Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Clawson says he is not interested in a Richmond return

I thought this was interesting....

There's a coaching vacancy at Richmond, his gig from two gigs ago.

He said "no comment" when asked if he had been contacted.  (Take that for what you will).  Here's what he said:

"I'm committed to being at Bowling Green and continuing to improve the program here," Clawson said.
Which is good.  Not going back to Richmond.  I thought it was interesting...first, the "no comment" thing is always amusing, and second, I think it is notable that someone at Richmond (whether in the athletic department or at the newspaper) thought he might be.  Not implying anything about Clawson, just shows something about how people in Richmond view their program.

Orr Presser

Just watched yesterday's Orr Presser...a couple of things to note.

First,he says that the post rotation is a work in progress, which is, in a way, a confirmation of what we have all noticed, which is that it hasn't been what we need yet.

Second, Craig Sealey is our most improved player.

Third, his frustration recently has been in the lack of performance of the man to man defense.  I will note that those were the most athletic teams we have played, and it remains to be seen if we are athletic enough to play defense against very athletic opposition.  Not saying we can't, just saying it remains to be seen.

Also, if you go to, you can watch the presser..specifically, the last couple minutes which contain Coach Orr's statement on the situation at Syracuse.  His statements are heartfelt and honest.

All-MAC Teams and Awards Announced....

The All-MAC teams and awards were announced.  I thought our Falcons had a good day, and I don't personally notice anything that I think is an oversight as it relates to BG.

The headline is that Anthon Samuel was the Freshman of the Year, which is a great honor for him and our program.  When we did the MAC Roundtable last week, I noted he was the only Freshman near the top in a major statistical category, and the WR from CMU others were touting had played a couple nice games, but was not in Samuel's league for the whole year.

The award is relatively new, but I am not sure a Falcon has ever won freshman of the year.  (UPDATE:  The Blade's John Wagner says Brian McClure and Kurt Gerling were also freshman of the year for BG).

Four Falcons were first team All-MAC...the first time that has happened since the 2004 squad (Omar Jacobs, Rob Warren, Jovon Burkes and Keon Newson) and was second only to Toledo (5).

Kamar Jorden, WR
Chris Jones, DT
Dwayne Woods, LB
Brian Schmeidebusch, P

Other Falcons named All-MAC include...

Boo Boo Gates, 2nd Team, kick returner.
Ben Bojicic, 3rd team, C

Four of these six players will return next season.

In the overall awards, here were the winners.

Vern Smith Leadership Award Winner:  QB Chandler Harnish, Northern Illinois
Coach of the Year:  Ron English, Eastern Michigan
Offensive Player of the Year: QB Chandler Harnish, Northern Illinois
Defensive Player of the Year: DL Drew Nowak, Western Michigan
Special Teams Player of the Year: K Matt Weller, Ohio
Freshman of the Year: RB Anthon Samuel, Bowling Green

My comments would include....

Harnish was a clear choice and to my mind, obvious.  I know my colleagues disagreed in the Roundtable last week, but he was just an undeniable choice, especially as they come back to win the West again this year, with very little defensive support.

I would have picked Lembo over English because I think EMU was overrated, but you can't quibble with the choice too much.

While Matt Weller was very good, I think Eric Page probably deserved one of the major awards, and this was the one, but again, you can't say Weller was undeserving.

The rest of the MAC teams can be found here.

Congrats to all the honored Falcons.  If you are a senior, best of luck in what I hope are joyful and meaningful lives, and if you are returning, let's make next year very special.

Blog poll is on the air....

College Football Rankings 2011

Results for Week 14

# School Points/blog SD Delta
1 LSU Tigers (65) 25.00 0.00 --
2 Alabama Crimson Tide 23.72 0.62 --
3 Oklahoma St. Cowboys 21.57 1.79 Arrow_up 2
4 Stanford Cardinal 21.22 1.78 --
5 Virginia Tech Hokies 19.74 3.38 Arrow_up 1
6 Houston Cougars 18.11 4.42 Arrow_up 2
7 Boise St. Broncos 17.46 3.16 --
8 Oregon Ducks 17.45 3.19 Arrow_up 1
9 Arkansas Razorbacks 17.02 2.85 Arrow_down -6
10 Oklahoma Sooners 15.12 3.14 Arrow_up 1
11 Michigan St. Spartans 14.58 3.02 Arrow_down -1
12 Georgia Bulldogs 14.02 3.01 --
13 USC Trojans 14.00 6.77 --
14 Wisconsin Badgers 13.35 2.90 --
15 South Carolina Gamecocks 12.31 3.19 --
16 Kansas St. Wildcats 10.63 2.29 --
17 Michigan Wolverines 10.37 2.45 --
18 TCU Horned Frogs 7.92 2.57 Arrow_up 1
19 Baylor Bears 7.71 1.98 Arrow_up 2
20 Nebraska Cornhuskers 6.45 1.53 Arrow_up 2
21 Clemson Tigers 4.26 2.31 Arrow_down -3
22 West Virginia Mountaineers 2.98 1.85 Arrow_up 4
23 Penn St. Nittany Lions 2.83 2.19 Arrow_down -3
24 Southern Miss. Golden Eagles 1.92 1.90 Arrow_up 5
25 Florida St. Seminoles 1.26 1.55 Arrow_up 8
Others Receiving Votes: Texas Longhorns | Arkansas St. Red Wolves | Cincinnati Bearcats | Northern Illinois Huskies | Missouri Tigers | Notre Dame Fighting Irish | Arizona St. Sun Devils | Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets | Virginia Cavaliers | Toledo Rockets | Auburn Tigers | Louisiana Tech Bulldogs | BYU Cougars | Ohio Bobcats | California Golden Bears | Vanderbilt Commodores | Tulsa Golden Hurricane | Temple Owls
Updated: Nov 29, 2011 8:36 PM EST
SB Nation BlogPoll College Football Rankings 2011

