Monday, November 18, 2019

25 Disappointed Questions

What is their body of work?

Disappointing.  On one hand, OU football has never in its history enjoyed a sustained period of success like they are now.  On the other hand, they have still never won the MAC Championship Game and won't this year, despite having coaching stability and quality any program would die for.  This year, they were picked to win the East and the conference title, and they will not.  In fact, they need to beat BG and AK just to have a shot at a bowl game.  Which they probably will...but still, this is another disappointing what-if season in Athens.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 25, which is typical.

Who are their statistical leaders? (Top 20 Nationally)

None.  No one.

What is their turnover ratio? 

They are -8, all games, which explains everything, or a lot.

Offense:

How is their QB play? (MAC Only, from here on)

See, this was part of the thing.  Nathan Rourke was the most efficient passer in the MAC last year and the #17 rusher.  He was the best returning QB and that makes you a favorite.  This year, he just hasn't been the same.  He's still good, but not the same.  In 18, he completed 66% of his passes with a 13/4 ratio and 15 yards per completion, while this year it's 62% on 7/2 and 13.3 per completion...noting that there are still two games left.  He is also their leading rusher--5.7 a carry and a shot at a 1,000 yard season.

What is their scoring and yards per play

They are 5th in the MAC in scoring and 2nd in yards per play.

Can they run the ball?

They are 4th in yards per rush.  OU is typically a run-first team.  They lost Oulette, but they have Allison and Tuggle averaging 5 yards per carry.

Do they pass the ball?

As noted, they are in the middle of the pack in passing offense.  Isaiah Cox is their leading WR.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run a lot, 63%.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They do.  They lead the MAC at 54%

Do they score in the red zone?

They average 5.6 points per trip, which is very good (all games)

Do they protect the quarterback?

They give up sacks on 8.7% of their passing attempts...that's a lot.


Defense:

The defense is not what OU typically has had.  I know some people are wondering if that's because their DC (Burrow) retired to watch his son win the Heisman Trophy.  No idea if that's the case or not.  OU has incredibly stable coaching, I do know that.

Topline: Scoring and yards per play

They are 8th in points per game allowed and 9th in yards per play allowed.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are 6th at 4.8 per carry.

Can they be passed on?

They can.  They are 10th in pass efficiency defense.  They allow 64% completions and have only 1 INT on the year.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are 11th at 48%

Do they defend in the red zone? (all games)

They allow 5 points per trip, which is pretty normal.

Do they pressure the QB?

Not really, they get sacks on 5.6% of their plays.

Special Teams:

Punting?

They are 9nd in net punting. 

Punt Return?

Nothing too special, they have a long return of 19

Placekicking? (all games)

Zervos has kicked here forever.  He's perfect inside 40 and is 4 of 8 outside 40.  Long of 49.

Kickoff? 

Opponents start on the 25.

Kickoff Return? (all games)

They start on the 24.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

On paper, this should be a game OU expects to win.  The question is how motivated are they to gut out a 6-6 season and get to a bowl game, maybe.  The other question is how motivated they have to be against an undermanned and beat up Falcon team. OU doesn't have a great defense but I don't know if BG has the firepower to take advantage.  I believe BG will play hard and if OU shows up not interested in playing, we would have a shot.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Past and Future Opponent Land

Morgan State (3-8)  Beat "VU Lynchburg" to finish season.
Kansas State (6-4) Upset by Doege-led Mountaineers, I swear to God
La Tech (8-2) Lost to Marshall
Kent (4-6) CRAZY comeback, beat UT
Notre Dame (8-2)--Beat Navy
Toledo (6-3) beat Kent
CMU (7-4) Big comeback to win @Ball State, stay alive
WMU (7-4) Won @OU, one game from West title
Akron (0-9) Lost 42-14 to EMU in Akron
Miami (6-4) Beat BG, clinched East
Ohio (4-6) Lost to WMU...disappointing season in Athens
Buffalo (5-5) Gives up 24 in last 8 minutes to lose to Kent

East vs. West:  7-7 East
MAC vs P5:  (1-21)
MAC vs. G5:  (6-9)
MAC vs. FCS: (11-0)

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Falcons Roll Over Fairmont State



The Falcons did what they expected to do, beating Fairmont State 88-66 in a school-day game at the Stroh.  In case you were upset they played a game when most of us couldn't go, it's worth noting they drew 3,300 which is double what they probably would have drawn last night...not sure what anyone paid, but seems like a successful experiment to me.

I listened to some of the game via Todd Walker and the screaming wasn't even too bad.

BG jumped into a big lead and then Fairmont began to make some plays and the lead got into the low teens and was 13 three minutes into the second half and then BG went on an 11-0 run to close the door.

