Saturday, October 04, 2014

Sweet Victory #4

Just after 11 pm on Saturday night as I write this and just now starting to come down from the adrenaline rush of today's victory over the Buffalo Bulls.  And we're into a second martini to celebrate.

This is a flawed team, and we are going to have to love them for their flaws, because they are also thrilling and they keep fighting and, so far, have found a way to win MAC games they really needed.  The first half today was really uneven and sloppy, but the defense came out and played a fantastic third quarter against Buffalo.  Sadly, the offense picked that exact time to begin losing battles to the Buffalo defense, and the game remained static.

BG's defense eventually became tired and started to melt off tackles and Buffalo scored to take a five-point lead with 8:38 left.  BG got the ball back and continued to struggle on offense, making one first down before punting.  UB started on its own 22.

They made a first down, but then BG appeared to have the upper hand, forcing them into a 3rd and 13, but the Bulls went to Anthone Taylor and he ripped off 16 yards for the first down from the BG 24.  Things were looking bad.  Taylor continued to run, getting 9 yards on 1st and 2nd.  BG called a timeout with 3:08 left.  Coach said after the game he wanted to talk to his defense, let them know that things were looking bad for the Falcons if they didn't make the stop.

And here everything turned.  Honestly, looking very bad right there... UB poised to score, BG's offense in a serious struggle (more on all this tomorrow), and about to go down (it appeared) by 12.

BG rallied, though, getting the stop for a loss of one yard and forcing fourth down, credit on the tackle to Gabe Martin and Dernard Turner.  UB lined up for a 33 yard FG that would at least make it 8, but their struggling kicker hit one of the ugliest kicks I have seen in a long time and BG had life.

Starting on their own 20 with 3:04 left, Knapke went back to pass.  He had a rough day--and we had went to shorter passes seemingly to compensate--but that wasn't an option.  BG was moving into the wind and went to a deep drop before Knapke fired a rocket-strike to Ronnie Moore for a 40-yard gain on the first play off the missed FG.

Boom.  Now the place is rocking.

BG on the UB 40.  Coppet runs for nothing, but then BG hits Ronnie Moore again and he runs all the way across the grain and is pushed out of bounds on the Buffalo 4.  Three plays.  76 yards.  Coppet scores on the next play, BG misses the 2XP and leads by one.  Drive length?  :53.

The game is not over.  BG kicks off into the wind and UB takes a short kick and returns it into BG territory.  The game was definitely not over.  Except, the BG defense is now joining the battle.  After winning the 3rd Q and stoning the last drive, they were fired up.  UB ran to the left and made only 2 yards.  Then, UB completed a flat pass that was racked up on the edge by Paul Senn for no gain.  Then, on third down BG brought good coverage and Licata overthrew his receiver, and then on 4th down with the Doyt rocking, a hurried Licata hit Bellew with the pass, which fell safely to the earth and the Falcons had secured the win.

It was a thrilled.  It was a hard fought win and a win.  BG's defense had some rough moments, but I do think they are playing better and they certainly won their share of the battles out there.  In fact, there were struggles on the defense's end as well.

For today, BG had the opportunity to win in the 4th and executed when it was needed.  Ronnie Moore--who fumbled early--was a playmaker in the last minutes.  And the defense dominated the last 5 plays to close out the victory.

It was a great day to be a Falcon.  I felt really good leaving the stadium.  This is a flawed team, but in MAC play it is a winning team.  I give them credit--they are fighters, even when nothing has gone right for a long time.  This is a flawed team, but I had a great time rooting for them today.

So BG is 2-0 in the MAC.  Number of undefeated MAC teams?  4.  BG sits atop the East.

Every week is going to be like this.  We are not going to roll over anyone--unless the defense continues to improve at the same rate and maybe gets at least Ward back.  But, inside the whirlwind there might be a shot.  It is a long way to go--it is a game by game proposition, to be sure--but no one in the East has shown themselves to be great either.

There's OU next week, on the road.  Lost to CMU today.  Then, WMU at the Doyt, who took UT to OT today.  Then Akron.  There's 3 losses in those three games as easy as there are 3 wins.

But I was proud of our effort today and thrilled at the result.  It is a game-by-game thing.

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