Just a quick review shows me that I am ranking USC way ahead, but not in an uncommon place.  Their low ranking is mostly because a lot of people don't have them ranked at all.  I am definitely way down on Houston....there are only a few people ranking them about where i do.  I think they are like that Hawaii team from a few years back.  They might be good, but there's not one win on their schedule to show it.

Also, the world loves Virginia Tech a lot more than I do.  They lost to a Clemson team that has now been revealed to be less than great, and their best win is over a now unranked Georgia Tech team.  I just don't see them having a better season than, say, Boise, who at least beat Georgia.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Benchmark Report for Buffalo

So, here's the final benchmark report for the Buffalo game.  A couple quick notes...the benchmarks themselves are now updated for the 2011 season.  Note that we use conference games only.  I will do some more on the comparisons for the whole conference from 10 to 11, but in the meantime, chew on this...on 2010, MAC QB's threw 141 interceptions and in 2011 they threw 72...HALF as many.  That's pretty remarkable (and no, there was not a significant decrease in attempts.  From BG's perspective, it means that our struggles with interceptions are getting relatively worse, especially as we are less likely to get them back on defense.

As you can see for the Buffalo game, it was pretty spotty.  BG had a below average offensive game, just not as far below average as Buffalo did.  BG's big plays in the passing game saved the effort.  Also, (more on this another day as well), BG continued its red zone improvement, scoring 4 times in 4 attempts in Buffalo.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Stupid Clawson Rumors...shot down

Apparently, some football website is saying there are "indications" BG might fire coach Clawson.  In case, you were curious, here are the comments from the BGSU Athletic Communications office...and let me say that I agree.  Certainly it was at times frustrating not to make more progress than we did, and it was frustrating to have the same issues causing problems even extending back earlier than Coach Clawson, but he's made progress getting us out of a deep hole and certainly deserves more time.  This is not an Akron situation...and you could argue that he was fired too soon.  Eventually, he will either succeed or he will not succeed, but I certainly think we have to see where he can take us.

Thomas MAC East Player of the week, and Hackenberg Column

Scott Thomas is the MAC East POW for this week.  Congrats's the write up on Thomas' week.  Note the reference to the Temple win as the biggest in the Orr era at BG....

Thomas scored in double-figures in all four games this week, leading Bowling Green to a 3-1 record which included a 67-64 victory over Temple, the sixth-winningest program in college basketball history. Thomas was named to the Progressive CBE Classic All-Tournament team after guiding the Falcons to wins over Ohio Valley Conference preseason favorite Austin Peay and Horizon League preseason runner-up Detroit. In the win over Austin Peay, he had 11 points, seven rebounds, two assists and three steals. He followed that up the next day with 11 points, five rebounds, two assists, three steals and a block against Detroit. In a loss to George Washington, he scored 15 first-half points to keep the Falcons within one at the half, and he put together another all-around performance Sunday against Temple. Thomas had 11 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and a blocked shot in 34 minutes as the Falcons posted their biggest non-conference win in the five-year Louis Orr era. On the week, Thomas made 6-of-12 three-point attempts and shot 89 percent from the free-throw line. He also had nine steals and a pair of blocked shots.

Also, Dave Hackenberg wrote a very nice column about the Falcons, and how the Temple win shows they are for real.  Check it out here...just one quibble.  I don't think it is the biggest win period in the Orr era, since we did win one game to clinch the #1 seed and a MAC regular season crown...I would put that one ahead of this one...but that's just an opinion.

Draft Blogpoll, let me know if you think you can do better

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Victory, Sweet Victory!

The Falcons pulled off what might well be their biggest non-conference win of the Orr era and certainly their biggest win in the Stroh Center, as they battled a very good Temple team for 40 teams, finished on a 7-1 run and ended up with a 67-64 win over the Owls.

Nothing could be a starker contrast than the difference between what the Falcons came up with today and what they came up with against GW Wednesday.  The Falcons clearly used the time they had to prepare to put together a game plan that was exactly what was needed most of the time.

One factor that has to be noted:  Temple's rebounding and shot blocking C Michael Eric was injured and did not make the trip.  His absence certainly impacted the game in the paint, but that's how things go sometimes in sports, and it also doesn't detract from the Falcon victory.

