Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sweet Victory #5: The Defense

So, quick recap, the defense was the biggest question mark heading into the season.  I think we pictured scoring 59 against teams, but I'm not sure how often we thought we were going to allow 10 in a MAC game.

Up until now, the defense has been a bend but don't break.  They have given up tons of yards but toughened up in the red zone kept the point totals manageable.  Against Akron, there was less bending.

Which is not to say that Akron is a great offensive team, because the preview I did showed them to be an average MAC offense.  Even so, I don't think a lot of people would have pictured us having that kind of success against even an average MAC offense.

I believe that the story that is most missed right now is the change that Coach Babers made at defensive coordinator.  BG had a lot of talent on defense last year and did not get the job done.  With the defense we had, we should have been able to weather losing our QB.  Clearly, this was recognized and Babers brought Brian Ward in, a proven DC at the FCS level.

Things are better.  The defense is young and inexperienced, especially at corner.  But they tackle well, seem to be mostly in position when plays are needed and they are forcing turnovers as well.  I'm not saying they are the best defense is the MAC but they might be the most overachieving.

Akron had only 16 first downs for the game.  They ran 72 plays--almost as many as BG did--and yet they gained only 271 yards, which was 3.8 per play, which is tough to win with.

The biggest issue was passing.  Akron had a lower percentage, high yardage attack, but the BG defense was able to force the Zips into being a low percentage, low yardage attack.  Woodson was 13 of 28 for only 91 yards, which is just a really long day, plus 2 picks (one on a hail mary).  BG only got one sack, but got excellent pressure on Woodson which I think kept him off his rhythm.  He was very inaccurate.

Woodson is also a dual-threat QB, but he was only 12 of 63 on non-sack carries with a long of 13, so BG kept that in check as well.  BG continued to be stout against the run, as Conor Hundley had 16 carries for 69 yards, which is a good but not dominant overall 4.3 yards per carry.  His long was 16 yards, which is actually a pretty important stat.

Jerome Lane, who came in averaging 28 yards per receptions, averaged 11.

They were 6 of 18 on 3rd down and made it into the red zone only one time in the game (read that again).

Terrance Bush had a big game, with 8 tackles, 1 sack and 2 hurries.  Eilar Hardy led the team with 9 tackles.  Alfonso Mack and Jamari Bozeman both had INTs and fumbles were recovered by Trevor Roop and David Koniwalski.

Of the six names in that pararaph, four came to BG as walk-ons.

I felt Clint Stephens had a good game, though without any stats.  He made a couple big tackles and had great coverage on a couple of deep throws.

So a very nice day for the Falcon defense.  I think they continue to get better and I hope they continue to make progress.  Things seem to be coming together.

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