Monday, November 03, 2014

25 questions after a long layoff

What is their body of work?

Like BG, I don't suspect they are very happy with their situation, but, like BG, they have their goals in front of them.  They won at Pitt, which is always good, but lost to Ohio and Ball State (both away) the last two weeks...both games also without their starting QB.  Their conference wins are over Miami and EMU, both at home.  They are much like the Power 5 win and beyond that some spotty performances.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 39 Juniors and Seniors on the depth chart.  That's pretty amazing.  I don't remember seeing a higher number.

Who are their returning statistical leaders?

Zach Paul is the nation's #13 ranked punter.

What is their turnover ratio?

They are +1.  At 16 over 15, there are a lot going both ways but Woodson, the backup QB, threw 6 picks in his two games.  They are a turnover positive team at full strength.


How is their QB play?

Kyle Pohl is good if not great.  He is coming back after missing two games with a head injury.  Prior to his injury, he had 57% completions, 7 TD over 3 INT, at 10.8 yards pet catch which is good but not great.  I think he qualifies as a game manager, but they are better with him.

What is their scoring and yards per play?

They are 9th in the MAC in scoring and 10th in yards per play.

Can they run the ball?

They are tied for 5th in the MAC with 4.2 yards per carry.  Connor Hundley averages 5.9 yards per carry but fewer than 10 carries a game--and he leads the team.
Normal, natural and completely disturbing

Do they pass the ball?

They are 11th in pass efficiency.  Part of that is from while Pohl waas out and part of it is while Pohl was in, if you get what I mean.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on only 38% of their sack-adjusted plays, which is a very pass friendly offense.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

Not good...12th in the conference.

Do they score in the red zone?

Also not good.  4.1 points per trip with 10 0-point trips in 31 tries.  They have 4 red zone turnovers.

Do they protect the quarterback?

They have given up 17 sacks so far, which is a lot but they pass a lot.  It is only 4.7% of attempts.


Here is where the worm turns and where I think we can expect the game to be won or lost.  This is a very, very good defensive unit.  If BG brings the game they did against WMU, Akron will dominate and BG will not win...and in particular, if BG does not figure out a way to run the ball, there is no chance.

Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They lead the MAC in scoring defense and are 2nd in yards per play.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are 2nd in the MAC allowing 3.6 yards per carry.

Can they be passed on?

They are also 2nd in pass efficiency defense.  They allow 54% completions, 11 TD/8 INT...the only minor soft point is 12.1 yards per reception.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

Yes they do, the lead the MAC in this category.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They are really good.  4.3 points per trip and only 13 TDs allowed in 27 red zone trips.

Do they pressure the QB?

Yes they do.  21 sacks, which is 7% of passing attempts.  WMU clearly threw Knapke off with pressure and BG must be able to protect him to have any chance.

Special Teams:


They are 2nd in the MAC in punting yards but only 10th in net punting.  There's 10 touchbacks in there and 8 yards per return.  No TDs, no blocks.

Punt Return?

4.5 yards per return, no TD, no blocks.


In a saga that will be familiar to BG fans, Robert Stein, brother of former BG Kicker Stephen Stein, started the year having lost his job.  But somehow, the Steins always end up with the job.  Since then, Stein has been money, going 7-7 but with a long of only 40.


They are 6th in the MAC, with a starting point of the 25.  No TDs.

Kickoff Return?

They average a start on the 27 which is all right.

Remember when we had one of
these in BG?
Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

This game pits two very similar teams...BG and Akron are both having disappointing seasons but with one win can pretty much assure a trip to Detroit.  Akron has no big MAC wins to show for its efforts, and while it suffered with Pohl out, this is a defensive team that you would think could survive losing its QB better than most.

From BG, we have no idea what to expect.  If BG brings the offensive performance it did against WMU, it will be a very hard game to win.  BG has had a long layoff on top of it, which could work one of two ways.  If BG has used the time to clear its head and adjust what it is doing on offense, then this could be very good.  If the Falcons cannot figure out a way to run the ball against Akron, then they probably will not win, because if allowed to Akron will drive at Knapke hard and they cover well.

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