Temple came out in a 4-guard lineup and BG attempted to guard it man to man.  Temple scored on 7 of its first 8 possessions, and in the first media timeout, BG went to the 2-3 zone, which Coach Stone said after the game had given Temple trouble last season.  It did seem to take Temple out of their rhythm and while they had a successful offensive night, they never had any dominant scoring streaks.

The first half was actually pretty even, with eight ties and both teams in the lead at various times.  Temple led by three when the break finally came.

BG has had a problem over the past two years coming out of the locker room as if they ate a turkey dinner during halftime.  Certainly was an issue, for example, in the GW game.  It was not, however, an issue today.

The game was tied at 36, 44 and 48 before BG went on a 6-0 run with 8:39 left.  Temple took the lead back with about five left, and then the game was tied at 58 and 60 before the game's critical endgame began.

With 2:50 left, Khalif Wyatt nailed a trey to put Temple up 63-60.  On BG's next possession, Calhoun missed a shot, got his own board and missed the put back, but BG's defense got a stop on the other end, and the Falcons had the ball inside two minutes needing essentially and score and then a stop.  I don't think there was anyone in the arena who didn't think that could happen, though.

On BG's possession Scott Thomas was fouled shooting and nailed both his free throws to cut the lead to 1.  Temple ran clock and ended up with a shot down low, but Scott Thomas came up with his second big play, getting a clean block on a shot by Hollis-Jefferson.

BG called time with :54 left.  Coach Stone said BG had a play drawn up for Scott Thomas, which Temple covered.  Jordan Crawford was working the point, and he improvised, which in this case included feinting a drive and pulling back for an NBA-length trey that hit nothing but net.  Falcons up two with :30 left.

Temple came down and drew a foul and split two free throws, and BG's lead was one with :22 left.  Temple called timeout to set up their full court press.  Clearly, everyone in the arena expected an attempt at a steal and then a foul.  But, BG got the ball to the Crawford, at 5'6" and fresh from his big hoop, drove through the pressure and could not be caught long enough to be fouled.

He spotted Calhoun alone in transition on the left block, fed him, and Calhoun dunked the ball home to put BG up by 3.

Temple took their last time out, with about 12 seconds to tie the game with a 3, certainly well within the realm of possibility.  BG pulled a surprise by going back to the man defense for this possession, and Temple managed only two poor looks on three balls, each of which missed, and the Falcons had picked up a victory in a game in which they were 8 point underdogs.

Want to see how close the game was?  Check this out.

Leading BG was A'uston Calhoun with 16 points and 7 rebounds.  Just as importantly, his points came on 7 of 13 shooting.  Thomas added 11 points and eight rebounds and Dee Brown had 11 points and six assists.  (Crawford had a thigh injury in practice and was limited to 15 minutes, though he made the most of them.  Cam Black had seven points (3 of 4 shooting), three boards and three blocks and seemed to do a great job guarding the free throw area, which is the 2-3 zone's weak spot.

Not to be forgotten, Luke Kraus had 30 minutes, and while he did not have much in the way of stats, he did play some very solid defense on Ramone Moore, who finished with 10 points, half his average.  Torian Oglesby had five rebounds in 13 minutes.

The game was verrrrrrrry slow paced.  There were only 59 possessions, so BG had an offensive rating of 113 and Temple came in at 108.  The key factor was shooting.  BG shot 55% overall and 60% on its 2-FGs, which is probably where we need to be to compete.  Temple shot only 46% for the game and 33% from three.  Offensive rebounds were tied, but since BG missed fewer shot, it was advantage Falcons, and the other metrics were pretty even.

So, better shooting, a zone defense, and Scott Thomas and Jordan Crawford each making two plays in the game's final minutes were the difference.  It was a very small crowd at the Stroh, but it certainly seemed to get loud as the game came to the end, and the end was very happy for the people who were there.

So, now we have seen what our team can do when they play well and what happens when they do not.  From here, it is a struggle between those two poles as the team moves toward the conference season.  BG will play only once more at home before the MAC season starts, and that is against an NAIA game, so there will be some road warrior work.  What the team needs--and what we have rarely seen in the last two years--is sustained production at a high level.  That will be the test.

ICSTR, FInal Edition

]This is the final edition of the ICSTR.  The clerics and monks are wrapping their work up, placing the records into dusty bookshelves and preparing to return to the provinces to live their lives among the people again.

BG had a strong finish in the Buffalo game, going +4 in special teams and holding Buffalo to -1.  It was an easy day to lose points, as the wind had the potential to strongly impact kicks.  With that in mind, a +4 is pretty good.

For BG, there were two very big special teams plays:  a blocked punt (+3) and a 76 yard net punt downed inside the 10 (+2).  BG also had a kickoff return to the 46, and a kickoff touchback for +7.

Meanwhile, BG did not have any big negative plays.  Minor plays included a kickoff return to the 18, a Buffalo return to the 42 and allowing a 2-point conversion (-3 for a net of +4).  Even with the wind, BG never had a net punt less than 27 yards.

