Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sweet Victory #2: The Offense

Since the pre-season preview, I have been writing that the secret to success for BG would be to have a great offense and an above average defense.  We'll talk about the defense in a minute...which I believe is performing above expectations...but I more or less agree with what Coach Babers said last week.  Defense does not have to win championships.  Hey, if it was me I would prefer to win with a great defense.  But, as I have said before, my favorite style of football/basketball/hockey is the one where the Falcons win.

The offense continues to operate at a very good clip.  The offense can, however, still get better.  Obviously, it is not possible to score on every drive, but BG did leave points on the field Saturday, especially on key plays like 4th downs.

In the last two weeks, teams have tried to cover BG deep and cover BG short.  You can't do both.  We showed against Memphis that we can go over the top and get points and we showed Purdue that we can sustain long drives which requires ongoing precision and effectiveness.  It makes us very hard to defend.  If you had to pick a poison, especially as it gets colder and windier, I'd pack the box because it also makes it hard to run.

The first guy you have to look at when you talk about the offense is Travis Greene.  What a warrior this guy has been for us.  He's just a terrific football player.  He's incredible difficult to tackle one on one, and yet (especially for his size) he has incredible drive and downhill ability.  He is very tough in a pile.  He's just a great Falcon and one of the best backs we have had in years.

Saturday, he had 70 yards but only 11 carries, which is 6.4 yards per carry, which is a star in any league.  He scored twice.  He also had 6 catches for 75 yards, which means he accounted for 145 yards of offense, which was 27% of the team's total.  And it isn't all stats.  That run to score the winning TD?  Forget about it.

Matt Johnson had a good/very good day.  He threw 59 times--a product of the Purdue defense as much as anything--and completed 73% of those passes.  The yardage numbers were down, also because of the defense.  BG had only 9.3 yards per completion, which is much lower than normal.  He also threw 2 picks--once bailed out on a DPI call.  The thing is, with the way BG plays, there's no time for anything other than an offensive machine.

Johnson does as much with his feet.  Not only does he run for first downs, but he evades pressure and creates passing lanes.  He is very difficult to game plan for.

BG had a lot of success on the edges.  Whoever was playing Gehrig Dieter was playing off him, and the way BG plays, we will take it everytime it is there.  Dieter had 10 for 96 and Moore 9 for 74.  Roger Lewis had a quiet 6 catches.

Overall, BG had 5.9 yards per play, which is good but not incredible.  BG did have an incredible 39 first downs...although 5 came on penalty.  The 34 earned first downs is still a first down on 37% of your plays.

BG was incredibly effective on 3rd down, with 11 out of 16 converted.  As mentioned earlier, Matt Johnson was personally responsible for 6 first downs on 3rd or 4th down with his feet.  BG was 1 of 3 on 4th down, which is one of those things were one play would make a huge difference.  Of course, maybe the answer is not getting to 4th down.

There was also a costly bad snap on 3rd and 1 that cost BG possession.

Finally, when BG had to have a drive at the end of the game, they found one.  Yes, Purdue assisted with two personal fouls, but BG was able to get up the field and score when they needed it.

I do think the offense can still get better.  But even if they don't, they are going to need to turn out nothing less than this almost every week.

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