Sunday, September 11, 2005

Falcons survive in Muncie

We were in the house Saturday, and I began to think we had travelled all that way just to watch us lose. When BSU went up 31-28, the place was rocking, they had all the momentum, and I just thought we were cooked. But, winning teams count on winning, and we are a winning team. Omar threw two incompletions, and the place was howling for blood on third down and 10 from the 20. Omar stepped into the pocket, and hit Sharon for 55 yards to the BSU 25, and I really feel like the air went out of their sails right then.

Two plays later, Sanders had a TD pass, and we had the lead for good. BSU came onto the field, and we took them three and out, then we were three and out, and with about 6:30 on the clock, true freshmen Antonio Smith made an interception and ran it in for a TD, and that was all she wrote.

Someone on said that no one ever went broke taking profits, which means, winning is winning. Certainly, we did not play well. It was on the road, and BSU was gunning for us. We made mistakes, but survived them on a night that Miami was beaten. It could have been better--it could have been much worse.

We might have gotten a little cocky over the past couple years--just expecting to hang 70 points up, even on the road. There might be some missed expectations. And this team might be a little more of a work in progress than we suspected at the start of the year. I hope we're in fine form to win the MAC Championship, and for our bowl game--those are the real goals.

Here are some semi-random thoughts.

  • Our biggest problem was turnovers. We turned the ball over four times--three fumbles and one interception. Three of them were in BSU territory, and two were in definite scoring position. This is unlike our club. We don't turn it over very much, and it really hurt us.
  • The special teams are grim right now. Timichenko, recruited to punt, is just awful. We won't even try a FG, and he missed two extra points (three total on the year) last night. That can really hurt you--not to mention what we do it we need a huge FG someday late in a game. I think we have a couple walk-ons on the club, so maybe that's what we need to look at. But Timchenko is awful--he even makes me wish we has Shaun Suisham back. (Memo to our "Kicker, we don't need no stinkin' kicker" macho men coaches. Recruit a kicker, for crying out loud. Make it a priority.
  • We were also badly hurt by a crappy punt by Nate Fry. We're doing that rugby thing, where we get into some touch football formation, and then Nate runs a few steps and boots it, on the run, to the sideline. It does seem to get a forward roll. I don't understand what was so bad about the old way of punting. I can only assume this makes it easier to cover. But I think its dopey and they look like they are close to being blocked, and we should just punt normal.
  • Teams are tough to beat on their home field. Welcome to college football.
  • Omar completed about 63% of this passess, which is below his normal average. He missed some open receivers, and was visibly frustrated from time to time. He's only failing by his standards from last year, but we know he is capable of better.
  • Teams are getting pressure on Omar, and it is having an effect. I don't know if our line is not performing, or if teams are selling out the blitz (ala Memphis State), but Omar was under more pressure than normal. This is one part of his game which is not as good as the other parts of his game. He will get lots of chances to fix it, because I believe that teams who have seem our game film will continue to rush him hard. If you give him time, he will pick you apart.
  • The much-maligned defense certainly showed some weak spots, but in their defense, let me say a couple things. They had a really strong second quarter--in fact, BSU had only four first downs in the first half. If we hang onto the ball, we're way ahead. We were good on third down (BSU 4 of 16), and we held them under 10 yards on 9 of their 17 possessions. Because of that contribution, BSU had to spend all their momentum just getting a small lead, and that put the pieces in motion for our fourth quarter comeback. The defense clearly has a long way to go, but their extended shutdown of BSU played a big role in our surivival.
  • Peter Winovich, who Brandon said struggled at MLB in Madison, made only one tackle. Jon Jakubowski, Rossford LB, made five tackles and may be picking up some of that playing time.
  • Jelani Jordan had some great open field sticks.
  • When BSU ran their reverse and their QB throw back, there was nobody home at all. Nobody. That has got to be fixed.
  • We finally got our TEs involved in the attack.
  • That was our seventh 4th Quarter comeback in the Meyer/Brandon era
People in Muncie were super nice to us. It was a nice trip. On to Idaho.

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