Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Nunn-Liddell Transfers

That's the second in two days.  Jai is a DB who signed at Troy, did not play and then went to JUCO and then came to BG.  He signed in June, 2018, which would be a Jinks recruit.

He played in 9 games last year and had 1 tackle.  He has not played this season, which ought to tell you something.

All the best to Jai on his journey.  From a BG standpoint, here is why these transfers matter.  As Coach Loeffler has discussed, we have unfilled scholarships.  You can only add 25 a year.  So, I think we lose 15 or 16 this year, which means we can cut into the deficit by 9 or so.  Every guy who transfers means you are cutting into the deficit one less.

Ultimately, we will only succeed with guys who want to be here and buy into what we are trying to do, and stuff like this is part of the process.  My point is that we have to understand the mountain our program is trying to climb.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Past and Future Opponent Land

Morgan State (1-6) Lost to South Carolina St
Kansas State (4-2) Beat TCU
La Tech (6-1) Beat Southern Miss
Kent (3-4) Lost to OU, played them tough
Notre Dame (5-1)--Idle
Toledo (4-3) OMG....annihilated in Muncie
CMU (5-3) Beat BG
WMU (4-4) Lost to EMU
Akron (0-7) Lost to Buffalo
Miami (3-4) Beat NIU, unpredictable as ever
Ohio (3-4) Beat Kent in Athena
Buffalo (3-4) Beat Akron

East vs. West:  3-3
MAC vs P5:  (1-21)
MAC vs. G5:  (6-9)
MAC vs. FCS: (11-0)

John Gibson said the MAC Championship would be "off-brand" teams...that's about right.  Things are going to be crazy moving forward.  Ball State has beaten NIU, UT and EMU...given them essentially a 3-game lead on those teams.  They play Ohio next week in Muncie...as for the East, I mean, WOW.

Sadness Accrues, II

There are not a huge number of surprises in the stats.

For the offense, it was a struggle.  To start with, BG was 13 of 29 passing for only 166 yards, 3 INT and 1 TD.  Loy's QB rating was 26...Coach said after the game we missed a wide-open "walk-in" explosion play as well.  Also, to be fair, while Loy was never sacked, CMU registered 7 QB hurries on 29 passing attempts.

Running was tough, too.  CMU was ready for Loy, holding him to 3.7 yards per carry...he led BG with 18 carries.  Denley was effective, though, at 6 yards a carry and Marlow had 7.8.  True freshman walk-on Raymore had trouble getting going...tough assignment for him in his first game.  It all netted out to 4.8 yards per carry, which is slightly above the NCAA average.

BG finished with 5.2 yards per play, which is an overall tough number to win with.  (NCAA Average is 5.8).  The Falcons were 1 of 11 on 3rd down (speaking of things that are hard to win with), though they were 2-5 on 4th down, leaving them a slightly better 3 of 11 on their chances to extend drives.  And BG had 3 turnovers to 2 for CMU.

On defense, it was a pretty rough result for the Falcons.  CMU had 7.2 yards per play--2 yards better than BG--ran the ball for 6.4 yards per carry, 62% completions on passes and 13 yards per completion.  They were 8 of 14 on 3rd down, had the ball for 35 minutes...they certainly won the battle on this side of the field.

BG had 12 penalties for 83 yards, and when you look at the play by play, seems like a lot of them were hamstringing offensive drives that were already up against it.

Quinton Morris was 4 for 69.  I think it is safe to say that he is drawing a lot of attention from opponents.  Denley had 3 for 48 and a score.  He's an impact player, part of which has been using him at RB and WR, both positions where BG is thin.  Moving him to the backfield exclusively would be tough for the offense's overall effectiveness.  Very tough position to be in.

Anyway, that's the story of the day.  When the season started, this one looked like a possible win, but BG is now 2-5/1-2 and heading to WMU next Saturday.

Sadness Accrues

So, not withstanding last week's thrilling outcome, we were reminded Saturday that the Falcons have a long climb to get where they need to be.  BG was outplayed by CMU for the entire game.  The score entering the 4th was only 28-14 but the game had been more one-sided than that and ultimately CMU won 38-20.

I'm not terribly surprised.  Last week was like a feverish dream, but this team is still under-manned and under-developed.  You can watch Coach's presser...he spells it out it in exacting detail...but the ultimate thing is that we're just going to struggle to win right now.

CMU got the ball to start and did what they do, which is run right down the field and score.  BG got the ball back and made some progress, driving into CMU territory before failing to convert on a 4th and 1 at the 41.

Even worse, Davon Jones was injured on the drive and did not return.  It looked serious, but time will tell.  It leaves BG in a sorrowful position at RB.  Andrew Clair continues to be out with the foot injury, and Jones is now out, leaving Denley as the only scholarship RB on the roster.  (I was surprised to go back and see there were no RBs in last year's scholarship class).