For the Bulls, there was the kickoff return to the 18 and their own kickoff return to the 42, a touchback on a kickoff, a punt inside the 20, and a made 2 pointer.  (+5)

Meanwhile, they gave up the blocked kick (-3), committed a penalty on a kickoff return that allowed BG to advance past the 35, the BG kickoff return to the 46, and a 4 yard net punt (-6 for a net of -1).

So, for the year, we can see that BG had its best year during the Clawson era in terms of making positive plays and avoiding negative plays.  However, our opponents also had a better year, perhaps indicating a rising level of overall special teams play in the conference.  (It does seem as if there is a better crop of kickers and returners than there might have been in the past).  So, on a net basis, BG was basically even with its opponents this year, while last year our special teams were actually significantly better than the opponents last season.

BG was in plus territory for all but 3 games this year, which is an improvement in consistency.  Schmiedebusch had a bigger factor in that.  Actually, if BG had some placekicking, the remainder of their game was pretty solid this year---punting and return defense were both pretty strong.

Past Opponent Land.....

Idaho has a game left, but this is how the teams we played finished out.  Certainly, the Idaho win was not what it seemed like at the time, and the Wyoming game would have been nice.  4-5 teams on this list will play in a bowl.

Idaho (2-9)--Idle
Morgan State (5-6)  Lost 42-18 to Hampton
Wyoming (7-4)  Scored first against Boise.  That was the high point.
Miami (4-8) Lost to OU.
WVU (8-3) Beat Pitt by 1.
WMU (7-5) Latest team to bludgeon Akron, leading to Ianello's departure.
Toledo (8-4)  Beat Ball State
Temple--(8-4)  Beat Kent
Kent (5-7)  Lost to Temple
NIU--(9-3)  Beat EMU to clinch West.
OU (9-3)  Beat Miami in a game without meaning

MAC vs:

All out of conference: 22-30
All FBS:  10-30
All FCS: 12-0
All BCS: 3-27

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Final MAC Blogger Roundtable...

So, it was the final week for the MAC Blogger roundtable.  We just got a couple of responses...which is understandable, people are having babies, there was a major holiday and people had meaningful games this week....

So, here are the results.  It was my week to write the questions, and I kept them simple, looking for the winners of the major MAC awards which we can expect this week.  Anyway, rather than write a narrative, we'll just run it out here...

Temple Preview....

The Falcon's homestand ends tomorrow with the Temple Owls coming to town.  Temple plays MAC teams as part of their entry fee to be able to play MAC football.

This is the best team we have played in this homestand, and is the best team we can expect to see in the Stroh until the Spartans come next year.  Let's check out what we can expect.  Temple has won 12 straight games against the MAC and 17 out of their last 22.  They have won all three meetings with the Falcons, including the last one 63-39.

Last season, they were 26-8 and finished with an RPI of 29.  They made the Big Dance, where they lost in the second round to #2 seed San Diego State in Double OT.

They enter this season highly touted.  College Basketball Prospectus has them second in the A-10 as does the official pre-season A-10 poll of media and coaches.

Temple is 3-1 this year.  This is their first true road game.  They beat Penn to open the season at the Palestra, and then went to Puerto Rico, where they beat WMU by 14, lost to Purdue and then beat Wichita State to close it out.  They have been off for a week.

The Owls are coached by Fran Dunphy, one of college basketball's classic coaches.  He racked up great records at Penn and at Temple, and has put his own mark on the program after taking over for the deranged John Chaney.  He has put his own mark on the program--Chaney played a very defensively oriented match-up zone defense, but Dunphy has opened things up a little bit.  Last season, they were 4th in the A-10 in scoring and defense, but they allowed on 62 points a game, 37th in D1.

Their most prominent player is Juan Fernandez.  He averages 15 points and 4 assists per game.  He is a senior from Argentina.  Their leading scorer is another senior, Ramone Moore, who is averaging over 40 minutes per game, if you can believe that.  He is scoring 20 points per game on 42% shooting and does not rank high on efficiency rankings.

As a side note, I'd be interested to know if there are any players who get 20 points a game efficiently.  Seems like every time you look, you find out you have to take a bunch of shots to get there.

Anyway, there other marquee player is Nigerian Michael Eric, who leads the A-10 with 11 rebounds a game.  He is a 6'11" graduate student.

As a team, on offense, Temple likes to attack the basket.  SO FAR this season, they have not been shooting a lot of 3s.  That was what I said in the GW game, and we saw what happened there, so who can tell, but it does not appear they are committed to getting 3s.

On defense, they focus on shooting percentage.  They don't seem to force a lot of turnovers or get steals, but they do block shots and force opponents to shoot poorly.  They are shooting 42% so far against the Owls and 29% from 3.

This is a very tough matchup for the Falcons.  On the other hand, teams win games like this every day in college basketball.  It is going to require the Falcons giving a huge effort on the defensive end of the floor and on the boards, and then getting some scoring from whomever to get enough points to win.

And here is how it all ended up.....

Season ending victory, Part II

Looking now at the numbers....

