Monday, November 20, 2017

25 questions to finish at the Factory

What is their body of work?

They are 4-7 on the year, but that's far from the whole story.  First, one of those wins was over Rutgers, which plays in the Big Ten.  They lost to Western, Ohio and Northern in OT...as in, lost in OT in all 3 games.  Let us say that BG did not fare that well against the last two.  They lost to Toledo by 5.  Need I say more?  There was Kentucky by four, Army by 1.  This is a team that can do everything but get over the hump.  That includes beating bad teams.  They have won 2 of their last 3, beating Ball State and Miami.


How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They are pretty experienced, with This is a young team, with 28 upperclassmen on the two deep.  They have 10 sophomores on the two deep.

Who are their statistical leaders?

Roback is #17 in completions per game.
Maxx Crosby is #5 in sacks

What is their turnover ratio?

Unless noted, all stats are MAC Only below.  They are -4, same as BG.

Offense:


How is their QB play?

He's good.  He's one of the best they have ever hard.  He is #4 in passing efficiency.  He has 59% completions for 11.6 yards per completion, which is good but not overwhelming.  He has 12 TDs and a propensity to get picked with 12.

What is their scoring and yards per play?

They are 8th in scoring offense and tied for 7th in yards per play.  BG is #7 in scoring offense and tied with them in yards per play.

Can they run the ball?

Traditionally, this is a strength, but they are #9 in yards per carry.  After the UT game, this should be a relief for BG, but then again if we see the Eagles running wild, we'll know that's a bad sign.

Do they pass the ball?

They are 9th in pass efficiency.  Their stud receiver is Sergio Bailey II, who with 50 catches at 16.8 per.

How was their run/pass balance?

They run on 47% of their plays.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They are 11th at 32%

Do they score in the red zone?


They are average at 4.3 points per trip.

Do they protect the quarterback?

Bad sign.  They are very good and BG are last in sacks.  EMU allows sacks on only 2.9% of its attempts.

Defense:

Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They are #7 in scoring defense and 6th in yards per play allowed.  Where they are equal to BG in offense, they are much better of defense, even if they are not great.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are pretty good, #4 in yards per carry allowed.

Can they be passed on?

They are relatively easy to pass on.  They are 10th in pass defense efficiency.  They play some youth in the secondary, and allow 63% completions (11th) at 12.2 YPC and 11 TDs and 2 INT.  This is a time for Jarrett Doege to have a coming out party.  His numbers are stronger than you think and BG's offense is coming together.  Here's a chance to plant the flag for next year.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are very good on 3rd down, #4 in the MAC.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They are not bad at 4.8 points per trip.

Did they pressure the QB?

Big worry here.  They get sacks on 8.9% of their opponent's passing attempts, which is high.

Special Teams:

Punting?

They are 7th in net punting.  The issues are on distance, not returns.  And they've been blocked twice.

Punt Return?

They get about 5 yards per return.  One block.

Placekicking?

He's pretty average, 13 out of 19, blocked twice, long of 46. (All games)

Kickoff?

They are 4th with a 26 yardline start.  Actual returns are just 16 yards per, which is good.

Kickoff Return?

They start on the 24 (all games)

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

So Dave Clawson used to say that a game like this is about who loves football.  Neither team has anything to play for.  Neither will play another game.  I don't expect this to impact the game, actually.  BG's guys are playing hard and I think that EMU is, too.  I expect a competitive game.

Doesn't seem to be a line, but EMU appears to be a favorite.  ESPN's thing shows an 84% likelihood of victory.

Be that as it may, I think we need to understand the our average offensive numbers are largely influenced by the non-Doege games.  He's putting some good numbers up and I think we're better on offense than they are.  This should at least be a competitive game and how nice would be it to at least get this one?




Lake Erie Preview

Quick preview.  BG plays four games this week, but this is the only one at home.  BG is playing the Lake Erie Storm, which is a DII school over in Painesville.  BG played them to open the 2012 season and BG had one of those games where they struggled with an inferior team, winning by 10 in the end on their way to a 13 win season.

They were 4-24 last year and picked to finish 10th in their conference.  They are 2-2 so far this year.

They are a young team.  Of their top 7 players in terms of minutes played, 6 are SO or FR.  Their leading scorer is Ryan Middendorf at just over 14 PPG.  Gabe Kynard and Harrison Riggs played HS at St. John's.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

BG Gets O-Line Verbal

And this one is a 3-star O-lineman from the Detroit area.  Who picked BG over UT and CMU.  Which seems to indicate that the recruiting mojo has not been lost.

His name is Quinton Barrow and he's from Romulus, MI.  He's listed at 6'6" and 303 pounds, which are obviously the kind of numbers you like to see.  O-linemen don't get stats, so we don't get a lot of the information we would get on a QB, for example.

Welcome to the Falcons, Quinton.




Past and Future Opponent Land

Michigan State (8-3)  Beat Maryland
South Dakota (7-4) Lost rivalry game to South Dakota State.  Made the FCS playoffs, unseeded, playing @Nicholls State.
Northwestern (8-3) Sunk the boat, beat Minnesota 39-0
Middle Tennessee (5-6) Lost to WKU
Akron (6-5)  Shocked OU, control destiny for East
Miami (4-7) Lost to EMU
Ohio (8-3) Lost to Akron
NIU (8-3)  Beat Western Michigan in close game
Kent (2-9) Lost to CMU
UB (5-6) Beat BSU, moving toward bowl eligibility
EMU (4-7) Beat Miami

MAC Vs.

FBS:  11-26
P5:  4-17
FCS:  10-1

West vs. East.  10-6 West

#deepfrye

enjoy...


Falcon MBB Win Thriller at Stroh

And that, my friends, is why we love sports.  For the five times you might sit freezing in the Doyt watching the Rockets score at will against your team, you get a day like that.  What a game.  Big opponent, good crowd, and a game that had us on the edge of their seats for the better part of the contest and then a thrilling finish with a happy ending.  Honestly, I was on a high for hours.  That was a great game.  Thank you to the team for giving us that kind of pleasure.

I'm pretty sure that was what Bill Frack had in mind when he made his gift.  And thank him, too.

So for the first half was generally what was expected.  About six minutes in, FGCU had an 11 point lead and it was still 11 points with 7 minutes left.  BG then turned things around, got the lead down to 3, which is where the half ended on a Plowden dunk.

BG came out and built on the momentum in the second half, taking their first lead just a little over a minute into the game.  What followed was an outstanding half of basketball, with BG leading most of the way, but never by more than 6.

That 6 point lead came with 1:17 left when Dylan Frye nailed a 3.

Brandon Goodwin, who is a great player, came down the floor and drew a foul on Wiggins, his 5th.  Goodwin made both the free throws to cut it to 4 and then they got a steal on the other end and converted it to a hoop and it was down to 2 points with :46 left.

BG got a timeout and had Justin Turner driving to the hoop when he was called for a charge.

With :19 left, BG needed a stop.  They got it.  Goodwin drove to the hoop but couldn't get the ball to fall from close range and Derek Koch snagged the board and was fouled.  He missed both ends of the FTs and then with :06 left on the other end Koch fouled and the Eagles had 2 FTs down 2.

