Let's Go Rockets has compiled the weekly wisdom of the MAC Blogosphere.
Short, sweet and boring Babers presser this week...just got done watching it. Honestly, very little of any interest...all our goals are in front of us, trying to simulate game conditions and game speed, this game isn't the whole season, guys understand how important it is...
The whole thing was barely five minutes.
Two interesting things....Akron is fast.
And Coach is preparing to see Pohl at QB. You can't argue with this..I think he could have played last week, and I can't believe that he won't be in the lineup Tuesday.
I have officially decommitted from Bowling Green.
— Ferrod Gardner (@YoungRod_) October 28, 2014
The media poll is in from the MAC office. BG is picked to finish 5th in the East, ahead of only Miami. The Falcons did get one first place vote.
Everyone seemed surprised by this:
BG coach Chris Jans: "I would like to figure out the one person that picked us first. That was shocking."
— Jason Arkley (@JasonAmessenger) October 28, 2014
BG might have had the best off-day in the history of the Mid-American conference. There were five games played between teams from the West and teams from the East and the West won every single one of them, meaning that BG ticked up on each opponent. The only game featuring East-only teams was Miami-Kent, two teams unlikely to challenge for the division title.
BG has one division loss. Akron has two and everyone else has at least 3. Furthermore, BG has beaten Buffalo, OU, and UMass, meaning that essentially they have a 3-game lead against those teams.
Even more than before, the Akron game will decide it all. If BG beats Akron, they would only need one win in the final three games (@UT, Kent and Ball State) to lock it down.
Thanks to today's loss, even if Akron beats BG, the race continues. Both BG and Akron would have two losses, and while Akron has a softer schedule coming home, they could easily lose one more time.
Finally, I think it is entirely plausible that the East winner will finish with 3 losses, and even with a loss to Akron, BG might still win some tie-breakers if they ended up being multi-team tiebreakers.
Point is, for as disappointed as some Falcon fans are and as weak as the East is, BG is pretty much one win for heading back to Detroit.
One last thing: how is the "WMU is awful" camp reacting?
Western Kentucky (3-4) Beat Old Dominion 66-51
VMI (1-8) Lost to 38-3 to Wofford
Indiana (3-4) Idle
Wisconsin (5-2) Beat Maryland 52-7
UMass (2-7) Lost 42-35
Buffalo (3-5) Lost to CMU
Ohio U (4-5) Lost 42-21 to WMU
WMU (5-3) Beat Ohio 42-21
Akron (4-4) Lost to Ball State
Kent (1-7) Lost to Miami
Toledo (5-3) Beat UMass 42-35
Ball State (3-5) Beat Akron
MAC vs. Power 5: 4-22
MAC vs. non-MAC FBS: 3-12
MAC vs. FCS: 11-2
East vs. West: West leads 10-2
We are beginning to get ready for two sports season...BG has its "secret" exhibition game against UM next Saturday and then the Friday after that the first exhibition game and then the week after that the season gets going in earnest.
Committed to Bowling Green State University #FalconsFamily pic.twitter.com/GRJ5xHhiWb
— Tyler Horstman (@THorstman89) October 23, 2014
So, BG is in the middle of a 16-day layoff, something I had never heard of before. Apparently, CMU had something similar last year, and The Blade talked to Coach Enos on the MAC Teleconference. Check it out here, but this is a preview:
“I think it’s awful, and I don’t know why you would do that to a team in the middle of the season,”This is yet another by-product of having 13 teams and the weeknight games in November. We have talked at length about this...we know the upside (money and exposure) so this joins lousy attendance and inconveniencing your most loyal fans on the list of downsides. Somebody has to be off this Saturday and obviously we can't play the next Saturday since we have a game the following Tuesday. So, yeah.
