So, BG finished with a win over Buffalo, winning 3 straight at the end for the first time since 2001. I'll have more reviews of the season coming up, but for now we'll just say that this wasn't 2001 and just because PJ Fleck was 1-11 in his first year doesn't mean that every coach who has a bad first year is going to the Cotton Bowl. Also, winning the three easiest games on your schedule at the end doesn't automatically constitute improvement.
But, for now, I am happy that BG got the win. I'm happy that our seniors--who are two-time champions--are leaving with a win as their last memory. They do deserve that. And, as much as I am not going to buy into the turn-around narrative, heading into the off-season with a win is a lot better...provided that it doesn't leave some in the program with the idea that they've fixed everything and we're good to go.
Which I don't think we are, but that's another post. (And I hope our coach doesn't think so and I don't think he does, but it worries me). Anyway. A win leaves a much better taste in the mouth. And is more fun.
It was an extremely entertaining game with a big finish, if you like that kind of thing. It was the kind of day where BG couldn't stand success and kept letting the 2-9 Bulls back into the game until making the final play to win.
In the first half, the new look BG running attack was nearly unstoppable. And, in fact, the BG defense was dominant. After a fumble on the first drive, BG got a 3-and out with a sack and the offense got the ball back and drove 60 yards on a 7-run and 1-pass drive to get a TD and a 7-0 lead.
The defense got another 3 and out and the offense drove to the UB 27 on 6 running plays. Coppet was stopped just short and BG ran to the line to run the QB sneak but Morgan was stuffed and UB got the ball back. Mark that down.
UB drove to the BG 43 on one first down but got a false start on 3rd and 1, didn't convert and punted the ball into the end zone.
BG then ran a 13-play drive down the field, getting to a 3rd and 3 from the UB 24. Wilson only got 1 yard on 3rd down and then Morgan was sacked on 4th down and BG turned the ball over on down.
UB went 3 and out.
BG drove again, from their own 30 to the UB 36. It was 3rd and 3. BG got a yard on that play and then an incomplete pass on fourth down.
So, there's 5 minutes left in the half. BG has dominated and could easily have 21 points in they had been able to execute on 3rd down...and to a lesser extent on 4th down.
So, UB got a 27-yard pass and a 38-yard run and scored two plays later. The XP was blocked, but what shouldn't have been a game was a game.
BG took the ball over with about 4 minutes left. They get a one-minute TD drive capped by a 52-yard Coppet run for a TD and its 14-6.
Off a touchback, UB started on their own 25 and got nothing on the first play. Charmingly, BG called time out. (about 3 minutes left). UB than made BG's defense look completely vulnerable at the end of the half, marching down the field for a TD in 2 minutes. BG up 14-12, after 2XP missed.
BG got the ball, and actually UB is calling timeout to get the ball back, which they don't. So, it is 14-12. Just shouldn't be, but it is.
UB gets the opening kick off and drive inside the BG 30. On 2nd down Trent Greene for BG lays the lumber on Rohach, forced a fumble and then recovered it.
Taking the turnover, BG drive to the UB 29, CONVERTS a 4th down and 5 but then gasses out on a 3td and 5 and this time kicks a FG to go up 17-12, but still a missed opportunity.
BG's defense delivers again, forcing a fumbled inside the UB 40, which BG recovered. There's about 6 minutes left in the 3rd and BG has a chance to take a commanding lead on a very short field. They drove to the 11 yard line, but a loss of 1 on first down left them with a tough 3rd down and they did not convert. (As Coach points out, with this system you need a good first down gain). Anyway, BG gets a FG but misses an opportunity to put UB out. 20-12, 4 minutes left in 3rd.
UB drove the ball to the BG 34, and then on 4th down Terrance Bush made a huge play, sacking Rohach in the open field for a 12-yard loss. This time, the offense capitalized. In a drive that stretched 8 plays and into the start of the 4th quarter BG drove to the 1 and then ol' Leonard Skattebo drove it into the end zone. Up 27-12, BG's defense gets a stop on the next drive.
BG has the ball on its 43-yard line with 10 minutes left and a 15-point lead. Should be in good shape, eh? I mean, should be in MUCH BETTER shape, but still.
BG has a 3rd and 6 on the UB 32, but they were sacked and punted into the endzone.
7 minutes left. BG gets a sack on first down for -9. And here the worm turns. UB completes a 30-yard pass, a 52-yard pass and a 7-yard pass to score THREE PLAYS later to make it 27-19.
BG gets the ball back with 5:50 left. In no way, NO WAY, does anyone want to give the ball back to UB. You need about 3 first downs--UB has 1 timeout--to bleed the clock. There's a big 3rd and 2 from the BG 43. Cleveland converted and then got 15 on the next play. UB uses its timeouts timeout with 3:13 left. Wilson gets 10 yards down to the UB 24. Here, you have to feel good. UB is out of time outs...less than 2 minutes. BG should be able to bleed the clock. Should finally be over.
Except Cleveland fumbled and UB recovered. UB now begins to move down the field, essentially without being contested. With :28 left UB was on the BG 15 and threw a pass to the 1. Tavarous Wade made the play of the game as he was alone with the WR and kept him out of the end zone on the 1.
UB runs to the line, tries a hand off, but it is dropped and they have to fall on the ball. There's a very good chance the clock would run out before they could clock the ball, but BG has an injured player and the clock stops for that.
With :04 left, UB throws an incomplete pass. Clock shows :00, cannons are going off...but not so fast my friend. There' s :01 left after a replay. BG send the house up the middle, Rohach flings it into the end zone and falls incomplete, and BG finally wins the game, if only because there was no more time to give Buffalo another chance.
Wow. Quite a finish in the same end zone the North Dakota game ended in. Well, a win is a win and all that. BG had the better of the play the whole way, with the exception of very dreadful defense at the end of both halves. BG won and deserved to win. More to come.