Saturday, November 29, 2014

BG Sh*ts the Bed, Part II

There's not much point in going over this anymore, but I'm going to do it anyway.

BG had 157 yards on its first six plays yesterday.  Obviously, you know that's not sustainable, and I bring it up just to make this point...BG had 297 yards on its next 60 plays, which is still about 5 yards per play.  In fact, BG went 3 and out only twice.

The story is just as much about drives stalling out.  In the 2nd Q, BG drove to the Ball State 33, had two poor running plays and took a sack on 3rd and 6 before mis-handling a FG.  In the 3rd Q BG had it 2nd and 4 on the 18.  They threw a flat pass that got blown up and then on 3rd and 6 they tried a run that was stuffed.  BG was down 6 at the time, and the FG was better than nothing...and, of course, it would be the last time BG would score.

In the 4th, BG was on the Ball State 33.  On 2nd and 11, Knapke missed an open Roger Lewis on the sideline and then on 4th down had a miscommunication with Ronnie Moore that left the ball sailing into the empty part of the endzone and left Moore visibly frustrated.

BG was only down 10 when that happened.  You complete that drive, and the 4th Q could be very different.  Instead, Ball State went down the field and scored again that set the tone for the rest of the game.

On its final drive, BG drove the ball to the Ball State before losing 3 yards on 3rd down and throwing another incompletion on 4th down.

So, BG moved the ball here and there against Ball State--as they should have, given the ridiculous injuries the Cardinals have on defense.  BG was unable to complete drives--as they should have, given the ridiculous injuries the Cardinals have on defense.

You can't ask more out of your RBs.  Coppet and Greene carried 30 times for 299 yards.  The offensive failure came strictly from the passing game.  Knapke was 18 of 27--for 67%--which is a good percentage, but in order to get that kind of percentage, BG had to throw a lot of safe, low yardage passes.  Also, to be fair, the spread offense we put in to replace the offense we ran to a championship last year is supposed to generate yards after the catch, and we saw very little of that yesterday.

BG had one play to Lewis for 42 yards.  If you deduct that and the two sacks, BG had 87 yards on 28 remaining dropbacks and on 17 completions.  Those are numbers you cannot win with.  I just ran the numbers yesterday....the average sack adjusted yards per completion in the MAC was 11.9 yards, more than double what BG had on those attempts.

And, as I mentioned yesterday, Coppet and Greene both left the game due to injury.  It is no understatement to say that their participation is critical Friday.  I don't know what BG is going to do to fix the passing game, but even with Coppet and Greene, BG is in deep trouble if they can't create a two-dimensional attack.

I know what you are thinking.  I expect them to start Knapke.  For a fan base, there is no player more all-powerful than the backup QB. It rarely works out that way.  Maybe they will surprise me, but I don't expect it to happen.

The defense was not a lot better.  I don't mind that Edwards got his yards--that guy is a beast and very underrated.  What is bothersome is that the Ball State QB--WHO HAD BEEN BENCHED--went 20 of 29 for 286 yards and 3 TDs and 0 INT.  The BG pass defense was very poor and has not been that bad in coverage since the WKU game.  Actually, in thinking about it, BGs defense has survived on getting turnovers and there were also none yesterday.

Anyway, when Coach Babers said "everything" needs to get fixed, he was right.  He says he will fix it.  Here's the thing...while the team was winning while underperforming against weak opposition, he hung his hat on the fact the team was winning.  Since the Kent game, he has intimated that the real goal is the MAC Championship--and it completely is.

The problem is, here it is.  If they win Friday, a lot of this goes away.  You're back to back champions.  If you don't win, you have a guy who came into a championship team with plenty of players left, changed everything, lost his starting QB and couldn't recover, talked big, threw people off the train, then went 7-6, losing to UT and all 3 cross-over games.  (As it turns out, BG would have won the East without beating Kent).

All that to say that if BG loses, its going to be a long bitter off-season.  If BG loses big, all the worse.  From a fan's perspective, we waited a long time to compete for titles again and 12 games in this year seems like it hasn't been what it should have been.  Given what we came into the year with, we shouldn't have to be fixing "everything" after 12 games. Win Friday, and that's another story...which is why the coaching staff is busy this week trying to fix "everything."

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