Thursday, November 29, 2012

Last Comment on MAC Awards

One last commentary on the MAC awards.

First, I believe Jones was the right pick for Defensive Player of the Year.  He is producing at a position where players often contribute just by eating up blocks.  He was somebody you had to be aware of at all times.  He was strong in the middle and deadly on the edge.  I watched him abuse one of Buffalo's tackles.

Second, I think Darrell Hazell was the obvious choice for Coach of the Year.  What he did for that program, using a lot of existing players, is simply incredible.  It was a great accomplishment after 40 years of futility for their program.

The big debate has been over Jordan Lynch and Dri Archer.  As a MAC fan, this is a great debate to be having, because both of these guys are just eye-popping players that are a credit to our conference.  I sort of expected the league to go all Solomon on the thing and give Lynch the "Vern Smith Leadership Award" and Archer the Offensive Player of the Year.

They didn't.  Lynch won them both.  And, I can't really argue with that.

Here's the thing.  Lynch led the MAC in passing efficiency while also being the leading rusher.  (He leads in passing efficiency if you eliminate a little used QB from OU.  In fact, the race for passing efficiency is not even close.)  If that isn't the offensive player of the year, than I don't know what is.

I feel bad.  In another year, Archer is a unanimous choice.  But, I don't see how you can argue with Lynch under those circumstances.  See, as the conference gets stronger, you get more of this...being just great starts to not be enough.

Same will apply to teams.  A MAC championship quality team in, say, 2007, might not cut it in 2012.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

ICSTR Neutral Field Edition

The monks have gathered once again for what was scheduled to be their final session of the year.  Now, of course, they will wait with the rest of us to see if a bowl game is in the offing.  They have been bringing in extra supplies of food and wine to fortify themselves for the unexpected (but welcome) respite.

It was not a pretty picture from Crew Stadium.  BG had a -3 day on special teams while Buffalo picked up a -6. BG had a long year in special teams, which we will eventually recap.  For now, this was a game where BG made only one out of the norm special teams play and Buffalo was putting us in bad field position on numerous plays.

BG Positive Play (+1)
BG Punt inside Buffalo 20

BG Negative Plays (-4)
BG 21 yard net punt
BG 28 yard FG blocked
UB KO return to own 44
UB KO return to own 39

UB Positive Plays (+9)
KO Touchback
UB Punt to BG 18
UB partially blocks punt, 21 yard net
UB Punt to BG 12

BG 28 yard FG blocked
UB Punt 47 yard net
UB KO return to own 44
UB KO return to own 39
UB Punt to BG 17

UB Negative Plays (-3)
Penalty creates 49 yard net punt
UB 24 yard punt
UB kickoff to BG 39

Ten Falcons Are All-MAC

Continuing with the honors for our football team, there were 10 Falcons featured on the All-MAC team as announced today by the conference.

That is the most since 2004, which was actually one year after BG last won a MAC division.

Just as importantly, the last time the Falcons had at least six defensive players named All-MAC was 1992. The three first-team All-MAC defenders has not happened at BGSU since 1994.

Which brings me to a topic we will hit in the off-season...I believe that this year's defense was the best Falcon defense since those great early Blackney teams...I will take some time to study that once things cool down.

In the meantime, here are the 10 Falcons...and below that is the entire list of winners for the MAC.

The only player that I think there was a case for was Samuel.  He did have some time lost due to injury.  He should have taken Durham's spot and his numbers are similar to Blankenship's except that Blankenship was a featured back and got a lot more carries and therefore yards, whereas Samuel did have some injuries and was splitting carries.

(Two notes:  did you know Jordan Lynch led the MAC in rushing?  And...not one of the top 10 rushers in the MAC is a senior.)

I think Dwayne Woods deserved higher than 3rd team and was hurt by the reduction in his productivity from a numeric standpoint.  Still, he's a 3-time all-MAC player and a Falcon great.

Congratulations to all ten Falcons.  We have had a great season.

2012 MAC Specialty Award Winners

Defensive Player of the Year:  DT Chris Jones, Bowling Green

2012 All-MAC First Team Defense
Outside Linebacker –Gabe Martin, Bowling Green
Down Lineman – Chris Jones, Bowling Green %&
Defensive Back – BooBoo Gates, Bowling Green

2012 All-MAC Second Team Offense
Offensive Lineman – Jordan Roussos, Bowling Green

2012 All-MAC Second Team Defense
Punter – Brian Schmiedebusch, Bowling Green &

2012 All-MAC Third Team Offense
Offensive Lineman – Dominic Flewellyn, Bowling Green
Tight End – Alex Bayer, Bowling Green

2012 All-MAC Third Team Defense
Inside Linebacker – Dwayne Woods, Bowling Green #&
Down Lineman – Ted Ouellet, Bowling Green
Defensive Back – Cam Truss, Bowling Green


