Saturday, December 06, 2014

More on the Ford Field Debacle

The next morning things are not much better.  Very disappointed in the performance the Falcons put onto the field.  NIU is a worthy champion, but you certainly would think that BG would have represented themselves better than they did in giving NIU its only blow-out FBS win of the season.  It was a very poor night.

With the exception of punting, BG was beaten in every facet of the game.  The fans want to blame the QB--and the contrast between Drew Hare and our QB was indeed stark--but this was a complete and total team failure.

It was also one that has been coming down the road.  More on the state of the program in another post, but Coach Babers said we would see our biggest improvement between season 1 and season 2.  That's going to be an easy mark to hit, because we saw no improvement this year and actually regressed.  In fact, contrast the team we saw in last year's title game with this team...which got worse as the season went on.  After last week, Coach said he needed to fix "everything" after the Ball State game and, in the end, nothing was fixed.

BG came out looking like they were ready to play.  They had an offensive rhythm--though as I look at it, they were also aided by two NIU penalties.  BG went for the end zone from the NIU 24 and threw into double coverage and NIU intercepted the ball like the MAC-leading pass defense they are.
There was 12 minutes left to play in the first quarter.  BG had 3 first downs and would get only 10 the remainder of the game.  It would be 10 minutes before they would get another one.

In fact, after that INT, you almost never felt like BG was in the game again.  The score remained closeish until halftime, but you never really felt like the Falcons were in the game.

Anyway, BG's defense got the stop but then Knapke was sacked deep in BG territory and the Falcons had to punt and despite a 54 yard punt, NIU started on their own 40 and they scored from there on 8 pretty easy plays.

BG responded by going three and out when Ronnie Moore dropped a pass that was right in his hands.

BG's defense got a 3 and out, but then on first down BG threw to Lewis who failed to catch the ball and as it skimmed off his hands NIU picked up a second INT.  The defense held them to a FG but it was 10-0.

On the next drive, a sack had put BG in a 3rd and 15 spot.  BG got 10 yards to make it 4th and 5 and decided to go for it from its own 45.  Knapke mis-threw a ball to Ryan Burbrink and BG turned the ball over.

On the next drive, NIU converted a 3rd and 10, a 3rd and 12 and a 3rd and 6 before BG stopped them and held them to a FG.  It was 13-0 but could easily have been 21-0.

BG picked it up again on offense, with Coppet getting some yards and BG driving to the NIU 42.  From there, Knapke went deep for Dieter.  Ball was underthrown, but at least it was in place where the WR could make a play on it, and Dieter did, outfighting, literally, the NIU defender for the score.

At 13-7, it was one of those game.  NIU had failed to knock BG out...and maybe the Falcons could take advantage.

The defense obliged getting a 3 and out.  In retrospect, if BG was going to get back into the game, here it was.  BG gained 0 yards on 3 plays and punted.

NIU drove to midfield, but then BG got a 3rd down stop on 3rd and 4 and forced a punt.  BG's defense at this point is keeping the Falcons in the game, but the Falcon offense failed to convert on a 3rd and 3 when Greene was absolutely stuffed on a run up the middle and BG had to punt again.

This time, NIU gashed what had to be an exhausted BG defense.  Starting on their own 32 with 1:31 on the clock, they were inside the BG 5 with :41 left, running 7 successful plays in :50.  From there they scored and at 20-7 things were looking bad.

To their credit, BG took the squib kick and started at its own 40 and put together a nice little drive to get in FG range and Tate hit a 46 yarder.  For all that, 20-10 and a late score, it was as much as you could have hoped for and the Falcons were still in the game.

That didn't last long.  NIU took the opening kickoff and drove 68 yards in 10 plays for the TD.  As Coach said after the game, the offense needed to punch back and they did not.  NIU then drove 73 yards in 8 plays to go up 34-10 and at that point, with 8 minutes left in the 3rd Q the game was completely over.

BG got an INT and there was a crazy play where NIU fumbled and then BG fumbled it back while trying to return the fumble.  But the game was completely over, though NIU scored 17 more points in the final 23 minutes.

Oh and BG did put Callaway in and the skies did not rain touchdowns.

NIU won the game just like WMU, UT, and Ball State beat BG.  By running relentlessly.  They had 334 yards on 51 carries, which is 6.5 per carry.  I'd be surprised if too many teams won this year giving up 6.5 yards per carry.  BG tackled really poorly all day, which showed up on the RBs and also on the WRs out on flat passes.

Drew Hare was really effective.  He was 29 of 49 for 218 yards, which is not eye popping, but it is good enough to keep the pressure on the defense.  He was also very effective on 3rd down, both with passes and runs.  NIU was 10 of 19 on 3rd down and ran 100 plays while holding the ball for 38 minutes.

Meanwhile, BG's offense generated 13 first downs, 287 yards of total offense and 4.8 yards per play.  Travis Greene had a nice day with 5.8 yards per carry and 105 yards, but the passing offense generated only 127 sack-adjusted yards on 25 attempts and 3 INT.  No one can say they are too surprised...BG had not sustained any offense consistently since somewhere around UMass.

So, other than Joe Davidson and possibly the run game, BG did not succeed in any facet of the football game.  I said in the preview that BG needed to play its best game in all 3 phases and that they had not done that in any game this year and they did not go that last night either.  The result was a championship quality team beating the crap out of a non-championship quality team.


Anonymous said...

Coaching question: Why are the Offensive and Defensive units sitting on the sideline without coaching while their teammates are on the field? I was watching at Ford field and, more often than not, the unit would come off and sit there without any instruction. Watch any mid-level college team play (to say nothing of the top tier programs) and they have multiple coaches engaging the players, drawing on whiteboards, reviewing the series before and planning for the next performance. Where are our coaches on the sidelines?

Orange said...

That's an interesting question. I had not noticed that...I have seen some times when coaches are meeting with them on the sidelines. One thing is that I felt like earlier in the year we made better adjustments as the game went on than we did this year in the last 3 games, maybe they are related.