Monday, September 30, 2013

Sentinel Reports Four Men's Basketball Players Suspended as Practice Starts

From the Sentinel, BG had four players suspended for breaking team rules as practice started.  Craig Sealey, Spencer Parker and Josh Gomez (who has yet to appear in a game) were suspended one week for breaking team rules.  Richaun Holmes was suspended 3 days for the same thing--violating team rules.  The Sentinel said the Holmes suspension was for a separate incident.

Obviously, optimism is in pretty short supply around the men's program.  You never know, but on paper BG has as little proven talent as it has had since the end of the Dakich years.  There are some decent players and some who might improve and I never want to be too bleak, but on paper it isn't good and the Coach is in the last year of his contract.

My point is that something like this either doesn't help or isn't a good sign.  Coach puts the best spin on it...good to get it out of the way early...but certainly not the way you'd like to start out a season that was already shaky.

Jones Makes NFL Debut

Chris Jones made his NFL debut last night for the Patriots.  He was active for the first time, got into the game and had a tackle-assist in the 4th Q to get himself onto the statsheet for the first time.

As you will recall, he was drafted by the Texans who cut him.  He was signed briefly by Tampa Bay, was released there as well (in what might have been the best thing to ever happen to him) and then he was signed by New England.

Great job, Chris!

Travis Greene MAC East Offensive POTW

The awards kept on rolling for BG, as Travis Greene was named the MAC East Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Zips.  I kind of suspected he would be the favorite after rushing for 142 and having 71 rushing yards.  It was a huge day, the best in his short career, and shows promise for the future.

BG's offense is much improved this year.  There are a number of components, but the biggest surprises have been the play of Matt Johnson (which everyone thinks about) and Travis Greene (which fewer might think about).  You lose a guy like Anthon Samuel, have injuries effecting your back up (Jamel Martin) and you move a guy from WR and he is producing like this?  Just a huge break and a good example of what happens when you recruit guys who are football players.

Congrats Travis.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Past and Future Opponent Land

A look at how our opponents fared this weekend....

Only 2 FBS wins for our opponents this week.

Tulsa (1-3)  Lost 38-21 to Iowa State
Kent (2-3)  Beat WMU
Indiana (2-2) Idle Hoosiers are the devil's work
Murray State (3-2)  Beat Jacksonville State in OT
Umass (0-4) Off.
Mississippi State (2-2) Off.
Toledo (2-3)  Lost @ Ball State
Miami (0-4) Ouch.  Creamed by Illinois.
Ohio (3-1)  Gone fishin'
EMU (1-3)  No game on their schedule.
Buffalo (2-2) Huge win @UConn.

In the FWIW category, Michigan has almost lost to two teams this year.  BG beat Akron by 17 and Buffalo beat UConn by 29.  #MACtion.

2013 Totals:
MAC vs. FBS: 8-26
MAC vs BCS: 3-21
MAC vs FCS: 10-2

Sweet Victory #4: The Special Teams

I think when the numbers shake out, they will show BG had a pretty good day with special teams.  There were no game breaking plays, but solid performance.

  • There were 3 touchbacks on kickoffs and one stopped inside the 20, out of 6 total kicks.
  • We killed a punt on the 2.
  • Overall, BG had 41 yards net per punt.
  • BG hit its only FG.

Meanwhile, Akron had 3 plays that really cost them.

The first came in the 2nd Q when the Zips were 4-10 on the BG 36.  The Zips lined up to go for it and BG called time.  You kind of suspect a pooch punt in that situation, but we were not taking any chances.  The timeout lasts approximately as long as a chemistry final, and by the time BG gets back to play, Akron lines up in the same formation.  Now, it seems to me that the advantage of the pooch punt is the element of surprise, which was gone.  Me, I put my punter back there.  Akron goes ahead with the pooch and dude kicks it sideways for one net yard.  Might as well have really gone for it.

It was an important play.  Instead of pinning BG deep, the Falcons started on their own 35 and drove for their first TD.

The second one came with BG up 3 and Akron punting from its own 38.  Akron only punted 22 yards on that play and BG started on its 40 and scored on the Matt Johnson-shovel pass to Greene.