Posted by Orange at 1:35 PM
Western Kentucky (2-4) Lost to Florida Atlantic
VMI (1-7) Lost to Gardner-Webb
Indiana (3-4) Lost to MSU
Wisconsin (4-2) Idle Badger
UMass (2-6) Beat EMU
Buffalo (3-4) Idle
Ohio U (4-4) Beat Akron
Akron (4-3) Lost to OU
Kent (1-6) Beat Army
Toledo (4-3) Idle
Ball State (2-5) Beat CMU in Mt. Pleasant
MAC vs. Power 5: 4-22
MAC vs. non-MAC FBS: 3-12
MAC vs. FCS: 11-2
East vs. West: West leads 5-2
A few last thoughts...
So, who would have thought we would have been writing this post?
BG's defense is really coming around. They played well at OU against a poor defensive team and then they played really well against WMU, a much better offensive team. BG's defense kept the Falcons in the game and played more than well enough to win.
Yes, Franklin had 149 yards, but it took him 37 runs to get there, which nets out to 4 yards per carry, so that's a solid day's work. WMU had only 4.9 yards per play, below the league average. They had only 6.9 yards per pass play. BG made two red zone stops (to FG) early in the game to keep the thing from being a total blowout early, one time on a short field from a INT and forced 3 straight punts in the 2nd half when BG was down one score.
For all you guys who didn't think that it mattered having Lynch and Ward out, I give you the last two weeks. Big difference. Ward led the team with 14 tackles and Lynch had a huge game with 8 tackles, 3 TFL and 1 sack. Gabe Martin also had 13 tackles with 2.5 TFL. This is a different group of guys with Lynch and Ward out there.
I think the other guys have improved as well, coverage in the secondary has been better. I thought BG blitzed a little less effectively this week...WMU was good at swallowing them up in the inside of the line.
Again, it has been a crazy season, where we have gone from praying to win a shoot out to praying just to get a couple first downs while our defense more or less gets the job done.
One negative...WMU was turnover free.
Which brings us to the one deadly play WMU ran. Coach Babers was real strange when talking about this play. First, he seemed obsessed with the fact that the game was down one referee, and then he would say it didn't matter and it was a "good play" by them. And then say it was no excuse.
Here is the scenario. A ref was injured on the opening kickoff of the second half. Carted off the field. 5 plays later, WMU lined up and BG moved Lynch forward to blitz. WMU's QB changes the play at the line and then runs a slant to the edge...guys catches the ball and we are in a blitz package so there's fewer numbers back there and off he goes for a 63 yard TD.
I don't understand why BG doesn't counter-check back out of the blitz when WMU changes the play, but what do I know?
Anyway, the only thing I have been figuring out is that Coach Babers is implying that WMU ran a pick play on the slant, knowing there was one fewer official. He directly implicated one fewer official as a factor, he did not mention the pick play directly, but that's all I can figure he was talking about.
So...let's not pretend like the Internet does not exist...I went to the ESPN3 replay and got this screen grab....
This season has had a lot of narratives.
We started with the idea we'd have a good defense, a high-powered offense with the MAC's best QB and big talent.
Then, we went to a porous defense but an offense that could outscore the opponent and be "allowed" to win the game.
Now, we are on a decent/good defense propping an offense that can't do anything.
QB has its own narrative.
Matt Johnson injured.
James Knapke comes in, plays great against Indiana and UMass.
Offense has bad game against OU and terrible game against WMU, Knapke (and everyone else) struggling.
Let's hope this is the turning point of the story, because BG is not going to win the division like this.
Here's the litany:
274 yards, only 3 more than against Wisconsin.
14 freaking first downs.
139 passing yards. Read that one again.
135 rushing yards included a couple Knapke runs. Greene and Coppet were 23-72.
Longest pass play? 22 yards.
After failing on 4th down from the 2, BG had 5 possessions. 1 first down. 1 turnover. 4:43 of possession.
BG had the ball for 1:52 in the 4th Q.
That's not pretty.
And, here's the thing. It was pretty close to what BG looked like at OU, except that BG was able to spring Lewis free for 61 yards for one TD and then score on a long run and a long screen, bailing themselves out with big plays. They didn't sustain much in that game or this game.
Coach made the point that you can't put it on one guy, and I think that's 100% correct. People focus on the QB and that's the price you pay when you play QB, but here is what I see.