Anyway, from there on in BG patched together Denley, walk-on Trevon Raymore (from Norwalk, highly productive HS back in HS) and jet sweeps with RB Marlow.  It's going to make things tough.  Leaving last year, RB looked like a position of strength, but Clair hasn't played (and it's easy to forget now how good he has been for us), Hargrove transferred and here we are.

Anyway, CMU drove the BG 2 again.  BG held them on 2nd and 3rd down and then on 4th down forced a fumble which Caleb Biggers scooped up and ran 102 yards with for a TD, tied for the longest play in BG history.

So, the score's 7-7. but what's happened is CMU has moved the ball at will and been snakebit by a fluky play (not so much forcing the fumble but the return).

BG has some momentum and gets a stop as the 2nd quarter starts.  The offense failed to pick the thread up, though, went 3 and out and CMU scored on its next possession to go up 14-7.

After some exchanged punts, CMU started a drive with 7 minutes left from its own 3.  What happened next was a back-breaker, as the Chips drove the 97 yards in 5+ minutes, 12 plays and only one of them on 3rd down, and scored a TD.  BG had two penalties on the drive, CMU had a OPI and still converted.  Anyway, after that it was 21-17.

BG did run an effective 2 minute drill but Loy was picked from the CMU 29.

That was also a shame, because BG had the ball to start the 3rd Q and it would have been a great chance to get back in the game with two straight possessions.  BG took the kickoff and moved down the field, featuring a 26-yard sweep to Marlow and a 4th and 6 conversion before scoring and getting it to 21-14.

So, for all that had happened, you're in play at home and only down score.

Alas, CMU hit a 53-yard pass and scored on a 4-play drive to go back up 28-14.

So, still 3rd Q, BG needs a drive to get things going.  They don't get it...one drive was hampered by two penalties, one ended on an unconverted 4th and 1 and one on an unconverted 4th and 5.  Not be lost in there was an INT by Jordan Anderson, who is looking to be a player at S for BG.

It's now early 4th and CMU finally closes the deal with a 51-yard TD run...Coach Loeffler said BG just didn't tackle well on the play (and all day, beyond that).  At 35-14 and BG with only one offensive TD, you have to know its a long road.  BG did score one more time and CMU added a FG with a 38-20 final.

BG's depth continues to be an issue...in addition to Jones, Karl Brooks was injured.  In both cases, that leaves with BG very thin.  More to come...

Friday, October 18, 2019

Harris Transfers

So, this is James Harris, a d-back leaving the program.  He was a Jinks recruit who red-shirted last year and played in the first 3 games this year and then not since.  He had 2 kick returns.

He was a two-star recruit out of Pompano Beach, FL.  He was also an early enrollee, but still ended up red-shirting that season.  (Don't recall an injury, but I could be wrong.)

Anyway, best of luck to James.  The roster challenges, meanwhile, just get bigger.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

25 Chippy Questions

 What is their body of work?

CMU is exceeding expectations this year.  They were picked to finish down with BG.  In fact, I thought this was one of the 4 games we had a shot at winning this year.  They were dreadful last year, going 1-11 and getting their coach fired.  Former Florida Coach Jim McElwain entered.  They are 3-3, with a nice win over EMU (42-16).  They played University of Miami very tough as well, losing 17-12.  They are exceeding expectations.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 21...which is a very young team.

Who are their statistical leaders? (Top 20 Nationally)

Kalil Pimpleton is #13 in receptions per game.
Kobe Brown is #13 in rushing TDs
Troy Brown is #14 in solo tackles

What is their turnover ratio?

They are -5, which is eye popping.  Lost 9 fumbles.


How is their QB play?

Well, that's interesting.  Their starter was David Moore, a JUCO transfer, but he was suspended for an illegal substance.  He's appealing and unless he is back, CMU will be helmed by Quinten Dormady, a transfer from Tennessee by way of Houston.  He did play in Knoxville and he's been effective at CMU.  He's completed 63% with a 5:1 TD:INT ratio, but only 9.9 per completion indicates a safe playcalling pattern.

What is their scoring and yards per play

They are scoring 28 per game on 5.7 yards per play.  That's an average NCAA offense.

Can they run the ball?

They are good.  They average 4.8 per carry, above NCAA average of 4.5.  They have two very solid lead backs, though.  Ward has 7.4 yards per rush and Lewis 5.0.  BG will need the same run defense it clamped onto UT Saturday.

Do they pass the ball?

See above.  Kalil Pimpleton is their possession WR with 46 receptions already and Tyron Scott gets over 17 a reception.

How is their run/pass balance?

This is a slightly run-oriented team, at 52% of plays.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They are average at 37%/

Do they score in the red zone?

They average 5 points per trip, which is average

Do they protect the quarterback?