The final one was early in the 4th with Akron on the one inch line.  They are down 10, so they decide to go for the FG.  It is possibly the shortest field goal in the history of football.  There has been no shorter one.  And the Doyt-Stein curse struck again.  Robert Stein clanked the upright for an unbelievable miss to leave the Zips with no points.

So BG played solid special teams and Akron had three critical errors.  They did make a difference.

Sweet Victory #4: The defense.

The defense was having the same problem the offense was having...struggling to get things going.  In that sense, it felt a little bit like the Kent game, where the opponents started out moving the ball around and then the defense found their bearings and that was it.

Akron scored on their first two drives.  One was on a 51 yard TD pass where BG bit on a double move (Clawson said BG gave up a "cheap one") and then a 12-play 72 yard drive for another TD.  (Note...the drive was assisted by a couple of atrocious calls, including a pass interference where the QB was throwing the ball away.)

I looked down on the sidelines.  BG's defensive coaches were talking to the players.  There was no yelling.  No screaming.  Just coaches talking, players listening.

After that, Akron did not score again.  Akron had 134 yards in the 1st Q and 162 the rest of the way.

My observation would be that BG is successful when it gets pressure on the QB.  There wasn't much in the first half, but the second half was a different story.  There may not have been sacks, but the pressure was disrupting Pohl and it made a difference.

I wrote yesterday about the play Gabe Martin made on that key drive when BG was up 10.  It was just huge to be in space and be able to jump up and deflect that pass.  I think he was spying Pohl for the run...when Coaches talk about making plays, that's what they talk about.  How often do you look back and see the player miss the ball by an inch?

Another individual who deserves credit is Aaron Foster.  He was in the mix a lot.  The Zips showed no willingness to throw near Cam Truss.  He was the player beaten on the double move, but he played himself a great game....10 tackles, one for loss and 3 pass break ups.

The other is Boo Boo Gates.  He had 7 tackles but when the defense was struggling in the 1Q, it always seemed to be Boo Boo who was making the plays.

Ted Ouelette did not play, and Coach said BG had d-lineman who had to play more reps than they are accustomed to, and in the end they delivered.

In the end, Akron had 3.9 yards per rush, 5.4 per passing attempt, and 4.8 yards per play, all very solid production for the Falcon defense.

One last thing.  There were at least a couple times when BG stopped Akron less than a yard from where they needed to be...once on the goal line, and once in the middle of the field.  Coach has talked about BG increasing their strength, and this was a really good example of that paying off.  In other years, that guy gets upfield but BG was able to prevent a push in a situation where six inches was vital.

BG obviously misses Chris Jones on passing downs and has to blitz more on account of it, but the defense is producing this year to date.

Sweet Victory #4: The Offense

So, let's take a look at BG's offensive performance.

BG came out of the gate pretty sloppy.  There were a couple of dropped passes, and BG went 3 and out on 3 of the 4 1st Q possessions...there were also 3 sacks of Johnson....66 yards on 17 plays, which is obviously not very good.

Things picked up a little in the 2nd Q.  BG had the ball twice.  The first drive got 2 first downs and at least flipped field position and the second drive was a touchdown drive that concluded with a circus catch by Shaun Joplin.  Even in the 2nd Q, however, Johnson was sacked three additional times.

And, note this....Johnson was getting lit up.  They were just pounding him.  He's tough though--that's how they grow them in PA--and he kept coming at them.

The second half was a completely different story.  You have to give a lot of credit to our offensive coaches, led by Warren Ruggerio.  BG made adjustments and things really turned around.  There were no more sacks.  Johnson was 11-11 for 153 yards in the 2nd half, and played about as well as you can play.  When you are getting 13.9 yards per PASSING ATTEMPT???  Yeah, that's gonna get the job done.

The most visible adjustment was to move Johnson around.  He was rolling out, both on straight roll outs and off a pivot.  He was devastatingly effective.  The downside of rolling out is you reduce the amount of field the defense has to cover, which logically means you are going to have to fit the ball into tight spots...something Johnson is 100% comfortable doing.