The last two teams have been determined to stop us from running and they have succeeded. And under the scenario, BG has been unable to sustain drives with passing alone. WMU added a lot of blitzes and pressure, and while they did not get a sack, they were a disruptive force, probably especially so against a young QB. (The Pressure was the predominant issue on the INT, for example).
The fast offense looks really good when it is building off a successful play, even a five yard gain. It is not so good when things are going poorly, as it was yesterday. But, that's the vehicle the coaches have chosen and they need to figure out a way to make it work.
Certainly, Knapke can play better. But, the entire offense was not good. I thought Greene and Coppet both took wrong cuts in space on players. The line and backs have to figure out pass protection better, except Burbrink our WRs were mostly taken out of the game, the line has to open space for the run...there's no facet of the game that worked.
The team still has control of its own destiny, with four games left. However, the Akron game in 16 days will decide if that continues. There's a long break for the Falcons to figure things out. A loss against Akron and the chances of winning the East will remain a matter of math. The formula appears to be out there. The Falcons will either adjust or they will end the season in disappointment.
So, that happened.
|No, I said I hold the umbrella and you row the boat.|
|And then Grover will rooooooow the boat|
"It's hard to believe sometimes."Amen brother. Late draft pick, cut by the Texans, signed by the Bucs, cut a week later, signed by one of the top organizations in football, contribute as a rookie and now you and Bill are smiling...
Coach Babers held his weekly presser today. It was full of classic Dinoisms...the man is 100% quotable, that's for sure.
He was asked if the defensive improvements had helped build the confidence of the players.
He said that for the whole team that winning the last 3 games "helps to clear the air about some of the things that are said out there."
John Wagner asked what he was talking about in terms of things that are written out there...and Babers said some of the things written about the defense were read and that once you begin to achieve the criticism actually bonds the football team. Then he said.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. (Proverbs, BTW)
He said WMU is more balanced than OU and therefore causes problems. And, having confidence is fine but you have the same problems when the ball is snapped.
Then Wagner asked about the defensive stats, which were shaky for the OU game. He asked Babers what we should use to evaluate the defense.
Babers: "I like to use my eyes."
He said that the defense has "gelled." They are not "fighting over the things that don't matter. The things that matter in defense are running to the football, tackling in space and creating turnovers."
In other words, he said, defense is about doing the little things well and less about the big picture.
He said having Ryland Ward helped. He is very experienced and allowed BG to rotate safeties, which was important given that OU ran 110 plays. BG was able to keep performance high even when facing that many plays.
He was asked about not having a long drive all season. He joked right back, reminding the questioner that BG did have a long drive, 5:46, which was twice as long as the rest of them.
He did say that he was not happy with how the offense played. The offense needs to do better...there were too many 3 and outs.
When asked about the inability to run the ball, he said first that his Father used to say that "a hard head makes a soft behind..." and then went on to say that OU was determined to keep BG for running the ball. He said they were saying "throw it if you want to win."
And, Coach Babers added, "So, we wanted to win."
There was good news about DJ Lynch, who is now running with trainers. We hope to have him back after the 16-day bye ("the longest bye I have ever heard of").
Finally, when asked about special teams, coach said he couldn't sleep and got up at 4:30 and watched the game again and that Joseph Davidson might have been the offensive player of the game for BG. He forced OU into long drives...and it is "hard to be that right that long" and that was huge in BG's ability to stop drives.
Brian Sutton was named the MAC East Defensive Player of the Week for a big performance in Athens on Saturday.
Sutton had 11 tackles, 2 TFL and forced the fumble on the first offensive play for OU, which led to BG's 14-0 lead and really set the tone for the remainder of the game.
Brian has been a real warrior for the Falcons. He's a starting safety this year, but he was moved to Rover last year when Martin was injured. Congrats to him!!
Western Kentucky (2-3) Idle 'Toppers.
VMI (1-6) Lost to Navy
Indiana (3-3) Lost @Iowa
Wisconsin (4-2) Beat Illinois, like everyone else.
UMass (1-6) Beat Kent 40-17 in Kent.