They do protect well, giving up sacks on 4% of pass plays.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play

Their scoring defense is 28 per game, which is about an average amount.  The locked U-Miami down and EMU...they are giving up 5.5 yards per play, which is a little bit above average.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They do.  They are very hard to run on, at 3.2 yards per carry.  That's #1 in the MAC and #19 in the NCAA.  BG's "success" on offense over the last 7 quarters has been driven by running the ball, and that will be a key Saturday.

Can they be passed on?

They are not great.  They are 92nd in pass efficiency defense, #5 in the MAC.  They allow 64% completions, at 11.4 per completion.  The percentage isn't great, but the yards per catch is good.  Also 14 TDS: 4 picks.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

Yes they do, 36%.  That's #5 in the MAC.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They are terrible in the red zone, allowing 6 points per trip.

Do they pressure the QB?

They go...they get sacks on 7.8% of passing attempts.

Special Teams:


Not great.  They are 98th in net punting.  Distance isn't terrible, but 9 yards a return.

Punt Return?

They average 8.8 per return and have a block.


He's 8 of 11, long of 54, two of those misses over 50.


They start on the 25, which is pretty typical.

Kickoff Return?

They start on the 25, which is pretty typical.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

The elephant in the room is BG...the Falcons clearly played above their heads in the UT game.  How they react Saturday is a considerably different question.   Not that they will think they are over the hump and everything is solved...but how do you sustain that emotional high?  Or, we have turned a corner and can sustain at least better play moving forward.  We remain undermanned, etc, and this is a tough matchup for us on offense.  It will be interesting to see, but I'm looking forward to a game more than I have in a couple of years.  Would be great to get some of those fans back after finally winning a big game at home...

Monday, October 14, 2019

Loeffler Presser

  • The phrase that pays this week was "point of attack issues."  I'm not even sure what that means, but Coach said he counted 22 of them.  So, they are working on that.
  • He noted that BG had much better perimeter blocking, which is the WRs upfield.  He said that's key to our attack and we hadn't been getting the blocking on the outside.
  • The key message is that the team needs to bring this intensity to practice five days a week before they will begin to improve as a football team.  He said this numerous times, though not as often as "point of attack."
  • Nemerov out one more week, Clair still unknown
  • Additional true FR DBs will play in the last four games
  • Lastly, he provided another spirited defense of Brian Van Gorder.  Usual stuff, you can get thrown into situations where you cannot succeed, but he says that people who know coaching know that he is a great football coach.  Certainly can't argue with the defense on Saturday.
  • To celebrate the win he played ping pong with his daughters and then watched Notre Dame-USC with Bob Moosbrugger and Kit Hughes.
  • He does not let his daughters win.

Loy is MAC East Offensive POW

Huge news for Grant Loy, who is a player of the week for his performance against the Rockets. If you haven't done it yet, I highly recommend you peruse the post-game video below.  It's a great story...Grant's from a small town and a significant percentage of the town's population was at the Doyt on Saturday to see him start.  His journey is all about what we want this University to be...a place where anyone can achieve what they are willing to work for.  Love it.

Congrats, to Grant.  For my money, Nico Lautenan was a MAC Player of the Week, too, but what are you going to do?

Wake Up Falcon Nation...It wasn't a dream...

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Past and Future Opponent Land

Morgan State (1-5) First win for the Bears...vs. Delaware State
Kansas State (3-2) Idle
La Tech (5-1) Destroyed UMass
Kent (3-3) Beat Akron 26-3
Notre Dame (5-1)--Beat USC
Toledo (4-2) How's that taste?
CMU (4-3) Beat New Mexico State 42-28
WMU (4-3) Beat Miami 38-16
Akron (0-6) Lot to Kent
Miami (2-4) Lost to WMU
Ohio (2-4) Lost on late FG to NIU...East is wide open
Buffalo (2-4) Idle

East vs. West:  2-2
MAC vs P5:  (1-21)
MAC vs. G5:  (6-9)
MAC vs. FCS: (11-0)

Sweet Victory: The Offense/Special Teams

So, now we move the review to the offense.

The offense was certainly far from dominant.  It was, however, good enough to win...scoring the needed points and making enough first downs in the second half to keep the Rockets from having time to mount a comeback.

To start with, BG ran for 240 yards on 41 carries....that's 5.9 per rush and the best we have seen in this program in some time.  I think everyone is now acknowledging why that is...the change in QB has opened up the QB run and therefore created additional room for the backs.  We saw this trend start at Notre Dame once Loy came in and got a real sense of it Saturday against the Rockets.

That 5.9 per rush, by the way, is without Andrew Clair, who remains out with a foot injury.