BG had 3 one-play scoring drives, so some of these numbers have to be considered in that light.  Because scoring on one-play is good...

UB had 21 first downs to BG's 17.  UB ran 88 plays and BG ran only 66.  BG, however, outgained the Bulls by 10 yards, which translated into a 5.4-3.9 advantage in yards per play.  While 5.4 yards per play is adequate, our defense should be very pleased to only allow 3.9 yards per is a very good result.

For example, UB has the MAC's 2nd best rusher, Bo Oliver.  He did get 127 yards, but it took him 34 carries and he had only 3.7 yards per carry, not a productive day.  Even better, his longest run was 14 yards.  For a team with our track record defending the run, that counts as a minor victory.

Similarly, Chazz Anderson, who can run from the QB slot, had a long run of 11...a better performance than the last 2 times BG met up with a running QB.

UB was forced to pass more than they wanted to.  Anderson really struggled.  He completed only 41% of his passes, and when adjusted for sacks, they got only 3.6 yards per passing attempt, which was less than their average yards per running attempt.  Never happens.

They also only had 9 yards per reception, also an unproductive number.

Schilz seemed to have trouble getting in rhythm for much of the game--of course, there was the wind to contend with.  He only completed 45% of his passes, but those 14 completed passes netted out to 236 yards, or 7.6 per pass and 16.9 per completion.  The first number is good, the second number is very good.

And, of course, 4 TDs over 2 INTs.

Pettigrew had 50 yards on 12 carries, very nice for a fill in role and his first extensive experience.  Jamel Martin, playing injured, had 44 yards on 14 carries.  Both of them had a TD.

Overall, BG had 3.4 yards per carry---again, not a show stopping result, but good enough given what the team was facing.

Finally, for all the woes, BG was once again perfect in the red zone.  Four trips, 4 TDs.  Nice to see some improvement there.

There's a couple more things to wrap up from this game, and then we've got the winter to look at what happened and where we improved and where improvement was due.  I'd expect a year-end presser this week...normally, those are pretty informative.

In the meantime, we finish in a tie for fourth with Miami, which I guess means we finished 4th.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Season Ends on Victory...

No one wants to play in a game where a 4-7 team and a 3-8 team do battle for the ability to move into the off-season on a winning note...those stakes are not high even for your most casual fan.  As such, there is only one thing worse than winning a game like that...and that would be to lose it.

Which our Falcons did not do.  It was not always pretty, but in the end, on that Saturday, BG was good enough to register its first comfortable win in many weeks.

The key driving factor in the game was the wind, which was howling at levels similar to what it was for the BG-UT game.  There were 70 points scored in the game...17 of them were scored into the wind.

On the surface, this would appear to not favor BG.  The Falcons were down 2.5 RBs---Samuel, Hopgood, and Martin was at 50-60% according to Coach after the game.  So, in a game where you will need to run the ball at least half the time, BG was depleted in the running back division.

Early, BG's offense had a not so fresh feeling, as a short BG punt into the wind led to a Buffalo FG and then Schilz threw a pick 6 to give the Bulls a 10-0 lead.  Near the end of the first, Schilz was intercepted again (he was picked on 2 of his first 8 passes) and early in the second Buffalo was back up by 10.

Luckily for BG, Buffalo was having similar issues....Boo Boo had a pick that he returned to the 6 and the Falcons scored on their next play, and then Hutson had a blocked punt and BG scored on a one-play 28 yard drive to make it 17-14.

BG finally hit its stride near the end of the second quarter.  Buffalo had the ball up 20-14 with just inside 2 minutes left, and they had the ball on their 32.  They went 3 and out with 2 incomplete passes, which left BG with 1:17 left after a punt.  Starting on its own 26, BG ran a 9-play, 74 yard TD drive that took only :54 off the clock......and BG never called one timeout.

They were assisted by one personal foul, and Schilz was incomplete several times, but there were three completions of more than 15 yards and with the penalty, that got BG into the end zone for a halftime lead.

BG opted to take the wind for the 3rd, which I wholeheartedly agree with.  Coach said after the game that he told the offense they had to make it work because we were putting everything on a big 3rd quarter performance.

And that's exactly what happened.  BG scored 21 3rd quarter points and essentially put the game away before Buffalo ever got the win again.

Buffalo came out of the locker room and got a first down and punted, and then BG went 3 and out but Schmiedebusch nailed a 76 yard punt that was downed on the Buffalo 4.  You should never doubt the power of special teams to be game changing...because that punt set a lot in motion.

BG's defense produced a 3 and out with -1 net yard, and the punt into the wind left BG on the Buffalo 39.  The Falcons capitalized on the short field with a seven play TD drive (yes, you read that right) that featured a 15 yard run by John Pettigrew (still reading right) and an 11 yard run by Matt Schilz (I shit you not).

Pettigrew got the TD on a 2 yard run, and BG was up 8.  The defense got another 3 and out, and then Buffalo had a 4 yard punt and the Falcons ran a 7 play, 36 yard drive for another TD.  Shaun Joplin had a 30 yard reception (he and Stokes are going to be very dangerous next year if Schilz can get time to throw) and then an INT was reversed on a pass interference call.