2012 MAC Specialty Award Winners
Vern Smith Leadership Award Winner:  QB Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois
Coach of the Year:  Darrell Hazell, Kent State
Offensive Player of the Year:  QB Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois
Defensive Player of the Year:  DT Chris Jones, Bowling Green
Special Teams Player of the Year: KR Dri Archer, Kent State
Freshman of the Year:  WR Jaime Wilson, Western Michigan

2012 All-MAC First Team Offense
Position – Name - School
Quarterback – Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois
Center – Zac Kerin, Toledo +
Offensive Linemen – Brian Winters, Kent State +%
Offensive Lineman – Eric Fisher, Central Michigan !
Offensive Lineman – Dann O’Neill, Western Michigan !
Offensive Linemen – Austin Holtz, Ball State
Tight End – Zane Fakes, Ball State
Wide Receiver – Martel Moore, Northern Illinois
Wide Receiver – Bernard Reedy, Toledo
Wide Receiver – Willie Snead, Ball State
Wide Receiver – Jamill Smith, Ball State
Running Back – Dri Archer, Kent State
Running Back – David Fluellen, Toledo
Placekicker – Steven Schott, Ball State

2012 All-MAC First Team Defense
Position – Name - School
Outside Linebacker – Khalil Mack, Buffalo &
Outside Linebacker –Gabe Martin, Bowling Green
Inside Linebacker – Dan Molls, Toledo
Inside Linebacker – Perry McIntyre, UMass
Down Lineman – Chris Jones, Bowling Green %&
Down Lineman – Roosevelt Nix, Kent State @&
Down Lineman – Sean Progar, Northern Illinois @+
Down Lineman – Alan Baxter, Northern Illinois
Defensive Back – Jimmy Ward, Northern Illinois +
Defensive Back – Dayonne Nunley, Miami &
Defensive Back – BooBoo Gates, Bowling Green
Defensive Back – Jermaine Robinson, Toledo
Punter – Jay Karutz, Eastern Michigan

2012 All-MAC First Team Specialists
Position – Name - School
Kickoff Return Specialist – Dri Archer, Kent State
Punt Return Specialist –Bernard Reedy, Toledo

2012 All-MAC Second Team Offense
Position – Name - School
Quarterback – Keith Wenning, Ball State
Center – Skyler Allen, Ohio
Offensive Lineman – Eric Herman, Ohio +
Offensive Lineman – Josh Kline, Kent State
Offensive Lineman – Tyler Loos, Northern Illinois
Offensive Lineman – Jordan Roussos, Bowling Green
Tight End – Garrett Hoskins, Eastern Michigan !
Wide Receiver – Nick Harwell, Miami #&
Wide Receiver – Alex Neutz, Buffalo
Wide Receiver – Jaime Wilson, Western Michigan
Wide Receiver – Titus Davis, Central Michigan !
Running Back – Beau Blankenship, Ohio
Running Back – Zurlon Tipton, Central Michigan
Placekicker – Matt Weller, Ohio ^+

2012 All-MAC Second Team Defense
Position – Name - School
Outside Linebacker – Tyrone Clark, Northern Illinois
Outside Linebacker – Justin Cudworth, Eastern Michigan !
Inside Linebacker – Travis Freeman, Ball State +
Inside Linebacker – Luke Batton, Kent State !
Down Lineman – Jonathon Newsome, Ball State
Down Lineman – Freddie Bishop, Western Michigan !
Down Lineman – Steven Means, Buffalo
Down Lineman – Andy Mulumba, Eastern Michigan
Defensive Back – Jahleel Addae, Central Michigan %&
Defensive Back – Luke Wollet, Kent State !
Defensive Back – Darren Thellen, UMass
Defensive Back – Justin Currie, Western Michigan
Punter – Brian Schmiedebusch, Bowling Green &

2012 All-MAC Second Team Specialists
Position – Name - School
Kickoff Return Specialist – Bernard Reedy, Toledo
Punt Return Specialist – Jaime Wilson, Western Michigan

2012 All-MAC Third Team Offense
Position – Name - School
Quarterback – Zac Dysert, Miami
Center – Kevin Galeher, Western Michigan
Offensive Lineman – Greg Mancz, Toledo
Offensive Lineman – Dominic Flewellyn, Bowling Green
Offensive Lineman – Jordan Hansel, Ball State +
Offensive Lineman – Cam Lowry, Ball State
Tight End – Alex Bayer, Bowling Green
Wide Receiver – Marquelo Suel, Akron
Wide Receiver – Andy Cruse, Miami
Wide Receiver – Cody Wilson, Central Michigan #!
Wide Receiver – Alonzo Russell, Toledo
Running Back – Jahwan Edwards, Ball State
Running Back – Trayion Durham, Kent State
Placekicker – Jeremiah Detmer, Toledo

