Friday, September 09, 2016

25 Questions About the Fighting Hawks

What is their body of work?

They have improved every year under their new coach.  They are 0-1 this year and are #25 in FCS.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

Team is very young, only 20 juniors and seniors on two deep.

Who are their returning statistical leaders?

All-ratings FCS

John Santiago was #3 in all-purpose yards, #12 in kickoff returns, #7 in rushing yards and #8 in rushing TDs and #9 in scoring.

QB Keaton Studsrud was #17 in passing efficiency.

Deion Harris is #16 in passes defended.

What was their turnover ratio?

They were +1 last season and even in their opener.


 How is their QB play expected to be?

Well, he appears to be pretty good.  His name is Keaton Studsrud which is about the most North Dakota name ever.  He had 60% completions last year, 12 TD/3 INT, 12.7 yards per completion.  He is also a dual-threat guy with a 100-yard rushing game.  He had a very ineffective game against Stony Brook, as did the entire North Dakota attack.  Note that Stony Brook led the FCS in yardage defense last season and it was a home game for them.

What was their scoring and yards per play?

They scored 28 PPG last year, which was about average in the FCS.  Their 5.3 yards per carry is also average.

Can they run the ball?

This is their calling card.  They were #12 in the FCS in rushing last year at 5 yards per carry and their top 2 backs return.  However, their backs had only 73 yards on 23 carries against Stony Brook.

Did they pass the ball?

They were in the top quarter of teams for passing efficiency and see above for the numbers when Studsrup was in the game.  They were 13 of 25 for only 114 yards against Stony Brook and 83 yards if you deduct sacks.

How was their run/pass balance?

They ran on 70% of their plays last year which is very run heavy.  It was 59% against Stony Brook.

Did they convert on 3rd Down?

They converted on 40%, which is in the middle of the FCS.

Did they score in the red zone?
This is the Sitting Bull statue on the ND Campus.
This was also controversial.

They were pretty good.  They scored 5.0 points per red zone trip.

Did they protect the quarterback?

This has been an issue for them.  They gave up sacks on 8.4% of passing attempts and 4 sacks in 29 attempts in the opener (13.7%).


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They return 9 starters from a defense that allowed 25 points a game, right in the middle of the FCS.  They allowed 5.5 yards per play, also average.

Did they defend the run effectively?

Well, they were very, very good last year.  #6 in FCS...3 yards per carry for the season.  They held Stony Brook to 1.8 yards per carry.

Could they be passed on?

Yes, they could.  They were #118 out of 123.  They allowed 63% completion, 28 TDs over 6 INT, and 13 yards per completion.  They were more effective in the opener.  Teams passed on them 49% of the time, probably due to the great run defense.

They love giant statues in North Dakota.
This one is of Lewis and Clark's dog,
whose name was Seaman.
Did they get off the field on 3rd down?

They were in the top third at 36%.

Did they defend in the red zone?

They were good but not show stopping at this, with 4.8 points per trip.

Did they pressure the QB?

Yes.  They sacked the opponent on 7.7% of pass attempts, which is pretty good.  They had 4 passes on 36 attempts

Special Teams:


Their punter graduated and the new guy got a work out in the opener, but ended up with just a 32-yard net.

Punt Return?

Their punt returner is also new...sort of....he's John Santiago, their top back.  He did not get a return last week.

Giant Turtle on a Snowmobile

Their kicker is back and he's pretty good.  He was 13-17 last year with a 46 long and 4-5 over 40.


Last year their opponents started on the 27 on average which is not very good.

Kickoff Return?

Last year they started on the 27 on average which is very good.  Santiago is their returner, and he was nationally ranked, see above.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.
Married farm couple depicted on the "Enchanted Highway"

This is a game without a lot of intangibles.  Most of them are on the BG side.  The Falcons have to rally from that awful game in Columbus.  The offense must execute.  If they do not, they risk letting North Dakota's ball control attack go to work.  BG needs to regain its confidence on both sides of the ball.

North Dakota is FCS, but they are ranked.  You expect BG to win this game, but it isn't too much to be worried about how well BG rallies, especially if things do not go well at first.

Finally, the weather.  Saturday is supposed to be rainy.  Right now, the kickoff and most of the game appears to be just inside a window, with thunderstorms before and after.  A little shift, a lightning delays and we could see a complicating factor in the game, especially if most of the fans disappear.

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