Thursday, November 22, 2018

25 Questions for the Finale

What is their body of work?

This program is clearly headed in the right direction.  They made a great hire with Lance Leipold.  He was 2-10 his second year, up to 6-6 by the third and this year is 9-2.  They beat Rutgers 42-13 and then lost to Army by the same score.  They were cruising until they lost to Ohio U in their last game.  This is a very good football built on the right foundation, a model I hope we see from the next BG coach.

(Just a scheduling note.  BG played 3 P5 programs non-conference.  Buffalo played 1 and it was Rutgers).

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

This is still a young team.  They have 22 juniors and seniors on their depth chart.  They will lose only 3 starters on offense.

Who are their statistical leaders?

Tyree Jackson is #16 in passing TDs, 11th in points responsible for, #13 in passing yards per completion.
KJ Osborn is #15 in punt returns.
Anthony Johnson is #15 in receiving TDs and #16 in yards per reception.

What is their turnover ratio?

They are even.  (Unless otherwise noted, all stats are MAC-only.)


How is their QB play?

It's good.  Tyree Jackson is huge.  He's only #7 in pass efficiency and is definitely a dual-threat QB.  They have a big play game.  He gets 14.5 per reception, which is top 20 in the NCAA as noted above.  He completes only 57%, which is not unusual for a high-average passer and does have 7 INT.

What is their scoring and yards per play?

They are 3rd in the MAC at 34 point per game and 3rd at 6.1 yards per play.  Just a note--this is a much more proficient offense than either CMU or Akron.

Can they run the ball?

They are 4th at 4.9 yards per carry.  Their lead back, Jare Patterson, averages 5.7 per carry.

Do they pass the ball?

They are 6th in the MAC in pass efficiency, for the reasons noted above.  They have Anthony Johnson, who gets 19.3 per reception and are 4th in the MAC in yards per game passing.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on 60% of their plays, which is very run heavy.  This is kind of NIU's offense from the Wolfe days....good running and go over the top.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They are #2 in the MAC at 43%

Did they score in the red zone?

They are not great for a running team at 4.8 points per trip.

Did they protect the quarterback?

They do.  They have given up sacks on only 3.8% of pass plays.  Tackling Jackson is like tackling a double wide.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They are 7th in scoring defense but 5th in yards per play.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are tied for 6th with 4.6 yards per rush allowed.

Can they be passed on?

They have the 3rd best pass efficiency defense in the MAC.  They allow 51.7% completions (lowest in MAC), 12.6 yards per reception, and 10 TDs with 8 INT.

Did they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are 9th in the MAC, behind BG, at 39%.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They are not good, at 6.5 per trip.

Did they pressure the QB?

They are not good, with sacks on 3.2% of attempts.

Special Teams:


They are 6th in net punting.  They did allow a PR Return for a TD (all games).

Punt Return?

They are 3rd in punt returns.  Osborn is a good one.


Adam Mitcheson started kicking before when buffalo were still plentiful in upstate New York.  He's have an off year, at 7 of 11 and 3 misses inside 40.  Long 46 and has been blocked once.


Opponents start on the 27, so not good.

Kickoff Return?

They start on the 24.

Miscellaneous, Intangibles?

This is really interesting.  Because of the OU lost, UB's season rides on this game.  Meanwhile, BG is on a two-game winning streak and has literally nothing to lose in this game.  They can play with no pressure on them at all.  When the gun sounds, the season is over.

Weather is supposed to be decent but the stands will be very empty, there's no doubt about that.  That's an odd football environment.

On paper, Buffalo should be an easy favorite.  I would think they will be especially focused after the defeat against OU.  BG badly needs to establish the run against them on offense in order to get the passing game going. Conversely, BG needs to play its best rush defense game of the season against the Bulls, who I suspect are willing to throw very few passes to get the win.

Even with all that, I'm looking forward to the game.  Who knows.

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