The WRs also had a great half.  They were getting open, making catches, running with the ball.  It was just a dominant half of offensive football.  Statistically, pass defense was Akron's weakness and by moving Johnson around, BG found a way to expose the weakness.

It would be a mistake, however, to not mention BG's other standout player, who was Travis Greene.  This guy is just doing a great job.  He is very elusive, especially in space.  He seems to be able to take those little half steps that get him open space and then he accelerates when he gets it.  He had a huge day....24 carries and 142 yards rushing and 4 catches for 71 yards and he scored twice.  That's 5.9 yards per carry.  That's 213 of the Falcons 396 yards.

There were two specific plays that really stood out.  BG was up 17-14 and called a screen pass.  Coach said after the game that it was setting up perfectly, as long as Johnson could get the ball to Greene.  Johnson was in trouble, but he does what he does, which is avoid the tackle and then he shovelled the ball forward Farve-style to Greene who ran 30 yards for a huge TD in the game.  It was just an athletic play by Johnson to get the ball to our guy in space.

Aside.  Remember Clawson's opening presser?  People asked him what system he used.  He said, I use whatever system gets the ball to my best players in space.  Yep.

The other huge play came when BG was up 24-14 and inside its own 40.  Andre Givens came in, ran to the left, got all hemmed up and it was looking like a pretty average play.  He's nearly on the left sideline when he cuts back and heads to the middle of the field, which is wide open and filled with blockers, including Matt Johnson, who popped a defender right in the mouth.  The play ended up getting 18 yards, but it was a huge momentum shift and got the crowd fired up and led to our final score, which was decisive.

You can't mention the offense without talking about the line.  They were struggling in the first half, but when BG needed a drive to kill the clock in the 4th Q, they were pushing Akron all over the place.   Jacob Bennett was injured and Eastwood grad Clay Rolf replaced him and Coach said after the game that Rolf played really well in that spot--which was his first significant game action at the T position.

As I said last night, what was good about the victory was that things started out poorly and BG adjusted.  Good teams know how to win, and you are starting to see that.  BG adjusted its offensive strategy and then the players executed almost to perfection in the 2nd half and that's a victory.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sweet Victory #4--Overview

BG moved to 4-1 today with a 31-10 victory over the Akron Zips.  The game was closer than that might appear, but it was still a clear and convincing victory for the Falcons over an improving Zips club.

Here's the key point.  BG did not get off to a great start.  Less than 10 minutes into the game, the Zips led 14-3.  BG had been 3 and out once and had stalled once in the red zone.

Things were not looking good.

Here's why it was a nice victory.  There was no panic on the BG side.  The game plan was not abandoned, adjustments were made.

And results were achieved.  First, Akron did not score again for the rest of the game.  They did move the ball here and there, but they did not score again.  They had only 3 first downs in the third quarter, had a deep drive result in no points in the early 4th (more later) and, again, generated some yards.  For the game, 14 points and 4.8 yards per play is a pretty good day for the defense.

The offense had similar issues.  After struggling for most of the half, BG got the ball back on its own 35 with about five minutes left in the half.  BG put together a 10 play TD drive that scored despite giving up two sacks.  The scoring play featured a juggling circus catch and run by Shaun Joplin (after a couple earlier drops) and it was 14-10.

BG then scored TDs on each of its first 3 drives of the second half to make it 31-10, the score the game would eventually finish with.  Also, more on the offense in another post, but here was the game's key sequence.

BG leading 24-14, late third.  Akron moved the ball upfield, got a gift penalty on BG and ended up inside the BG five.  On 2nd down, they threw a pass but BG was able to hold the player just out of the end zone to force third and very short.  Honestly, almost impossible for the ball to be any closer to the goal line.

Akron chose to pass and Pohl rolled right.  He went to throw for the end zone and Gabe Martin was in his way and made a huge, athletic play to knock the pass down.  Martin was not covering the receiver, he in the flat, and it was just a huge play.

Akron tried a FG, and sent Robert Stein out.  Stein is the brother (as it turns out) of former BG kicker Stephen Stein, and all I can say is that if the Steins refused ever to return to the Doyt, I would understand.  Robert Stein had the shortest FG you could ever kick, and he doinked the upright and BG had held them with no points.