Beyond that, Loy completed 14 of 21 passes for 13.2 per completion, both of which are good numbers for him.  He threw one pick but was only sacked once...of course, that's two negative pass plays in 22 attempts. He's still struggling with flat passes, but if they can get him to improve his touch there, he'd be even more serviceable.

Perhaps most importantly, 6 of his 14 completions were for first downs.

And I think that's a good description of our offense.  Loy had two big runs and the big pass play to Bryson Denley.  Those three plays were 166 yards of BG's 425 yards of total offense.  That's especially important, though, when you're not necessarily going to be able to make long drives.

BG made 43% of its 3rd down attempts, which is really good and was key to the win.  One of the key elements to this was keeping the offense ON THE FIELD...BG won the time of possession game (by just a little).

BG outgained UT and beat them on a per play basis as well.  

Individually, besides Loy, Bryson Denley had a big game.  He had 6 catches for 100 yards and a score...and a key first down at the start of the 4th quarter running the ball.

Most of the carries went to Davon Jones, who had a hard time getting things rolling.

Coach said after the game that the team has a long way to go, and that would include the offense.  Having said that, BG's offense was good enough to combine with the defense to create a historic win.

Last thing...BG clearly won the special teams battle.  BG made 2 FGs, while blocking a punt and a FG.  UT also missed a FG and had two badly mis-managed kickoff returns that caused them to start at their one yard line.  In fact, I think you would conclude that lousy special teams play was the biggest hurdle the Rockets had to overcome in the game.

So that's it...perhaps the biggest upset in the history of the BG-Toledo rivalry and a game that ended a nine-game winning streak in the game when a win was absolutely least likely.  

We'll see if it is a turning point.  Coach said that there are no excuses for his team anymore.  They know what they are capable of.  The Falcons still have a great deal of improvement to do.  The most frustrating thing about the Jinks years was that the team never got better.  You don't mind a crappy start but you hope to get better as the season progresses, especially with a young team.  BG has 7 games left, and it would provide tremendous momentum heading into the off-season to be competitive in the last part of the year.

That will start Saturday at home against CMU, one of the surprise teams of the MAC.

Sweet Victory: The Defense

Yes, the defense.

I mean, we're talking a wow here.  Let's understand...since Babers left BG the best BG has been ranked on defense is 118th in the country...out of 128.  It went down every year and coming into this game BG was 127th out of 130.

Also, our defense is coached by an Internet punch line.

Everyone involved got the chance to clean the record up yesterday.  I honestly don't think Van Gorder needs to...remember, the internet thought Clawson was a joke, too.  But the players certainly made a statement about who they are.  They rose to the occasion and they won the game for the Falcons on Saturday.

The occasion was all the preamble I just gave you, plus the nation's 9th best rushing offense on the other side of the field.  BG's d-line is a patchwork effort right now, without great depth and with walk ons and transfers.  Meanwhile, Toledo has the 3rd best OL in the MAC, according to Phil Steele.  Bryant Koback was averaging like 7 yards a carry.

Wait, also, one of the defense's few seniors--Jerry McBride III--was announced as injured for the season prior to the game.

That's the occasion.  And the defense more than did their job.

  • The Rockets came in at 6.7 yards per play and BG held them to 5.3
  • They came in averaging 5.8 yards per carry and BG held them to 3.4.
  • They came in at 41% on 3rd down and left at 31%
  • They came in at 14.6 per reception and had 11.3
  • Oh...and they came in scoring 34 per game and got 7

You get the idea.  Also, their longest run of the game by a RB was 14.

BG had contributors all over the place, but you start most prominently with the d-line.

Nico Lautenan had 8 tackles, 3 for loss, 2 sacks, a fumble recovery and a hurry...if that's something that interests you.

David Konowalski had 7 tackles, a sack and blocked a FG

Beyond that, BG really controlled the line of scrimmage for much of the day.  They held the UT running game in check and got consistent pressure on the QB, with 5 sacks.  Success starts up front and BG got it done.

BG also got excellent play out of the LBs.  Kholbe Abrams-Coleman had 14 tackles, Perce had 10 and Roberts had 8 and a TFL.

Moving to the backfield, how would you feel about true freshman Jordan Anderson with 8 tackles, a sack and two breakups.

Or Jamari Bozeman, senior, with an INT, 2 pass breakups and a blocked punt.

Or Caleb Biggers and JaJuan Hudson, who were charged with defending Bryce Mitchall on outside balls...he came in averaging 24 per reception and caught 2 for 10 yards in this one, with a long of 6.

It was a true team effort on defense.  Clearly, they were well prepared and they executed as well as anyone can.  In the recap, I also noted that they made two key stops on 3rd/4th and short in the second half.

It's the best defensive game we have played since the 2013 MAC Championship game.  And in the most unlikely of settings.  Had the UT Offense/BG defense played out as expected, it would have been 52-20.  Instead, the defense did everything well and made some plays at key times.  Van Gorder's blitzes were timely and effective, as opposed to staying in base and getting picked apart.