Zach Johnson made both of the FTs and the game had been tied up, with FGCU on a 6 point late run.  There were :05 left.

We had been here before and usually without a great result.

FGCU had been pressing, but on this possession, they went to 3/4 court.  They fed the ball into Dylan Frye who attacked his way up the floor.  I think FGCU expected him to drive to the rim looking for a basket or a foul since the game was tied.  Instead, he pulled up and launched a 3-ball that went down and BG had a 3-point lead with less than a second left and the Falcons had the 83-80 victory.  Players were in the stands shaking hands, there was a buzz in the arena for minutes afterward.  Just a terrific night.

The great thing?  Before those two late baskets, Frye was 1-9 on the night.  Stone cold.  Born shooter.

The crowd was great.  It was a good crowd and they were into the game and it was really loud in the last minute. Coach said that it "almost" was like Anderson.  Here's the point.  If this thing goes the way that it feels like its going, that place is going to be LOUD when its full.  Can't wait.

When we look at the stats, we see what we'd expect, which is a pretty close game.  It was a FAST paced game.  There were 84 possessions in the game.  That's the most possessions in a BG game since at least 2002 and maybe longer...there were whole years when BG never got over 75 or so.  BG is clearly looking to push the pace and they look comfortable doing it to me.

Anyway, beyond that, BG didn't have a great offensive day with .98 points per possession.  The big news is that they held FGCU to .95 points per possession.

Quick note.  This game is an excellent example of why we use tempo-free stats.  Yes, both teams were in the 80s, but they didn't have great offensive nights.  They scored on volumes of attempts.

The biggest thing is what you don't see.  FGCU came in getting 50% of their available offensive rebounds and BG held them to less than half of that.  The other difference was at the line, where BG had 33 attempts and FGCU only 19.  BG made 23 and FGCU 14.  That +9 was more than the difference.  BG got to the line a lot and FGCU had been excelling at that, too.  The Falcons made 70% of their free throws, which is right on national average and an improvement and the key to this one, beyond clutch shooting (52% in the second half).



Individually, Justin Turner had a big night.  He scored 20 points on 6 of 14 and 2 of 3 shooting, plus 6 of 8 on the line, 7 rebounds and 4 steals to go with 5 turnovers.  He also drew innumerable fouls.  Dylan Frye had 15 on the aforementioned 3-11 shooting and 7 of 8 at the line and 6 rebounds.  Wiggins had 14 on 6 of 11 shooting and 7 rebounds.  He struggled in the first half, especially on defense, but Coach said they told him they were going to feed him the ball and he was effective on the offensive end.  He has a nice touch around the basket.

Caldwell had 11 on 5 of 10 shooting and 1 assist.  He played 24 minutes and Cummings played 19.

Derek Koch had 11 rebounds.  Matt Fox had 4 rebounds and 3 assists in 17 minutes.

So, it was a great night.  And this team looks competitive and fun.  They play four games in the next 7 days and it is possible they could win all of them or at least 3.  Looking forward to watching it unfold.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Jinks Presser: EMU Edition

Coach Jinks gave a pretty interesting presser yesterday in advance of the EMU game, especially toward the end.  Here are the parts that I found interesting.

The most interesting part was when he described EMU by saying that he had looked at their roster and they had a bunch of guys for whom EMU was their only offer and that they had done a good job developing their talent and skills.

Which made me pause.  Because my question has been, why isn't that happening for our team?  You mean it is possible to take guys who weren't great recruits and turn them into better players?  That's interesting because the attitude around our program appears to be that you just have to suffer until the Babers players are gone.  Jinks himself has said that the only way to improve players is to bench them.  Apparently, someone has found another way.

And, when asked if the defense had made progress over the year, he said, "No."  He went on to say we don't get pressure and when we try to blitz we don' have the speed to cover on the edge.

Also on Eastern, he said that "they don't ask their guys to do too much on the back end," apparently indicating that there are tactical responses to not having the best players.

I will say this again.  Jinks is honest.  He said he hasn't wavered from his belief in what he is doing, but that at the same time you have to face your "weaknesses."

"That's how we are approaching it now," he said.

One other interesting thing...just one word, really.  When discussing the early signing period, he previously he said that he expected all of our commits to sign.  Yesterday, the answer was "a majority."  Could be nothing but it seemed interesting.

On the early signing, he said that he expects the P5 schools to fill their classes on 12/20, which will mean that when the smaller schools go out in January, they will know who is truly available as opposed to have a Noah Harvey-like situation from last year.  Which I think is interesting.

Coach has put a good recruiting class at the top of his priority list, so all of this is worth keeping an eye on.  I have no inside information, but my guess is that other schools are coming hard after all of our verbals.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Hello Dunk City....

Welcome to...this city.

So, BG has the Bill Frack game on Saturday.  If you recall, Bill Frank donated a huge gift to the men's basketball program with part of the money going to paying for better opponents to come to the Stroh.  This year, this is that game...Florida Gulf Coast.

They are ranked #102 on their kenpom, which does indeed make them the best team on our home schedule right now, including conference games. (The highest ranked team on the schedule is Old Dominion).

This is an excellent game to play at home.  First, this is a name team due to being the first team to go from being a #15 seed to the sweet sixteen and doing it with a high-flying style, a flashy coach with a supermodel wife, etc.  The coach/supermodel left for USC, but their new coach has them back and they have made the tournament the last two years.

Second, they are still good.  They are 2-0, with a win over a very good Illinois State team that has gone on to beat South Carolina.  The other win was @Siena.

We played them two years ago in Fort Myers and BG actually beat the Eagles 82-77.  We have literally one guy who played in that game (Wiggins) who will play Saturday.  In that game, BG had an un-falconlike 1.17 points per possession to win.

They have some big games coming up on their schedule, as they try to up their ranking with non-conference scheduling.

They play just like always have...around the rim and effectively.  Two-thirds of their shots are inside the arc (top 100 in country) and they make 60.5% of their 2FGS, which is #38.  Being around the basket has allowed them to get 50% of the available offensive rebounds, which is #2 in the nation.  They take good care of the ball and get to the line...this is a very good offensive team that is #71 overall on offense.

They aren't bad on defense.  They are a little worse than average this year, just like they were last year.  They don't force turnovers...and in a related fact are in the top 100 keeping teams off the line.  They are also above average defending the shot and protecting their defensive boards.

Brandon Goodwin is their lead player.  He started at UCF, but now is one of the best mid-major players in the country.  He is scoring 18.5 PPG on 46% shooting with 5 rebounds per game and 5.5 assists. 

Their leading scorer so far is Zach Johnson.  (After our last two football games, let's just say we aren't thrilled to be playing someone named Johnson).  He is scoring 20 PPG on 44% shooting.  They also have Christian Terrell, who is scoring 14.5 PPG on (uh) 68% shooting and 6.5 RPG.  Finally, Dinero Mercurius has been through like 3 schools but now is scoring 12.5 PPG on 45% and 40% from 3FG.  He has 6 of their 13 3FGs.

This is a very solid team that BG is playing.  It is at home.  Hopefully, the known name will bring some additional fans to the Stroh and BG can generate some home court advantage.  Also, teams tend to play UP for an opponent like this.  I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out.  Would be a great win for us to get.