Everybody played.  Justin Turner scored 16 on 7 of 10 shooting in 24 minutes.  Trey Diggs has 11 on 2 of 2 3FG shooting and 6-6 at the line...made every shot he took and added 6 rebounds.  Fields had 10, Frye had 10, Plowden had 10 rebounds.




BG is 3-1.  We're going to find out a lot coming up next week.  The team heads to the Virgin Islands to play in the Paradise Jam.

They'll play Western Kentucky in the first game.  Blue Ribbon tabs them as the C-USA favorite, so the MAC favorite and the C-USA favorite playing on a neutral floor is a legit mid-major event. 

The next round is Cincinnati (picked #2 in the American) or Illinois State, a mid-level MVC team.  The third game would be one of the four teams in the top bracket above.

Anyway, this is an excellent test for our team.  I look very forward to following it.

In case you are curious, Todd Walker will be on site providing game descriptions.  The games will be on FloHoops which you can check out here...it's a paid service.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Football Verbal


BG has another football verbal, this one is Jeremiah Banks-Wall, from Mortini Catholic in Lombard, IL.  He is projected by 24/7 to be an OT and he's rated a 2-star.  They list offers from Arkansas State, Syracuse, Eastern Illinois, Illinois State and Southern Illinois.

They list him at 6'6" and 250, his twitter bio says 265.  So, probably the right frame for a prototypical OT, but needs some building up.  He did play both ways.  Here's a short interview with Lemming where he talks about who had been contacting him.

Welcome to the Falcons, Jeremiah!

A little additional recruiting commentary...I think it is entirely possible we added Jeremiah and Troy Rainey to our class to address issues with offensive lineman with the two transfers this week. 

My opinion only, but I don't think you can win the MAC unless you are effective up front on both sides of the ball.

As for numbers...I have BG with 29 verbals, counting this one.  The limit is 25, as we all are now well aware.

A couple notes.  Some of these guys may be preferred walk ons.  They announce they are committing but they are committing as a PWO.

Also, some of these guys may have de-committed or might no longer be coming to BG for whatever reason.  There are no de-commits listed on 24/7, but with some of the below-the-radar guys, they might not have picked that up.

24/7 lists BG with 24 commits, counting Banks-Wall.

The players I have that are not on their list are...

Anthony Hawkins, Matthew Paull, Shon Strickland, Dylan Walker and Myles Williamson.

I look at all their twitter feeds and I didn't see any reason to think they were no longer coming to BG.

Here's the deal.  I don't have any sources.  I deal with publicly available information and this is what that is.  It will all be revealed in about a month.

And don't worry about it...the coaches know the rules and can count to 25.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Fairmont State Preview

Friday morning BG has Fairmont State coming into the Stroh.  This is one of those morning games that is designed for school kids on a "field trip" and if games at Fifth Third Field are any indication, they involve high decibel sustained screaming for most of the game.

Fairmont State is in West Virginia.  They are a DII team and they aren't bad.  They are also the Falcons, but do not be confused.  We're the ones in orange and brown.

A few notes.

  • Last year they were 22-9, 18-4 in their conference.
  • They made the DII national tournament but lost in the first round
  • They were picked 3rd in the Mountain East this year
  • This is despite losing two 1,000 point scorers to graduation.
  • They have a new coach--Tim Koenig.  He previously coached at Notre Dame College.
  • They are 2-0 this year.
  • They are led in scoring by Cole VanderHoff at 23.5 per game.  He's a 6'2" G shooting 52% and 46%.  They have 3 other players averaging in double figures and have topped 85 (free fries!) in both of their games.
  • They are shooting 45% and 36%, which is pretty good and have only 11 turnovers per game.
  • D1 games...they opened with George Washington and lost by 20+ a couple years ago.  Similarly with UC a couple years before that.  In general, they don't play many D1 games.


Miami Thumps BG

Not much to write about here.  Miami beat BG 44-3.  Miami started out cold and made a couple turnovers that BG failed to turn into points (well, turned into 3 points) and from there Miami was off to the races.  It was 37-3 at halftime.

The stats are what you would expect.  Miami had 8.2 yards per play and BG had 3.8.

A couple points, though.

First, I am in admiration of our guys for the fight in them.  This cannot be easy but they were flying around the field until the end.  Obviously, everybody would like to be winning more, but these guys are representing important qualities of our program and University, including grit and resilience. 

Second, I want to specifically call out Bryson Denley.  This dude is a warrior.  He ran a guy over in the second half.  One, he's not that big and two, we were down by over 30 points when he did it.  He is forced to be on the field all the time--which backs are rarely called on to do--and he ran for 105 yards on 14 carries plus he led the team with 3 catches for 33 yards.  He's giving us everything he's got--as are many others.  As a fan who, god willing, will still be in my seats when this thing turns around, I appreciate it.