2012 All-MAC Third Team Defense
Position – Name - School
Outside Linebacker – C.J. Malauulu, Kent State +
Outside Linebacker – Alphonso Lewis, Ohio
Inside Linebacker – Dwayne Woods, Bowling Green #&
Inside Linebacker – Desmond Bozeman, Western Michigan
Down Lineman – Nate Ollie, Ball State +
Down Lineman – Jake Dooley, Kent State
Down Lineman – Neal Huynh, Ohio
Down Lineman – Ted Ouellet, Bowling Green
Defensive Back – Cam Truss, Bowling Green
Defensive Back – Eric Patterson, Ball State
Defensive Back – Cheatham Norrils, Toledo
Defensive Back – Johnnie Simon, Western Michigan +
Punter – Colter Johnson, UMass

2012 All-MAC Third Team Specialists
Position – Name - School
Kickoff Return Specialist – Jamill Smith, Ball State
Punt Return Specialist – Jamill Smith, Ball State +

& 2011 First team All-MAC
+ 2011 Second team All-MAC
! 2011 Third team All-MAC
@ 2010 First team All-MAC
# 2010 Second team All-MAC
% 2010 Third team All-MAC
^ 2009 First team All-MAC

Chris Jones MAC Defensive Player of the Year!!

Very good day for our program.  The All-MAC teams were also good to us, and I will take a look at that in a while.  But, in the meantime, I wanted to make sure the Falcon Nation took a moment to appreciate the career of Chris "War Daddy" Jones, who is our first MAC Defensive Player of the year since 1994.  (Vince Palko won it in 93 and 94.  Before that, you have to to back to Phil Villipiano.)

In addition to leading the dominant defensive unit in the conference, here are Jones' individual credentials.
The senior ranks third in the country with 12.5 sacks and seventh in tackles for loss and added 41 tackles in 2012. Jones was named MAC East Defensive Player of the Week three different times, recording five tackles, 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss versus Idaho, added four tackles and two sacks at Toledo and had five stops, 2.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss in a win versus Miami.
Chris was a true warrior for our team and gave everything he had. The summers, the time in the weight room, the constant effort on the field...this was excellence that was earned, and we thank him for it.  He will always be a Falcon in our hearts.

Black-Clad Falcons Surprise Titans

That, my friends, was a nice win.  The Falcons took on a very good Detroit team at the Stroh and played a very tight competitive game with them for 24 minutes or so and in the end BG was able to gut out the win over a good team.  It was the first D1 win over the year and over a very talented team.  Yes, it was at home, but still a nice win.

It featured everything I think that Falcons will need to win.

  • BG defended the shot, holding the Titans to 38% from the field and 18% from beyond the arc.
  • BG made some shots, shooting 46% from the field and 40% from beyond the arc.
  • BG got to the line 22 times and made 77% of its free throws.
  • BG took excellent care of the ball with 10 turnovers.
  • While BG had only one double figured scorer, that was Crawford who had 26 points, 9 of 16 shooting and 5 of 10 on 3s, outscoring McCallum by 1 point.
  • However, BG got contributions from a bunch of guys:
  • Calhoun had 9 points and 5 rebounds. (The important point here is that Detroit really limited Calhoun's shots and the Falcons still scored).
  • Orr led the team with 7 rebounds and added 8 points on 6-6 from the line.
  • Cam Black had 4 points, 3 rebounds and 3 blocks.
  • Clarke had 7 points and 3 assists in 18 minutes.
  • Holmes had 5 points, 5 boards and 2 blocks in 12 minutes.
  • Anthony Henderson had 6 points in 7 minutes.
  • James Erger even stroked a 3.

As you can see, the other area BG lacked on was on rebounding.  The Falcons rode that big shooting advantage and combined it with breaking even on turnovers and free throws, and that's how the win came together.

BG scored 1.13 points per possession and held the Titans to 1.05, which is not a great number overall.  The Titans did take care of the ball well and that helps and they were good from the line as well.

The flow of the game was very interesting.  With 4 minutes left in the first half, BG was up by 14 points.  The Titans switched to a 2-3 zone and BG completely fell apart and Detroit had an 11-1 run coming home to head to the locker room only down 4, which had to have them feeling pretty good.

About 7 minutes into the second half Detroit led and the game was tied just inside the 10 minute mark.  From there, however, BG lead the entire way.  I think a game like this is a great early season test.  Almost all of those last 10 minutes took place with a score no more than 2 possessions apart. That kind of extended, tense play is a good opportunity to see what you have, and BG was able to hold the line the entire way.

With 1:39 left, BG led by 2.  Cam Black missed a shot and Calhoun was fouled on the stick back.  He split the pair and BG led by 3.  The game was really down to one stop and the Falcons got it on a missed 3 from Minnerath.  Crawford secured the board, was fouled, and hit both free throws and BG was up 5 with :48 left.  It was never a one possession game, so it did come down that stop.