Falcons with new o-line verbal



The Falcons have their latest verbal commit, via the internet.  This young man is Joe Maxwell, a 6'4", 274 pound T/G from Florence, Alabama.  There isn't a lot of information on him--which happens on o-lineman.  Maxpreps says he is the #48 o-lineman in Alabama for his class.

I can't find anywhere that lists him as a ranked recruit.  That's not necessarily a big deal--BG has had plenty of unranked players turn into contributors and in fact, those overlooked guys with a chip on their shoulder can fit the culture of a mid-major program perfectly.

Given that the coaching staff and its supporters are pointing to recruiting as the reason to think the program can rebound, it is worth noting that BG's first 13 verbals were all 2 or 3 stars and since the season started BG has lost one of them and added two non-ranked players.

Certainly nothing definitive, but worth keeping an eye on.  We will get an earlier look than normal with the early signing period on December 20.  Coach has said that he is going on a 23-day recruiting trip when the season ends (in case you ever thought you wanted to be a football coach), and this is a critical time for the program.  He says we need to "stack" some recruiting classes.  Well, he'll be on the road with a 6-18 or 7-17 record, testing every bit of the recruiting muscle.

Welcome to the Falcons, Joe.  Prove 'em all wrong!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Rockets Destroy Falcons

The sad thing is that it was expected.

You have to figure if you can't stop Tyree Jackson, Logan Woodside is going to eat you alive.

The Falcons were simply dominated by the Rockets Wednesday night at the Doyt.  There's no other way to look at it.  Particularly on offense, UT rarely was challenged as they racked up 66 points, which is the most points ever scored in the 82 times these two teams have met.

And if you're keeping track, that means the Jinks teams have now played 23 games at BG and given up over 70 twice and 66 once, and the first two came early in his tenure and one was to Ohio State but THIS one was at the end of his second year, when he might have started to get it together and it was to a team in our conference.  And our rival.  On our field.

The defense is an absolute mess.  Bad angles, bad fits, no one setting the edge, no tackling in the secondary, poor pass coverage, little pass rush.  Just an absolute mess.

Somehow, I'm sure Dino Babers is to blame.

Something has to be changed.  I understand that the university won't buy Jinks out, but if he brings his staff back intact, he's just setting a date for when he leaves at the end of his contract.  I have been writing about his under-prepared staff since they got here.  He under-estimated what you need to win at this level and now the program is paying the price.  I am convinced that it won't get fixed with the guys in headsets for this game.  If we can't get a new head coach, he's got to do something to change the trajectory.

Not to call anyone out, but, you know, you might start looking on the defensive side of the ball.

There is one good thing about this game.  No one can be under any illusions about where we are, relative to our goal, which is to be the best team in the MAC.  That team was on our field last night and they scored 66 points.  Last year's mini-streak passing tired horses might have created the illusion that things have stabilized, but with this finish there can be no doubt how bad it is.

Changes need to be made if for no other reason than for recruiting.  BG is going to be negatively recruited like crazy over the next few weeks, partly by the guys who beat us tonight.  Yes, I know bad teams can offer playing time, but no player wants to be on the business end of a beating like that.

The fear is that we are slipping into the position that Miami was in after Hoeppner left.  A decade of losing that they appeared to have snapped out of, but have not.

The negativity was already bad and this is just going to make it worse.  Frankly, it's hard to see them beating EMU either, though I guess its possible.  Either way, 2-10 or 3-9, this team has not improved over last year, record-wise or playing-wise.  Changes are needed.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

25 Questions to throw the record book out

What is their body of work?

 Say what you like, the Rockets have been one of the most consistent teams in the MAC.  They have been cursed by being bested by great NIU teams and then a great WMU team.  This year, they appear to have broken through and should appear in the MAC Championship game for the first time in years.  The had a shot to run the table and play on New Year's Day, but a loss at Miami (FL) scuttled that and then they laid a serious egg in their last game against OU, something which should be of zero comfort to the Falcons.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

This is a young team, with 23 upperclassmen on the two deep.  They have 18 sophomores on the two deep.

Who are their statistical leaders?

Diontae Johnson is #4 in all purpose yards, #15 in combined return yards, #12 in kickoff returns, #8 in receiving yards, #9 in receiving TDs,
Reggie Giliam is #2 in blocked kicks
Jameson Vest is #12 in FG%, #2 in FG/G
Logan Woodside is #5 in passing efficiency, #13 in passing yards, #7 in yards per completion
Olasunkanmi Adeniyi is #19 in TFL

What is their turnover ratio?

Unless noted, all stats are MAC Only below.  They are +6.

Offense:


How is their QB play?

He's the best in the MAC, I don't think there's much doubt about that.  His efficiency rank is 166 and the next guy is 136.  He has 66% completions, 15 yards per completion and 9 TDs over 1 pick.  He's no Tyree Jackson, if you know what i mean.

What is their scoring and yards per play?

They are #4 in scoring and #1 in yards per play.  They get 7.2 yards per play and the second team gets 6.3.  (BG's defense is 11th in both).

Can they run the ball?

They are second in the MAC at 5.4 yards per rush.  BG is 11th on defense.

Do they pass the ball?

See above.  They lead the MAC in passing efficiency and it isn't close.  You can also see Diontae Johnson above, but they also have Jon'Vea Johnson at 14.9 per catch and Cody Thompson at 19.2.

How was their run/pass balance?

They run on 52% of their plays.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

So, you saw the gap between yards and scoring.  They should have more points based on the yard production.  That's partly because they are 11th on 3rd down.

Do they score in the red zone?


They are also poor in the red zone at 3.9 points per trip.

Do they protect the quarterback?

They give up sacks on 6% of their attempts, which is about average, especially considering the relatively long routes they throw.

Defense:

Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

Unlike previous UT teams that came up short, this team is strong on both sides of the ball.  They are #3 in scoring defense and #4 in yards per play allowed.

Do they defend the run effectively?

This is an opportunity for BG.  They are #8 in yards per carry allowed.

Can they be passed on?

Not easily.  They are #2 in pass efficiency defense.  They allow 53% completions, 10.8 per completion, 7 TDs and 8 INTs, great numbers all down the line.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are 6th in 3rd down defense.

Do they defend in the red zone?

First, they have allowed only 13 red zone trips, which is best in the MAC.  When teams do get there, they score at 5.3 per trip, which is not good for the defense.

Did they pressure the QB?

Not very.  They get sacks on 4.1% of opponent attempts.

Special Teams:

Punting?

They are 11th in the MAC in net punting.  Their return defense is good, it appears to be a length of punt thing. He's been blocked once and no TDs allowed.

Punt Return?

See above, they lead the MAC with 13 yards per return, which is 5 yards more than the next team.  They have 1 TD and 2 blocks.

Placekicking?

Vest is just money.  20-23 with a 49 long.  3/4 over 40.

Kickoff?

They are 7th with teams starting at the 25-26.

Kickoff Return?

They are #3 in kickoff returns.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

So John Wagner asked a good question this week.  What happened to the rivalry?  My answer was that BG quit winning...he claims that it starting to go down before that, which is not how I remember it.  Also, I think that having BG and UT in separate divisions also hurt the rivalry.  It is possible (thank god) for BG to win a MAC title without beating UT.