BG then went on a 13-play, 8 minute TD drive with 3 3rd down conversions to make it a 17 point game.  That drive featured a crazy, Dri Archer-style sideline to sideline scamper by Andre Givens.

Anyway, that was the key sequence.  Akron had a chance to score and BG made a huge red zone play and then the offense took advantage by running 8 minutes off the clock and then scoring.

I know Akron is 1-4.  They are getting things figured out.  It won't be too much longer.  In fact, I hope they win every game for the rest of the year.  It was a nice win for the Falcons and one in which I think they showed themselves to be a mature and competent team that knows how to win games.

More later!

MAC Roundtable Collected

So the collected wisdom of the MAC Blogosphere is now...well...collected.  This week's host was Over the Pylon, a Ball State blog.  He is easily the funniest member of the MAC Blogosphere...enjoy...keyword, slumpbuster.

Friday, September 27, 2013

25 Questions That Roo the Day

Do or Do Not.  There is no try.
What is their body of work?

They are 1-3 so far with their only win over James Madison.  Just to get the whole thing out of the way, they haven't won on the road in 28 games and they haven't beat an FBS team since 2010.  Now, they were like one second from winning at the Big House and could have beaten Louisiana-Lafayette as well.

I can't stand playing teams like this.  I feel the same way as when we played Temple in their losing streak.  Sooner or later this will break free for them.  Please let it not be Saturday.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

30, which is a huge number.

Who are their statistical leaders?

Zach D'Orazio is 9th in FBS in TD receptions.  Nico Caponi is #13 in sacks.  Zach Paul is #15 in punting.

What is their turnover ratio?

They are flat even.  I don't think too many teams are even and 1-3.


How is their QB Play?

Their QB is Kyle Pohl, a sophomore from Farmersville, OH.  He's off to a good start.  Pohl ranks in the top 35 nationally in completions per game (26th, 20.50), passing touchdowns (27th, 7) (tied for 2nd in MAC) and passing yards (34th, 873) (1st in MAC).  He has 300 yards in each of his last two games.  He is 7th in passing efficiency due to having 6 INT, 4 of those in the last two weeks.

What was their scoring and yards per play?

They have 24 points per game and 5.6 yards per play, both of which are in the middle of the nation.

Can they run the ball?

They are not having a lot of success.  At 3.8 yards per carry, they are 89th in D1.  The Zips are attributing that to being behind a lot, which may be true.  Jawon Chisholm is a good back, but only getting 4.1 yards per carry.  He had 100 yards in 16 carries against BG last year.

Do they pass the ball?

See above.  They are 5th in the MAC in passing efficiency, and Pohl appears to be developing chemistry with D'Orazio, who is their most productive WR.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on 44% of their plays, which is low but not terribly low in today's environment.

Don't give me that, you love it.
Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They are very, very good.  48%, which is 2nd in the MAC.

Do they score in the red zone?

They have 5 TDs in 7 red zone trips (5 points per trip) which is good but only 7 red zone trips in four games is not a good number.

Do they protect the quarterback?

They have allowed 5 sacks in 154 attempts, which is 3.2% and about average.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They are allowing 33.5 points per game and 6.1 yards per play, both of which are below average.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are actually pretty good against the run.  This is going to be a big part of the challenge.  Akron allowing only 4.1 yards per carry.

Can they be passed on?

Yeah.  Here is where the whole thing falls apart.  They are 10th in the MAC in pass defense efficiency.  They are allowing 65% completions with 13 yards per reception.  They do have 5 INTs, but 3 were courtesy of Devin Gardner.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

No, they are 10th in the MAC with about 46%.
Most ridiculous thing I ever saw.

Do they defend in the red zone?

Not good...19 opponent trips (as opposed to 7 for the Zips) with 5.05 points per trip.  Not a strong point for the team..

Do they pressure the QB?

They do.  They have 9 sacks which is 6.1% of passing attempts.  That's a lot of pressure.

Special Teams:


They are really good.  They are #1 in the MAC and #12 in FBS in net punting.

Punt Return?