Falcon MBB Signs Three to NLI


Yesterday was NLI day and the Falcons have signed the three players they expected to sign....you can see them above and there's a link to BGSU's official release.  In the sidebar on the left you can find the information we used to develop their original profiles.

Just a general comment.  To win the MAC, you have to be in the title conversation often...way more often than not.  To do that, you need to bring in talent year and year.  It has been well documented that BG had very few, if any, recruiting classes between the return of Dakich and the end of Orr/Jans that brought a critical mass of talent to the program.  I think we're recruiting well now and you can see it on the floor and I think this class fits the bill as well.  These young men are winners and highly sought recruits.  Only time will tell in the end, but I'm optimistic about the future of our program.


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

BG Football verbal

Signing day is coming up on December 18...right around the corner.  You can see BG's commits in the sidebar to the left...those are all still good as far as I know.  A couple of guys have been taking visits...when you get good players you have to hang onto them. 

With that, BG has a new verbal.  Young man is Troy Rainey from Bridgeport CT.  According to 247, he had 3 FCS offers and one from UMass.  He's listed as 6'5" and 300 pounds, which is obviously the size you'd like to see. 

As an aside, he plays at Warren Harding HS, which seems like an odd name for a school in CT.  They are known as The Presidents.

Welcome to the Falcons, Troy.

Blade on BG numbers issues

NickP has the latest from the BG football program, and it is safe to say that when it rains it pours.  (Or snows).

Here's a direct quote:

Two offensive linemen — freshman Grant Abbott and redshirt sophomore Zach Dziengelewski — both left the team, according to Bowling Green. Redshirt senior Charles Lamar, who shuttled between running back and linebacker during his time at BG, also left the program.
For those keeping score at home, Grant Abbott was a true FR G from St. Ignatius who never played. Dziengelewski played at Swanton and did get in five games this year.  Lamar has played for BG, but never found a positional home.

Those losses are on top of the ones we had over the off-season, along with Nunn-Lidell and James Harris during the season.

It's just tough.  You're at 70 scholarship players BEFORE injuries.  And then the guys you are going to lose through normal graduation...and Loeffler seems to understand other players will leave as well--which should not be surprising.  This is a very different football experience than existed here under the previous regimes.

We can only bring in 25 guys in each class, so your numbers won't be right until the second class...if not the third.

Just a reminder.  We're in bad shape.  Loeffler told The Blade that BG needs three great recruiting classes in a row--we literally can't afford to miss on anyone.  If we do that, we will have righted the ship.  In the meantime, it's going to continue to be tough times.

25 Oxfordian Questions

What is their body of work?

Weird stuff seems to happen when BG and Miami play
Miami is one of the MAC's original football powers...except for the last decade or so.  They were a real power when Terry Hoeppner left after 2003 season, but since then have had only two winning seasons and won 2 or fewer games 5 times.  Their current coach is from the Brian Kelly tree, but he's 22-24 over the last four years.  The Redhawks are 5-4 this year, but in the driver's seat to win the MAC East after beating OU last week.  If they beat BG and Akron, they will be in their first MAC Championship game since 2010.  They have won 3 in a row (OU, NIU, KSU) as well as wins over TN Tech and Buffalo.  Their losses are to WMU, Iowa, UC and OSU.  BG has won 4 of the last 6 in the series.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 24, which is typical.

Who are their statistical leaders? (Top 20 Nationally)

Sam Sloman is a stud kicker.  He's #8 in the nation in FG/game
Maurice Thomas is #6 in punt returns.

What is their turnover ratio? 

They are +4, all games.

Offense:

How is their QB play? (MAC Only, from here on)

He's not bad, not great.  Their whole offense, in fact, is not great.  Gabbert is #5 in the MAC in efficiency.  He completes a very low percentage...53%, but they get 13.6 per completion, indicating higher risk passes.  He has 4 TDs over 3 INT.

What is their scoring and yards per play
Also....


They are 8th in the MAC in scoring offense and 10th with 5.1 yards per play.  BG is 11th in both.

Can they run the ball?

Not really, no.  They are 9th in rushing at 3.8 yards per carry, which is lower than BG's.  Their lead back is Bester, who gets 4.0 per rush, and Tyre Shelton averages 5.3.

Do they pass the ball?

As noted, they are good but not great.  They do have 3 WRs averaging over 19 yards per reception.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run a lot, 61%.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

Not to be forgotten.  This is from my senior year. BG was
undefeated, Brian McClure was injured and Rick Nieman
(seen here) was at the helm.  BG recovered two onside kicks
to cap a furious rally to win.  To this day remains the most
exciting sporting event I ever watched.
They are second to last at 29%, which is really bad.  That's worse than BG.

Do they score in the red zone?