And it brought victory over the rival.

Sweet Victory: The Recap

The tone for the big upset was set from the very beginning, as it almost had to be.  BG lost the toss, got the ball and on the first play Grant Loy ran for 59 yards to the UT 20.  The drive stalled out, but BG had a 3-0 and the game's first points.

The Rockets did what we all expected.  They marched down the field, going from their 29 to the BG 4 in five plays.  They had a false start on the 4 and then on their next play, unbelievably, they fumbled an exchange and Falcon senior Nico Lautenan gobbled the ball up.

BG started at the nine and converted two third downs.  Then, from the 34, Loy threaded an absolute needle to Bryson Denley, whose defender went for the pick and must have felt the ball graze his hands as it went by.  Denley had opened field and took the ball to the house for a 66-yard scoring play, giving BG a 10-0 lead.

On the ensuing kickoff, the UT player muffed the kickoff on the 1-yard line and fell on it.  As Coach Candle noted, the success rate on 99 yard drives is not good.  The first Rocket drive had featured a McKinley-Lewis against Caleb Biggers long gain...they tried him again from the 1 with Mitchell, and Biggers had it locked down.  In fact, they would try it repeatedly all day and Biggers and Hudson had the edge locked down.  Mitchell finished with 2 catches for 10 yards.

Anyway, the key to this story is that BG got a 3-and-out.  UT boomed a huge punt to put BG inside its own 40, the Falcons made a first down but punted and UT started at the 25 with 3 minutes left in the first.

The Rockets went on a 14-play drive that covered over five minutes, extended into the second period and scored a TD to make it 10-7.

At this point, the game is afoot.  How will the Falcons respond?  Will it be a "remember the first quarter" situation...or will BG pop them back?

The Falcons did the latter.  BG moved the ball 82 yards on 9 plays in about 5 minutes and converted in the red zone with a touchdown by Grant Loy.  The Falcons felt the adversity and marched the ball right back down the field to take a 17-7 lead with about 8 minutes left in the half.

Next: BG took them three and out and the UT punter shanked his kick and BG had the ball on the 33.  Clearly, this is a huge opportunity...but alas, BG failed on a 4th and 1 and turned the ball over.  (I believe this is the play that Coach Loeffler was referring to when he said he was "kicking himself up and down the sideline" for not calling a play-action pass.)

BG's defense got another 3 and out and the punt was blocked, but Loy threw a pick on the next possession and UT had the ball back with 1:15 left.  The Rockets executed their drive against the clock very effectively and had the ball on the BG 6 with :02 left.  They lined up for a FG to attempt to close the half out with momentum (they would get the ball to start the second half) and they had to feel good about their shot.

The FG was blocked by David Konowalski...senior playing in his last Toledo game.  And BG went to the locker room with the momentum.

In fact, after the game Nico Lautenan said that it was halftime where the team realized what was happening...that BG was in the game and it wasn't a fluke...in fact, they were out playing the Rockets.

It was evident right away.  UT took the kickoff and moved to the BG 40 where they had 3rd and 2.  Now, given BG's run defense over the past few years...and knowing UT was something like 9th in the country in running...you'd expect them to convert that and keep the chains moving.

But they didn't.  They got one yard on first down and then lost 3 on fourth down and BG took over.

BG made a first down before a punt touchback.  UT again moved back down the field, sparked by a 31-yard run by Guagdani.  On 3rd and 7 from the BG 15, true freshman Jordan Anderson--replacing Jerry McBride III, a senior who is now out for the season--came on a safety blitz and sacked Guagdani.  UT linked up for the FG....and missed it into a strong cross wind.  Additionally, Guagdani did not return to the game after the hit.

Here, in my view, BG proved this wasn't a fluke.  With the game clearly in jeopardy, UT had an opportunity to "turn it on."  BG had a chance to fold.  Didn't happen.  Grant Loy ran for 26 yards on the first play.  A couple plays later, he hit Ortega-Jones for 26.  BG stalled out inside the 10 but Needham hit the FG and BG led 20-7 with 4 minutes left.

Again, UT has to feel some urgency now.  But on 3rd and 2 the BG defense AGAIN shut the Rockets down and forced a punt.

So, BG had the ball and a 2-score lead to start the 4th.  BG didn't score, but they did make 3 first downs, milk 3:30 off the clock and punt UT down to its 4.

BG went deep against Hudson, but he had the coverage.  They made one first down and punted from their 23.  BG took over with 9 minutes left and a two-score lead.  BG ran five plays...IN FOUR MINUTES...made a first down and then punted UT back inside their 20.