They get 7 yards a return, which is decent.


Their guy is not good.  His name is Stein, go figure.  He is 2-6, 2-5 inside 40 and he did make a 49 yarder.
Lest We Forget


Not very good.  Teams start on the 28.

Kickoff Return?

Their returns are not great, but they are starting on the 29.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

First, Akron is going to win sooner or later.  As mentioned, please let it not be tomorrow.  In a corollary, Terry Bowden is going to win here.  He's won everywhere, including Samford and North Something or other.  I think BG is the better team, should be able to move the ball and should have Martin back.  Still, I will be glad when this one is over.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Injury Report Via The Blade

John Wagner has some injury information in today's Falcon Fodder.  It is mostly bad news, with one piece of good news.

Starting with the good news, Gabe Martin is probable.  He's obviously a key player at Rover, and it will be good to have him back on the field.

Beyond that, the news is less good.  Starting d-lineman Ted Ouellette is doubtful.  That's a big blow from a d-line that was already working with new parts.  Coach Clawson said on the Monday MAC teleconference that Jarius Campbell is feeling "as well as he has all Fall" and that could help to replace the loss of Ouellette.

Reserve S Josh Pettus is also doubtful.

CB Diontre Delk is out for the year.  A final answer on returning starter Darrell Hunter could be known next week but he will not play Saturday.

RB Fred Coppet is questionable.

Best wishes to all the Falcons on returning to health.

MAC Blogger Roundtable--my answers

1.) As we begin to actually move to conference play, what have you learned about your team through their non-conference schedule? More importantly, in what ways would you like to see your non-conference schedule improve or change in future years?

I think the biggest thing we have learned abut BG is that the team can score points.  The development of Matt Johnson at QB, along with Travis Greene at WR has very much solidified some key question marks.  With a strong defense and even an above average offense, BG becomes much harder to beat.

As for the out-of-conference schedule, I am relatively happy.  The current format is 1 FCS, two AQ and one non-AQ on a home and home.  I like playing a non-AQ team like Tulsa...they are a good and interesting opponent who will play us home and home.  If it were up to me, we'd replace one AQ game with a non-AQ game, but given the funding issues I don't think that is in the cards.

2.) Let's chat for a minute about conference rivals. Allegedly we all have them, and we all hate them. What have you learned about your rivals and do they worry you for your team's success this year and beyond?

First of all, the Rockets are always worth worrying about.  Even at their weakest, they represent a virulent strain that can strike at the worst possible moment, like a latent virus deep in your stomach tract.  They are only defeated when all vital signs have been extinguished.  Only then can you rest.

What we learned about them is that they are a quality football program...Matt Campbell is a good coach, etc.  The mark of a strong program is that the team is good every year, even after losing a lot of players and UT seems to be in that mode.  They played well against Missouri and although the Eastern Washington game was competitive, that's the #3 FCS team in the country.  I watched some of the CMU game and I thought it was a very solid performance.

3.) In terms of coaching, the only consistent thing for the MAC is the instability in the coaching ranks. Who do you feel is most likely to move up to greener pastures after this season? More importantly which coach has their office locks changed and their personal effects mailed home at the end of the season?

I see a year of big change.  If I had to guess, I'd say Campbell, Clawson, Carey and Lembo all move up.  I believe Ron English is toast, as is Dan Enos.  It would not surprise me if Treadwell or Quinn was sent packing, though that is less likely.

4.) Rank 'em. Worst to first.

13. UMass
12.  WMU
11.  EMU
10.  CMU
9.   Miami
8.   Kent
7.   Akron
6.   Buffalo
5.   UT
4.   Ball
3.   OU
2.   BG
1.   NIU

Clawson Presser Report

Coach Clawson has his presser yesterday.  As usual, there was not a huge amount of news.  He was happy with Murray State, Akron is better than you think, he isn't taking them lightly, they are better than last season, etc.

Here are a few interesting nuggets.

First, he noted that in his view Akron is better than they were last year and they could easily have beaten BG last season.  Which is true, I was there.

What BG did to win the game was just run over an undersized Akron defense and control the clock and the ball in the second half.  It was (my words) a turning point for the season.