They average 4.6 points per trip, which is poor (all games)

Do they protect the quarterback?

They give up sacks on 7% of their passing attempts...that's a little above average.


Defense:

Topline: Scoring and yards per play

So, they're going to win the East and the offense isn't that good...must be the defense.  That would be correct.  Miami is #3 in scoring defense and #2 in yards per play allowed.  This will be a big test for a BG offense that lacks a lot of high-powered weapons.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are 5th at 4.5 yards per carry.

Can they be passed on?

Not easily.  They are second in the MAC.  They allow 54% completions at 9.9 yards per completion, both very good numbers.  They've allowed 5 TDs and 4 INT.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are middle of the pack at 44%.

Do they defend in the red zone? (all games)

They allow 5 points per trip, which is pretty normal.

Do they pressure the QB?

They get sacks on 7.3% of their pass plays which is a little bit above average.

Special Teams:

Punting?

They are 2nd in net punting at 41.5

Punt Return?

As mentioned, Maurice Thomas is a national leader with 13.5 per return and a 30 long, which means he's getting consistent production.

Placekicking? (all games)

You want to talk kicking.  Sam Sloman is the next coming.  He is 14 of 16 with a 53-yarder outdoors in November to put the OU game away.  We are not worthy.

Kickoff? 

Opponents start on the 24.

Kickoff Return? (all games)

No idea where they start but they also have Maurice Thomas returning here.  He's less effective on KOR.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

So, on paper you'd expect BG to really struggle to move the ball against Miami.  The Redhawks have it all right in front of them, but they're not great and they are coming off a big win.  You know, no surprise, you'd expect the RedHawks to be pretty big favorites, but this is one of those times that something weird could happen on a dark November evening in front of (likely) a relatively empty stadium.

Falcons Sail Past Dolphins

Everything went as expected in Miami...316 people (officially) cheered on BG's sizable Florida contingent as they built a 12 point lead with 9 minutes left in the first half and never saw the lead get inside.  It never got inside 10 again and in the second half never got closer to 14.  This is what you'd expect from the Falcons, and it was achieved, 75-59.

BG scored 1.07 points per possession, which is a good number and above the NCAA average.  They achieved that with respectable shooting and their normally very good control of the ball.  If sustained, that's a winning combination.  On defense, they worked the opposite levers...JU shot very poorly, turned the ball over a lot and scored .83 points per possession.

What kept JU in the game at all was FTs.  They were 20 of 27 while BG was 11 of 11.  Without that +9 it's a total blow out.

BG shot 49% and 37%, the first just a little below average and the second above average.  For JU, it was 29% on 2FG and 37% on 3FG.  Obviously, the first number is dreadful.




Justin Turner led BG was 15 points.  He struggled a little at 5 of 14 and 3 of 4, but added 11 rebounds and 8 assists.  Trey Diggs had 12 on 4 of 6 from 3FG, which is obviously very efficient.  Marlon Sierra had 11 on 4 of 6 and 1 of 2 shooting (also very efficient, plus 5 rebounds) and Plowden had 11 on 3 of 5 and 1 of 2 shooting and 3 blocked shots.

BG played pretty small for the game, which might partly explain the rebounding stats.  Mattos played 9 minutes and Swingle played 12.

BG moves to 2-1.  They play Fairmont State on Friday in the morning in front of screaming school children...more on that game later.  Fairmont is a decent team at the DII level.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Past and Future Opponent Land

Morgan State (2-8)  Beat NC A&T
Kansas State (6-3) lost to Texas
La Tech (8-1) Smoked N Texas
Kent (3-6) Lost to UT
Notre Dame (7-2)--Beat Duke
Toledo (6-3) beat Kent
CMU (6-4) Idle
WMU (6-4) beat BSU
Akron (0-8) Idle
Miami (5-4) Beat Ohio, in control of East
Ohio (4-5) Lost to Miami, will struggle for bowl eligibility
Buffalo (5-4) Idle

East vs. West:  7-5 East
MAC vs P5:  (1-21)
MAC vs. G5:  (6-9)
MAC vs. FCS: (11-0)

BG Finishes Road Trip in Miami Against Jacksonville

Yes, it's a little strange.  No, Jacksonville is not near Miami.  And yes...we mean it when we say we will schedule a game in your hometown if you play for us.  The crowd may consist strictly of friends and families, but we promised it and we got it done.  The game will be played at the Watco Center, where the Hurricanes play.


The game is with Jacksonville, not Jacksonville State.  They are the Dolphins.  In 1970, they played UCLA in the national final, spurred on by Hall of Famer Artis Gilmore.  There's an assistant coach who claims now that the Dolphin coaches were told they weren't going to be allowed to win...take that for what it is worth.

