....narrow advantage for BG.  On offense, BG is more productive than Buffalo--though we didn't play OSU.  I think BG is better on the special teams.

Even so, this is a very evenly matched game.  As mentioned, BG is going to need to protect the QB against a very tough pass rush.  BG will need to be able to establish the run--but so will Buffalo.  This could be  a very low scoring game.   BG has absolutely got to deny the Bulls turnovers to work with.

I think it will ultimately come down to who is more prepared to play in a very big game.  I don't think it is a given that either team gets much going.  Going to be very interesting.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving to the Falcon Nation!

Best wishes to everyone on this special day.  Seek not to want more but to be better.  Demonstrate thankfulness...disturb your peace and make the most of the things you have been given.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Falcons are Mayan Bridesmaids

In the pre-game words of Coach Orr, BG had put themselves "in position to win a championship."  And, for about a quarter of the game or so, BG played as well as they are capable of and things were great...guys slashing to the basket, getting fouled, grabbing rebounds--it was great.  And then for the final 10 minutes of the game it was back to what we have seen too often and Oral Roberts became the Top Mayans and left the Falcons standing at the altar.

Here's what I mean.  About 12 minutes into the first half, ORU was up 24-14.  For that remaining 8 minutes, BG outscored the Golden Eagles 21-2 to take a 9 point lead into the locker.  Holmes scored 7 points on the run and Spencer had 9.

The game was pretty much even for the first 9 minutes of the 2nd half, as BG led 49-41.  Things were still looking pretty good.  And there, as they say, "the laughter turned to sadness."

BG was outscored 22-7 for the remaining 11 minutes of the game and that counts a 3 in the last minute, meaning that in the 10 minutes up until that, BG had managed only 4 points...which, if you were to extend things out would mean you would score 16 points in an entire game. (Note the flat line for BG in the 2nd half on the chart below.  It is just incredible.  Honestly).

And so, ORU won the game by 7 and I guess we saw the best and the worst we are capable of.

It will be interesting to see how good ORU ends up being.  This would have been a nice win for the Falcons to get.

ORU had 1.05 points per possession and BG had .93 points per possession, both of which are pretty unwinnable numbers for the Falcons.

We noted in the preview that the teams were pretty similar, and that showed up in the stats.  BG and ORU shot pretty even, had the same number of FGs, ORU made only 1 more 3 than BG and had 1 fewer turnover.  BG did a great job on its defensive boards and won the rebounding battle.  In fact, the difference in the game was at the foul line.  ORU had 18 fouls and BG 17...and ORU shot 15 free throws to BG's 12.

However, the Golden Eagles made 13 out of those 15 (87%) and BG continued to be one of the worst FT shooting teams in the country, making 7 out of 12 (58%).  There are 6 points right there in an evenly matched game.

Individually, Spencer Parker continued to be the surprise player of the season.  He scored 12 points on 4 of 8 shooting to go with 4 rebounds.  Anthony Henderson also had his best game of the season, getting 12 points on 5 of 7 shooting.  Cam Black double-doubled at 10 and 13 and Holmes had 9 and 6, though he shot poorly and fouled out.  Jehvon Clarke was back to struggling again after a decent game against Presbyterian.  He was 3 of 12 shooting, with 3 assists and 4 turnovers.

Orr and Denny did not play.  I just throw this out will be interesting to see what happens when Orr comes back.  This team needs Parker on the floor...I think you could move Orr to the 2, but you gotta have Parker out there.

BG falls to 2-4, 1-4 in D1 games.  BG gets an opportunity on home floor Monday when WKU comes to town.  BG did show some improvement in this game, and maybe they can put it all together on home floor with what would be a nice win.

Clawson Presser---BIG Game Edition

Coach Clawson held his weekly presser day before the normal presser...I watched so you don't have to.  We have left out the obligatory Tuesday=Wednesday question which comes in an off week and seems constantly interesting to someone every week.  Anyway....

Coach said EMU was a "tricky" game.  But, he said BG had a great locker room, guys fired up and hungry to play.  He said that culture and leadership delivered the game for BG.

Moving on to Buffalo...he said the Bulls are a complete football team...without a weakness.

He said the two teams are similar.  Last year, both teams had strong defenses but struggled on offense.  This year, both teams have stronger QB the case of Buffalo, they have the same guy but Coach said he is playing a lot better.

On defenses, Buffalo rushes the passer very well.  He said BG needs to stay on wont convert many 3rd and 9s...Coach said.  The pass rush also creates turnovers--interceptions and fumbles.

They talked about this game being in an NFL Stadium.  Buffalo says they are expecting 20,000 peopler Saturday, although there seems to be a lot of doubt as to whether those people will actually show up.  Even so, the big stadium reduces crowd noise and takes away any home field advantage

In essence, it is a neutral site game.  This was one of my points last year with the game in Columbus.  You take a game which could be decisive and you move it to a neutral field and you say your team is committed to championships.  Just doesn't make any sense.  At least Buffalo's is in the same city.

Anyway, Coach also reminisced about playing a HS game in the stadium...known as Rich Stadium.  He was the HS QB and his TB was a guy named Darryl Johnston, who ended up playing for an organization known as the Dallas Cowboys.  Coach said he threw 3 INTs in the game.

Finally, BG is playing off the short week.  Buffalo had a few extra days.  BG used the dead time around the OU and EMU games to have the coaches--not the players--break down the Buffalo film and be ready with a game plan to hit the ground running.

There will be a lot more to say about the game moving forward, but that's what Coach had to say.

Falcon Fodder on Injury Report

Men's Basketball!  Football!  Back and forth!  Fast and furious!!

The good:

Jude Adjei-Barimah and Heath Jackson will play Friday.

The bad:

Justin Ford and Fred Coppet are not cleared to practice.

Oral Roberts Preview...

So the Cancun challenge ends today with BG playing the Golden Eagles of Oral Roberts University, which is in Tulsa.  Oral Roberts beat Georgia Southern by 2 to make the finals of the Mayan Division.  ORU had a nice lead in the game, but then Ga So rallied and more or less just ran out of time.

ORU was picked the finish 2nd in the Southland the media poll, the SID poll and also by  The Southland was the 26th ranked conference out of 33 last year, but that's higher than the Great West and BG lost to North Dakota last year,  This year, they are last because they add four new teams that are all verrrry lowly ranked, including a school called Incarnate Word.