This year, Akron has brought in some transfers, mostly from AQ schools.  They have 3 on the o-line and 3 on the d-line.  This has given them instant size and experience and made them a better team, Coach says.

Now, I made a big deal about the fact that Murray State had transfers, someone commented that they transferred because they couldn't play, and, in fact, they pretty much couldn't.  Whether that is the case for Akron will be another question.

Jack Carle asked Coach (among other things) what he thought his team could still do better.  You might have your own ideas, but here is what he said.

Not getting a 4-man pass rush.
Not disrupting passes, getting INT.
No getting explosive scoring plays.

Which I think is true, and, depending on the health of the d-line, could continue to be a problem.  If you get pressure with 4 and then still have 7 in coverage, then it is very hard to pass against you.

He talked a lot about explosive plays, which he has his entire time at BG.  The Falcons are moving the ball better, and as much as he looooooves long drives, he wouldn't mind one that last a minute either.

Finally, he was asked about Tyler Tate, who missed an XP Saturday.  Coach said that he looks good in practice and he isn't very worried about it.  (My note, only one of the FGs he missed at Indiana was a bad miss).

I'm not either.  Tate seems to make good contact.  You can't make them all.

Anyway, that was the gist of the presser.  The rest of it was whether he likes to play at home, whether he likes it early or late, etc.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

International Centre for Special Teams Research, Murray State Edition

BG has now had 4 straight positive games, now...the big game against Tulsa, the OK game against Kent and then a very solid game against Indiana followed by an OK but positive game against Murray State at least based on our system.  (The whole dumb thing is explained here.)

BG did not have any big special teams plays, but didn't have any big mistakes.  Big ups to Anthony Farinella for keeping the ball in the end zone and away from Walter Powell...and Murray had a really good punter.

BG was a +3 and IU was a -1.

Here is how it shook out:

BG Positive Plays: (+6)
BG KO TB (+1)
BG KO TB (+1)
BG KO TB (+1)
BG KO TB (+1)
Murray State KO return to 17 (+1)
BG KO return to the 39 (+1)

BG Negative plays (-3)
Miss XP (-2)
BG 15 yard net punt (-1)

MS Positive Plays (+3)
Punt to BG 15 (+1)
Punt to BG 15 (+2)

MS Negative Plays (-4)
KO Return with penalty to 17 (-1)
Murray State KO return to 17 (-1)
BG KO return to the 39 (-1)
Missed 33 yd FG (-1)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Benchmarks--Murray State

Here's the scoop on the Murray State game.  As I said yesterday, it was pretty much what you would expect in both columns.  The key thing I would note is that Murray State did run the ball effectively against us, which is a concern, since we are down a couple guys in the front 7.  Now, I wasn't at the game, so it is possible that BG was trying to defend the pass more and gave up some running yards because of it.  Murray had a higher yards per carry than they did against Missouri State which is not something you would have expected.

If BG was focused on shutting down the passing game, it certainly worked.  They had a high completion% but virtually no yardage at all.

Matt Johnson MAC East Offensive POTW

Matt Johnson was named the MAC East Offensive Player of the Week for the second time in three collegiate starts.  As covered yesterday, he had an almost perfect day against Murray State in the big Falcon victory.

Here's the stats line...

Johnson was 19-of-22 passing for 244 yards and two touchdowns as BGSU routed Murray State 48-7 Saturday to improve to 3-1 on the season. Johnson's 86.4 completion percentage was the fifth-best single-game mark in program history as the Falcons rolled up 660 yards of total offense, the most for the team since 2004.

Johnson has clearly made a difference to this team and is doing a great job leading the team and is only a sophomore.  Congrats, Matt!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Past and Future Opponent Land

A look at how our opponents fared this weekend....

Only 2 FBS wins for our opponents this week.

Tulsa (1-2)  Idle
Kent (1-3)  Lost to Penn State
Indiana (2-2) Lost 45-28 to Missouri
Akron (1-3)  Lost to Louisiana-Lafayette
Umass (0-4) Lost to Vanderbilt
Mississippi State (2-2) Whooped Troy.
Toledo (2-2)  Won @ CMU
Miami (0-3) Lost to UC.
Ohio (3-1)  Beat Austin Peay
EMU (1-3)  Blown out by Ball State in Ypsi
Buffalo (1-2) Well deserved week off after 5OT battle with Stony Brook.