And so BG picks up its first D1 win.  You can almost feel like something started to come together in the Huntsville game.  BG has a run of 4 more home games---Youngstown, Wright State, Samford and Sparty.  A team that plays anything like this one did--and there is room for improvement--and we could be in for a surprising season.  You can't read too much into 1 (or 2) games.  On the other hand, the team is clearly playing much better than it did even against Central State or Cleveland State.  Maybe some things just had to gel.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Falcons Men's Basketballers Sign NLI

No big news here, the three guys BG expected to get signed their NLI back when the signing period open.  The University has been rolling out (or along) these announcements and the men's hoopsters were just announced.

The players are Zach Denny, Garret Mayleben and J.D. Tisdale.  As always, these guys all look really good and it will be exciting to see how they develop in orange and brown.  I'd say that Tisdale is the most ready to play and his length would be really valuable for us at guard.  Denny would provide some shooting, and Mayleben seems to be a big guy who has upside but is still developing.

Welcome to the Falcons, Zach, Garrett and J.D!

Below you can find brief bios of the Falcon players and Coach Orr's comments taken from the BGSU official release.

Tisdale, a 6-foot-5 point guard from Flint, Mich. (Swartz Creek High School), averaged 13 points, nine rebounds and five assists per game as a junior. He was named second team all-area by the Flint Journal. At the AAU level, Tisdale has been coached by Marcellus Miller, while

“J.D. is an extremely talented and athletic point guard who has size, vision and explosiveness,” Orr said. “His ability to see over the defense at 6-5 and make plays for others and himself gives him an advantage over most other guards. He is creative and very active in the open floor and he has the ability to get to the rim and finish. With his length and quickness, he is a very good on-ball defender and rebounder. J.D. is a student of the game and he has the ability to impact the game positively in a variety of ways. He is a very hard worker, a good teammate and a quality young man. We are extremely pleased and excited to welcome him and his family to our Falcon Family.”

Denny, a 6-foot-2 shooting guard from Germantown, Ohio (Valley View High School), led the state of Ohio in scoring as a junior, averaging 28.8 points per game. He was a Division II All-Ohio Special Mention award winner and All-Ohio Honorable Mention as a sophomore after averaging 24.5 points per game. Denny has a single-game scoring high of 42 points heading into his senior season and he is coached by Ben Buehner.

“Zach is one of the best shooters and scorers in the state of Ohio,” Orr said. “He is a deadly three-pointer shooter, but also has the ability to score in a variety of ways. He is a very affective ball-handler and passer with a high IQ. He is a high-energy player that is active on both ends of the floor and he gets his hands on a lot of balls defensively. Zack is an extremely hard worker and a young man who puts the time in to improve his game. His ability to stretch the defense with his three-point shooting will be an added weapon for us. Zach is a good teammate and a quality young man. We are extremely pleased and excited to welcome him and his family to our Falcon Family.”

Mayleben, a 6-foot-9 forward from Milford, Ohio (Milford High School), averaged 7.6 points and 4.7 rebounds per game as a junior under head coach Joe Cambron. He was honorable mention all-conference at Milford.

“Garrett is a skilled and active big man who brings a lot of energy and effort to the court,” Orr said. “At 6-9, he has very good size and length. Garrett has a nice touch from the perimeter and can handle the ball. He has the ability to score and he is comfortable facing the basket as well as playing in the post. He is a versatile and active defender who runs the floor well and is an affective rebounder. Garrett has a high IQ for the game and is a hard worker with big upside. With his size, skill and talent, Garrett will continue to grow as a player.”

Two New Falcon Football Verbals...

After a long down period, BG has two new football verbals.  This brings the total to 13 (so far as we know) and Coach apparently has said we might end up with 14, so we're possibly getting close.

Both players are from Florida RBs.

The highest ranked one is a RB named Eric Harrell.  He is a 3-star recruit on, who shows him as our second best recruit to date.  He plays for Dr. Phillips in Orlando  (WR Chris Gallon is also a Dr. Phillips product).  That's the state's #1 team.  Harrell scored 3 TDs in a recent state playoff game and 2 TDs in the next game.

He reportedly had offers from Kansas and FIU.  The ESPN report on him is pretty positive, stating that he can run inside and out and catch the ball as well.  Its possible he ends up at BG because he's only 5'8" and 190 but from the description it seems like he could be really good player for us.

The other player is also a RB from Orlando, named Brandon English (He attends Evans).  He committed to BG even though he has yet to visit the school.  BG showed him a lot of love, and Clawson and Ruggerio are expected down there soon.

English has also been a productive runner.
As a senior, English had 975 yards and 18 rushing touchdowns on 155 carries and caught nine passes for another 221 yards and two touchdowns.
He reportedly had offers from Temple, UCF, UMass and Middle Tennessee among others.

Eric, Brandon....Welcome to the Falcons!!