In the Sagarin rankings, the G-Eagles are 89th in the nation so far, which means next to nothing.  Their RPI is 181, which also does not mean too much.

ORU was 20-15 last year and they are 3-3 this year.  Their wins are over Tulsa, Texas State and Georgia Southern...and their losses are to Kansas State (by 8), St. Louis (by 17) and Wisconsin (by 9).  Those latter two games are certainly better than BG did in similar matchups.

They are young.  Only one senior gets minutes and 3 of the 4 leading scorers are sophomores.  They are the 55th least experienced team in D1, based on minutes played in the system.

That senior is their scoring leader, 6'7" Shawn Glover, who is scoring 20 points a game.  He shoots 49% and adds 5 rebounds a game.  Obi Emegano (So, 6'3") is scoring 19 PPG...I don't know how many teams in D1 are getting that many points out of 1 guy, much less 2.  And we're talking current Falcon has ever scored 20 points in a single game.

Korey Billbray scored 11 points a game or so, and adds a team-high 7 rebounds despite being 6'3".  He is SO too.

DJ Jackson (SO) leads the team in assists.

In terms of stats, the teams are pretty evenly matched, as you can see below.  The teams have 2 common opponents out of a relatively small sample of games, though BG has played Earlham and Presbyterian...anyhoo, you can see what you see.  This is certainly the high end of where BG might shoot.

The teams are very similar in that they don't shoot the 3 much, and play a similar pace.

Of course, it is hard to tell at this point, but I think this might be a really good opportunity to see BG in their first decent matchup of the season.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Falcons Get D1 win with easy win over Presbyterian

The Falcons have lost a couple games they were expected to lose and now they won one they were supposed to win, beating the Presbyterian College Blue Hose 67-45 in Cancun.  They will play to win the "Mayan Division" tomorrow at 4 against Oral Roberts, who edged Georgia Southern by a basket today in the second game.

The Falcons bolted out to a 7-1 lead on the way to leading by 14 at halftime.  Six minutes into the second half, the Blue Hose had sliced the lead down to 8, but BG reasserted itself, winning the rest of the game 26-13 to take the easy win.

The Falcon shooting woes melted away today.  BG shot 57% from the field--still only 2 of 9 from beyond the arc--but it was enough, especially when PC was held to 31% shooting for the game.  Turnovers were slightly in BG's favor, while the rebounding and free throws favored the Blue Hose.  Presbyterian had 19 free throws on 17 fouls by BG.  They were only 1o of 19.  BG has been one of the worst FT shooting teams in the country so far, and shot 63% which is 8% above average.

Anthony Henderson had his best game of the season, with 17 points on 7 of 11/2 of 4 shooting.  Jehvon Clake shot 3 of 9 again, but he did provide 9 assists over 1 turnover.  Cam Black had 12 points and 14 rebounds.  He is getting more boards this year--7 a game, where he has been around 4 a game for his other 3 seasons.

Spencer Parker also added 12 and Holmes added 10.

Chauncey Orr remains out, and it sounds like the knee is continuing to be an issue.  Tisdale added 19 minutes and 18 for Sealey, both pretty unproductively.  DeMarkeo Lyshe played 13 minutes, which was a little bit of a surprise...the team is a little short at guard.

For those of you scoring at home, Josh Gomez played 1 minute.

BG now 2-3 and 1-3 in D1 play.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Blue Hose--Preview

So tomorrow, the Falcon men's basketball team continues its participation in the Cancun Challenge, now actually in the big ballroom in Mexico.  They are playing Presbyterian College.  The game starts at 12:30.  With a win, BG would play the winner of the Georgia Southern-Orel Roberts game and with a loss they could play the loser.  All this to win the "Mayan" Division.

In case you didn't know--and I didn't--Presbyterian is in Clinton, SC.  They are in the Big South conference where they are picked to finish last in their pre-season poll.  The Big South was the 26th ranked conference in college basketball last season.  This is only their 2nd year as a D1 basketball program.  They were 8-24 last year and had an RPI of 340.

Their nickname is the Blue Hose.  Apparently, they used to wear blue socks and they went back and forth between Blue Stocking and Blue Hose and eventually landed on the wrong name of the two.

It has been a rough year.  They are 1-5, with their only win being against Toccoa Falls (by 10 at home), which is a non-NCAA team from Georgia.  They have played Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, and West Virginia--all real programs--and lost all 3, and then also lost to Old Dominion and the Citadel.  Their closest loss was 14 points to the Citadel.  Their average margin of defeat is 22 points per game.

So, BG has to look at these guys and think that this could be the first D1 win of the year.  Sobering thought is that they probably think the same thing when they look at BG.

There probably is not a lot of productive time to be spent going through their stats so far this year.  Last year, they were the worst defensive team in the nation and this year, so far, they are ranked 315th.  Now, some of that is their opposition...time will tell...and their are 330th in offensive efficiency, too.

They have one big scorer...Jordan Downing, a 6'5" JR transfer from Davidson.  Dude shot 50% from 3 last year, which rarely can be continued, but is shooting 38% this year and he is averaging 18 points a game.  Because of the outside shooting, he is just about average in efficiency but he will have points at the end of the night.

Their other guard is 6'4" Reggie Dillard.  He is a freshman shooting 44% to get to about 13 a game.

Their other leading player is William Truss, a 6'7" JR who is averaging a double-double at 10 and 10.  There is no reason to think he is related to Cam Truss.

Their coach has been there 24 years.  His name is Greg Nibert, and he is from Grove City, OH and apparently doesn't know the photographer can shoot the photo over.

Benchmark Report, EMU Edition

There are no terrible surprises here....there are some shocking numbers, but nothing you would not expect.  With sacks deducted, the EMU passing game actually accounted for -16 yards.  It is important to remember they ran only 44 plays, so 3 turnovers in that many plays is three times the league's average.  With the sacks added back, their running was better but will almost 2 yards per carry below MAC average.

On offense, BG ran 3rd down plays only 14% of the time, which is incredible.  Meanwhile, the Eagles ran them 27% of the mentioned last week, 33% is the theoretical max.

Here's the one thing I would like to mention.  Todd Walker also brought it up when he said that Coach Clawson is not happy with how the Falcons are protecting the QB.  This is perhaps the key factor in Friday's game.  Buffalo features almost-certain MAC Defensive POTY Khalil Mack and leads the conference in sacks as a team.  BG is 12th in sacks allowed in the MAC this year (all games) and 12th in sacks based on percentage of passing plays (8.8%).