Buffalo (3-4) Lost @EMU. You read that right. Also, two FCS wins.
WMU (3-3) Won @Ball State (Warning: this team is much improved)
Akron (4-2) Beat Miami.
Kent (0-6) Lost to UMass 40-17 at home.
Toledo (4-3) Lost @ Iowa State
Ball State (1-5) Lost to WMU in Muncie
MAC vs. Power 5: 4-22
MAC vs. non-MAC FBS: 3-12
MAC vs. FCS: 11-2
East vs. West: West leads 3-1
“They were overloading the box on us and pressing our receivers at the line,” offensive lineman Alex Huettel said. “They would use a ‘Bear’ front with a nose, two 3 [techniques], and two 9 [techniques] on the ends, and with three linebackers, that’s eight in the box — and sometimes even nine in the box. With seven guys running the ball, they just overloaded us.”
Officially part of Bowling Green State University #TalonsUp 🏀💯 pic.twitter.com/UhvIyfNSSb
— Malik Hluchoweckyj (@Malik_ABC) October 6, 2014
First-team Super-State after helping the Thunderbirds to the Class A state title, averaging 15.0 points and 4.0 rebounds a game.Here's some more. Apparently, he started the year at PG and moved to SG for the title run. Here's a quote from his Coach (CJ is their other guard):
"CJ’s natural thought is pass, facilitate. Malik’s is score. Since we made the move, our record was better. Malik averaged 17.5 instead of 12 points, and hit 50 percent instead of 40 percent. Malik has gotten a lot better. He played extended periods at point in our district, but it’s hard to take advantage of his skills if he starts with the ball and then has to get it back." -- Bellevue West coach Doug WoodardSo, we landed a guard whose natural thought is to score...no doubt, that's something that BG has not seen a ton of. (He's also a very good WR).
Might just need to make this the Tyler Tate award...Tate was given the East special teams POTW for the 3rd time for his 3FG performance against Buffalo.
It is worth noting the milestone this represents. From the departure of Shaun Suisham through the arrival of Tate, BG's FG kicking ranged from average to awful. For much of that time, our coaches were forced to go for it on 4th in FG situations because of a lack of confidence. In some of those situations, it has caused a serious problem, because when you are up (say) 2 points late, a FG makes a huge difference and we just didn't feel like it was an option.
Tate has put that to rest. And with our offense being a little less effective in the red zone, he has allowed us (in part) to weather the storm of Johnson's injury more easily. He's reliable and the best kicker we have had since Suisham.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but the contrast was made even clearer Saturday, because Buffalo was in the position we used to be in. They had missed (badly) an easy FG and then as they drove down the field needing a FG at the end, they had to either push to get very close or score because they couldn't count on their kicker to make something in the 35+ range. With a good kicker, strategy is much different for Buffalo since they were in plus territory already with the wind at their back.
We have had a couple of kicks blocked, including one Saturday. My assumption has been that those have been with the hold. Could have been the same issue Saturday. The kick was really low and maybe you try to keep it low when kicking into the wind...maybe coach will discuss that on Wednesday.
Anyway, it is a great feeling to have a kicker you can have confidence in. Makes a huge difference and can keep you in games. Touchdowns are better, but FGs can at least keep a game within reach.
Posted by Orange at 11:51 AM
Western Kentucky (2-3) Lost 42-39 to UAB at home.
VMI (1-5) Lost 55-7 to Tennessee-Chattanooga
Indiana (3-2) Beat North Texas 49-24
Wisconsin (3-2) Lost to Northwestern 20-14
UMass (0-6) Lost to Miami 42-41 in Oxford.
Ohio (3-3) Lost 28-10 to CMU
WMU (2-3) Lost in OT to Toledo (Warning: this team is much improved)
Akron (3-2) Beat EMU 31-6
Kent (0-5) Pressed NIU but lost 17-14
Toledo (4-2) Won @WMU in OT.
Ball State (1-4) Lost @ Army 33-24
MAC vs. Power 5: 4-21
MAC vs. non-MAC FBS: 3-12
MAC vs. FCS: 11-2
East vs. West: West leads 2-1