Benchmarks, UB Edition

So, somewhat belatedly, here are the benchmarks for the Buffalo game.

A few notes:

Counting sacks, Buffalo tried 38 passes and was sacked on 7 of them, with is almost 20% and is 3x the MAC average.  This is pretty dominating.

From BG's perspective, however, throwing 3 picks on only 30 passing attempts is not good.  Note that BG was not sacked.

Neither team ran the ball well, but Buffalo's yardage without sacks was decent.  The differene was that they had a very unproductive passing game as well.  BG's passing game was relatively efficient.  It is rare to complete 60% of your passes and have over 12 yards per reception.

BG's kickoff coverage didn't end up too bad, though there were some bad examples early on.

Another big key was 3rd down.  BG was at 44% (average) and Buffalo was only at 13%.  The ability to close out on 3rd down is defining for a defense.

This was that rare game when BG won despite losing the turnover battle, and that is 100% attributable to the defense.

This week's BlogPoll is On the AIR!!!

College Football Rankings 2011

Results for Week 13

# School Points/blog SD Delta
1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (61) 25.13 2.92 --
2 Alabama Crimson Tide (5) 23.66 2.56 --
3 Oregon Ducks 21.83 2.18 --
4 Georgia Bulldogs (1) 21.44 0.95 --
5 Florida Gators (1) 21.24 1.28 Arrow_up 1
6 Ohio St. Buckeyes (3) 19.70 6.12 Arrow_up 1
7 Kansas St. Wildcats 19.39 0.92 Arrow_down -2
8 Stanford Cardinal 17.69 0.12 Arrow_up 2
9 LSU Tigers 17.41 0.71 --
10 Texas A&M Aggies 17.16 1.02 Arrow_up 1
11 South Carolina Gamecocks 15.23 0.94 Arrow_up 3
12 Oklahoma Sooners 14.04 2.42 Arrow_up 1
13 Florida St. Seminoles 13.09 1.26 Arrow_down -5
14 Nebraska Cornhuskers 12.09 1.33 Arrow_up 2
15 Clemson Tigers 11.17 1.24 Arrow_down -3
16 Oregon St. Beavers 8.09 3.44 Arrow_up 1
17 UCLA Bruins 8.06 2.45 Arrow_down -2
18 Kent St. Golden Flashes 7.61 3.67 Arrow_up 5
19 Northern Illinois Huskies 6.83 3.76 Arrow_up 5
20 Utah State Aggies 4.74 2.58 Arrow_up 6
21 Northwestern Wildcats 3.66 2.88 Arrow_up 7
22 Michigan Wolverines 3.36 3.08 Arrow_down -1
23 Boise St. Broncos 3.13 3.24 Arrow_up 2
24 Oklahoma St. Cowboys 2.70 3.30 Arrow_down -2
25 Texas Longhorns 2.50 2.97 Arrow_down -7
Others Receiving Votes: San Jose St. Spartans | Louisville Cardinals | Rutgers Scarlet Knights | Penn St. Nittany Lions | Vanderbilt Commodores | TCU Horned Frogs | Louisiana Tech Bulldogs | Fresno St. Bulldogs | Ball St. Cardinals | San Diego St. Aztecs | Cincinnati Bearcats | Mississippi St. Bulldogs | Central Florida Knights | USC Trojans | Arizona Wildcats | Washington Huskies | Toledo Rockets | Arizona St. Sun Devils | North Carolina Tar Heels | Arkansas St. Red Wolves | Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Updated: Nov 27, 2012 10:02 AM EST

Titans Preview, Remember?

The Detroit Titans will make their way Tuesday into the Stroh Center.  They are riding as high as they have since the days that Dickie V was on the sidelines, and this will be a difficult challenge for the Falcons.

Last year, the Titans were 22-14 and won the Horizon Tournament.  They appeared in the NCAA Tourney, were a #15 and fell to Kansas in the first round.

From that team they lost big Eli Holman (11.7/7), Chase Simon (13 ppg) and shot blocker (#21 in D1) LaMarcus Lowe.  Right there you got 2 guys who are over 6'10" leaving and Simon was a 6'6" long guard.

Despite this, hopes are high for the Titans this year.  In their pre-season poll they were picked to finish #2 in the league and College Basketball Prospectus made the same call.

There are good reasons for this, and they start with Ray McCallum Jr., who is the pre-season pick to be the league's POY.  He was good for 15 points and 4 assists per game last year and is averaging over 19 so far this season.  He also brings back Jason Calliste, the team's top 3-point shooter, and 6'6" Sr. F Doug Anderson who had 9/4 last year.

They have a number of newcomers.  They have 3 JUCO players coming in, as well as Juwan Howard Jr., who, I am sure you recall, started his career in Kalamazoo.  F Nick Minnirath is also back after a medical red shirt last year, but he was scoring 12 when he went down.  Finally, they have a 6'5" G named Anton Wilson who was a top-150 recruit though he is seeing only a few minutes a game.