BG can't let that happen Friday.  Based on history, I think you will see BG take some a lot of short drops and pick a protection-friendly game plan.  BG's line run blocks effectively, but is still playing 2 FR T's and I think that is showing.  Anyway, if EMU got 5 sacks, Buffalo is going to get that many or more.  

ICSTR--Eagle Edition

BG has now had 11 straight positive games.  I don't want to give too much away, but this is by far the strongest season for special teams in the Clawson era.  In fact, it is nearly as good as all the others combined.  In fact, the last negative game BG had was at the Black Friday Bash...against, you guessed it, Buffalo.  Anyway, special teams are heavily wind-aided in this one.  Punts and kickoffs impacted most.  BG was +6 and EMU -1. (The whole dumb thing is explained here.)

BG Positive Plays: (+9)
EM KO Return to 13 (+1)
BG KO TB (+1)
BG punt inside 10 (+2)
BG KO TB (+1)
BG KO TB (+1)
BG KO TB (+1)
BG KO TB (+1)
BG punt inside 20 (+1)

BG Negative plays (-3)
BG KO OB (-1)
EMU KO Ret to 35 (-1)
28 yd net punt (-1)

EMU Positive Plays (+4)
EMU punt inside 10 (+2)
47 yd net punt (+1)
EMU KO ret to 35 (+1)

EMU Negative Plays (-6)
EM KO Return to 13 (-1)
EM 23 yd net punt (-1)
EM 22 yd net punt (-1)
EM 25 yd net punt (-1)
EM 29 yd net punt (-1)

Ronnie Moore MAC East Offensive POTW

True FR Ronnie Moore received a huge honor today as he was named the MAC East Offensive player of the week for his performance against EMU.  Ronnie has really improved, has incredible physical skills and has the ability to be an effective MAC producer for the remainder of his career.  He was a late signee, and has made an immediate impact, especially at BG struggles with WR depth.

Here's what the MAC said about him:

Freshman wide receiver Ronnie Moore (Sanford, Fla.) set career-highs with seven receptions for 161 yards and three touchdowns in the Falcons' 58-7 win at Eastern Michigan. After falling behind 7-3 in the first quarter, Moore took a Matt Johnson pass along the sideline got by two defenders and outran the rest of the defense for a 74-yard touchdown. Later in the first quarter, Moore once again took a short pass, avoided all the defenders, and took the ball 22 yards to the house. His third touchdown came near the end of the first half, when he got behind the defense for a 34-yard touchdown reception. Moore became the first Falcon since Sept. 10, 2011 with three touchdown receptions in a game.  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Past and Future Opponent Land

A look at how our opponents fared this weekend....

Tulsa (3-8) Beat Louisiana Tech.
Kent (4-8) Beat reeling OU
Indiana (4-7) Buzzsawed by Buckeyes
Murray State (6-6)  Beat Eastern Kentucky
Akron (4-7) Beat UMass 14-13
UMass (1-10) Lost 37-0 to CMU.
Mississippi State (5-6) Beat Arkansas in OT
Toledo (7-4) Lost to NIU
Miami (0-11) Lost 44-7 to Buffalo.
OU (6-5)  Lost to Kent
Buffalo (8-3) Beat Miami

2013 Totals:
MAC vs. FBS: 10-28
MAC vs BCS: 4-22
MAC vs FCS: 10-2

Billikens Shut Falcons Down...

The result is not a terrible surprise, as St. Louis entered the game as 20 point favorites and delivered a 27 point win.  They are a very strong defensive team that defends the shot very well, and they certainly did that on their way to the easy victory in game 2 of the Cancun Challenge.

The game was within reach for most of their first half.  BG went the first five minutes or so without a FG, and then the Falcons stabilized things.  The lead was 3 points with 4:30 left,  but then the Billikens went on a 7-0 to halftime to take a 29-19 lead.  BG made the first basket of the second half, but the Billikens scored the next 8 unanswered to lead by 16 with just inside 17 to play in the game.

The game was never closer than 12 after that, and the lead was never inside 20 for the last 10 minutes of the game.

Again, this is a very tough game for BG to play on the road.  Obviously, the program is far from at its highest point and Chauncey Orr is injured so there is not a lot of depth and St. Louis is really good.

The Billikens are known for defense, which makes the game a struggle for BG as well.  BG got .67 points per possession, their lowest since the MSU game in 10-11. BG shot 33% from the field and 12.5% from 3 (making 1), which nets out to an effective FG% of 34.3%.  If you combine that with 18 turnovers, only 24% on the offensive boards and making 55% of your free throws, despite getting to the line effectively, and you have a dreadful offensive night.

BG's defense allowed 1.06 points per possession, which is below average but not dreadful.  St. Louis shot 47% from the field and from beyond the arc, the second of which is obviously very good.  They made 8 treys.  They took care of the ball OK, but not great, had about an average night on the offensive boards but failed to get to the line.  Looking at the numbers, you'd actually expect a higher efficiency rating, but it is what it is.

Individually, Spencer Parker led the way again for BG with 13 points on 4 of 9 shooting.  No other Falcons scored in double figures, and most shared in the shooting woes.  BG's starting guards shot 6 of 19, Tisdale was 1 of 8, and Cam Black was 1 of 6.  In addition to shooting struggles, Jehvon Clarke had 0 assists and 5 turnovers.  Tisdale had 4 turnovers and Henderson 3.

On the boards, Cam Black had 8 (which is unusual) and Holmes had 6.

BG did do a much better job on fouls, committing only 10 for the game after some struggles with that so far this year.

So, BG is 1-3 and 0-3 in D1 games.  They are heading to Cancun right now, and play Presbyterian at 12:30 on Tuesday.  That's one you need to win and should win, and we will see where things go from there.  I don't think we have see any surprises from this team yet, but these last two games were tough assignments.

Sweet Victory #8: A few notes

There's no point in a full-scale dissection of the game from yesterday.  Just a few notes....

BG was very thin at WR.  Coach said Jackson could have gone in an emergency, which this was not, so BG was down a few guys at WR.  That led to....

  • Ronnie Moore with 3 TDs.  He got a lot more reps...and Coach says they have been gradually putting more of the offense in for him.  He's a game-changing athlete and showed it today.  Overall, he had 7 catches for 161 yards to go with the 3 TDs.  Moore is going to be a very dangerous player for BG.  Or, already is.
  • Matt Schilz playing WR.  Really.

