Friday, December 27, 2013

Sadness style...the defense....

So, had a night to sleep on it and still proud of our Falcons.  It was a very entertaining game last night--both sides were there to play hard--and the game had plenty of drama and excitement.  Maybe a little too much for BG fans, but it was still a very solid effort.  Pitt is an emerging program.  Most of their top players are Freshman.  In a year or two, Chryst is going to have that place humming.

I don't think BG played as well as it was capable of.  Pitt did not bring a high octane offense into the game--and then one of their top WRs, Devin Street, did not play and their QB only played half the game--and yet the Panthers averaged 8 yards a play, which I suspect is the most allowed by BG this season.

That starts with James Conner.  He is just a freshman....a true freshman, I think...from Erie, PA.  He was highly productive in HS and was highly recruited.  Clearly, the guy is a talent.  I have not seen BG tacklers fall off a RB like that in some time.  At one time it was a common occurrence, but we have gotten used to sure tackling, until last night.
Also, the Pitt line won a lot of battles up front.  Conner had some huge holes to run through.  Ryland Ward and BooBoo Gates were BG's leading tacklers, which is a worrying sign.  

Conner gained 8.8 yards per carry on 26 carries, which was 43% of Pitt's total plays.  That's going to make you hard to beat.  As I mentioned last night, the rest of the big Pitt plays all came off faking the run action.  The big pass down the sideline to Boyd was a bootleg.  Anyway, Pitt had huge success with Conner because when he was 1-1 with one of our defenders, he usually won the battle.

The Pitt passing game was efficient.  Overall, they were 13 of 22, but for 232 yards.  That's 10.5 yards per attempt and 17.8 yards per reception, both eye popping numbers.  Even more importantly, when they needed the big pass play--either on 3rd down deep in their own territory or the big bomb that followed it--they were able to get it.

BG's defense did get its share of wins.  For a team to get 8.8 yards per play and only 23 offensive points is actually decent.  Much as in the NIU game, BG's defense did eventually stop some drives, forcing 4 Pitt FG attempts.  BG got a huge 3rd down stop in the last minute of the game to force an immediate FG and preserve any chance for a BG drive to tie the game.  BG also held Pitt to only 3 of 12 3rd down conversions...again, a key in keeping the game close.

It was a second superlative season for the BG defense.  I'll have closer looks at that once the dust settles, but they had a great season.  Last night, they ran into a guy who had an incredible night and did a good job to keep the game close.

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