Simply put, this would be one of the biggest upsets in the history of the rivalry if it happened. BG did lead last year in the 4th Quarter, but ultimately lost.  UT would be a huge favorite under ordinary circumstances, but then factor in BG's lack of health on the o-line and then the fact the UT needs a win and is coming off a bad loss and it has a really tough look to it.

And yet, such things happen.  This is why we love sports.

BG's opening is the UT run defense.  BG simply has to run the ball effectively and use the clock to have a shot.  Coach says we are "so close" to having a top tier offense...well, this is where it is going to have to show up.  If the BG defense is left on the field most of the night, this is going to be a rout.

That's just based on the way Buffalo moved the ball on our defense and these guys are way better than that.  Now, the defense might well rally for the big game, but they have shown us no reason to think that they are capable of slowing down this Rocket attack.  The offense is going to be need to help out and BG needs to get some breaks on top of it.

By far the most likely outcome will be that the streak continues.  I will say this.  A win and Coach Jinks can count on silencing the doubters for a while.  A blow out?  Well, the fan base tends to react pretty poorly to those, especially in this game.  If that happens, the overall ecosystem just grows more toxic.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Coyote Run Dooms BG MBB

South Dakota was shaping up to be a tough opponent....one that won their conference last year...and they proved it at the Stroh Center Monday.  BG played well for much of the way, but the Coyotes remained in contact and did what good teams do, which is fire off a big run in the last 8 minutes and they picked up the road victory, 88-79.

BG was up 1 with 8:39 left to play in the game.  Over the next 3 minutes or so, SD went on a 16-4 run to jack the lead up to 11 points.  BG did battle and had the ball down 4 in the last minute but missed a jumper and then the Coyotes were good from the line to seal the victory.

In all, I am encouraged.  Justin Turner showed what it means to be a freshman, making on 2 of 14 shots.  Derek Koch double-doubled though and BG got good minutes from Cummings and Plowden and even four competitive minutes for Gadson.  Frye played well, despite some phantom foul calls.  This team has young talent and I think there's reason to think that BG is on the comeback trail, tonight's loss not withstanding.

The primary factor in the game was fouls.  There were 51 fouls called, which is just crazy.  Frye was the only player to foul out, but eight others had four fouls when the game finally ended.

The second factor is pace.  This game was played at a very fast pace...in fact, the game had 80 possessions, a pace BG reached only four times last year.  So, when you see the high score total, you have to take the pace into account.  In fact, SD had 1.1 points per possession, which is good but not great and BG had .99, which is bad but not awful.

When you look at BG's offense, you can't get by that shooting.  BG's 39.7% EFG (rounded to 40 in the chart) was a total that BG only did worse than twice last year....that awful EMU game early in the year and then the football player game against OU.  BG made only 35% of its 2FG attempts, which also would have been their third lowest last season.  With that poor shooting, you'd expect to have a really stinky offensive night, but BG took care of the ball, did well on the offensive boards and while they didn't get to the line as much as SD, BG made 78%.

On the defensive side, SD shot much better, obviously.  It surely seemed that they had an easy time attacking the basket and often shredded BG on the inside.  They made over 50% of their 2 FGs and 40% from beyond the arc after missing their first 8, meaning most of them came in their big run to finish the game.  They took even better care of the ball and didn't rebound well.  They got to the line a lot but only made 63%.




So, look.  BG is a young team.  SD is a veteran team that has a championship.  THEY had 10 new guys last year.  So, let's just hang with it.  For this night, BG found it very difficult to make shots and SD didn't, and that was really the difference.

One thing is clear.  The fans are going to have to be won back.  BG drew only 1,200 for the season opener.

So, Florida Gulf Coast comes in Saturday in what should be an even tougher contest.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Past and Future Opponent Land

Michigan State (7-3)  Nightmare day in Columbus
South Dakota (7-3) Pummeled by North Dakota State (#5)
Northwestern (7-3) Beat Purdue
Middle Tennessee (5-5) Beat Charlotte
Akron (5-5)  Lost to Miami
Miami (4-6) Beat Akron
Ohio (8-2) Destroyed Toledo
NIU (7-3)  Destroyed Ball State
Kent (2-8) Lost to WMU
UT  (8-2) Lost to OU
EMU (3-7) Lost to CMU

MAC Vs.

FBS:  11-26
P5:  4-17
FCS:  10-1

West vs. East.  7-5 West

Yote preview

So this is an interesting one.   When BG traveled to South Dakota last year, they were picked 7th in the Summit with 10 new guys on the roster.  (Sound familiar?)  Anyway, BG played them in the opening game at their new arena and played a solid game, leading with 3 minutes left to play before giving up an 11-3 close to the Coyotes to lose by 6.  South Dakota went on the exceed all expectations, winning the Summit and ending up in the NIT.  They were 22-12 in the end and a kenpom of 143.

They are itching to build on that season this year.  They lost two starters--both double figure scorers--but they certainly have to feel better than they did at this time last year.  They are picked to be #2 in the Summit by kenpom.

Last year, they were an average offensive team.  They didn't shoot or rebound especially well, but they were 35th in terms of taking care of the ball and 19th in getting to the free throw line.  They also played at over 70 possessions per game, with was in the top 20% or so of D1 teams.

Defensively, they were decent against the shot and at forcing turnovers (around d1 Average) but were top 100 in keeping teams off the boards and off the line.

They return their leading scorer, Matt Mooney, who scored 18.6 PG on 46% shooting last year as well as being #13 in the country in steals.  He scored only 9 against BG last year but is pre-season All-Summit this year.  Trey Dickerson who scored 10 per game on 40% shooting and led the team in assists is also back as is their leading returning rebounder, Trey-Burch Manning, who had 6.6 per game last year to go with about 9 points.

They beat Mayville State 87-59 in their only game this year...that's an NAIA school.

With BG's good start Friday, this one gets even more interesting.  Looking forward to being in my seats and watching the boys go at it.


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Falcon MBB wins opener

Well, then.  That's a good way to start.  Not that it was a win at Duke but there are no bad road wins and this one certainly builds optimism for the season.  Drexel had a big crowd and the lead 24 minutes into the game and then BG went on a 19-0 run (how often do you see that?) to turn the game and then closed the deal to get the win.

More on that later.  Right now...Justin Turner.

Justin Turner.

He had a historic game last night.  To catch you up, Turner was with the team last year but was red-shirted due to an injury.  Coach Huger talked about him being special and it turns out he was right.  Last next at Drexel, Turner scored 33 points.  That (tied with Spencer Parker) is the most for a BG freshmen since at least 2000 and I assume that total is going to be updated as the people at BG have more time to research.

It's a huge night. He shot 12 of 19, 4 of 7 from 3, 5 of 8 from the line, 4 rebounds and 7 assists (that assist total could also be a freshman record).  The only blemish was 5 turnovers.  He played 39 minutes.  That's a huge night...scoring points efficiently and in buckets.  Man, it is just one game, but this guy appears to be a playmaker.