BG and Detroit played at the Stroh last year as part of the  "CBE Tournament."  BG beat a short-handed Titan team 67-61, holding McCallum to 11 points.  For BG, Calhoun had 14 and Scott Thomas had 11 in the game.

 The Titans are 2-2, which is about what you would expect given their schedule.  They have wins over Northern Michigan (non D1) and then a win over Drake at Calihan Hall.  Their losses were @St. John's and @Miami (F).  The loss to the Red Storm was only by 3 with a missed 3FG at the buzzer keeping the game out of overtime.

In addition to McCallum's 19 and 4 assists per game (and shooting 48% from the field), Doug Anderson is scoring 16 and getting 8.8 boards.  Calliste and Minnerath are both scoring 12.5 PPG.

For all that, statistically they appear to be pretty even with BG, not accounting for schedule strength.  The Titans are scoring 1.03 per possession against .95 on defense, with BG at .99 and 1.01.

This is big challenge for BG in their first D1 game at the Stroh this year.  If you are looking for a key to the game, BG is going to have to play really good team defense to compete with Detroit, and much of it will have to be in transition.  To help there, BG needs to defend well, but also making baskets here and there could help slow that down as well.  The inside matchups on Anderson and Minnerath will be critical as well as a good test for Black and Holmes in the paint.

Monday, November 26, 2012

John Pettigrew Honored...

John Pettigrew was named MAC East Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against Buffalo last Friday at Crew Stadium.  He had a career high 29 carries.  It is very nice for him to win the award.  He's been a guy who really emerged in his senior season and played a huge role for the Falcons.  Hopefully, he'll get one more chance to show what he can do.

The senior ran for 93 yards on a career-high 29 carries, helping the Falcons to a 21-7 win versus Buffalo at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Pettigrew added 33 yards through the air on three receptions, finishing the contest with 126 all-purpose yards.

Blogpoll Draft Ballot

Past and Future Opponent Land

Florida: (11-1) Beat Florida State
Idaho (1-11) Lost to Utah State
Toledo (9-3) Beat Akron
Virginia Tech (6-6) Beat Virginia
Rhode Island (0-11)  Schedule complete
Akron (1-11) Lost to UT.
Miami (4-8) Lost to Ball State
Umass (1-11) Lost to CMU
EMU (2-10) Lost to NIU
OU (8-4) Lost to Kent
Kent (11-1)  Beat OU

2012 MAC vs:

All out of conference: 24-26
All FBS: 16-25
All FCS: 10-1
All BCS: 8-20

Saturday, November 24, 2012

We're taking a break...

November is always crazy with both football and basketball in full force.  We're going to go quiet here for a couple days.  Back Monday with more on the Buffalo game and a Detroit Titan men's basketball preview.

Black Friday Bash

So, when the Black Friday Bash was announced last April I wasn't a fan.  I had a lot to say about it, and none of it was good.  You can go back and read what I had to say here.

I was there yesterday, and while I don't think it was a huge success, it certainly succeeded beyond what I predicted it would.  I give the administration credit for having the idea and then putting the effort into making sure a credible effort was achieved.

The announced crowd was 11,000+.  I didn't think it was that big but it was certainly not embrassassing.  (I'm not even sure if they announce tickets sold or people actually in attendance.  Note that after I wrote this I read in The Blade that John Wagner estimated there were 5,000 people physically present.)  For comparison, two years ago at 2-9 BG drew an announced crowd of 5,121, which, while not good and probably inflated, is twice as high as people have been making it sound this week.  The weather yesterday was as brutal in Columbus as it was in BG and I don't expect it would have helped.

On the other hand, this team wasn't 2-9.

You'd want to be more than a little higher in order to justify all the effort that goes into something like this.  I'm not sure it reached that level or the level of the "university-wide" event that was predicted, but it certainly was a moderate success and not the abject disaster that I thought it would be.

The best part:  The Crew have figured out how to have hot drinks available after the first quarter.  Our people should meet with them on this topic.

The worst part:  My "comparable" tickets moved me from the 50 to the 25.

I guess the question is what will happen in two years when BG has another home game the day after the holiday.

That stadium is ideal for a event like this, because it is a classy venue that isn't too big.  I don't know if something similar exists in other cities.

I still don't think that you should automatically charge season ticket holders for a game outside your stadium.  It should be an opt-in on the order form.  Yes, I know you could exchange them, it isn't the same thing.  Maybe now that we know people will come, we can move to that.  I don't think it is fair to beat people up to buy season tickets and then they find out after they buy that they have already paid for tickets to a game two hours away from home.

And, I would hate to see us play a very important game on a neutral field when we could be on home field--and there's more to a home field advantage than having your crowd in an unfamiliar venue.

For comparison, EMU had an announced crowd of 1,349, Kent reported 18K and Miami report a little over 8K.