Martin, playing hurt, drove the ball in for the TD, and BG had a 15 point lead.

The defense got another 3 and out and BG was starting on its own 36.  Coach said that he told Ruggerio to dial up something he liked offensively, because there was less than a minute left with the wind, and Schilz hit Jorden for a 64 yard reception and a 22 point Falcon lead.

It was the kind of quarter you need when you take the wind in the 3rd.  Buffalo had to see a high mountain to climb, even with the wind.  They are not a big passing team, so it was going to be a struggle.

They made a couple first downs before Kevin Moore forced an incomplete pass on 3rd and BG had the ball back.  Pettigrew had 23 yards on two carries for 2 first downs for BG.  Schmiedebusch nailed a 49 yard punt INTO THE WIND (touchback) and Buffalo drove inside the 30 before a penalty set them back and BG held on a 4th and 13 play.

At that point, 5 minutes were left, and Buffalo did score with a minute left, but BG had a comfortable victory, winning 42-28.

We'll have more later.  As I said, it wasn't always pretty, but both teams had the win for half the game, Buffalo was at home, where they play well, and BG was better on this day.  A 3-game improvement feels a lot better than a 2-game improvement, and know...we might have hoped for more but that wasn't a disaster.  There were certainly growing pains, but we finished with a win and for today, that's all that could be done.

Season Ends With Falcon Victory!!

Pre-game from Buffalo

Via Todd Walker....

Samuel did not make the trip.
Jamel Martin is dinged up and not expected to start.
Pettigrew will start at RB.

Adrian Hodges has left the team.

25 questions that say....Da Bulls.

What is their body of work?

They are 3-8/2-5 this year.  Much like BG, they are having their second straight disappointing season under a newish coach.  One of their wins is a FCS win.  They did beat OU on their home field, and only lost to NIU on a missed XP (sound familiar, Falcon fans).  They clubbed Akron last week.  They have been strong at home.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

25 which is pretty typical.

Who are their statistical leaders?

Khalil Mack is 8th in the nation in tackles for loss and Branden Oliver is 15th in rushing yards per game.

What is their turnover ratio?

They are -3 on the year (8th in the MAC).   (BG is -12).


How is their QB Play?

Their starter is Sr. Chazz Anderson and while he is not in the top 10 in passing efficiency, he is their second leading rusher.  Given BG's struggles with Harnish and Tettleton, this presents a nice challenge for the Falcons.

What is their scoring and yards per play?

They have struggled to score.  They are 11th in scoring and in yards per play.

Can they run the ball?

They are 6th in the MAC in rushing offense, so they have a decent running offense.

Do they pass the ball?

This is not a strong point.  They are 9th in passing offense and 11th in pass efficiency.  They complete only 58% of their passes and have 12 TDs over 8 ints. They average 10.75 per reception, which is also nothing special.

How is their run/pass balance?

They have almost an even-steven 50/50 run-pass split.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They are 11th at 32.9%.

Do they score in the red zone?

This is a also not a strength.  They only score 4.8 points per red zone trip.  They are just under 3 red zone trips per game.

Do they protect the quarterback?

They are decent, allowing sacks on only 5.1% of their passing attempts.

After playing the East's top offenses the last two games, BG now gets a team that has struggled to make progress on offense.  Having said that, they did light up Akron last week...yeah, probably not a great test.  Anyway, with a running QB there are challenges, but there's no reason for BG's defense not to compete out there.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They are 6th in scoring defense and 6th in yards per play allowed, a couple of spots in front of BG.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are 7th at 4.3 yards per carry.

Could they be passed on?

They are 11th in pass efficiency defense.  They allow 60% completions, but with 21 TDs over 4 INTS.  They allow over 12 yards per completion--teams with that 60% and 12 ypr tend to be having real trouble on pass defense.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are 9th in the MAC.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They are pretty average at 5.3 points per trip.  They are almost allowing 4 red zone trips per game.

Do they pressure the QB?

They get sacks on 5.2% of their passing attempts.

Special Teams:


They are 9th in the MAC in net punting with no blocks.

Punt Return?

They are 11th in punt return average with no TDs.  They have blocked 3 punts this year.


After the missed XP debacle, they switched kickers (just as BG did).  Clarke is 4-4 with a long of 49.


Teams start on the 31, 9th in the MAC.

Kickoff Return?

They are 10th in the MAC in kickoff returns, with no TDs.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

On paper, these teams are pretty evenly matched, both based on their records and what they have done statistically.  As Coach Clawson said, it will partly come down to who wants to play football in a game that doesn't mean anything in front of what I would anticipate will be absolutely no one in Buffalo.

Buffalo has been good at home this year which gives them an advantage.

After the NIU and OU games, BG is now playing a team that is flawed, which might well be a relief.  After playing OU tough until the final play, the Falcons could put that kind of effort on and win the game.

Also, we have heard nothing this week about BG's we don't know if there are any of the guys dinged up against OU who can be expected back.