Anyway, BG has only played Jacksonville once, and that was in 1989, also on a neutral floor...this one in Providence.  BG won by 12.

The Dolphins play in the Atlantic Sun, the 20th ranked conference.  They were 12-20 last year and are picked to be 6th/7th out of 8 or 9 (depending on how you count N. Alabama) in the Atlantic Sun.

They lost 2 of their 5 starters from last year and five total transfers at all.  They lost more than half of their total offensive production.  For the cherry on the sundae, their leading returning scorer, Tyrese Davis, is out with a knee injury suffered last year and hasn't played this year, though for all I knew he could be back for this game.

They are 1-1 this year.  They lost to Xavier and beat Johnson (in the NCCAA).

They have 2 players scoring in double figures.  Their leading scorer is 5'10: G Aamahne Santos, who is scoring 18 on 61% and 54% shooting.  The big surprise is Bryce Workman, who averaged 1.9 last year, is averaging 15 and 9 rebounds off the bench in 18 minutes a game.  David Bell is averaging 9.5 RPG and JUCO transfer Destin Barnes is scoring 9.5 per game.

Last year, they played the 2nd fastest tempo in A-Sun.  They were #4 in offense and #6 in defense.  They were a decent shooting team, especially on 2FGs and they were good on the offensive boards, but they also lost front court players and might not be as strong.

Anyway, it's an odd one that BG should certainly win.  It isn't 1970.

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Falcons Battle Hard, Lose at LSU

It was a strong effort, just not enough to get BG the big upset win.  Even so, they stuck with a top-25 team on the road and had their chances...and I think the result validates our hopes for this season.  Time will tell all on that and the results won't lie, but I'm overall encouraged.

Also Dylan Swingle.  More later.

BG came out strong and actually led 20-15 with 12 left in the first half.  Alas, BG went into an awful cold streak with the shot, allowing LSU to score 19 straight points over 6 minutes.  With 4 minutes left they were up 39-24...and this is a point of maximum danger.  Last 4 minutes of a half, on the road, on your back foot...there's a shot you end up over 20 at the half.

But that didn't happen.  BG punched back with a 12-4 run to get the lead back to 7, gave up an unfortunate and-one in the last seconds and went to the locker room down 10, but still in the game.

BG continued the momentum in the second half, going on a 10-5 run to get the lead to 5 with the ball about five minutes in.  BG missed on their next possession and LSU scored the next 8 points to go back up over 10.  It stayed over 10 from about 12 minutes to 5 minutes, when Plowden hit a 3FG to get BG within 8.  BG needed a stop, but instead Dylan Frye fouled out on the next possession and LSU was off and running, stretching the lead back up to 13 with 3 minutes left.

BG continued to battle, getting the lead back inside of 10 points a couple of times, but LSU always responded with points and that was the end of it.  A final of 88-79, with BG outscoring LSU in the second half.

Again, there are no moral victories.  But BG didn't quit, didn't turn on themselves as they have done in the past, and they punched back in a difficult environment.  LSU is just better than us.

So, first of all, the game was played at 80 possessions, which is a FAST game.  BG played only 2 D1 games faster than that last year.  I'd say the numbers show us that BG's offense was the largest reason the Falcons didn't get the win.  To be sure, LSU got 1.1 points per possession, which is higher than we would like.  Still, I'll bet they finish the season over that level.

BG had .99 points per possession, which is below the NCAA average and rarely a winnable number.  BG was 1-9 last year when scoring .99 points per possession or less.  BG had an EFG of 41%, which would be among their five worst shooting performances last year.  BG made only 25% of its 2 FGS, which is just awful.  You have to go back to the Duquesne game in 2010 to find a worse 2FG shooting game, and that team was on its way to 14-19.

BG's 3FG shooting was 40%, which is above average and a good number in today's game.

BG stayed in the game despite this shooting by taking great care of the ball, with turnovers on just 11% of its possessions.  When looking at rebounding, this is a good example of how tempo-free stats give a clearer picture.  On the totals, LSU outrebounded BG significantly, but that's because BG missed so many shots they were able to rack up bushels of boards.  BG actually won the rebounding battle narrowly, which also bodes well.

As you can see, LSU got to the line a lot, which is often the sign of a team that's overmatched.  LSU got to the line and made shot 34 FTs, making 27 for 79%.  BG was 17 of 21 for 81%, also helping the Falcons stay in the game.

LSU shot well, as you can see.  They made 51% on 2FGs and 39% on 3FG, both above average numbers.  However, they turned the ball over too much and didn't have a great day on the boards, keeping them from converting their good FG and FT shooting into a really big offensive night.


