Monday, October 12, 2015

Odds and Ends from UMass

A few odds and ends....

For those that did not note it, that was goodbye to the Minutemen, who leave the MAC after this year after having gotten no actual traction.  I don't know what the purpose of the experiment was, but the MAC asked them to leave and we won't be playing them, at least in a league game.  Honestly, the switch to FBS has been rocky.  People objected on campus, success has been thin and they played like an hour from campus much or most of the time.  Anyway, they are really the first transient member that didn't leave voluntarily.  Whipple and Babers know each other, so I wouldn't rule out future games, though how long they will be at their current stops is not clear.

BG was battling o-line injuries this week, including Logan Dietz and Alex Huettel.  Dietz didn't play at all and Huettel only played a couple series.  Coach said after the game that they could have gone but we were trying to get them 100% healthy for the stretch run rather than playing them at lower health for the rest of the year.

Austin Labus stepped in for Dietz and Coach said he played really well in his first significant game action.  He is from western Michigan and was one of the top 10 prospects in Michigan that year.  (He signed in '14, making him a Clawson verbal/Babers retain type guy.)

JJ Beggan played for Huettel.  Beggan is from Pittsburgh and had some pressure from bigger schools after committing to BG but stayed solid.

I don't have the ability to grade each guy, but I felt like Johnson had time to throw and the running game was effective, so it seems like a good day for the offense.

BG broke the record for most yards in a game in program history.  The previous record was over Grand Valley State in the late 70s.  I was at that game.  At that time, it wasn't normal for D1 teams to play below their division, so it was considered pretty strange and in fact hilarious that we were playing them.  I had never even heard of the school, as I recall.  Anyway, it was a total blowout.  Other trivia is that future longtime Oakland U basketball coach Greg Kampe set a school record for longest punt with a Grand Valley guy lost a low punt in the sun and it rolled for like 30 more yards.

BG drew 17,000 or so for the game.  Given the weather you would have hoped for something more, but the students were on break, so if you add them in you end up with a respectable crowd, historically.

Johnson erased the Doyt record for passing yards in a game formerly held by Ben Rothlisberger in the 2003 MAC Championship game, aka The Night of Many Horrors.  It is good to delete at least that part of the night from our official memory.

You know how many picks Johnson has thrown this year in 275 attempts?


That's 1.1% of passing attempts and it is ridiculous.  Just astounding and a tribute to how important he is to our team.  Paxton Lynch of Memphis has thrown zero in 174 attempts, which is also incredible.

Here's the best part.  According to Coach Babers, the team blames Dieter for the pick against Umass and Ronnie Moore for the pick earlier (due to tipped balls) and therefore Johnson only has the one overthrow against Purdue against him.

The 1985 team was in the house Saturday to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their MAC title.  This was my senior year at BG...that was MY team.  The victory over Miami is the single most exciting sporting event I ever saw in person.  McClure injured.  BG down BIG.  Never used backup Rick Nieman in the game.  BG recovers two onside kicks and rallies to win the game.  Absolutely the most exciting sporting event in my life.  If anyone from that team is reading, thanks guys!  Glad so many of you (60+) made it back to the Doyt Saturday.  You are champions forever.


joel said...

1985, Freshmen year, the Miami game was the single most exciting sport event I have ever seen live!
The Miami Miracle was just that...what an incredible season. I'll never forget that beautiful fall day when two onside kicks were recovered while Brian McClure was on crutches and all seemed lost.

Anonymous said...

The idea with UMass, I think, was to pair them with another eastern school and try to build an ongoing presence out there, building on the Buffalo beachhead. Originally, Temple would have paired nicely with UMass, but then the Owls left. Since no other Eastern schools were ready to step up and the MAC got tired of scheduling for 13, they asked for UMass to commit, and they wouldn't.

My hunch is that Stony Brook eventually makes the move. If the MAC could secure Stony Brook and UMass (or Albany, I guess) in all sports, that would be a strong move, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

The MAC didn't exactly ask UMass to leave. On the contrary, they asked them to come in for all sports. UMass chose not to do that. Probably not really a big difference (since, in essence, the MAC said come all in or leave in football) but UMass could have stayed had they chosen to.

Orange said...

A couple things...I guess I view it as the MAC deciding the current arrangement wasn't working and so they were asking them to leave. As you say, mostly semantics. I believe it is safe to say that they made the request with the full expectation that UMass would leave.

As for the other comment, that is very interesting. Stony Brook and Albany are schools I had not heard of before this. I'd be open to any of it, though I don't know that they bring enough to counteract the geographic issues. But then again, looking at college sports, who needs geography? To the contrary, I think the NYBI initiative is designed to get Buffalo out of the MAC, so the whole eastern thing might be moot anyway.