Friday, October 17, 2014

25 Questions that Row the Boat

What is their body of work?

This is an improving team.  The is the 2nd year of PJ Fleck and the "Row The Boat" cult at WMU.  Last year was bad...the kind of bad where you are 1-11 and lose your FCS game.  In the meantime, they brought in the highest rated recruiting class ever in the MAC and they are 3-3 this year...beating Idaho, Murray State and winning @ Ball State.  They took UT to OT and battled Purdue tough...other loss is to Va Tech.  Will talk at the end about what we might see, but this team is much improved and perfectly capable of winning Saturday.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

25, which is a normal number.  They have 11 true freshman on their 2-deep...which is quite a lot.

Who are their returning statistical leaders?

Jarvion Franklin leads the nation in rushing TDs and scoring, is #6 in rushing yardage and is #14 in in all-purpose yardage.
Zach Terrell is #22 in the nation in passing efficiency and #1 in the MAC.
Rom Zamort is #3

What is their turnover ratio?

They are even.


How is their QB play?

Very good.  Terrell has completed 66% of his passes, with 10/4 and 13 yards per completion, all of which are really good.  He is pretty much a drop-back passer, but he is very productive.

What is their scoring and yards per play?

They are 3rd in the MAC with 33.7 PPG.  They are efficient...6.8 yards per play is tied for 1st in the MAC and almost a yard better than BG.

Can they run the ball?

The previously mentioned Mr. Franklin--a true freshman--is tearing it up.  He was unranked coming in, but has been averaging 6 yards per carry on 23 carries a game.  A lock for FR of the year, he is also a legit threat for MAC OPOY.

Do they pass the ball?

As mentioned, they have the best passing efficiency in the MAC.  Their big threat is Corey Davis, who is averaging 18 yards per reception and Daniel Braverman with 42 grabs.  Davis leads the MAC in yards and Braverman in receptions.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run the ball 52% of the time, which in today's game is a mild commitment to the run.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They are 4th at 43%

Do they score in the red zone?
WMU '86
Interestingly, for a team that scores so much they have only 23 red zone trips in 6 games.  They have 15 TDs and 5 FGs in those trips, which is 5.2 points per, which is moderately above average.

Do they protect the quarterback?

They have given up 11 sacks so far, which is 5.7% of their passing attempts, which is a tick better than average..


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They have the 6th best defense in the MAC on both measures.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are 10th in the MAC, allowing only 4.9 yards per carry.

No, I said I hold the umbrella and you row the boat.
Can they be passed on?

They are 3rd in the MAC in passing defense efficiency.  They allow only 54% completions, 12 TDs/4 INT, and 12.5 yards per catch.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are 7th, allowing 43%.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They are not bad at 4.7 points per trip.  They have specialized in forcing FGs more than outright stops.

Do they pressure the QB?

No, they get sacks on only 3.5% of their passing attempts, which is not great.

Special Teams:
And then Grover will rooooooow the boat


They are 8th in the MAC in punting.  When there is a return they give up 12 yards per return.  No TDs, no blocks.

Punt Return?

Braverman averages negative yards on punt returns so far this year.


Haldeman has struggled.  He is 5-8 with all 3 misses inside 30 and 1 block.


They are 8th in the MAC, with a starting point of the 29.  No TDs.

Kickoff Return?

They average a start on the 25, which is not great.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

Here's the thing.  This game is VERY HIGH on the worry-meter.

WMU battled UT tough.  They battled Purdue tough.  They beat Ball State, but the Cards are reeling.  They are looking for a statement win, a win that says "we are back."

And what better place to do that then on the road against the defending champs?

They have a big offense, they have a solid defense.  They will put pressure on the BG defense to show how much improvement has really been made, and they will put pressure on the BG offense to get more consistent production.

The line on this has continued to melt as people seem to be betting on WMU.  This is going to be a big challenge for the Falcons.  BG is certainly capable of winning the game and I'd like to think we're likely to win, but this one has me very worried.

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