Individually, Justin Turner certainly proved he can play at this level.  He scored 26 on 10 of 19 and r4 of 7 shooting, a highly efficient night.  Also, 6 boards, 3 assists and 3 steals.  Caleb Fields had 17 on 4 of 10 and 4 of 7, a solid offensive night.  Dylan Frye had a less efficient 15 points, on 5 of 16 and 2 of 9 shooting, though he also had 5 assists.

Taylor Mattos had 12 rebounds in 20 minutes of play.  He's not doing much on the offensive end, but he is providing rebounding the team badly needs.

With Fields back, neither Ziegler nor Chandler Turner appeared in the game.

But you know who did appear?  Dylan Swingle.  BG actually had the NCAA Star Chamber/Magic 8-ball belch out a favorable decision, and Dylan will begin one of his four seasons at BG now.

It's pretty big.  Coach has really been talking him up, and he clearly steps in at the team's biggest open area.  He only played 6 minutes (in his college debut), but as that ratchets up, I think there's reason to think BG can have a really solid post presence with Swingle and Mattos.  I think Swingle increases BG's shot at making the NCAAs significantly, but time will tell.

BG now travels to Miami to play Jacksonville, a game scheduled to prove that we will get you a game in your hometown if you play for us.  We should look for BG to win that one on a neutral floor

Meanwhile, BG will not play another road game until January 11.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

LSU Preview

So BG makes its first foray into P5 land since we played Wisconsin back in the Orr Times.  The Falcons have played some teams that would qualify as P5 if basketball had such a thing--such as UC and Xavier.  However, this is the first major conference team.

And they are a good one.  Last year, they won the SEC and made the Sweet Sixteen.  Of course, you are aware of the coaching controversy with Will Wade--which appeared to be a shitshow on everyone's part--but he's back now and on the bench at LSU.

This will be their regular season opener.  Blue Ribbon picks them to be 8th in the SEC this year but kenpom has them in a grouping behind Kentucky and Florida.

They lost 3 starters off that team.  They return two guards who were all-SEC pre-season...Skylar Mayes who is first team (13.4 PPG) and Javante Smart, who is second team (11.1 PPG as a FR).  They have also added a 6'9" 5-star FR big man named Trendon Watford.  Wade told Blue Ribbon that Watford could play anywhere from 1-5.  Also, they traveled to Spain and Watford went with the team, so he has played with them a little bit.

He will be interesting to watch. 

LSU was the #12 most efficient offense in D1 last year at 1.18 per possession.  Interesting, they were not a great shooting team (#149) or at protecting the ball (#138).  They were, however, #9 at offensive rebounding and #64 at getting to the line and #35 at FT%.  They were downright poor from 3FG, but made up for it by making 52% over the 2FGs, probably assisted by those offensive rebounds...and forcing turnovers, which they did on one-in-five opponent possessions, which is in the top 20% of the country.

Wade worked with Shaka Smart and my understanding is he pressures half-court like Louisville did under Rick Pitino.  They were #59 in the nation in defense last year.  In addition to the turnovers, they were above average in defending the shot and about average in not putting opponents on the line.  They defended the 2FG and the 3FG effectively.

They played at 70 possessions per game, which is above average.  According to the local paper, they are switching to a motion offense rather than using ball screens to break down defenses.

Anyway, that's a preview of the Tigers, who very likely are a tournament team.  It will be interesting to see how BG reacts.  You'd expect to see BG bring their very best game and try to pressure the Tigers, much as they did with St. John's this year.  It won't be easy--this is a good team, but things like this do happen.

Geaux Falcons!


Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Falcons Do the Expected Against Tiffin

You put a team like Tiffin on the schedule...I get it, you need games and you'd like a couple games you know you're going to win.  That's fine...as long as you actually take care of business and win easily.  Which BG did, 94-73.


As a counterpoint, we can look back to the Lake Erie College game a couple of years ago.

I wasn't able to attend last night, but reviewing The Blade and the stats, it appears BG won easily while playing a less than perfect game.   BG was up 15 in the first half but struggled with turnovers.  With 8 minutes left, TU had it to 6 but BG closed the half out 25-10 to head into the locker room up 21.  The lead bounced between 17 and 26 for the second half before BG won by 21.

A few general notes.

Mattos started at C and had 15 rebounds in 17 minutes on a big height advantage.  Also 3 fouls in the same minutes. BG out-rebounded the Dragons 44-24.

Gadson and Fields DNP again.  Coach told The Blade that Fields would back for the LSU game on Friday.

Turner played 29 minutes and Plowden 30, which kind of surprised me.

Ziegler started in Caleb's spot.  Beyond that, the biggest surprise was Matiss playing 13 minutes again.  If he's able to produce off the bench, it's a huge advantage for this team.

So, an LSU preview coming tomorrow.  BG is off to an expected 1-0 start.

OH...one more thing.  The Dylan Swingle eligibility waiver is still hanging out there.  No decision has been made.  Here we go again...now that would be a big game changer.