UT got the ball with 5:21 left and was forced to play in the air.  They drove to their 44, converting a 4th down on their 25.  Konowalski sacked Bradley with 3:14 left...forcing two things.  First, UT had to call a time out to bring the WRs back to the formation, but also Bradley was knocked from the game and Eli Peters came in.  Three straight incompletions--one of them which should have been a pick 6--gave BG the ball with 3:08 left and UT having one time out.

BG worked to kill the clock, UT got the ball back with 1:19 and no timeouts left from their own 34 and they moved against prevent defense but eventually had a hail intercepted in the end zone and the victory was secure.

More to come...BG played as well as it can play and UT certainly made more mistakes than they are used to making.  That's how winning and losing is decided.  The point is...on this given Saturday, the best team was wearing Orange.

Sweet Victory: Thank you to our players

Sweet Victory.

Sweet, sweet, sweet victory.

So sweet.

Yesterday will go down in my personal sports history as one of my top moments as a fan, especially in person.  It was an incredible thing to experience.

I believe the players will as well.  Coach Loeffler talked in his presser about the players getting together later--successful in life, strong families, kids, grandkids--and reminiscing about what happened yesterday.

Nico Lautenan said it felt better than winning the MAC Championship in 2015.

I'm so proud of our players.  I can't say it enough.  They have been through what Scott Loeffler called "hell."  David Briggs pointed out that it has been more than 1,000 days since BG beat an FBS opponent on our home field.  Let that sink in for a minute. 

In our FBS games coming into this game, they had been outscored 202-27.  They were four touchdown underdogs, give or take.

These guys have been tossed around by negligent and unqualified coaching, pounded on the field, adapted to a new system...and yet they persevered.  They did not quit.

And they didn't just win a game.  Beating anyone at home would have been significant.  They beat the arch-rivals who have dominated this series over the last 9 years...the game that sticks in your craw every year when you look at the schedule.  They went from the valley to the mountain in one jump. 

So, they were rewarded yesterday.  I'm so proud of them...and I thank them for being Falcons and for making yesterday possible for us as fans, as well.  Thank you for getting up early in the morning, for the workouts and the film and the practices.  Thank you for being Falcons.

Last QB to beat UT...was Tyler Sheehan.  That's right...Grant Loy has done something that Matt Johnson never did...or James Knapke, Matt Schilz, Jarrett Doege, James Morgan...I think that's all of them.

Here are the names of the players who are seniors who were playing their last game against UT and spent their entire career at BG.  Incredibly, this is the whole list.  Kono had a big game...Lautenan was a beast...Bozeman had a breakup or two, Sotolongo is a special teams stud...

So here's the list...thank you, gentlemen.


Friday, October 11, 2019

25 Questions to Throw Out the Record Book

 What is their body of work?

Look, UT is our arch-rival.  But, we do have to concede some things.  Their program is where you want to be.  They are in the conversation every year.  They have changed coaches and not missed a beat.  BG rose up to win two titles, but then fumbled the ball in coaching changes.  You want to be good and stay good, and then you will win your share of championships.  Their body of work is excellent.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 19...which is a very young team.  They start 7 FR or SO.

Who are their statistical leaders? (Top 20 Nationally)

Khalil Robinson is #4 in INT.
Samuel Womack #1 in passes defended
Mitchell Guadagni is #14 in yards per completion.
Bailey Flint is #9 in punting
Bryant Koback is #6 in yards per rush, #13 in rushing TDs and #7 in rushing yards.
Bryce Mitchell is #7 in yards per reception

What is their turnover ratio?

They are even.


How is their QB play?

They are well QB'd.  Mitchell Guadagni is #1 in the MAC in passing efficiency...completing 61% of his passes at an eye-popping 14.6 per reception and 7 TD over 2 INT.  He's also a dual-threat, at 5.3 per carry including sacks.

What is their scoring and yards per play

They are scoring 34 per game on 6.7 yards per play.  Both very solid numbers.

Can they run the ball?

Yes.  They average 5.8 per carry, with Roback at almost 7 per carry.

Do they pass the ball?

See above.  Bryce Mitchell is averaging 24 per reception and McKinley-Lewis at 19.7.

How is their run/pass balance?

This is a very run-oriented team, at 65% of plays.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They are good at 41%, which is #4 in MAC.

Do they score in the red zone?

Yes, they do.  In 18 trips, they have one miss.  That's 5.7 points per trip.

Do they protect the quarterback?

They give up a decent number of sacks, at 8.3% of passing attempts  (NCAA average is 6.4%).


Topline: Scoring and yards per play

Their scoring defense is 23 per game, which currently is #1 in the MAC.  They allow 6 yards per play, which is not especially good (99th in the country) and 115 in total yards allowed.  These numbers don't go together usually.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are allowing 4.8 yards per carry, which is slightly worse than the D1 average of 4.5.

Can they be passed on?