Demajeo Wiggins also had a big game.  Coach said he wants him to be a 15/10 guy and he was 14/8.  He shot 3 of 6 and 8 of 10 from the line.  That's a solid game, especially with only 27 minutes played.

Returning all-MAC FR team Dylan Frye had 9.  He shot 3 of 8 but 2 of 4 from 3 and added 4 rebounds.  Freshman Daeqwon Plowden also had 9,  shooting 4 of 5 and 1 of 2 and adding 3 rebounds in only 18 minutes.

So, in terms of the game flow, the first half was mostly competitive until there were about 5 minutes left when Drexel went on a 9-0 run to lead by 10 and then 9 at the half.  Six minutes into the second half Drexel still led by 10 when BG went on a remarkable run.  For the next 5 minutes, BG scored 19 and Drexel did not score any, and that completely flipped the field.  BG was up 9 and then they closed the door on the way home, never allowing the Dragons within 1 possession.

BG didn't miss a shot until the end of the run---a 3 that would have made it a 22 point run.  Wiggins had 6 and Frye and 5 during the run and Frye had a steal that led to a Wiggins dunk.  On defense, there were 4 turnovers from Drexel and obviously, no made shots, even after 2-second chance possessions.

So, lastly the numbers.

It was a fast-paced game with 76 possessions.  BG ended up with a slightly below average (by D1 standards) with 1.03 points per possession.  However, they held Drexel to .91 points per possession, which last year they did only a handful of times and even then to teams ranked in the 300+ range.  BG shot the ball really well and defended the shot effectively as well.  (Last year, the national average was 50.5%).  Both teams struggled with turnovers, but that's what is holding BG's offensive numbers down.  Drexel also won the battle of the boards and BG was slightly better at getting to the line in a game with a ton of free throws.  BG only shot 63% from the line, which is a continuing weakness.


But let us not quibble.  This is only the third time this year I have been able to write a post about the Falcons winning, so we will take it.  A road win is a road win, and it was a D1 win.  Let's enjoy and look forward to Monday.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Lid Lifter Drexel Preview

So, BG plays Drexel to open the season.  The Dragons play in the CAA and have been in the NCAA Tournament four times since 1986.  They were 9-23 and 3-15 last year finishing with a kenpom of 250.  It was a rough year, though the record was three wins better than it had been the year before.  It was the first year for Coach Zach Spiker, who came to Drexel after being the third most successful Coach ever at West Point.

They are picked to be #9 in the CAA this year, despite bringing three starters back from that team and adding two transfers, one from Missouri and one from Campbell.  (They lost the CAA's top 3FG shooter Kari Jonsson in October when he decided to return to Iceland, a sentence you almost never hear)

Anyway, they are an up-tempo, guard-oriented team.  Their top returner is Kurk Lee, a 5'9" PG who is the team's leading returner in scoring and assists last year as a FR.  That includes 5 assists per game.  Now, he got those numbers playing 33 minutes a game, which I think they hope to cut down on, so the team could get better even if his gross numbers don't.

Senior guards Miles Overton (9.5 ppg) and Sammy Mojica (11.2 PPG) are also back.  Lee and Mojica were efficient shooters but Overton got his points with a poor shooting %.  The two transfers are also guards...6-1 junior Tramaine Isabell, who comes from the University of Missouri (6.2 PPG), and 6-1 junior Troy Harper, from Campbell University (13.5 PPG).

FWIW, Overton started his career at Wake Forest.

In the frontcourt, their leader is 6'8" SR F Austin Williams.

This team has four seniors (three more are expected to play significantly) and three juniors, so in that sense they present a contrast to the young Falcons.

Their biggest struggle last year was on defense.  They were #202 in offensive efficiency and #283 in defensive efficiency.  They were below average in defending the shot, preventing offensive rebounds, forcing turnovers and keeping teams off the line.

They lost to Villanova 87-68 in a charity exhibition.

They are 5-7 against current MAC teams, but have never played Bowling Green.  The CAA was the #12 ranked conference last year, one spot ahead of the MAC.

To me, this seems like a pretty even matchup.  You have lower-ranked teams from comparable conferences, with one team senior-oriented at home and one team attempting to prove themselves with young talent.  It will be part of what I think will be a very interesting season for the Falcons.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

BG Loses to Buffalo

So, the Falcons lost last night.  I'm not going to be able to comment too much because I literally did not see a play due to work obligations.  I did hear some of the excellent radio broadcast (honestly, our guys are doing a great job) but did not see a play.

A couple quick observations from looking at the stats.

First, Leipold had extra time to prepare for us and I would say he used it to develop a game plan to exploit our weaknesses on defense.  We have generally struggled to make stops.  If we didn't force fumbles, that game would have been a rout.

Second, this week Coach said BG was very close to having a top-tier MAC offense.  I think the offense is getting closer.  In the end they had only 5.4 yards per play, which is nothing special.  Seven teams in the MAC average more than that.  Still, Doege completed 65% with no picks.  It was only 10.5 yards per completion, which isn't great.  He had 3 TDs.  The middle seemed to be available again, which it had not been previously. 

The rushing totals look worse than they were.  They did a better job on Clair than most teams do, holding him to 4.7 yards per carry.  Cleveland had 8 per carry.  That was behind a banged up line that gave up some sacks so team rushing was only 3.3 yards per carry but the reality was better than that, if not great.

More later, but BG falls to 2-8 and 2-4.  They could easily finish 2-10/2-6, a worse record than the year before on both fronts.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Schmeltz: BG Likely Without 4 on OL

So, Thomas Schmeltz has a nice piece in the Sentinel on what is going to be a huge issue for tonight's game...BG has FOUR starters down on the o-line at a time when Coach Jinks said a couple weeks ago he only had 7 playable guys to start with.  I'd recommend you check it out and then I have a comment.

Pause.

What's interesting to me is the comments that we have two empty classes on the o-line.

“For whatever reason we’re two classes short offensive line wise. Two full classes,” Jinks said.
When you break it down,  Labus, Lucke and Kramer are the only linemen on the roster from the Babers classes, and Lucke is a guy who quit the team and has come back to at least help out and provide some depth.  Jinks is close to burning redshirts on guys for three games in a season where we are literally going nowhere.

So, this gets to the heart of a debate going on among BG fans.  Fans are increasingly not interested in hearing Jinks (or his defenders) blame Babers.  I've written on this before.  We might have been behind the 8-ball but I think our staff has made it worse.  Having said that, facts are facts.

Last thing.  When you have that kind of talent gap in the middle of your classes, it isn't a one-year fix.  Absent JUCO signees, the line is going to be an issue for at least another year, maybe longer.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Locke and Wilcox Honored by MAC

Congrats to Matt Wilcox and Nate Locke for being honored by the MAC Today.

Matt Wilcox was honored for being the MAC East Special Teams Player of the Week.  He had a big game, with 3 returns for 121 yards, including a 61-yard return which (I understand) is our most in a couple years.

Wilcox is just a true freshman.  He enrolled early in January and in addition to averaging over 25 yards per kick return has 10 receptions, including 1 TD.  He is part of the youth movement Coach Jinks is counting on to turn the program around and this award is hopefully just one of many.

