Sunday, October 05, 2014

Sweet Victory #4: The Defense

So we have heard all the stuff and I've said some of it.  Worst defense in the country...only hope is to completely outscore the opponent...etc.

Coach said something in the post-game that I think is interesting...he said that they have pride.  And that has served them well, because while they are, in fact, not a very good defense, they do continue to scrap and in fact kept the Falcons in the game while the offense struggled in the 3rd Quarter.  We certainly won a larger share of battles yesterday than we did at Western Kentucky or possibly even at UMass.

The key element that has brought about some improvement has been to solidify the LB position.  BG was clearly struggling when Lynch went out.  They moved Gabe Martin to MLB from WLB and he does seem to be thriving there.  He led the team in tackles, had 1.5 TFL (including on the game's pivotal play, the 3rd down stop just before the missed FG), and then a deep red zone INT with a big return.  Martin is a really good player--probably last year's best defensive player--and he's coming off an injury, but I think moving him to the middle has really helped.

Paul Senn is playing strong-side, and he made 8 tackles as well.  And then James Sanford--who had a huge game last week--is getting most of the reps on the weakside, and he had 9 tackles, a TFL and a hurry.

I felt like BG's coverage was stronger as well.  I was very surprised that Buffalo only passed the ball 24 times, to be honest, and there were plenty of times when they had Ron Willoughby with Nick Johnson on an island and he has such a size advantage I would go with that every time, but they didn't seem to have an interest.  Anyway, there were plenty of times when Licata dropped back and BG was in coverage and he had trouble finding people.  BG got a little pressure, but not a ton, so they were on their own and I feel like they made a respectable showing.

Dernard Turner, playing in Ward's spot, had a strong game as well.   He had 9 tackles and .5 TFL.

The D-line I think had some struggles.  BG won the battle up front last week, but I don't think that's as true this time.  UB has a really solid O-line and they were able to open holes for 6+ yards per carry for their lead back and BG had only 1 sack.  Having said that--and I think this is the point--BG did get penetration on that key 3rd down play and on the final drive they definitely did not give Licata time to throw.

The numbers are not great but probably not as bad as they felt at the time.

UB finished with only 368 yards and 5.2 yards per play.  Last year, the MAC average was 5.7 yards per play, so that's a clear victory for these guys.

UB focused on the ground, and had 47 attempts.  Anthone Taylor certainly had a big day, finishing with 219 net, 6.1 per carry and 3 TDs.  He's a really good player and he was dominant.  As a team, UB had only 5 yards per carry, though, and last year the MAC average was 5.2 per carry (both numbers sack adjusted) and that's a victory for our guys.

The passing game?  Licata has a good completion percentage at 16 of 24, but only 134 meager yards.  That's 8.4 per completion, which is well below the MAC average, which is 11.8.

So, say what you like about the wasn't always pretty but they played a much improved game.  Last note, UB worked with a short field off BG turnovers and bailed it out once and then gave up the TD on the other.

Finally, it is worth looking at the 3rd Quarter.  UB had four possessions.  They went three and out in the first three and on the 4th possession they started on BG's 45 after an INT.  They only ran 5 plays and gained five yards before the defense forced them to punt and bailed the offense out.

And that's the key sequence in the whole game, because the offense was struggling and the defense kept the team in the game.

More later on the offense.  For now, though, I have to admit.  Still savoring the win.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Just checked the national team stats for total yards per game. Yep ... BG at the bottom ... and also being a Bearcat, its tough to see one's two teams in the bottom two. Bearcat D is horrible ... just horrible.