Coach said the strategy was to shut down the EMU run.  He said people accuse him of "making this stuff up" (ie, the strength of our opponents), but that EMU had a good run offense.  He cited their yards per game, which is impacted by a run-heavy play mix.  They are 6th in the MAC in rushing and 7th or 8th overall...which is not nothing, to hold the 7th or 8th best offense in your conference to 4 first downs.

Anyway, BG put a bunch of guys in the box to force EMU to throw.  It was incredibly windy--which helps that strategy).  At any rate, it worked, as EMU completed only 1 pass all day and ran for only 2.3 yards per carry.

Travis Greene had 126 yards and 2 TDs, an average of 8.4 yards per carry.  This puts him at 3rd on the all-time single season BG record with 1,293 yards.  With 153 against Buffalo, he would move into the #1 slot...and he could have two more games.

Fred Coppet injured his "upper extremity" and did not return.

William Houston had a 44-yard TD run.  Reporters told Clawson after the game that all the rest of his TDs this year only covered 12 yards.

Last thing.  Jude Adjei-Barimah probably could have played.  Sounds like he will be good to go on Friday.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sweet Victory #8: No Contest

It is the most one-sided game I can remember with a conference opponent in a long time and maybe ever.  BG demolished EMU in every facet of the game on a frigid day in front of an announced crowd of 1,751 at Rynearson.  The final was 58-7 and in reality the game was not that close.

Having listened to the game, it is hard to believe it when you look at the stats.  People....this was a conference game!

For example:

BGSU outrushed EMU 296-61.
EMU completed only 1 pass in 18 attempts, with 2 INTS.
EMU had 4 yards passing.
Meanwhile, BG had 264 passing yards on only 13 completions.
EMU made 4 first downs, ran 44 plays.
BG averaged 7.8 yards per play.  EMU averaged 1.5.
EMU took one snap in BG territory all day.  That play was an INT.
EMU was 1-12 on 3rd down.

Hard to say much more than that.  

OK.  Not that hard.

I feel badly for EMU.  This has been a nightmare season.  They had a teammate murdered and a coached fired when his profanity-laden and incredibly demeaning and insulting diatribe was revealed, eventually for the entire world to hear.  And then to endure what happened today in the freezing cold with an interim coach and an empty stadium...long year.  I know, they could fix it, but I do feel badly for those guys.  What a long year.

BG has now gone 12 quarters without allowing a touchdown on defense.  Since halftime of the UT game, this team has been everything we said it was not before that.  The team has played virtually flawless football since allowing Owens that TD pass.  Yes, that included too very poor teams (EMU and Miami), but it also included OU and early in the year, BG was letting poor teams hang around and that stuff has stopped.

BG's defensive prowess has emerged after the team lost Gabe Martin, its star Rover.  Today, it was also down Justin Ford (the 2nd Rover) and Barimah, and get through all that, no touchdowns allowed by the defense.  And, today, barely any first downs.

The whole thing now comes down to Friday.  To date, BG has done everything it needed to do to play for a trip to Detroit.  Sometimes not as much as expected, but enough to get where they needed to go.  (In fact, even with a win over UT the Buffalo game would still be for the whole thing.)

Today, they got way more than they needed.  Let's hope that the guys who sat today are healthy Friday and BG delivers the big win on Friday.  It is the biggest game for Falcon football in 10 years, since the BG-UT game won the West for the Falcons when Gregg Brandon was the coach.  We have waited a long time to play this meaningful a game at this time of year.  Let us enjoy.

Next....the Billikens....

The Cancun Challenge moves on now to Missouri....where the Falcons will take on the St. Louis Billikens.  BG has played St. Louis twice in the Orr era..each around New Year's and BG won both games, one at home and one on the road.  Both of those games were against Majerus.

The new coach is Jim Crews, who once coached at Evansville, where he won 58% of his games before being removed.  Anyway, last year he was the interim coach after Majerus passed, he went 28-7 and won the A-10 regular season and tournament and won one game in the Big Dance, the fourth appearance for a Crews team.

They lost 3 seniors, but are still picked to finish #2 in the A-10.  They are very likely a tournament team and a Sweet 16 risk anytime they hit the floor.  They are 4-0 this year without any real big wins, and beat Orel Roberts in the first round of the Cancun thing.

This is a team built on defense.  Last year, they allowed a mind-boggling .87 points per possession.  This year, they are at exactly the same.  As a refresher, 1 is average and .87 was 8th best in the nation.  The Billikens do it mostly defending the shot.  Teams are shooting 41% and 21% against them and they are forcing 15 turnovers per game, which is about where BG is counting the Earlham game.

So, the Falcons, who have had trouble scoring, are going to have to find an answer to that issue.

On the offensive side, St. Louis is scoring at 1.13, which is also very good.  When you look at the internal numbers, it is hard to see where that efficiency is coming from.  They take good care of the ball, are an OK shooting team, though they are making 78% of their free throws, which doesn't match well with what we have seen from the BG defense.

They play at 70 possessions a game, which is fast.

They are led by Jordair Jett, their PG, who is scoring about 13 with 4 assists per game and shooting 45%, which is good for a guard.  Also scoring around 13 are G Mike McCall and 6'6" F Dwayne Evans.  All three are seniors and also averaging about 4 rebounds per game.

Rob Loe, also a senior, is 6'11" and scores 8 and gets 6 rebounds.  Their leading rebounds, though, is Jr. Grady Glaze, who is 6'6" and getting 9 rebounds a game and 3 offensive rebounds a game to go with 9 points a game scored).

The St. Louis teams BG played before were usually among the youngest teams in D1.  This year, they are the 9th most experienced team in D1.  

This one is going to be a tough game for BG, especially as a true road game.  For the Falcons to compete, they first need to play better defense than they is really the only chance.  They will need to find a way to make some baskets, but priority #1 is to keep the game very low scoring.

Friday, November 22, 2013

25 Questions that are in Plain English

What is their body of work?

Not good.  They are 2-8.  Their wins are over Howard (by 10) and WMU (OT).  Their coach was fired the day before their last game and they haven't had a winning season in years.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

26, which is an average number.

Who are their statistical leaders?

None of their players are nationally ranked.  Bronson Hill is 5th in the MAC in rushing yards.

What is their turnover ratio?

They are -9 in the MAC.  Only CMU is worse.


How is their QB Play?

