Friday, November 14, 2014

Sweet Victory: The Offense

BG's offense has been struggling over the past few weeks.  Teams have been jamming the line to stop the run and BG has struggled to move the ball under those circumstances.  This has been evident against OU, WMU, and Akron.  Then, BG started the game against Kent without Travis Greene, who is injured, and then Fred Coppet was injured early on and a struggling attack was undermanned.

Enter Andre Givens.  Givens was a highly recruited player in HS who had some trouble adapting to college but who landed at BG, got his academics straightened out and then has played on and off since then.

With Greene and Coppet down, it was going to be "on" and they worked him hard.  He carried the ball 38 times, which is 8 short of the program record, which includes most of our history when running the ball was the main MO of the offense.

Givens had a good game and was the key offensive player.  He had 157 yards on the game, which 4.1 yards per carry.  The yards per carry is not great, but he did score twice and when BG needed first downs late in the game they went to Givens exclusively and he delivered, even though he had to be exhausted.  Not counting the victory formation, Givens ran the ball 18 times on BG's 21 plays in the 4th Quarter.

On the pass attack, BG had a good game dominated mostly by big plays.  Coach said that he felt Knapke "really on" during the game and if Kent had been playing to stop the run, he would have been comfortable setting Knapke loose for passes.  He was 22 of 37 for the game,   That's 59.5%, which is good.  He had 1 TD and 1 pick (and that was on a hail mary at the end of the first half, so no real picks).

He benefitted from finding Lewis behind the defense and hit him with a perfect ball for an 82 yard touchdown and in the final drive where BG went back up 2 scores he put the ball in places where Burbrink and Lewis could get it for big plays.  He put a number of balls into tight spaces to Burbrink to convert on 3rd down.  He had another gorgeous ball to Dieter that he was called out of bounds on and certainly looked inbounds to me.

Anyway, usually 60% completion and 12+ yards per catch is usually a winning combination, and Knapke was nearly fact, yards per catch was 14.3...and not that he didn't miss some throws, but he made the throws he needed to make and had a productive game.

For my money, his most reliable reliever is Ryan Burbrink, who is sure-handed and makes tough catches in tight space and can go up field as well.  Burbrink had 8 grabs for 111 yards...and as mentioned many were in key situations.

Roger Lewis remains very dangerous.  He was 3-116 for a TD and another catch on the 2.  I'm sure the coaches are trying to get the ball to Lewis more, but the guy is a real weapon.  Finally, Gehrig Dieter is making a contribution for the first time this season, catching 6 for 78.  If teams are going to double Lewis, than Burbrink and Dieter have to be ready to take advantage of the space created.

Overall, the BG offense had 527 yards.  It took them 96 plays to get there, which is 5.5 yards per play.  BG did have 27 first downs, which is a good number, and really only had 1 turnover, though it was a costly one.

So, the offense was good enough to win.  They remain very uneven, but they are make enough plays to get wins.  Let's hope either Greene or Coppet is ready to go for the UT game just to give Andre a little bit of a break.

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