Monday, November 04, 2019

Tiffin Comes to Town

So, for the second straight year, BG will open with the Tiffin Dragons at the Stroh.  Last year, BG bolted out to a 21-4 lead and beat the TU 91-52.

Quick preview here...they went on to be 10-18 last year and they are picked to finish #10 in the Great Midwest Conference, which is the same conference Findlay is in.

They have played once this year, pressing IUPUI before losing 81-77.  The game was within a bucket in the last minute of the game.  (FWIW, IUPUI is predicted to finish in the bottom tier of the Horizon.)

They play up-tempo ball.  Last year, they led the Great Midwest in scoring but finished last in defense.

Joshua Williams is considered one of the better scorers in their conference.  He had 14 against IUPUI on 3-11 shooting, but averaged 17.5 PPG last year.  He was a JUCO transfer.

Dalanio Walker had 15 in his Tiffin debut after transferring from a JUCO.

Jairus Stevens also scored in double figures.  He's an IPFW transfer and a native of (wait for it) Merrillville, IN.

As is often the case, the Dragons are small, with their post players being in the 6'6" range.


Sunday, November 03, 2019

Past and Future Opponent Land

Morgan State (1-8) Lost 48-0 to Norfolk State
Kansas State (6-2) Now ranked in top 25,  beat Kansas
La Tech (7-1) Idle
Kent (3-5) Idle
Notre Dame (6-2)--Beat Va Tech late
Toledo (5-3) Idle
CMU (6-4) Smoked NIU...Chips are first bowl-eligible MAC team
WMU (5-4) Idle
Akron (0-8) Lost to BG
Miami (4-4) Idle
Ohio (4-4) Idle
Buffalo (5-4) Beat EMU badly

East vs. West:  7-5 East
MAC vs P5:  (1-21)
MAC vs. G5:  (6-9)
MAC vs. FCS: (11-0)

Sweet (if ugly) victory

Coach Loeffler called it right after the game.  He used the word "ugly" and in a lot of ways it was...but it was still a win for a team that has struggled to win and we'll take it all day long.  And there were a couple of positives.

To start with, BG remains banged up.  Caleb Bright, DeMontae Haigler and Jamari Bozeman--all starters and upperclassmen--did not play due to injury and Jerry McBride is out for the year.  Clair and Nemerov were back...but BG continues to battle injuries.

It also didn't start great  Akron took the kickoff and drove 12 plays for a FG.  Then, after failing on an onside kick, they forced BG to punt and the Falcons dropped the snap and they had good field position and turned that into another FG to lead 6-0.

Here's the thing.  They made four first downs on those two drives.  The next first down they made was in the final minute of the first half---on a BG penalty.  In the second half they went from the opening kickoff until there were inside 5 minutes left in the game before making a first down--by then the second string players were in.

So, four first downs in the first two drives.  Three for the rest of the game.

No doubt, as noted in the preview I ran, Akron is a poor offensive team.  However, this was their poorest performance of the year based on yardage, so that's worth talking about.  Akron had 192 yards against Illinois and they got 100 yards against us, and a significant portion of that was in garbage time.  Into the 4th Q, I looked and BG had held them to 75 yards or so, which isn't even a long drive.  Again, the first drive was 53 yards.

Akron had Kato Nelson back from suspension, and I think you could lose the fact that BG did a great job containing him.  BG has struggled for a long time, with mobile QBs, but Nelson only had 31 positive yards for the game and was bottled up most of the time.

We knew coming in Akron was a terrible running team, and they surely were.  Removing sacks they were 25 carries for 60 yards, which is 2.5 for carry or so. 

Beyond that, Nelson was 9 of 24 for 60 yards passing, throwing 2 INT.  The backup threw an INT as well and Nelson fumbled once on a blitz in his own territory.

And Akron did not get a TD...for their 4th straight game.

So, the defense is one positive from the game.  There were others.

Andrew Clair was back.  Coach Loeffler said that the injury is still an issue and he was "limping."  That's probably partly because he ran the ball 29 times, which is a heavy load.  Two things were clear--one is that he's one of our best players and the second is that he wasn't at full strength.  He scored twice and on the second one he was running wide to the right into an area crowded with defenders and he just made an unreal move to beat them and get into the end zone.  For the game he had 86 yards.

I don't know what's happening moving forward with him.  That right there was his 4th game.  Anymore and he loses the eligibility year.  I would assume if the plan was to redshirt him he wouldn't have played--but maybe not.  It's an awful situation.  You really only have one healthy RB...I could see where you'd be like, we don't have the luxury of sitting him out if he can play.  Then again, picturing him back there in two years when we might be competitive again is clearly attractive.