Oh, not that good.  Tyler Benz has gotten most of the reps this year, but he was 7th in passing efficiency in the MAC.  Lately, Broback Rogan has gotten more play.  His efficiency is even lower.

What is their scoring and yards per play?

They are 7th in the MAC in scoring offense and 8th in total offense and t-7th in yards per play.

Can they run the ball?

They are average.  They are 6th in rushing offense and 6th in yards per rush.  However, Bronson Hill and Ryan Brumfield are both very solid, averaging 5.6 and 5.7 yards per carry.
Eagle Brand Medicated Oil...
For the bruised D1 athlete

Do they pass the ball?

They are 7th in the MAC in pass efficiency.  They are 10th in pass yardage per game, mostly due to a run-rich play selection.  They have completed only 56% of their passes and have a 13/11 ratio.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on 57% of their plays, which is very high.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

No.  They are 11th in the MAC.

Do they score in the red zone?

They've made only 2.9 trips per game into the red zone, but they are effective.  They have 4.9 points per trip, though, which is pretty good.

Do they protect the quarterback?

No.  They are 9th in the MAC with 25 sacks allowed.  Remember, they don't pass that much, so that is almost 8% of their passing attempts.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They are the worst defensive team in the MAC.  They are last in points allowed per 44, they are 9 points per game behind the next team.  They are giving up 7.6 yards per play, which is a full yard worse than the next team.

Do they defend the run effectively?

No.  They are last, allowing 6.1 yards per carry and 36 rush TDs.

Can they be passed on?

They are last in pass efficiency defense, allowing 67% completions, 20 Tds over 5 INT and 14.7 yards per reception.

The glorious bald eagle.
Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

Nope.  They are 12th, at about 47%

Do they defend in the red zone?

They are awful.  They have allowed 4.6 trips per game at 5.3 points per trip.

Do they pressure the QB?

They are 10th with 15 sacks.

Special Teams:


They are also last in net punting.  No blocks, no returns for TDs.

Punt Return?

They are 9th in punt return average.  Only 8 returns this year.


Dylan Mulder is not great....5 of 9 with a long of 41.  Two makes are inside 19 yards.  That is the lowest amount of made FGs in the MAC.


They are last in kickoff coverage, allowing teams to start on the 31.  They have allowed 2 TDs.

Kickoff Return?
You are free, Ron.

They are 9th in kickoff returns, though Tyler Allen does have 1 TD.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

Look, all that tells the story of what has happened before now.  I don't expect BG to have much trouble in this game.  The worst case is that EMU has the running game going and keeps BG's offense off the field, but I don't expect that to happen.  Or...BG has their eye on The Ralph...which I also would hope will not happen.

The other thing is whether the Eagles...having gotten a win last week, are going to have some burst in confidence.  It is their senior day, they are not being belittled by Ron English every day.  Could happen.

But I doubt it.  It was 24-3 last year, and I certainly hope to see BG continue its strong play Saturday.

MAC Blogger Roundtable....My answers

So, our MAC Blogger roundtable is back at work again.  This week, the questions come from our friends at Bull Run, who are sharpening their horns for the Ralph in one week.  Tim's a totally loyal Bull supporter and an early are his questions this week and my answers.

1 - In my view has NIU finally smashed the myth that service provided recruiting rankings matter? Jordan Lynch was a two star recruit who landed during a time when the Huskie's recruiting classes were hardly eye popping.

In Buffalo we have Khalil Mack who had only one FCS offer. James Starks was in the same place and he is now playing for the Packers.

Where do you fall on the recruiting services rankings and who on your team proves that they are useless?

I agree 100%.  You can only really evaluate a recruiting class looking back.  The recruiting services don't do much actual video observation of MAC players and who says they know what they are looking at.  Even if they did, you are dealing with 17-18 year old men, and projecting what someone is going to be when they are 22 based on what they are when they are 17 is dicey person.  If you doubt it, consider yourself.  See?  So given limited attention and a practically impossible task, they get it wrong a lot.

On the Falcons, I would point you to Travis Greene.  Greene currently has the 4th best rushing season in school history--which includes former pros PJ Pope, Paul Miles and Dave Preston--and was unranked by ESPN (with his name spelled wrong) and a 2-star by Rivals.

2 - NIU is killing Fresno in the computer polls but human eyes are putting the Bull dogs and their "impressive win over Rutgers" well ahead of NIU. Is the mountain west a more powerful football conference this season and if so why?

That is pretty much bull.  Is the MWC better than the MAC...probably.  But not by a lot.  The MAC is hurt this year by the bottom third of the conference being absolutely awful, but its a matter of 4 awful MAC teams and 3 slightly less awful MWC teams.  As for the Rutgers win?  Are you serious?  Iowa is a much better win that that.  There is no doubt in my mind that NIU is being hurt because the voters chose them last year and now they want to give somebody a chance. Fresno is a good team and it is not a blow out, but NIU is better.

3 - With this season winding down What MAC team has surprised you the most. Conversely what did you see coming but it seemed to surprise everyone else?

The biggest surprise to me has been the collapse of the OU Bobcats.  I felt like OU had a very solid team that was well constructed and would improve based on the odds of staying healthy, compared to last season.  They did not...and the team seems to have some internal issues.  This has surprised me...I honestly thought that they were the MAC East's model program.

I would like to say I saw Kent coming.  They had a huge amount of breaks last year, generous turnover margin, etc and I thought they'd take a step back.  Which they did.

Badgers too much for Falcons...

In a result that was not terribly surprising, Wisconsin rolled to an easy win over BG at the Kohl Center last night.  There were some positive elements to the game for BG, but in the end the Badgers have too much shooting for BG to overcome.

The Falcons hung tough for 10 minutes, with the score 20-20.  From that point on, Wisconsin won the game 68-44.  Wisconsin did all their real damage in the middle of the game...from that 10 minutes point until the 17:00 mark of the 2nd half, they outscored BG 30-10 and from there the game was pretty even again until the end, although it is difficult to tell how much effort the Badgers were expending at that point.  BG did run the lead down to 14 at one point but no closer.

The analysis is relatively simple.  Wisconsin shot 55% from the field and 60% (12-20!) from beyond the arc, while BG shot 44% from the field and 11% (1-9) from beyond the arc.  I doubt if there will be too many D1 games where a team gets out-3'd by 11 and wins the game.

