Sunday, October 07, 2018

Sadness Accrues: Nine Straight, Part II

So, let's look a little deeper.

I mentioned in the previous post that the defense did a credible job.  When the 4th quarter started, UT had 31 points, but UT had benefitted from two very short fields on a blocked punt and a fumble.  So, beyond those, UT had only 17 points at that point.  If you had started the game and told me UT would have 17 points five minutes or so into the 4th quarter, I would take it any day.  The offense and special teams dug the hole.

As mentioned, UT was playing without its starting QB.  UT has struggled to run the ball, and they did run the ball against BG.  UT had 6.5 yards per carry, well above their season average.  BG's season average is 6.6 yards per carry, 4th worst in the nation, so the game was right on their average.  Also, those numbers were jacked up a bit in the final parts of the 4th quarter when the game was decided.

The passing was a little different.  As noted in the preview, UT has great WRs and they had a hard time getting unshackled.  Peters was 17 of 35 for only 184 yards.  Their long completion was 29 yards.  Also, because Peters is not a runner, BG was able to do some blitzing and get some pressure on him. 

Ultimately, however, you play who is on the field and we could have all envisioned a scenario where Peters comes in against our defense and looks like Aaron Rogers.  In this case the defense was dealt a difficult hand by the offense and special teams and held their own on the scoreboard.  Note;  UT started 6 drives in BG territory.

The offense put up reasonable numbers overall.  One thing we saw that we have not seen much of is the big play.  Honestly, it's badly needed.  Elko's strategy was to make the opposition execute a bunch of plays to get down the field because they will eventually make a mistake and stall the drive.  With BG's issues, especially up front, the same is true here. 

Andrew Clair scored on two plays that were over 60 yards.  BG had two other pass plays over 40 yards.  That's 200 of the 480 yards on four plays, but were critical because they kept BG in the game. 

Just as an example, in the 3rd Quarter, down 10, BG took over on its own 16 and took a delay of game before the drive began.  The Falcons then went on a 14 play drive to score a TD.  There were only 2 3rd downs on the whole drive until the end when BG did catch a break and had a Doege pick called back on a personal foul.

Point is, on the four drives after that...when the game was decided, BG ran 12 plays for 6 yards.  They did rebound for a touchdown on their last drive.

There were lots of positives for the offense, though.  Playing without Phoutavong and Bright but with Taborn back on the field, BG rushed for 6.6 yards per carry.  Doege was not sacked.  The Rockets were credited with only 2 quarterback hurries.

So, all that was good.  There was one costly fumble and then an inability to move the ball in the 4th quarter that had to be better. I think we all felt the offense had to be close to perfect for BG to win.

As far as special teams, there were two punting plays which changed the game, which is what special teams can do.  BG did a decent job with the UT return game, though one big return was called back for a penalty.  Timmerman did have a 55-yard punt, as well.  BG also had a FG blocked that would have sent the game into the locker room tied at the half.

I've said this before, BG needs to fair catch all the kickoffs.  We're starting out inside the 20 a lot.

So, that's the story.  BG made it a better game than we feared, but in the end was not good enough to win the game in the 4th Quarter and it was a 9th straight loss. 

We have seen this before.  BG has usually showed up to play against UT in the Jinks era.  What hasn't happened is for it to be something that can be built on.

Having said that, we were told that the defense would need time to adapt to the Pelini system.  Maybe that's what is happening.  Maybe we are finally seeing the o-line come around and the offense will be what we thought we were going to have.  They'll both get a chance to show that next week, at home, for homecoming.

The one thing BG has never done in the Jinks era is exceed expectations with a win.  They've lost games we'd expect to win, but never once has a Jinks team beat someone where we punched above our weight.

We'll get a chance next week.

The Falcons are 1-5 and 0-2.  In theory, you could still make a bowl game and still win the East, but you're talking a turnaround like Miami had a couple years ago.  Maybe that's where we are.  I doubt it, but maybe.  Coach says he sees us getting better in practice every day, but has said that every week for three years and the opposite trends are seen on the field.  Honestly, you could also lose out. 

I've said this before (for 3 years)...for as much doubt as there is and always has been for Jinks, the last thing we want to do is start over again.  The best case is he surprises us all and succeeds.  My feeling is that he needs to either be extended this year or be out.  You can already see the hit that recruiting is taking. 

But remember, if you get a new coach with the December signing day you are really putting a new coach (and the program) behind the 8-ball and risk introducing another lost class into the mix. 

We shall see.  You cannot hide from the results.

1 comment :

Schadenfreude said...

The team looked better. This isn't good enough, but we saw clear improvement, along with a lot of bad mistakes. The defense looked better; they just got put into some bad situations.

Thanks for continuing to blog about this mess.