In general, the offense was ugly.  Akron had 1.8 yards per play.  BG had 3.3, which is also not good.

We've seen Jordan Anderson play well at DB, but Davin Wilson also had an INT and at least a couple of break ups.  Both true FR who I think look like they have good futures with us.

Karl Brooks had a pick, 1.5 sacks, 2.5 TFL...he's a good player and set to be a junior next year.

The weakest point of the game was punting, where BG had difficulties with the snap on two different occasions.

BG moves to 3-6 on the season, equalling last year's win total.  They have 10 days off before playing Miami in Oxford.

Saturday, November 02, 2019

A picture tells a story....


So, this graphic tells a lot.

We have 15 players on that list...that's a low number to start with. 

Look closer...only FOUR of these players signed NLI's for BG in the actual year they were coming here.  This is just incredible to see...I mean, you can't imagine seeing that.  No one else in the country has numbers like this...it can't have been worse at any time.

That's FOUR NLI, (Bozeman, Kramer, Lautanen and Sotolongo), five JUCOs, three grad transfers and three walk-ons.

Nothing against any of them.  I thank them all for being here.  They've represented a place I love through very tough times.

This is how 3-9 programs are built, not championship programs.  This program was mis-managed through two coaches...all hired by one athletic director, and I'll just leave that right there.  I don't want to keep looking back, but you also have to learn from history.  Hiring the right head coach is the single most important thing for a football program, especially at our level.  We failed twice and now we are where we are.

To better days....

Friday, November 01, 2019

25 Questions that are Zipped

No mention of Terry Bowden...or the
NCAA Soccer title
What is their body of work?

Tough situation here.  Akron is rebuilding just like us, and they are starting from as far behind.  They have a young coach who is a proven head coach, but it's a pretty rough situation down there.  They are 0-8...now, they didn't play an FCS team, so take that into account...but their closest loss is 8 points to UMass, a program ranked right down with BG and Akron.  They haven't scored a TD in their last 3 games and have only 3 points over that period.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 25, which is typical.  Five true FR are on their 2-deep along with 4 r-FR.

Who are their statistical leaders? (Top 20 Nationally)

John Lako is #3 in tackles.

What is their turnover ratio? 

All games...they are -13.  That's a wow.

Offense:

How is their QB play? (MAC Only, from here on)

So here is the thing.  We talk about their scoring for the last 3 games, but two of those games they were without their suspended starting QB, Kato Nelson, who is #7 in the MAC in passing efficiency.  The other guys struggled, to say the least.  Nelson is supposed to be back this week and is at the top of the depth chart this week and with him they are better than they have been the last 3 weeks.

What is their scoring and yards per play

At 6.8 points per game, they are as last as last can be.  Their 3.9 yards per play is 1.1 yards a play behind the next worst team....BG.

Can they run the ball?

No.  Never seen this before.  They average 2.2 yards per rush.  Last in the MAC, last in the nation.

Do they pass the ball?

They are last in passing efficiency, better by a few spots with Nelson.

How is their run/pass balance?

Not surprisingly, they run on 43% of their plays.
Ditto

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They are #10 at 30%, a little ahead of BG.

Do they score in the red zone?

They average 3.95 points per trip, which is awful (all games)

Do they protect the quarterback?

No they do not.  They give up sacks on 12% of their passing attempts...33 sacks for the whole schedule.

In short, this is among the worst-performing offenses we have seen come our way in some time.

Defense:

Topline: Scoring and yards per play

They are 11th in scoring defense (BG 12th) but only 6th in yards per play allowed (BG last).  I suspect all those turnovers and unconverted 3rd downs is at the heart of that contrast.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are 8th at 4.8 yards per carry.

Can they be passed on?

They are 10th in pass efficiency D.  They allow 69% completions, have 0 INT...they do hold teams to 10.7 per reception, which is good.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?


Not really, they allow 46% which is 9th.

Do they defend in the red zone? (all games)

They allow 5 points per trip, which is pretty normal.

Do they pressure the QB?

No.  They get sacks on 3.3% of their pass plays.

Special Teams:

Punting?

They are 10th in net punting.

Punt Return?

They are 11th in punt returns, no threat here.

Placekicking? (all games)

Their lead kicker is 2 of 6 with a long of 42.

Kickoff? (all games)

Opponents start on the 25.

Kickoff Return? (all games)

They start on the 28 which is good.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

Look, here is the scary thing (for Halloween).  This is a winnable game for BG...probably their best remaining shot to win.  Thing is...it's also Akron's best chance for a win, too.  Our numbers are not good and their's are worse.  If the game is close, you could see Akron play hard due to the chance to break through with a win.  Also, looks like a good chance of rain Saturday, which will dampen the whole environment and keep the crowd very small.  It's a test of who loves football.