As we noted in our preview this year, shooting is a challenge for BG.  This is currently made worse by the injury to Chauncey Orr, who is at least an average shooter, but BG has no real perimeter shooting threats.  Anthony Henderson was 3-8 shooting, for example (and 1 of 4 from the line), and Jehvon Clarke missed all 3 of his 3s, though he did make 7 of 14 overall. (Note:  3 assists over 4 turnovers).

On the other measures, BG did pretty well.  The Falcons took excellent care of the ball with only 6 turnovers (9%) and did a nice job on the boards.  The other area where BG was really handled was something that I think will continue to be an issue for this team--fouls.  BG committed 23 and Wisconsin 14.  Wisconsin made 20 free throws in 26 attempts, while BG was 7 of the foul deficit was made worse by BG not being able to make the shots it did get.

BG's points per possessions was .96.  BG actually didn't shoot horribly and the low turnover total helps as well.  Sadly, Wisconsin scored at 1.31 points per possession, the highest against BG since the Oakland "post-season" game at the end of the 11-12 season.

So Clarke had 15, but the top scorer for BG is a guy who seems to really be developing and that is Spencer Parker.  Starting in place of Orr, he played 31 minutes and had 17 points, all of them in the second half.  He had 7 of 14 shooting and 3 of 5 from the line, and added 4 rebounds.  Parker is a slashing threat, so he doesn't necessarily generate outside points, but this team can use offensive production wherever they can get it.

Just to speculate, but when Orr is back, I wonder what will happen.  Possibly, you might move Orr to start at SG, so your lineup is Clarke, Orr, Parker, Holmes and Black.  Playing the 3, I think Parker can present some matchup problems in the MAC.

One digression.  I saw in the BG games notes that no player on this team has ever scored 20 points in a collegiate game.

Cam Black had 10 points on 5 of 9 shooting, with all points coming in the first half against a very tall Badger team.  Holmes had 8 and 8.

Craig Sealey returned to the game, logging 27 minutes.  Josh Gomez played 4 minutes.

BG heads south to St. Louis in what promises to be an equally challenging games.  More on the Billikens tomorrow, but they won the A-10 last year and figure to be another difficult road challenge for the Falcons

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Falcon Fodder Injury Report

The Blade's Falcon Fodder has the injury report for BG leading into the EMU game.  You might recall that Jude Adjei-Barimah was injured on a low block on Boo Boo Gates' INT return against OU...he hoped to practice today but is doubtful to play Saturday.  Equally worrisome, Justin Ford--who replaced Gabe Martin at Rover--has concussive symptoms.  He is not cleared to practice.  Finally, Heath Jackson had a hammy injury, and he's probable.

Here's the thing.  BG should win the game Saturday and they don't need it.  The season is resting on one game...and that's in Buffalo.  Furthermore, BG has a short week between the Eastern game and the Buffalo game, so less time to recuperate.

The goal is to have all 3 of these guys healthy for the Ralph.  So, if Adjei-Barimah and Ford are not 100% healthy, I think we give them a week off.

Clawson Presser

Coach Clawson had his weekly presser yesterday as the team preps for the EMU game.

Nobody talks up the opposition better than Coach Clawson.  Honestly, you would have thought Murray State was a potential DI national champion to hear him tell it.  I know, he's got to do it to keep his guys focused.  More on that later.

He notes, with accuracy, that EMU has undergone a huge amount of adversity this year.  They had a player murdered and then their Coach was fired--and Coach didn't say this, but we all know it was after a profanity-laden insulting tirade where he urged everyone except himself to accept responsibility for the state of the program.

He notes that they have moved the ball against everyone they have played.  (A claim we will examine in 25 questions on Friday).  He says they have good RBs and a big offensive line.

Still, they didn't get to be 2-8 by accident, with wins over Howard and WMU.  You'd have to point your finger at the defense.  Coach says that they simplified their defense against WMU, which was Parrish's first game and a game held when he had been interim coach for one day.

He also pointed out that EMU had played a tough schedule.  There is no doubt, the MAC West presents a more difficult schedule than the East.  And then, their crossover games are OU, Buffalo and BG, which is a tough road.  They also played Rutgers (2-7) and Penn State as non-conference games.

Coach was asked how you got a team up for a game like this.  The fact is that except for possible bowl implications, the game means nothing in terms of making the MAC Championship.  He noted that it isn't like the NFL where you just rest your veteran players, and then he tried to talk about winning an OUTRIGHT East title.

He mostly said that the team has to watch film and see the EMU RBs and the O-line and remember the tight game BG played with them last year, and from their senior leadership should get everyone awake.

Clawson was asked about Brogan Roback, who has emerged as EMU's QB.  He went to St. John's (it is a little known fact that all Ohio young men named Brogan must be Johnnies).  Coach says BG recruited him.

Coach was planning to watch the UT-NIU game, but he refused to say who he was rooting for, for fear of ending up on a bulletin board.  We just want to be in the game, he said.

The OU punt was a real fake, not a mistake.

He talked about BG's improvement on both sides of the ball in the red zone.  You try to fix the things that you need to do better...last spring it was red zone.  He said usually they practice things in proportion to how often they happen in a game, but he threw that out and the team focused on what to do in the red zone.  He said the defense was simplified a little (if simplifying the defense is so effective...oh, never mind), etc, and the results are evident.

Also, there's William Houston.  Coach relayed the story of how Houston came to BG.  You can listen to the presser to hear the whole story, but he is a guy BG really needed for short yardage situations.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


We don't need no stinkin' Badgers.

See what I did there?


BG travels to Madison to play Wisconsin in the first game of the Cancun Challenge, an odyssey that starts in Madison, moves to St. Louis and then ends up in a hotel ballroom in Cancun.  I know.

These next two games are as tough an assignment as BG will face this year.

The Badgers are off to a 4-0 start.  They beat St. John's, a highly ranked Florida squad, Green Bay and then North Dakota last night, in a matchup of 2013 BG opponents.

I watched some of the game last night.  It was interesting.  When you think of Wisconsin, you usually think of a 44-39 game where Bo Ryan calls for a two-hand set shot and you have to stop to get the ball out of the peach basket whenever anyone scores, which isn't too often.

Last night was interesting in that respect.  Wisconsin won 103-85 in a borderline crazy shoot out.  They have actually been playing a little more upbeat up until now, which is a departure for the Badgers.  Their games have been moving at 67 possessions a game, they are scoring 1.18 points per possession and have an effective FG rate of 57%.  Last year, it was 62 possessions, 1.04 points per possession and a EFG% of 48.6%.

