Sunday, October 05, 2014

The defense actually looked better on the stats page than I expected, and so did the offense.  BG had a nice day against Buffalo, though they struggled after the first drive of the second half--until the last drive of the second half.  If anything, the offense is being hurt when it turns the ball over, which is something we saw very little of last year.  In fact, BG is tied for second-to-last in the MAC with 12 turnovers (with Miami and UMass)...though thanks to forcing 12 turnovers (also something we did not see last year) BG is actually even.

To start with the running, BG had 5.7 sack-adjusted yards per carry, which is above the conference average by about .5 yards per carry, which makes it a good if not great performance.  Greene had 5.3 yards and Coppet had 5.5 yards per carry and they were helped out by James Knapke, who broke off a couple of big runs, too.  More later on that.

The passing game clearly struggled to complete passes.  I would say this was the biggest struggle Knapke has had.  The Buffalo defense came in with a good percentage against but allowing 19 yards a reception, and that's pretty much the way it worked out.  BG completed 51% of its passes and while they did not get to 19 yards per reception, they did get to 15.4, (sack adjusted) which is a ridiculous number.  The MAC average is 11.8.

The one thing that jumps out is who the catches went to.  Roger Lewis made only one catch.  It was clear that Buffalo was determined to keep Lewis from beating them, and he was in double coverage much of the time.  So, BG took what was available, going to Moore 9 times for 178.  Coach mentioned after the game that the Buffalo linebackers were running right at the WRs as soon as the ball was snapped to try and pre-empt the spread, so BG adjusted....which is why you saw more shovel passes to RBs and even QB runs down the middle in the area vacated by the LBs.

Greene had 4 and Burbrink had 4 and Teo Redding had a beautiful 43 yard reception where he adjusted for the ball like a pro.

Knapke probably struggled more than the numbers would have indicated.  He had at least a couple of INTs that were just dropped by Buffalo backs and it seemed to me that BG tried to adjust in the 2nd half by going to runs and flat passes and Buffalo was just shutting that down.  BG ran two plays in a row where screens didn't develop and Knapke had to ground the ball to kill the play.  I felt like the whole operation was lacking some confidence.

You have to give Knapke credit.  He is a winner, even if he has some growing to do as a college QB.  He was asked to run--not part of his game and Coach says BG doesn't like to run its QB--and he did, converting 2 key 3rd downs.  And, when BG needed it, he delivered by hitting Moore with great passes on the last drive.

So, while it might not have been the kind of offensive performance we expected against this defense, it was a good offensive performance and good enough when needed.  I think Knapke will continue to improve and Coach promised to dial up some stuff to Lewis back into play and I think our offense can still be very, very good.

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