They are #53 in pass defense, which is not bad.  They allow only 60% completions, 7 TDs and 5 INT and 11.6 yards per completion...all decent results.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

Yes they do, 32%.  That's #2 in the MAC.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They are pretty good at 4.6 per trip.

Do they pressure the QB?

Not especially well...sacks on 4.9% of passing attempts.

Special Teams:


They are #2 in the MAC in net punting.  The distance is outstanding, but they have given up some returns.  They have been blocked once.

Punt Return?

They average 8 per return but both returns have been over 20 this year.


He's 7 of 8 with a long of 46.  Appears to be pretty good.


He gets a TB on over 50% of his kicks and they allow 24 yards per return.

Kickoff Return?

Nothing special on kickoff returns

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

Pray that the record book is, indeed, thrown out.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

A Day in South Bend....

 So, clearly, the result was not what we liked best about the Notre Dame game.  It certainly wasn't unexpected, though.  No reason to belabor that.  We've had teams I would have loved to take in there, but these guys are just up against it right now.

The rest of the trip.  Incredible.

The gameday atmosphere in South Bend is truly one of the best I have ever been to.  As mentioned before the game, I had a lot of time invested in the mythology when I was a child and I wasn't let down.

The photo to the left is the concourse.  It is hard to see, but those hanging lights were Tiffany-styled, and the hanging banners are vintage program covers, some of which are cartoons and some are heroic and some were art deco.  If you looked up and then looked down, you might expect to see people wearing raccoon coats and straw hats.

The people there were the nicest I have ever seen.  We were welcomed to Notre Dame about 200 times.  People stopped at talked to us at the Top Notch Diner during breakfast.  In Center Pizza we met a couple who were ND fans now but met as students at Bowling Green, about when I was there.  An usher helped us move a couple barricades to get into the stadium without waiting.  How to find will call.  It was impressive.

We stood while the team went by on there walk to the stadium (with the band following).  Inside the stadium, the crowd is just electric.  The band show was great--featuring the old band Chicago along with the marching band.

Again, not the result we hoped for, but I'm glad I made the trip and I'd do it again in a minute.

Monday, October 07, 2019

Loeffler Presser: While I'm here edition

So Coach Loeffler had his presser today.  Not too much news...a lot of Coachspeak about the rivalry game.  The best part was when Coach said he hoped it turned into a competitive rivalry "for the next few years while I'm here," which I guess means he isn't planning to retire at BG.

I kid.  Sort of.

He did feel that the team played better in general than they did at Kent, noting specifically the front seven on defense.

The depth chart showed that the starter would be Loy OR Wade, and Coach said he would make the decision at the end of the week.  He was not asked about Clair or Nemerov or McBride.

Anyway, that was the bulk of it.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Past and Future Opponent Land

Morgan State (0-5) Lost to Bethune Cookman
Kansas State (3-2) Lost to Baylor
La Tech (4-1) Idle
Kent (2-3) Lost to Wisconsin
Notre Dame (4-1)--Beat BG
Toledo (4-1) Beat WMU
CMU (3-3) Smoked EMU...might be this year's surprise team
WMU (3-3) See above
Akron (0-5) Idle
Miami (2-3) Idle
Ohio (2-3) Beat UB when Bulls missed XP in OT
Buffalo (2-4) Lost to OU, see above

East vs. West:  1-0 West
MAC vs P5:  (1-21)
MAC vs. G5:  (5-9)
MAC vs. FCS: (11-0)

Falcons Fall At Golden Dome

There were no big surprises in South Bend Saturday.  The teams showed up and what was expected to happen more or less did happen.  Notre Dame is one of the top 10 teams in the country and right now we're closer to being in the bottom 10...and the Irish did what they would expect to do.  No reason to run through a big recap or the stats...Notre Dame had 9.3 yards per play and BG had 3.3...overall, they are the stats of a 52-0 game.

A few news items coming out that might be of interest moving forward.

Grant Loy played most of the game.  Wade started, the team was 3 and out each drive, and they brought Loy in.  Coach said that was planned...that Loy had earned the start in practice.  It did make a difference...not on the offensive side of the scoreboard.  However, BG did extend some drives and that kept the BG defense off the field, which is what was needed to keep this game from being the 70+ rout it could have been.

For example, BG had the ball for 33 minutes.  Yes, I understand that's because Notre Dame had a lot of short scoring drives. (Other than their last drive, their longest one was 3 minutes.)  Having said that, when BG played OSU last, BG had the ball for 21 minutes and OSU ended up over 70.  In South Bend, BG was 8 of 19 on 3rd down, which is not too bad against this defense.  I think Loy opened the running game up by being a threat to run.  The offense helped the defense out...but, as Coach mentioned after the game, struggles to score.

When asked about QB moving forward, he said we would need both guys.