As you can see, the defensive numbers are similar, with better shooting against WI as well.

Last night's unlikely star was Frank Kaminsky who set a school record with 43 points.  Yes, they have played basketball at Wisconsin for quite a while.  Anyway, he is a 7'0" JR who was 16-19 from the field, 6-6 from beyond the arc and 5 of 6 at the line.  Oh...the 43 points came in 28 minutes played.  Don't know if it was one of those nights, but a 7'0" going inside and out is going to present some matchup problems for BG.

The team's star was supposed to be Sam Dekkar, a 6'7" So from Sheboygan.  (No, really).  He is averaging 16 points a game on 53% shooting, making him a very efficient scorer.  He can score inside and out as well and will present a real matchup issue for the Falcons.

Guards Traveon Jackson and Ben Brust are also scoring in double figures and Jackson adds almost 5 assists a game against 2 turnovers per game.  Brust, oddly, leads the team in rebounds at 6 per game.

Wisconsin plays a very short rotation.  Their starters get most of the minutes.  Beyond them, only 3 players average 10 minutes per game.

In case you were wondering, BGHS grad Vitto Brown played 1 minute last night, which means he will not redshirt.  It was his first action of the season.

This is a very big challenge for BG, probably the toughest of the season.  BG has been playing very short-handed.  Some help might be on the way.  The BG News is reporting that the Falcons hope Craig Sealey will play (he is now practicing) but that it doesn't sound like Orr will play.   No word on Zach Denny, but I would assume that means he is not expected to play.

Falcon Football Verbal....

BG has a new verbal for its 2014 class.  This one is from Isiah Moore, an OL from Tiffin Columbian HS, which is right down the road.  He's 6'3" and 280 lbs, which is good sized for a guy entering the program.  He has certainly been getting some notice.  As you know, lineman are tough to track...there aren't as many stories about them and they don't have stats.  Still, we know the Moore was a Division II first-team all-State as a junior, was a top performer at the UM football camp this summer, and was among the top 200 recruits in Ohio according to JJHuddle with offers from Toledo and Kent.  Also, his twitter profile says "football is everything."

Welcome to the Falcons, Isiah.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Travis Greene on all-time list

So, here are the all-time BGSU leaders in rushing, clipped from the BGSU media guide with absolutely no permission.

Travis Greene has 1,167 yards, which is the 4th best rushing season in school history.

He needs:

19 yards to move into 3rd.
248 to move into 2nd
279 to move into the all-time lead.

Which is pretty good, given that he was a WR until spring practice.

I know what you are going to say---that teams play a lot more games now.  A couple things.  First, BG has played 10 games--a normal collegiate schedule for many years--and he's still 4th all-time.  Players also used to carry the ball a lot more back in the day.  For example, in the 1971 Paul Miles season you see above, he had 274 carries.  Greene has 190.

So, Greene is averaging 6.1 yards per carry, which is the sixth best season on that measure in the history of BG football.

Slice it how you like Greene is having a monster year for this program.  I think it could get lost in the shuffle, but he is having one of the better seasons for any RB in our program's enjoy!

ICSTR: Here Kitty, kitty, kitty

BG has now had 10 straight positive games.  This one was strong, with BG on a +9 net. BG had no negative plays for the game and OU had only one...the fake punt/desperation punter run that was the equivalent of a turnover. OU was hampered a little bit in these measures.  The system is designed to weed out small yardage differences...OU had a good game returning kickoffs but never got outside the 35, which is what you need to score a point.  Five of BG's 9 points came from Schmiedebusch's MAC POTW performance.  Anyhoo. (The whole dumb thing is explained here.)

BG Positive Plays: (+9)
Failed OU fake punt (+3)
BG KO TB (+1)
BG punt inside 10 (+2)
BG Punt inside 20 (+1)
BG 50 yard net punt (+1)
BG 47 yard net punt (+1)

BG Negative plays (0)

OU Positive Plays (+2)
OU punt inside 20 (+1)
OU punt inside 20 (+1)

OU Negative Plays (-3)
Fake punt fails (-3)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Brian Schmiedebusch MAC East Special Teams

Brian Schmiedebusch was named the MAC East Special teams Player of the Week for his performance against the OU Bobcats.

Here's the info the MAC gave.

He punted four times and averaged 43.0 yards per punt in a 49-0 win over Ohio on Nov. 12. He downed two punts inside the Bobcats' 20-yard line. His first punt came in the third quarter, a 40-yarder which was downed at the one-yard line. The only punt returned by Ohio went for -4 yards. His final two punts, which traveled a combined 97 yards, were unable to be returned.
Congratulations to Brian.  He has had a very effective week against OU and BG is 4th in the MAC in net punting this year.  He has not reached the success he had in his sophomore year, but he has improved over last season.  He has had an outstanding career at BG and stabilized a position that had a ridiculous amount of struggle over the years before he got here. We'll be counting on him in the Buffalo game in what are anticipated to be difficult conditions.

OU Benchmark report

OK, so catching up on some stuff from the OU game before we head into looking ahead at the EMU game coming up this Saturday at Rynearson.  

Here is the benchmark report.  Nothing too surprising.  BG continues to have above average negative passing plays, but made up for it with eye-popping numbers....65% completion and 19 yards per reception.  I doubt if too many teams have lost with those numbers this year.  BG was also perfect in the red zone.

Usually, the % of 3rd down plays doesn't reveal too much, but here I think it does.  BG ran only 16% 3rd down plays...1 in 6, while OU ran 26%.  If you went three and out on every possession, it would be 33%, so 26% is a pretty high number.  Just to say this...hard to win with that many third down plays and then converted only 25% of 3rd and 4th down plays...that's trouble.

With the sacks taken out, OU got virtually no passing game going at all.  OU's sacks allowed were twice the MAC average.

Bernard Edwards Signs with BGSU Men's Basketball

We covered this a couple weeks ago, but it is now official:  Bernard Edwards Jr. has signed with BG Men's basketball.  The skinny is that he has been a very productive player for his team in HS.  He is a PG.  He was all-SW Florida second team last season, and has shown to be a very productive player.  BGSU's release said he had offers from Northwestern State, Austin Peay, and Ball State.  He's 6'0."

Yes, his father was a WR for OSU from 88-91.

Here is Coach Orr's quote about him.

