Sunday, November 03, 2019

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.


Ken said...

If Andrew Clair is willing to redshirt and stay for another year, in my opinion the right thing to do for the program is to redshirt him. What is there to gain otherwise, other than you might pad the final W-L record of the season a bit, but to what end? he seems to have leadership qualities as well, which you would not be able to leverage in 2021. Would love to have him in the MAC and against Tennessee and Minnesota in 2 years.

Orange said...

I agree. If that’s what he wants, probably the right way to go. Not even sure how padding it would do.