Nate Locke is a senior MLB and had a huge game against Kent.  He had 8 tackles, four of them for a loss in the win.  He's the second leading tackler on the team for the year.  He's also a 4.0 student who contributes to the community and has been nominated for the 2017 Allstate AFCA Good Works team.  He's a credit to the program and the University.

25 Questions on an Endangered Species

What is their body of work?

 This is a program that has struggled to break through.  Turner Gill won at MAC TItle in 2008 but since then they have had one winning season, which was the 2013 Khalil Mack team that BG beat in Buffalo to win the MAC East. This year they are 3-6.  The wins are Colgate, Florida Atlantic and Kent.  They have lost to Minnesota (10 points), Army (4 points), WMU (3 points, 7 OT), NIU (1 point), Miami (10 points) and Akron (1 point).  That is a lot of close losses.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They are 26 players.  Their defense has 10 un-red-shirted juniors.

Who are their statistical leaders?

Anthony Johnson is #10 in the nation in receiving yards per game.
Khalil Hodge is #10 in sacks and #2 in total tackles

What is their turnover ratio?

Unless noted, all stats are MAC Only below.  They are -1.

Offense:


How is their QB play?

Well, this has been a tough issue for them.  Tyree Jackson started the first four games.  He was injured and Drew Anderson played the next three, including the WMU game.  He was injured.  A third guy played one game and now Jackson is back.  He played last week. He's huge...6'7" and 245 pounds.  He has been effective.  He's completed almost 60% for 12.3 yards per catch, both of which are good.  His QBR is hurt by only having 3 TDs but also only 2 picks.  And he is a clear dual threat, especially near the goal line. (All games)

What is their scoring and yards per play?

This is a good offense.  They are 5th in scoring and 4th in yards per play.

Can they run the ball?

They are not good.  They are 9th in yards per rush.  Their lead back averages 4.1 yards per carry.

Do they pass the ball?

They lead the MAC in passing yards per game and are #4 in passing efficiency.  They have two receivers over 16 yards per catch (all games).

How was their run/pass balance?

They run on only 44% of their plays.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They are not bad....6th in the MAC.

Do they score in the red zone?


They are average at 4.5 points per trip.

Do they protect the quarterback?

They are very good.  They lead the MAC in pass attempts, yet have allowed only 8 sacks, which is 3.8%.


Defense:

Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They are not good.  They are 9th in scoring and 10th in yards per play.  They allow 6 yards per play, BG allows 6.1

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are tied for 6th in rushing yards per carry

Can they be passed on?

They are 11th in the MAC in pass defense.  They allow 68% pass completions, which is the highest in the MAC by a lot.  That includes 13.3 yards per catch...also a lot...and 11 TD over 4 INT.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are #11 in the MAC, 5% worse than BG.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They allow 4.4 points per trip, which is pretty good.

Did they pressure the QB?

They are not bad, with sacks on 6% of their opponent passing attempts.

Special Teams:


Punting?

They are 3rd in the MAC in net punting.  They have blocked a punt.

Punt Return?

They are not bad, #5 in the MAC with 12 total PRs.

Placekicking?

He has struggled at 11-18. He has had some long attempts.  He is 10-13 inside 40 (all games) and 1-5 outside 40.  Long is 42.  He's been blocked once.

Kickoff?

They are 9th with teams starting at the 25.

Kickoff Return?

This is very good, with teams starting at the 23.  They are one of 2 teams in the MAC to have recovered an onside kick in conference play.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

For whatever it is worth, if you are a fan of these programs, this will be a very interesting game.  Buffalo is in year 3 of Lance Leipold, who was a highly successful DIII Coach before coming to Buffalo.  They are showing signs of putting it together, but are far from a completely finished football team.  Meanwhile, BG in year 2 of the even more audacious Mike Jinks experiment is showing fewer signs of breaking through.  The Kent win was good, but this is an excellent test to help establish whether BG is in the middle of lower tier of the MAC.  To me, a win would provide some evidence that we are jelling.  That's not going to be easy, with a running QB on the other side.  If BG can establish the run even against their strong run defense, the UB secondary should be open and that's a different game.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Blade Injury Report

Going to be a challenging day on the O-line....

On the Red Zone Ranking


So, Coach Jinks talked recently about BG being 100% in the red zone and how that wasn't the most instructive way to look at it.  Just a quick analysis to show why he's right about that.

Here is the thing.  The traditional ranking of red zone success just measures scores and non-scores.  Obviously, a TD is worth double what a FG is and in the red zone, a FG falls into the better than nothing category.  So, I have been doing this for a while...tracking points per trip, which I think is much more accurate.  (I first came up with this idea during Urban Meyer II, when BG was absolutely deadly in the red zone).

Anyway, you just arbitrarily give 7 points for each TD and 3 for a FG and divide by the number of trips.

You get what you see above.  Which shows a good BG red zone offense, but not the best in the conference.

OU is just great.  They are 21-22 with 18 touchdowns.  That's a team cashing in on their opportunities.  Akron hardly gets there at all, but does score when they do. (This is MAC games only).  And BG is third, leading the MAC with 8 red zone FGs.  The difference for between BG and OU is 5 points a game.

Just a different way of looking at it...and I believe more reflective of true red zone performance.

Past and Future Opponent Land

Michigan State (7-2)  Beat Penn State.  Dude can coach.
South Dakota (7-2) Lost to Northern Iowa.  Turned ball over on 3 straight 4th Q possessions.
Northwestern (6-3) Beat Nebraska
Middle Tennessee (4-5) Beat UTEP on Stockstill's return.
Akron (5-4)  Idle
Miami (3-6) Lost to OU
Ohio (7-2) Beat Miami
NIU (6-3)  Lost to Toledo
UB (3-6) Idle
UT  (8-1) Beat NIU, finally.
EMU (3-6) Destroyed Ball State

MAC Vs.

FBS:  11-26
P5:  4-17
FCS:  10-1

West vs. East.  6-4 West

Saturday, November 04, 2017

MBB Non-conference Opponent preview

Non-conference opponent preview.  One overall note.  There are a bunch of games on here that could be competitive, including all 3 games at the Campbell event.  Here's the thing.  That's not a good thing for us.  Those teams from those conferences should not be competitive games for us.  If they don't turn out to be, good.  But the goal of the program should be to play USC-Upstate (for example) and have it be a certain win.

@Drexel

The Dragons are in the CAA where they are picked to finish 9th.  They were 9-23 last year, but appear to be in the process of rebuilding.  They have four starters back from that team and add two transfers, including one from Missouri, who are both going to be eligible this year.  They ended with a Kenpom of 250 and expect to be at 195 this year.  The CAA is the #11 conference and the MAC is the #16.

South Dakota

The Coyotes beat BG 78-72 in SD last year. SD won the Summit regular season, won 22 games and played in the NIT.  They return 3 starters from that team and are picked as #2 in the Summit.  Last year's team had 10 newcomers (hope for BG in 17-18) so they are more seasoned now.  They will present an excellent early season test for the Falcons at the Stroh.

Florida Gulf Coast

Same thing could be said here.  This is a marquee mid-major program that played in the NCAA Tourney last year and is expected to go back.  They offer Brandon Goodwin, the projected A-SUN POTY who scored over 18 points per game last year.  Two years ago BG beat them 82-77 in Florida in Huger's first year.

