Tuesday, November 18, 2014

25 Rivalry Questions

What is their body of work?

Their record is not great, but they are better than that might appear.  They are 6-4 so far this year with losses to Missouri, @UC and @Iowa State.  Their only MAC slip-up came the same place is always does, which is on the same field as NIU.  For all the great players they have had, UT has not played in the MAC title game since 2004.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

26, which is a normal number.

Who are their statistical leaders?

Detmer is #16 in the nation in FGs.
Terry Swanson is #11 in yards per rush.

What is their turnover ratio?

This was a strong point last year, but this year they are -3.  (MAC play only).


How is their QB Play?

Well, that's a good question.  Their original starter, Phillip Ely, was lost for the year early.  They had Logan Woodside playing well, but he was injured and played only one series vs. NIU.  Their #3 was injured and is not expected to be available for the BG game.  They played the NIU game with WR Dwight Macon at QB, and he did pretty well, in fact.  They had an element of surprise--Carey said he didn't even know Macon could play QB--so it might be different with time to prepare.  Woodside is practicing this week and the situation is said to be still fluid.  Beyond the rivalry, the Rockets must win this one and I'd expect Woodside to go.

What is their scoring and yards per play?

They are a potent offense at full strength.  They are 3rd in the MAC in scoring and 2nd in yards per play.

Can they run the ball?

As always, yes.  They lead the MAC with 5.8 yards per carry.  This is test #1 for the BG defense...and it doesn't matter how well they pass if this is working.  Their line is great, and they have two very good backs.  As mentioned, Terry Swanson is in the Top 20 nationally with 6.7 yards per carry.  Their #1 back, Kareem Hunt, averages a ridiculous 8.1 yards per carry, but can't be nationally ranked until he appears in 75% of his team's games.  UT will test BG's front 7 as much as any team since Wisconsin.

Do they pass the ball?

While they don't get huge passing yards due to a run-based play mix, they are 4th in pass efficiency.  They only complete 58% with 8 TDs and 7 INT, but when they do connect they are gaining 13.5 yards per carry.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on 61% of their plays, which is a very heavy run mix.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They are 4th in the MAC at 45%

Do they score in the red zone?

Dude.  They are 1st in the MAC and 16th in NCAA in red zone scoring.  They have been in the red zone 28 times and gotten points 26 times.  They average 5.5 points per trip, which is very efficient.

Do they protect the quarterback?

Yes.  They always do...they have only allowed 5 sacks, which is good (2.8%) even given the low pass frequency.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

This is where there struggles come...and it probably has been the thing keeping them out of the MAC title game.  They are 7th in scoring defense and 11th in yards per play allowed.  BG simply has to find a way to move the ball tomorrow.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They allow 4.2 yards per carry, which is 6th in the MAC.

Can they be passed on?

They can.  They are 12th in pass efficiency defense.  They are tenth in completion percentage allowed (60.8%), 13 TDs over 5 INT and 12.5 yards per completion.  BG has to succeed both running and passing to win.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

So, when we see a difference between yards allowed and points allowed, usually it is because a team is getting stops on 3rd down or in the red zone.  UT is 4th in 3rd down conversions allowed.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They are also good in the red zone, allowing only 4.4 points per trip.

Do they pressure the QB?

11 sacks is 4.8% of attempts, which is average.

Special Teams:


They are 10th in net punting.  No blocks, no TDs allowed.

Punt Return?

They are 6th in the MAC, no TDs, no blocks.


Dude is ridiculous.  He is 16 out 19 and 13 out of 14 inside 40.


They are excellent.  Teams average starting on the 23.

Kickoff Return?

OK.  They start on their own 23.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

A few.

First, UT has won 4 straight in this series, including a heart-breaking win at the Doyt last year.  It will be interesting to see how this plays with the BG players.  (Losing to UT was the best thing to happen to BG last year, the team was completely dominant in every game after that).  It is a monkey on the back, and that can either be a motivator or a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Second, the weather.  It is going to be not good.  The temp is supposed to reach a low of 17 in Toledo and 1-3 inches of snow are expected, though mostly before game time.  Winds 15 to 25.  The weather will 100% be a factor in the game.  You are going to be able to need to run the ball, which helps UT in my opinion.  This is unseasonably cold mid-western football, and the weather will be an issue.

Third, home field.  UT is very tough to beat at the Glass Bowl.  I think the weather will keep the crowd down, which should at least limit the impact of the home field.

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