Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sweet Victory #2: The Defense

BG's defense continues to play better than I expected, better than anyone had any reason to expect and good enough to win.  There certainly are moments--the blown coverage on Purdue's last TD and a whiff in the open field on the first touch down, for example--and Purdue's freshman QB generated a bunch of passing yards.

But there were other moments, too.  Like the 2nd quarter goal line stand that forced the FG that Purdue missed.  Or the three and out forced after BG turned the ball over on downs at midfield.  Or the stop on 3rd and 1 that forced Purdue to punt and led to a BG score.  Or the red zone stand in the 4th Quarter that led to the 2nd missed FG and BG's winning drive.

Look, the bend and sometimes they break but they don't always break.  I wish they didn't bend, too, but any game where the defense allows 28 is a game BG should win.  I like the results our new DC is getting.  No matter how much they seem to be running around on us, they are always ready to compete, even at the end of a long drive at the end of a long drive.

The defensive struggles are the result of a lack of experienced players.  This is a different struggle from last year's defense, which had experience and 4 guys who ended up in NFL training camps and still had trouble producing.

Just to make the point, with Hunter out and Eilar Hardy ejected, BG was really short on players in a game where the opponent is in multi-receiver sets.

At DB, BG played true freshmen Brandon Harris, Jamari Bozeman, Marcus Milton and Robert Jackson and redshirt freshman Jack Walz.  They also played WR Ronnie Moore.

Overall, BG allowed 5.5 yards per play, which is less than we gained.  That 349 yards of total offense, which is also a pretty good number for the defense.

The key thing for BG was the ability to stop the run.  Normally, Big 10 teams get in trouble and strap up against us and just pile their way down the field.  This didn't happen.  Most of BG's red zone stops were on run plays.  Overall, Purdue gained only 2 yards per rush, but that includes sacks,  The key results were that the Purdue RBs had only 61 yards on 25 carries, which is 2.4 yard per rush and an outstanding day for the defense.

Purdue did have success passing, especially to the sidelines.  Blough had a really nice day for his first start, going 29 of 39 for 74% completions.  Their 8.7 yards per attempt and 11.6 per completion were both significantly better than BG's numbers.  BG did get 2 sacks, but in general Blough seemed to have time to throw.

On critical plays, Purdue was 9 of 17 on 3rd down...which is good...but also 3-3 on 4th, meaning Purdue converted 12 of those 17 possessions.  BG did get two red zone stops which were critical to winning the game.

The Falcons had only one takeaway, which came on the last offensive play of the game.

When we play good run defense, you usually see Trent Greene getting numbers and he had 11 tackles and 9 of them solo.  Valdez had 9 plus the INT.  Taylor Royster had 7 tackles and 2 sacks.   Nilijah Ballew and Ben Hale both had 7 tackles and 1.5 TFL.   (Hale actually started at safety ahead of Hardy).

So, again.  Not saying the defense is accomplished or great.  Just saying they are getting everything out of what they have and they are playing well enough for the team to win and, I hope, will continue to improve.

1 comment :

Ken said...

Thanks for your work. I was there too. Small typo: The key thing for BG was the ability to top the run.