Anyway, just wanted to close the loop on that.  We had a good time, for whatever it is worth.  It was a lot of driving but it was a pretty good time and a nice place to watch a football game.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Win #8 For Falcons

On a cold, blustery day with decidedly BG winds, the Falcons closed out their regular season with a very comfortable 21-7 win at Crew Stadium.  BG played absolutely dominant defense and was only one utterly botched screen pass from a shut out and so while the offense only scored 21, it was a game in which you were pretty sure Buffalo wasn't going to score many on us.

We'll have more on the Black Friday Bash itself tomorrow.  Tonight, the game....

It was the kind of game we have come to expect from the Falcons...and maybe a little more.  Buffalo seemed determined to stop the run and they were very successful against Samuel.  That opened up the passing game, and BG was pretty effective in the first half, distributing the ball around effectively and leading 14-0 at halftime.

In the second half, BG had an INT on their first drive then a touchdown on their next drive, and then the former BG offense made an appearance  finishing the game with 5 punts and an INT in the last 6 drives, and not one of the drives lasting longer than 3 plays.  And yes, I am sure we were being conservative, but there was more than that going on.

Meanwhile, the defense was just stifling.  BG had an incredible 7 sacks on the game, with 4 of them coming on 3rd or 4th down.  BG also had 8 pass breakups, and virtually flawless open field tackling.

For the game, the Bulls had 3.3 yards per play.  Even without sacks they only ran for 3.2 yards per carry and they completed only 42% of their passes.  They had 11 first downs and four of those came in garbage time when the issue was decided.  When you hold a conference opponent to 7 first downs over the meaningful portion of a game, you're doing pretty well.

The offense also put them in trouble a couple of times.  BG threw a pic on its first play and not long after that there was a partially blocked punt, but the defense still stifled the Bulls.

For the first 10 drives the Bulls had, there were 9 punts and a fumble.  The longest of those drives was 23 yards.

That's the basis for why the game was not as close as the score indicated.  BG's defense was just fantastic.

The offense was good enough.  BG had 4.3 yards per play, which is nothing special, and struggled for considerable parts of the game to run the ball.  Samuel was very ineffective (finishing with negative net yards) and then left with a thigh bruise.  John Pettigrew, however, was effective in his final regular season game, gaining 93 yards on 29 workhorse carries.  (Andre Givens had 1 carry for -4 and left the game after that one play with Coach in his ear the whole way).

Coach had nice things to say about Pettigrew, saying that for a long time he didn't think he would ever play a down, but when he was forced to play against Buffalo at the end of last year, the light seemed to come on and he began to prepare himself better and had a very good year for the Falcons.  Now coach wishes we had red-shirted him in 2009.

The passing game was effective for the first part of the game and then softened a lot after that.  BG had over 200 passing yards at halftime.  As always, with a lead, BG runs the ball a lot in the second half.

From our closer-to-the-field vantage point, I noticed Coach was in Schilz's ear quite a bit on the sidelines.  He threw 3 INTs and that doesn't count one that was called back due to a hands to the face penalty against Buffalo (a pretty huge play in the game.  They had returned it to the BG 12 and instead BG was still in the red zone, though a blocked FG kept BG from fully capitalizing).

The third interception was the biggest disappointment.  BG was up 21-0 and the defense playing for a shut out and the Falcons were in a very safe offensive mindset.  BG threw a screen and Schilz buried the ball in the Buffalo lineman from about four yards away.  No idea where the ball was going.  The INT led to the only Buffalo points and without it, I'm very sure there would have been a shut out for the defense.

After the game, Coach said he was "kicking himself" for okaying even that pass.  He said that Schilz, a 3rd year starter, just can't make that play, and you'd be hard pressed to disagree with that.

He also said that the first INT was a ball Joplin should have been able to make a play on.

Chris Gallon had 5 catches and Shaun Joplin had 3 with 1 for a highlight reel TD at the end of the first half.

On defense, Dwayne Woods, in his last regular season game, had 6 tackles, 2 sacks and 3 TFL.  DJ Lynch had 6 tackles and Chris Jones had 5.  Coach said that Buffalo has a very strong offensive line and that we knew we wouldn't be able to get pressure with just 4 lineman rushing and so we blitzed a lot more than normal and the high sack number would certainly indicate that it worked.

And so now the waiting begins.  I believe BG will be in a bowl game, but nothing will be known for a week or so.  I think with 8-4 we have probably earned our way in, and I'm certainly hopeful these guys will get to play together one more time.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

25 questions for Black Friday - You mean I was at the mall at 4 AM and I could have been at the Black Friday Bash?
What is their (Buffalo's) body of work?