Lake Erie College

This is supposed to be guaranteed win day.  But, hey, you know.  So they are in the Great Midwest for the first time this year after leaving the GLIAC, which is DII.  That is the conference that Findlay is in and they beat UT.  Lake Erie is predicted to finish #10 in the conference.

USC - Upstate (Neutral)

They are also in the Atlantic Sun, where they are picked to finish #4.  They won 17 games last year and made the CIT.  Four starters are back from that team, but the one who isn't was their 7'0" C. Even the always upbeat Blue Ribbon refers to a couple of their players as defensively challenged.  This game will be played on a deadly silent neutral floor, which is always something difficult to deal with.    Kenpom expects a competitive game with BG a slight favorite.

@Campbell

Campbell is the host for the menage a four basketball festival.  They are picked to finish #5 in the Big South.  They feature Chris Clemons, who was the #2 scorer in the country last year.  They were 19-18 last year, made the CIT Quarterfinals and have four players back from that team.  As a road game, BG would be a slight underdog now but this is a very competitive matchup for us.

Abilene Christian

They are picked to finish 9th in the Southland.  They have everyone back from a team that went 13-16 last year, including Jalone Friday, who was a Chris Jans commit to BG.  They were 13-16 last year and return everybody from that team.  Their projected kenpom is 250 and BG is 238.  This is their first year as a full-fledged D1 program.

San Jose State

BG lost to the Spartans in San Jose last year in a very close game. Since then, SJSU has gotten a new coach after family issues caused their previous coach to resign. The program is on the upswing, moving from a 2-28 record in 2015 to a 14-16 record last year and returning four starters from that team. The one loss is huge...all-conference Brandon Clarke who went 24/14 on BG last year, making 9 of his 12 shots.  They have a highly recruited redshirt FR who will play as well as a 6'11" transfer from Depaul/JUCO.

@Norfolk State

Norfolk State was 3-10 when they came to BG last year and gave the Falcons a tough game before BG finally prevailed.  They won 12 of their last 16, played in the CIT and are picked to win the MEAC this year, which is a play-in conference, but still.  They have 3 starters back from that team.  This is another example of a game that should not be competitive but might be.  Also, it is the first time BG has played two teams nicknamed the Spartans back-to-back, a fact I completely made up.

Evansville

This is a good game for BG to play at home. This is a mid-major program but a well-known and classic one.  BG played the Purple Aces very tough on the road last year, losing by 3 in a game they probably should have won.  They lost 3 starters from their 16-17 team last year.  One of those lost is Jaylon Brown, who hung 29 on BG last year as their only double-figure scorer.  They are picked to finish #8 in the MVC.  This is a really interesting game at The Stroh.

@Old Dominion

This is a new opponent for BG and will be a tough one.  They are a traditionally strong program that used to play in the CAA and has now moved into the C-USA, where they are picked to finish #4 this year.  They were 19-12 last year and return 3 starters.  Their second-leading scorer was dismissed over the off-season.  They play a very tough defensive style coupled with a balanced offensive attack.

@Green Bay

This is also a good program.  They beat BG by 16 last year at the Stroh.  They finished 18-14 and made the CBI, but return only one starter from that team and are picked to finish 5th in the Horizon.  It's actually worse than that.  They lost six seniors and then Trevor Anderson, who had 18 points and 7 rebounds left to WALK ON at Wisconsin.  They lost another double-figure scorer as a graduate transfer to Xavier and dismissed a redshirt FR.  They added some JUCO guys and have a transfer from Marquette who will play his first game against BG.  Anyway, this is a traditionally strong program and actually is a great last non-conference test to see how the team is developing.

Lourdes

Come on, man.  NAIA 7-22 last year.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Jinks Presser: Gut Wrenching Edition

Coach had his post-game presser today....not a ton of interesting stuff, but some things of note.

First, he has a Math degree.  Who knew?

He said Doege was efficient and that wasn't a negative term.  He had made a mistake on the pic that he was bailed out on.  He was good and knows he doesn't have to be great.

Coach says we are "so close" to being an elite MAC offense.

The rest of the time he talked about the Ay-Ziggy-Zoomba celebration in the locker room.  He went on quite a while about the passion the players have for that tradition and their passion for the program and the University.  These guys are proud of where they are and what they are doing.  He was really moving when talking about this.  He said a couple times that it wasn't lip service.  It's sincere.

Then he said something powerful:  "That's why it is so gut wrenching" to go through what we have been going through.

GUT WRENCHING.

That really hit me.  Coaches are kind of trained to be implacable and they are trained to think in an upbeat fashion, but sometimes that can come off as not caring or hurting during losing streaks.  So, when we see GUT WRENCHING seeing his guys fail to succeed when they care and love so much about this program...that's a moment when you see things in a different light.  It isn't gut wrenching because of him.  It's because of them.

I've said this before.  I don't know if he's got the ability to make this work.  But if he does, this is a coach you could really fall in love with.  This is a guy you could follow into battle.  I can honestly see why Kingston was attracted to him.  It just has to work.

One last update:  Shannon Smith and Malik Brown will not play Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Sweet Victory #2: Observations

Mike Jinks said after the game that it was nice to be able to smile after a game.

Man, I'm sure it is.

No disclaimers here.  We know who we were playing and we know the flaws.  All of that.  It still had to still feel very good.  A long way to go, but for the first time this year the team came out and handled a team for 60 minutes and that includes the FCS game.  They played a team they should beat and they did.  We're glad for it.  They deserved to enjoy the victory and I'm glad it looked like they did.

A few kind of random thoughts.

First, it's hard to describe how much better it is to bolt out on a team early and get that lead.  Football teams play completely different from behind than they do from ahead or in a close game.  Being up 17-0 late in the first was just huge for our confidence, their confidence, and for the way that Kent would have to play to get back into the game.

BG called plays like they did in the November run last year.  And I do mean run.  BG ran 65 plays and 43 of them (sack adjusted) were runs.  The Falcons ended up with 4.9 yards per rush, but that's not the whole story because there are sacks and two team losses from bad snaps at 24 yards.  The 4 RBs netted out to 6.8 yards per carry and then Scott Miller had a 17 yard run, too.  BG was very productive running, and running behind a banged up o-line that featured a couple new starters and for a while 3 new players.

Andrew Clair is going to be a player.  Actually, he is a player.  He had 111 on 8 carries behind that line.  He is very tough to tackle, explosive.  Love watching him run.

Jarrett Doege was also very good.  He wasn't perfect, but it was also his second full game and he was in HS last year.  He got sacked 3 times, threw a bad pick, grounded the ball once, etc, but he did way more right than wrong.  He was 14 of 18 for 174 yards, 2 TDs and 0 picks.  The high completion percentage and the 0 picks (even with the sacks) are quality results.  That's 12.4 yards per completion, which is also pretty good.

Note:  Clair and Doege are true freshmen.

BG had 6.2 yards per play, 5 of 9 on 3rd down and 7-7 in the red zone, though there will be some more talk about that this week, because we're actually pretty average in the red zone.  But, any way you slice it, those are good offensive numbers.  And scored 44 points.

