Friday, September 15, 2017

25 Questions that do their own homework

What is their body of work?

Historically, this is pretty much the longest period of sustained success for Northwestern football.  For decades a Big 10 doormat, they are now consistently good.  This year they are 1-1...they beat Nevada and lost @ Duke big.  Neither game has been especially impressive but they often start slow.  FWIW, BG has never lost to Northwestern.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

The Flip Flop incident
They have 27...which is a relatively seasoned team.  They are #19 on the Phil Steele experience chart.

Who were their statistical leaders?

RB Justin Jackson was #13 in the nation in rushing yards last year and #16 in rushing yards per game.  He's considered one of the top backs in the Big Ten.

S Godwin Igwebuike was #9 in solo tackles.

CB Monte Hartage was #13 in INTs.

What was their turnover ratio?

They were +9 last year, which was #13 in the country.  They are +1 this year.


How is their QB play expected to be?

He was a mid-range QB last year in the Big Ten and has a lower passing rating this year to date.  He has completed only 58% at 12.1 ypc and 2 TD/3 INT.

What was their scoring and yards per play?

Last year they scored 26 and this year they are in the 24s, with 4.9 yards per play.  They have not shown themselves to be an offensive juggernaut.

Can they run the ball?
2003 Motor City Bowl.
BG 28, NU 24

They are struggling to run the ball.  Their feature backs are 3.4 and 2.8 yards per carry, neither of which is very good.

Do they pass the ball?

They are struggling to throw the ball this year as they did last year.  Their top 2 WRs graduated and the top returning WR is out for the season with an injury.  They do have an Oregon transfer.

How was their run/pass balance?

They ran the ball on 49% of their plays last year, which is still relatively run-heavy in today's game.

Did they convert on 3rd Down?

Last year they were OK at 40% but this year it is very poor at 31%.

Did they score in the red zone?

They are very good here, with 5.4 points per trip--5 TDs in 7 trips.

Did they protect the quarterback?

It has been an issue, allowing 5 sacks on 76 attempts, which is 6.6% of passing attempts.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

Last year they allowed 22 per game, which was a top 25 result.  This year, they are allowing 30.5 PPG on 5.3 yards per play, both below what their offense is generating.

Did they defend the run effectively?

Last year, they gave up 3.8 yards per rush which is one of the top 30 results in FBS.  To date this year they are allowing 4.4 yards per carry.

Can they be passed on?

They were ok last year at 117 passing efficiency defense and are about the same this year.  They give up only 55% completions, which is really good, at 11 ypc.  4 TD over 2 INT.

Did they get off the field on 3rd down?

They were among the worst in the nation last year at 56% and that's right where they are this year.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They are pretty good, with 4.8 points per trip.

Did they pressure the QB?

No, just 1 sack this year.

Special Teams:


This might be the best punting matchup we will see this year.  The NW punter was #5 in the nation in net punting and he's back and on the same trajectory this year.

Punt Return?

They have not returned a punt yet.  Their PR is Flynn Nagel, which is the most Northwestern name
ever.  He was decent last year at 6.6/return with a 47 long.  No TDs.


Highly recruited, he's decent so far.  67% last year and this year.  One bad miss inside 30, 40 long.


They have done well, with opponents starting on the 22.

Kickoff Return?

They are average, starting on their own 25.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

First, Mick McCall, a BG QB Coach and OC in the past is the OC for the Wildcats, and Dennis Springer, another former assistant at BG is also on the staff in Evanston.

Proud Graduate
As noted, BG is 2-0 against Northwestern.  The first was in 2001 in Evanston.  BG scored late to be down 1 and a young Urban Meyer went for 2 and then win rather than forcing overtime.  It was a reverse to a true freshman Cole Magner who converted the score and the BG win.  The other game was the Motor City Bowl a couple years later, also a very competitive game that BG ended up winning behind the same players who played in the previous game.

Northwestern is certainly underperforming this year and they have to look at this as an opportunity to turn that around.  They have had injuries.  In particular, their defense has to be looking at the BG offense as a chance to assert some dominance after a rough week at Duke.

BG will be interesting.  Will the Falcons adjust positively or negatively to the loss against South Dakota.  You'd certainly expect to see a better performance and--obviously--if BG continues to play like they have, they aren't going to win any games.  BG is a 22 point dog and that's probably fair, especially on the road.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

The South Dakota game showed the Chris Kingston Lone Star high school football coach experiment has been a dismal failure. After championship teams under leadership of Clawson & Babers we have plunged down the path to mediocrity. Time for Jinks to check out openings for high school jobs in Texas & head back to the Lone Star state.