"We are extremely pleased and excited to have Bernard and his family join our Falcon Family. BJ is not only a talented and athletic point guard, but also a high character individual that will fit in well with our guys both on and off the court. He brings quickness, playmaking, scoring and defense to our team. He will give us a penetrating guard that can put pressure on the opposition on both ends of the floor," stated Coach Orr. "He has very good pace to his game and can finish in the lane with both hands, as well as having the ability to shoot the three. He is a team player, and comes from a Lehigh High School program that is led by an outstanding coach in Dawn McNew. BJ is truly blessed to have a lot of love and support from great parents, Bernard Sr. and Lashonda Edwards. We gladly welcome them to our family and appreciate their trust and support."
If he truly had offers from Austin Peay and Ball State, those are good signs. AP has a good program and there's a new coach at Ball State. It is really hard to project HS stats to D1 performance because you have to know what kind of talent he was playing against.  Still, better good stats than bad.

Anyway, looking forward to seeing him in orange and brown.  Welcome. Bernard.

Past and Future Opponent Update

A look at how our opponents fared this weekend....

Tulsa (2-8)  Lost 43-34 to Marshall.
Kent (3-8)  Beat Miami
Indiana (4-6) Decimated by Wisconsin
Murray State (5-6)  Lost 17-10 to Tennessee State
Akron (4-7) Beat UMass 14-13
UMass (1-9)  See above
Mississippi State (4-6) Lost to Alabama
Toledo (7-3) Defeated Buffalo.
Miami (0-10)  Lost to Kent....Sad.
EMU (2-9)  Off week
Buffalo (7-3) Lost to UT

2013 Totals:
MAC vs. FBS: 10-28
MAC vs BCS: 4-22
MAC vs FCS: 10-2

Saturday, November 16, 2013

MAC Blogger Roundtable compiled

Here you go, the compiled MAC Blogger roundtable responses...enjoy.

Falcons Fall to Bulls

The Falcons got the expected result last night against South Florida at the Stroh.  The game was tied with less than 3 minutes to play in the first half but the Bulls went 7-1 on a Falcon team in deep foul trouble and led by 7 at the half.  BG never got within 5 again, as USF ground it out.  In the last 10, BG was never within 8 points.

BG, surprisingly enough, had an average offensive game at 1.01 points per possession.  That's accomplished with very poor shooting...36% and 22%.  The offense was saved by taking good care of the basketball and having an above average day on the offensive boards.  BG also did not get to the line much and made only 55% when they did.

The problem was, USF had a huge day with the ball.  It was a 61 possession game, so 75 points is 1.23 points per possession, which is pretty hard to beat for BG.  USF shot really well...they shot 59% from the field and that made the big difference, even if they only shot 30% from 3.  They had more turnovers than BG but had better offensive rebounding and shot a lot more FTs.  They were +6 on free throws alone.

Chauncey Orr did not play due to the knee injury that forced him out against Earlham.  Spencer Parker got the start in his place.  He had a nice game, playing 39 minutes, scoring 11 points on 4 of 8 shooting and 4 rebounds and could have had more, except he shot 3-7 from the line.  Richaun Holmes had 10 points and 7 rebounds on 3 of 5 shooting.  However, both of them had 4 fouls and 3 turnovers.

BG's leading scorer was Jehvon Clarke 17 points, but that's a little misleading.  Clarke took an incredible 24 shots to get there, and was 6 of 24 from the field.  That's the kind of 17 points that does not help your team win.  He had 4 assists over 4 turnovers, also not numbers that successful teams get from their PG.

In fact, Clarke and Henderson collectively shot 10 of 39 from the field and 2-11 from 3.  In the preview, I identified this as one of the concerns for this team, and it certainly played itself out against the Bulls.

BG ran a 7-man rotation.  With Sealey, Orr and Denny out with injuries and Mayleben not playing yet, that's all the scholarship players BG has to work with.

Josh Gomez came off the bench and had 7 points and four rebounds (including a trey...and 3 fouls) in 11 minutes played, so take that for what it might be worth.

On the USF side, Corey Allen scored 19, Rudd 16 and Egbunu 12 with 8 boards.  Anthony Collins returned to the lineup with 26 minutes off the bench, scoring 7 with 5 assists.

So, BG was falls to 1-1 on the year and 0-1 in D1 competition.  Wisconsin is next on Thursday and St. Louis on Friday, both on the road, so it doesn't get any easier.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

South Florida Preview

So the men's basketball team is getting ready for its first true test of the season tomorrow at the Stroh...this is the return trip for South Florida.  BG played a 3 OT thriller (including a blackout) down there last year, a game BG lost but lost after leading by 7 with 1 minute left and a 4 point lead with :22 left and the ball in regulation and did not put the game away.

That was certainly a disappointment, it would have been a nice road win for BG.  It was a Big East team, and even though they were not a good team and went on to lose 12 of their last 14 games, it was still a Big East team.

Things have changed.  They aren't in the Big East anymore, now they are in the American Athletic Conference, where they are picked to finished 8th or 9th, depending on who you believe.

They are 2-0 so far this year, but the wins were at home over a low-level OVC team (Tennessee Tech) and a low-level MEAC team (Bethune-Cookman).  The first game they won by only 10.

Other changes include the addition of two large and very effective FR.  The first is 6'10" John Egbunu who had a 7/7 against Tennessee Tech...weird line, he had 0 FGA and yet shot 12 free throws.  He was ranked as the 64th best recruit in the country.

The other is Chris Perry, 6'8" and 245, a 4-star guy who came off the bench against TT to have 14 and 7.

One thing has not changed.  Victor Rudd remains a total stud.  He played 53 minutes against BG last time for 29 points and the three that tied it at the end of regulation.   He's averaging 18.5 PPG in only 26 average minutes this season and should benefit from the addition of the other big players.  Rudd is a 6'9" guy who is really a 3, which presents terrible matchup issues for most teams, including ours.

Their returning PG, Anthony Collins has yet to play this year due to injury.  However, JUCO Corey Allen has filled in well, getting 14 points per game and 8 assists per game.  Collins had surgery in the off-season and according to this story is recovering slower than expected.  No idea if he is expected to play tomorrow or not.

This will be interesting.  BG typically plays well at home, but I think USF is the stronger team and I had them picked before the season to win this game.  I will say this...we have no idea what BG can do based on those first two games.  This is the first real test.  A Falcon win could indicate things are better than we feared.