The defense held KSU to 4.2 yards per play.  Now, KSU is poor.  Their MAC average is 4.3 yards per play.  But, we had the worst ranked defense in the MAC and they could just as easily have gotten well on us, so we'll take it.  They were 16 of 35 passing, but only 8.8 yards per completion and best of all, 3 INTS.  They were only 3 of 12 on 3rd down.  Those are winning metrics for a defense.

BG had 10 TFL for the game, four of them sacks.  Nate Locke on his own had 4 TFL and one sack. 

BG played without Shannon Smith and Malik Brown, who are being disciplined.  Also, Posey was injured.  Aaron Banks...who was the starter and then was passed by Posey, had a big game with 7 tackles and a hurry.  That's the beauty of internal competition.

Fred Garth, who has struggled at times, led the team in tackles.

And man did Cam Jefferies make a grab on his pick.  That was something else.

Here's one for you.

We only punted once.  No really.

Jake Suder made 3 FGs and is on his way to one of the most productive FG seasons of any kicker in our history and we have had some good ones.

So, look.  We don't need to go around the bend.  BG beat a team they should beat.  But they did it handily and without drama, and the two big starts are freshmen.  Things look better than they did on Monday.  Long way to go.  Buffalo will be an interesting game.  They have been up and down and on a losing streak with very close games.  On the road.  A good test.

Wagner: Lillard Suspended


So, this just popped.  Antwon Lillard will miss the first 8 games of the season.  It is the third time that Lillard has been suspended...he missed the Oakland game with Ish Ali and then the OU game with 3 other players.  This is a long suspension.  I have no idea what happened and it doesn't really matter.  It is important to me as a BG Alum that we uphold the standards of the University and I expect Huger to do that and I think he has.

From a basketball perspective, it means BG will play its first 8 games with only 3 players with significant D1 playing experience.  Four was going to be tough, and 3 is tougher.  But there are more important things.

Sweet Victory! Falcons Blow Out Kent



As you can see here from Coach Padron's twitter feed, the Falcons enjoyed the celebration of their 44-16 win over Kent State.  They deserve to enjoy the win.  These guys are working hard the whole way and not getting much reward in the way of wins, and this was a good one...the first time all year where they were clearly and definitively the best team on the field for the full 60 minutes.

More on the game coming later, but a couple quick thoughts.

BG relied heavily on the run, but Doege was 14 of 18 in the passing game and didn't make any mistakes.  Got sacked a couple times, but by and large he was effective and he did connect a long ball to Datrin Guyton.  We'll see how he develops, but he does appear to be a natural born QB.

It should not go unnoticed that BG's two best skill players were true freshmen Doege and Andrew Clair, who was over 100 yards for the fourth straight game.

Taborn went down on the o-line, which was kind of a nightmare scenario because Coach had said that we were already using everybody who was ready to play.  For all that, the line did hold its own, I thought.  There were some periods where they were losing battles but they won their share, too.  Coach said after the game that Caleb Bright and Clark Clancy deserved a game ball for their performance.  Bright is a r-FR and Clancy is a rSo r-Sr.

BG was playing without McAuliffe, Kramer, Posey and Wortham, all of whom were injured.  In addition, Malik Brown and Shannon Smith were held out for violation of team rules.  Coach said he didn't know when they would return.

BG had a bunch of guys play well on defense.  More on this later, but Nate Locke had a huge game from the middle, with multiple TFLs.

So, a good night for our guys, who have been living the struggle the rest of us have just been watching.  Buffalo is next and an opportunity to get another one.


Monday, October 30, 2017

25 Questions that Spook and Flash


What is their body of work?

It's just rough.  Over the last 30 years, Kent has only had two winning seasons.  They had that incredible 2012 season, but then followed that up with 5 more losing seasons.  They are 2-6 this year with wins over Howard and Miami, meaning that both teams have the same FBS win.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 22 which is a young team.  Depending on who the QB is, they have 8 starters on offense who are FR or SO.

Who are their statistical leaders?

Demetrious Monday is #12 in the nation in INT.  Thank god the game is on Tuesday.
Jamel Parker is #17 in passes defended.
Derek Adams is #15 in punting

What is their turnover ratio?

Unless noted, all stats are MAC Only below.  They are even on turnover margin.

Offense:

How is their QB play?

Well, this has been an epic poem.  Nate Holley was the guy but he was lost for the year to injury.  You don't really know who's going to play.  Bollas (who keeps losing the job and getting it back) and true freshman (but highly recruited) Dustin Crum have been splitting time with Bollas getting most of the attempts.  When he plays, Bollas is 6th in the MAC in passing efficiency but he can't be that good because they keep replacing him.

What is their scoring and yards per play?

They
They are awful.  11th in both.  They are averaging 9 points per game in MAC play and 4.3 yards per carry.

Can they run the ball?

They are not good.  They get 3 yards per running attempt, which is tied for last. 

Do they pass the ball?

They are 9th in pass efficiency.  BG is 11th.  They complete only 50%, with a 13.6 per catch.  They've completed only 42 passes in 4 MAC games.

How was their run/pass balance?

They run on 67% of their offensive plays, which is among the highest you will see.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They are last in the MAC at 25%.

Do they score in the red zone?

Their four red zone games in the MAC are among the worst I have ever seen.  They average just over 2 red zone points per trip.  They have on 9 in four games, and in those 9 trips they have 1 TD, 5 FG and 3 whiffs.

Do they protect the quarterback?

This is unbelievable.  They have given up 17 sacks in 100 passing attempts in conference play.  That's three times higher than a bad number.

Defense:

Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

Defense is supposed to be their thing.  They are 9th in scoring defense and 9th in yards per play allowed.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are 10th in the MAC allowed 5.2 yards per carry.

Can they be passed on?

They are 7th in pass defense efficiency.  They allow a MAC-lowest 50% completion percentage.  They allow 12.6 per completion with 8 TD/5 INT.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

This is a strength.  They are #11 in the MAC.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They allow 5.1 per trip, which is not good.


Did they pressure the QB?

They have a good rush.  10 sacks in 100 overall pass attempts against.

Special Teams:

Punting?

They are 7th in the MAC in net punting.  As noted above, the punter is boomer (16 over 50) but 7 TBs and they've been blocked once.

Punt Return?

They have 5 returns for 10 yards.

Placekicking?

He's good at 5-7.  Long is 48 and blocked once (all games).

Kickoff?

They are 5th in kick coverage, other teams starting at the 23.

Kickoff Return?

Decent opponents start at the 24 (all games)
Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

Look, this is one of those games.  BOTH teams are thinking that this is finally their chance to win one.  That can lead to a tough situation.   These young men work incredibly hard and want to win so bad and now here is a team where finally there's enough parity to have a shot.  BG won the game easily last year, which Jinks alluded probably didn't sit too well with the Flashes.  Kent is among the worst offensive teams I have ever seen, and BG is one of the two worst defensive teams in the MAC.  If Kent looks like the 2015 Falcons on Tuesday, we have a problem.  The game is at Kent, but I'd expect the stands to be all but empty.  Man, this has been a tough year.  A loss in this one is awful.