Buffalo has had a tough year, probably better than the 4-7 record would indicate but at the same time not as good as Coach Clawson made it sound.  They have only 3 FBS wins, and the others were over 1-10 UMass, a WMU team where the coach got fired and a Miami team that isn't great.  On the other hand, they have won 3 in a row, lost by 5 to Toledo, 7 to OU, 7 to Uconn.  As I said, in a way they remind me of our team last year.  They had a tough MAC schedule (crossovers with UT, NIU) but overall their schedule is not as tough as Coach made it sound.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 26 on their two deep which is a pretty decent number.  Most of those guy are juniors--like BG, they have few seniors in the 2-deep (6).

Who are their statistical leaders?

Khalil Mack, a genuine stud, is tied for 2nd in the FBS for tackles for loss.

What is their turnover ratio?

This is a significant issue. They are -8, 11th in the MAC.  Their per play statistics aren't showing up in scoring.  They have gained only 13 turnovers, tied for last in the MAC.

These people did not hear about the Black Friday Bash.


How is their QB Play?

It is a pretty good question.  They started the season with Alex Zordich at the helm.  He was a dual threat kinda guy and was injured heading into the Miami game and they brought in R-FR Joe Licata and he has been starting since then and during their 3 game winning streak.  He is a uni-threat QB, but has a strong arm and Buffalo has altered the playbook for him.  He has increased the team's numbers across the board, but Zordich was not a passed--efficiency rating 109.  Licata has 123, but that's still not in the top 10 in the MAC.

What is their scoring and yards per play?

For the year they are 12th in the MAC in scoring.  Over the past 3 games they have averaged 28 points, with would be in the middle of the pack.  Their overall production, 5.4 yards per play, is tied for 11th in the conference.

Can they run the ball?

They have a decent running attack.  They are tied for 6th with 4.6 yards per carry.  Now, that includes Zordich's production and Branden Oliver, their top TB, who is questionable for the game.

Do they pass the ball?

For the season they are 11th in the MAC.  Licata has (as noted) improved that, but the opposition wasn't great.

How is their run/pass balance?

They have been a run focused team. They run the ball on 57% of their plays.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They are 12th in the MAC.

I can more or less guarantee you won't get trampled
Friday at Crew Stadium.
Do they score in the red zone?

4.2 points per trip is below average and 3 trips per game is on the low side of average.

Do they protect the quarterback?

They give up sacks on 5.7% of their pass plays, which is good but nothing great.

In general, I'd like to think this is a good opportunity for our defense to reassert itself.  This is a decent offensive team but not a great offensive team with a young QB who is not a threat to run.  We have defended the pass very effectively and if we can pick it back up against the run, I'd like to think we win this battle.  Extra emphasis if Oliver does not play.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They are 3rd in the MAC in yards per play and #6 in scoring defense.  That's an artifact of the turnover issues.  They have a pretty good defense.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are good.  They are 3rd in the MAC in yards per rush allowed.  Dri Archer had 127 against them.

Can they be passed on?

They are good--4th in the MAC.  They allow only 55% completion percentage.  They do allow 13 yards per completion, which is a lot and they have 10 INTs.  As we will see later, that combines with one of the nation's top pass rushes.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They do, they are 3rd in the MAC.

Whether you get arrested is another matter.
Do they defend in the red zone?

They allow 4 trips per game, which is on the high side of average but not terrible.  (Turnover artifact).  Once there, teams score only 4.5 points per trip.

Do they pressure the QB?

They are 8th in FBS and #1 in the MAC in sacks.  That's 8.8% of the passing attempts against them.  Accordingly, I would expect a steady diet of 3 step drops a max protect routes from the Falcons.

To win this game, BG will have to reassert the running game and win more along the model of what you saw during the winning streak.  I would expect Buffalo to do exactly what Kent did--commit to stopping the run--but Buffalo has been susceptible to long passes.  Their pass rush has to be a concern but I believe BG will need some semblance of a passing game or stifling defense to win.

Special Teams:


They are last in the MAC in net punting and have been blocked twice.

Punt Return?

They are 11th in the MAC with no TDs and a block.


The guy has a long but less accurate leg.  He is 4-5 over 40 with a long of 49 but only 7 of 10 inside 40.  Is it easier to kick in a soccer stadium?


They are worst in the MAC, allowing teams to start on the 33.  They have given up 2 TDs, and this presents a nice opportunity for Boo Boo or Pettigrew.

Kickoff Return?

They are 12th in the MAC and start on the 25, which is right where you would start on a touchback.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

A couple of things.  OK, three.

First, we don't know what to expect on the neutral field.  Coach feels it is a football like atmosphere, but it is a neutral field game.  A related issue will be exactly what kind of crowd BG will have behind it.  If BG alumni do turn out, that will help.

Second, we don't know what to expect from Buffalo.  Last year when we ended the season with them, Coach said it would show "who loved football" because there was nothing else to play for.  Buffalo is in that position, so it will be interesting to see how they react.

Third, BG is coming off a tough loss.  Will they respond and play well or will they come out and play like a team who left everything at the Doyt last Saturday?