If you love football, I think this could end up being a pretty good game.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Side note on the Harbaugh Bowl

Quick side note....I'm guessing (safely) that the Baltimore-San Francisco game tonight is the first game where both coaches attended an elementary school in Bowling Green.

Of course, their Father was a BG QB and assistant coach and part of the Doyt Perry coaching tree.

Here's an interview he did with Mike Reghi a few years back....

 Just a little additional reason to watch the Harbaugh Bowl tonight.

Happy Thanksgiving to the Falcon Nation....

Be grateful today.  Be grateful tomorrow.  Everything we need to be happy is already within us.

Falcons Routed. Orr: "We had a lot to do with that"

The Falcons were thumped by the George Washington Colonials last night on their own floor.  GW rode 61% shooting to the 77-56 victory.  The Colonials will have fond memories of the Stroh, as they are now 3-0 on that floor, sweeping through the CBE sub-regional.

Coach Orr referred to it as our worst defensive game of the season.  That's true, but probably not taking the whole thing far enough.  BG gave up 77 points in a 61 possession game...the 1.26 points per possession for GW was very similar to what Duquesne hung on BG last year, and only slightly worse than the Kent and Akron games.

More numbers.  GW shot 65% in the second half.  A team that doesn't like to shoot 3s shot 65% for the game and made 11 of them.

With a game like this, you sometimes wonder:  was it just hot shooting, or was it poor defense?  Coach Orr left no double about that.  He said that "we didn't do anything to slow these guys down" we "lost our man, we didn't rotate."

Here is the key thing.  This is a team that makes open shots.  So the only way to beat them is to "make them miss" and BG didn't do that.  The Falcons gave them open looks and they knocked them down.  Coach called it a "reality check."

The Falcons were complimenting the poor defense with their second worst offensive game of the season.  Scott Thomas had a pretty heroic 15 and Craig Sealey added 9, but there was no scoring from the inside game and the Falcons shot 29% in the second half.

The Colonials dominated much of the first half and led by eight with four minutes left, but BG switched to a zone which seemed to throw GW off and the Falcons were able to get into a little run and head into the locker room down only by one point.

GW is a good team, though, and well coached, and when BG came out of the locker room and went back to the zone, the Colonials were ready for it.  They nailed a couple of 3s right out of the box, and were up 12 before 4 minutes had elapsed.  By the midway point of the half they were up 17 and the margin hit 20 with about eight left, and stayed over 20 for the remainder of the game.

Statistically, it was all about shooting.  GW had an EFG% of 72% and BG's was 42.  The other factors were relatively even.

As we learn about our team, it becomes increasingly obvious that we are not going to be reliably able to score enough points to win games consistently.  If the team is going to win, it is going to have to be on the defensive end of the floor, and if that's going to be our identity, than games like this just can't happen.

For a final bit of sour taste, we can remind ourselves that our next guest at the Stroh is Temple, a better team from the A-10 than GW.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Clawson Presser: "Who Really Loves Football?"

Coach Clawson held his final weekly presser yesterday, as the team prepares for the Buffalo game on Friday.  The theme for much of this talk was "Who really loves football?"

This is one of those is late in the season and neither team has anything at all to play for.  Coach pointed out that if you don't love football, you have an excuse not to try.  If, however, you love football, you prepare this week as if it is any other week.  In a week like this, those guys stand out.  You build your future teams around them, and the other either "turn them or beat them out."

He said that Buffalo is a better team than their record indicates and has played very tough at home, beating OU and nearly beating NIU.

The other part of the presser was sort of an early recap of the season.  He usually does one other presser to wrap up, but he did have some things to say.

First, he said we practiced much better than we had last year.  He claimed that our worst practice this year was better than our best practice last year.  And, he said, if nothing else, a win Friday rewards the guys for all that work and launches them into the post-season with the right frame of mind.

He reminded everyone that while BG today is 4-7, we started 3-1, so it has been a while since the team has felt that feeling.

He does think we were improved over last season.  "We were in every game" except WVU...which, to me is a stretch, but that's what he said.

He said that on defense, we have to begin to make plays and not just complete their assignments.  In the OU game, for example, if one player makes one play on defense during that long 4th Q drive, then we win.  If someone makes a sack, breaks a pass up, catches Tettleton from behind, one of those plays could have won the game.

He said that last year there was a talent gap, which he feels is closed.  But everyone has talent.

This year, the team completed their assignments on defense---they were in the right gaps, in the right coverage, etc.  Now, the next step is to take that defensive unit that returns almost everyone and turn them into playmakers.

Finally, there was some talk about Thanksgiving.  The team will be travelling to Buffalo on the holiday, so it won't be much of a holiday for our guys, but when you are involved in football, it is expected.  In fact, when he coached in I-AA, he said that being home for Thanksgiving meant you didn't make the playoffs, which made for an unhappy dinner.

He said he had been married "15 or 16 years" which is kind of funny....I assume he was joking.....or, I hope that his wife doesn't watch the pressers.  Which I suspect she does not.

Anyway, he said that we are on the cusp of moving ahead.