Andrew Clair did not play.  What Loeffler described after the game was a very frustrating situation.  Clair tweaked his foot again in practice, saw the doctor, but they can't get it fixed.  Seems as if they are having trouble getting their arms around it.  Coach said he wants to get to the point where they are running 5 RBS (which is a wow), but now we have to roll with 2 or 3.  I know there has been some discussion on the web about Clair red-shirting, but it doesn't sound to me like that's where they are right now.

Jerry McBride also did not play and Coach doesn't know about his return.  That's really tough.  He's really the only playmaker in the d-backfield.  Coach said that he looked out and saw true freshmen and sophomores out against ND's formidable, grown men, and realized the situation they were thrown into.

Sam Nemerov was also DNP due to injury.

Note that Antonio Sotolongo played a nice game in the backfield.  He led the team in tackles.  That's because Notre Dame had a lot of running plays where Sotolongo was the last man to make the stop, and he did, most of the time, which is the safety's job.

Quentin Morris had 10 catches for 92 yards and Denley averaged 4.2 yards per carry.

Matt Naranjo also had a good game.

Last thing.  Coach said there was "zero quit."  I want to just say that I was proud of our guys, who enter that arena knowing what the odds are, and they played hard and represented our school well.  This is not easy for them and I'm grateful for their resilience.

Friday, October 04, 2019

25 Questions that Wake Up the Echoes

Did you know Notre Dame had a dog mascot before
the leprechaun?  He's an Irish Terrier (natch)
named Clashmore Mike.  More here.
 What is their body of work?

It's Notre Dame.  They are not what they were in the 1970s...which was often the best team, hands down, in college football.  But they are a great program.  Kelly has finally stopped the coaching merry-go-round, they were in the playoff last year, and they battled Georgia very tough.  This is among the top 10 programs in football.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 28...which is an experienced team.

Who are their statistical leaders? (Top 20 Nationally)

Kyle Hamilton is #15 in interceptions
Drew White is #13 in TFL

What is their turnover ratio?

They are +9, which is ridiculous for four games.  They've recovered 8 fumbles.


How is their QB play?

Ian Book is a strong QB.  He's 41st in the nation in passing efficiency.  He completes 64% and has an 8 over 2 ratio and 13.2 per completion. Like most QBs today, he can also take off and run.

What is their scoring and yards per play?

They are scoring 38 per game on 6.7 yards per play.  You will see below that they don't have anything shocking for any part of the game...but that +9 turnover plays into the 38 per game.

Can they run the ball?

Nationally, they have an average run game at 4.7 yards per carry.

Do they pass the ball?

As noted, they are in the top 25% of passing offenses.  They don't have any receivers with eye-popping numbers.

How is their run/pass balance?
Mike having none of it from
the Army Mule.

They run on 51% of their plays.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

At 32% they are actually below average.

Do they score in the red zone?

Yes, they do.  In 14 trips, they have 12 TDs and no misses.  That's 6.4 per trip.

Do they protect the quarterback?

They are good.  They allow sacks on 4.7% of passing attempts.  (NCAA average is 6.4%).

For a while, the dog and
the leprechaun co-existed

Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They allow 18.5 and 5.1.  FBS average yards per play is 5.8.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are allowing 4 yards per carry, which well above average, but not among the national leaders.

Can they be passed on?

They are #21 in pass defense.  They allow only 57% completions, 3 TDs and 5 INT and 11 yards per completion, all very good numbers.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

Yes they do, 31%.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They are average at 5.1 points per trip.

Do they pressure the QB?

Yes they do.  They have sacks on 8.6% of their opponent's passing attempts.

Special Teams:
Those are both ridiculous leprechauns.
But who's a good boy?


They are 37th in net punting.  The distance is OK, but longest return against was only 9 yards.  No blocks, no touchbacks.

Punt Return?

Nothing much going on here to date.


This year...they don't do it much.  He's 2 of 3 with a long of 36.  Missed at 47.  Those are also his career bests...he was a kickoff specialist prior to this season.


Very, very good.  Teams start at the 22.  BG would be wise to fair catch every kickoff.

Kickoff Return?

They start at the 27, which is pretty good.  No touchdowns.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

Look, we know what's going on here, right?  We're facing the biggest point spread in our program's history.  ESPN says we have a .4% chance of winning.  If BG wins this game, it would be the biggest upset in our program's history and one of the biggest upsets in college football history.  For example, ESPN listed the top upsets over the last 25 years and there was only one bigger than this one would be, based on the point spread.  Remember, we just lost by 42 to Kent.

I'll be there.  First, it's Notre Dame.  Never been there, want to be there.

Second, we need to stick with our guys.  This is a mess created by people who are now elsewhere.  I hope and believe (in that order) that we're going to turn it around, but it's going to take time and Saturday is going to be the price we pay.  Ay Ziggy Zoomba.