Sunday, December 08, 2013

Sweet, Sweet Victory #10: The Offense

Remember where we were a year ago, at Crew Stadium.  BG has so little confidence in the offense that they play very conservatively, preferring to let the defense win the game.  BG does win the game, but they do it without doing much on offense.

From that team, the starting TB leaves.

Now, contrast that game with what we saw Friday night at Ford Field.  Are you kidding me?  Because BG had a dominant offensive performance Friday.  The Falcons scored 47...and while NIU is known as an offensive team, they had not allowed more than 27 in conference play.  BSU scored 27.  UT scored 17.  BG scored 47.

That's a pretty good contrast.  Huge credit to our guys.

The single biggest difference is Matt Johnson.  He simply makes plays that we would not have gotten last year.  Running out of trouble for a key 4th down conversion.  Scrambling, drawing defenders to him and getting the ball to Ronnie Moore in space.  Scrambling and hitting Travis Greene with a shovel pass.  And those are just scramble plays....overall he was 21 of 27 for 393 yards, 5 TDs and no picks.  NIU had been allowing only 50% completions.

Coach talks about the impact of big plays, and that was clear last night.  BG had 14.6 yards per passing attempt and 18.7 per completion.  Those are WOW numbers.  Usually, 12 a completion is very good.

I thought BG had a great game plan.  It started with getting Ronnie Moore involved early...did a great job setting the tone for the night and it put match up pressure on the NIU defense, which BG exploited.  Clearly, BG saw something on film, because the middle of the field was open all night long.  BG still ran the ball effectively.  I thought we had a clear plan, attacked the defense and our guys made all the plays they needed.

Travis Greene had a good night, averaging 5.1 yards per carry and getting 133 yards.  Lest we forget, what we saw was the most yards in program history for a single season rusher...and a sophomore.

Johnson's receivers also shined.  TE Alex Bayer--who said after the game he didn't think the game plan would include him very much--had 7 catches for 124 yards and a TD...and a long of 44 and a TD.  

Heath Jackson 6 grabs and a TD.  Ronnie Moore, 4 for 145 and a TD....long of 61.  Tyler Beck 1 for 28 and a heroic effort to get into the end zone for BG's first touchdown.  Greene also had a TD reception.

Overall, BG averaged 8.6 yards per play.  That's a big number.  BG punted only once, scored 6 touchdowns and added 2 FGs.  They were only 4 of 10 on third down, but they ran only 10 third down plays in the game, which is a sign of success on its own.

So, yeah, contrast that with last season.  We said in the off season that BG's offense had to improve for this to become a championship team...and it did.  That's partly Matt Johnson, that's partly finding Travis Greene and that's partly recruiting Ronnie Moore.  It's great line play from All-MAC lineman and its improved play at WR despite losing Chris Gallon.

Anyway, a lot of scorn gets heaped onto Warren Ruggerio.  Here's the deal...they had the players, put them in the right places and then put them in a position to succeed.  Which they did.  Which is the coach's job.

And that's how you win a championship.

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