There was some talk about the frustration of coaching.  He said something I really liked, which is that everyone's job has stress.  Sometimes I hear coaches talk about the pressure they are under and they can lose their job anytime, etc, and I just think they have no idea the pressure people are under in other jobs...people without five year (or five day) contracts.

So, it was good to have someone recognize it.

Anyway, I am sure the post-season presser will be very interesting.  We'll do some work in the off-season to look at where the improvement came.  Coach said, finally, that with all the guys coming back, if they all get just a little better in the off-season, than we get better.  If everyone got 10% better, or 20% better, than the team could make one of those quantum leaps we see when we look back on Clawson's coaching record.

The Colonials...

The George Washington Colonials will be the final opponent in the BG sub-regional for the CBE tournament thing.  If you like, you could consider this game for the championship of the sub-region, since both teams are 2-0 in the games at the Stroh.

GW plays in the A-10, which is a major basketball conference.  They were 10-6 last season in conference and 17-14 overall, which wasn't good enough for their coach to remain employed.  They brought in Tom Lonergan, a mid-major favorite who had previously coached at Vermont.  They were picked in the official A-10 poll to finish 8th.  The College Basketball Prospectus Crazy Uncle system also had them 8th, though the preview writer actually thought they would finish 3rd.

They are also 3-1 this season, with their only loss being to a ranked Cal team.  In BG, they beat Detroit by 13 and Peay by 2.

CBP tells us that Lonergan HATES HATES HATES the 3-point shot, and GW is to date 273rd in D1 for attempting 3s.  They get to the free throw line even more rarely (303rd in the nation).

CBP also tells us that Lonergan's teams make a high priority of defending the paint.  They have been very good so far this year, allowing only .92 points per possession and under 40% FG shooting.

So, that tells us that BG is going to need an outside game to loosen the inside up.  BG might want to play inside out but if GW is giving the out, they might have to show that they can take it.

Individually, they are led by pre-season all A-10 Guard Tony Taylor, who is scoring 18 points a game on over 50% shooting, which is rare for a guard.  He is over 60% from beyond the arc, when he does shoot there.  Aaron Ware is also scoring in double figures for them.  Lasan Kromah is 6'5" and missed last year with an injury and while he has yet to find his scoring touch, he leads the team in rebounding.

Given the unusual fact that we share a significant number of common opponets (2 out of 4) with GW, here are the season's 4 factors for this game.  Based on this, the game could be very competitive.  As with every game in this stretch, I think we are seeing good tests of where we are.  GW defending the paint would make them a tough match up for us, but it tests our outside players.  If BG can't score from the outside, the Colonials won't be the only team to pack the paint.

Blogpoll Week 13 is on the AIR!!

College Football Rankings 2011

Results for Week 13

# School Points/blog SD Delta
1 LSU Tigers (72) 25.00 0.00 --
2 Alabama Crimson Tide 23.79 0.60 Arrow_up 1
3 Arkansas Razorbacks 22.40 1.33 Arrow_up 3
4 Stanford Cardinal 20.46 1.95 Arrow_up 4
5 Oklahoma St. Cowboys 20.28 2.42 Arrow_down -3
6 Virginia Tech Hokies 18.49 3.40 Arrow_up 3
7 Boise St. Broncos 17.71 3.39 Arrow_up 4
8 Houston Cougars 17.28 4.66 Arrow_up 2
9 Oregon Ducks 17.17 2.51 Arrow_down -5
10 Michigan St. Spartans 14.33 3.02 Arrow_up 3
11 Oklahoma Sooners 13.67 4.32 Arrow_down -6
12 Georgia Bulldogs 13.47 3.29 --
13 USC Trojans 13.11 6.32 Arrow_up 5
14 Wisconsin Badgers 12.36 3.53 --
15 South Carolina Gamecocks 11.49 3.72 --
16 Kansas St. Wildcats 10.76 2.95 Arrow_up 1
17 Michigan Wolverines 10.13 3.10 Arrow_up 2
18 Clemson Tigers 8.81 3.04 Arrow_down -11
19 TCU Horned Frogs 7.31 3.47 Arrow_up 1
20 Penn St. Nittany Lions 7.14 2.88 Arrow_up 2
21 Baylor Bears 6.35 2.73 Arrow_up 5
22 Nebraska Cornhuskers 3.68 2.35 Arrow_down -6
23 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2.47 2.15 Arrow_up 1
24 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 2.21 2.52 Arrow_up 1
25 Virginia Cavaliers 2.17 1.97 Arrow_up 5
Others Receiving Votes: West Virginia Mountaineers | Arkansas St. Red Wolves | Tulsa Golden Hurricane | Southern Miss. Golden Eagles | Auburn Tigers | Rutgers Scarlet Knights | Arizona St. Sun Devils | Florida St. Seminoles | Missouri Tigers | Northern Illinois Huskies | Texas A&M Aggies | Texas Longhorns | Iowa St. Cyclones | Temple Owls | Toledo Rockets | UAB Blazers
Updated: Nov 23, 2011 9:24 AM EST

SB Nation BlogPoll College Football Rankings 2011