2013 Totals:
MAC vs. FBS: 6-24
MAC vs BCS: 1-19
MAC vs FCS: 10-2

Falcons Blast Racers

The news from yesterday is that BG got what you would expect to get...BG should win easily in a game like this and they did.  It isn't like you get big kudos for doing it, but many MAC teams have struggled with FCS opponents this year?  If you should win easily and you do, you did what you were supposed to do.

I was not actually at this game, due to a wedding north of Detroit.  Checking in now based on the reports.

It was a huge offensive day for BG.  The Falcons had 660 yards of total offense, the highest total in the Clawson era.  In fact, it is only 46 yards short of a school record, set against Grand Valley State in 1978 (raise your hand if you were there that day).

I'm not going to go into my usual analysis because all the numbers show what you would expect when the score is 48-7, which is complete domination on both sides of the ball.

A couple things are worth noting.

First, Matt Johnson, who had a tough day in Bloomington, had a nearly perfect day against Murray State.  Yes, it was Murray State, but he was 19-22, the 5th best completion percentage in school history.  As Coach said after the game, those kind of numbers are difficult to generate against the scout team, or even against "air."  Johnson did throw one pick, but basically did whatever he wanted against the Racers--as, in fact, did Matt Schilz and James Knapke.

Travis Greene and Andre Givens also appear to have more or less run at will.

On defense, BG did give up a few yards (4.7 per play).  Murray State actually did run the ball effectively, and completed 24-34 passes, but for only 146 yards, which is not much to show for 24 completions.

Walter Powell had 3 catches for 17 yards with a long of 6, so BG clearly handled him effectively.  He also had only 43 yards on 2 KO returns, as BG nailed 4 TBs in 8 attempts.

So, a solid victory for the Falcons.  The biggest concern to emerge from the game is injuries.  Gabe Martin did not play and Ted Ouelette was injured and did not return.  Josh Pettus did not play, either.  This is something to keep an eye on as BG re-enters conference play.  BG enjoyed the fruits of depth as DJ Lynch and Paul Senn both made strong contributions, but BG is certainly better with those guys than without.

So, that's that.  Next come the Akron Zips, who have had close losses the last two weeks.  BG is 3-1 and that's probably on the high end of what anyone might have expected.  Conference games are the most important as BG seeks a MAC title.

Friday, September 20, 2013

MAC Blogger Roundtable, the assembled wisdom

Lets Go Rockets has the assembled wisdom of the MAC Blogosphere up for this week.  Check it out.

25 questions that RACE!

What is their body of work?

They are 2-1 so far this year.  They were up 14-13 @Missouri after one quarter but lost 58-14.  They than smoked NAIA Campbellsville 83-14 in a game that last only 51 minutes.  And, they pulled out a last second victory at home over Missouri State (0-3, close game with Iowa).  So, given that, it is not easy to say.  They were picked for an average finish in their conference, they added a QB after that voting was done.  Here's a stat for you: coming into the season, OVC teams were 19-159-1 against the FBS.

They didn't mean this kind of racer.
How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

29, which is a huge number, although many of them are JUCO players who don't have 3-4 years of collegiate experience.

Who are their statistical leaders?

The guy to watch here is Walter Powell.  He is #16 in FCS in punt returns and #18 in receptions.  Clawson says he is an NFL-quality player and many authorities rank him as among the best players in FCS.

What is their turnover ratio?

Note:  I am doing what I can to exclude the Campbellville game, which is very distorting.  In fact, the Missouri State game is probably the best available comparison.  They are even so far this year in their DI games.


How is their QB Play?

Miller is a really good QB.  An Ole Miss transfer, he did not have a great passing game against Missouri but he was awesome at 24-33, 272 yards, 5 TD and 2 INT.  He is a dual threat QB, ran for 73 against Missouri though not much against Missouri State.

What was their scoring and yards per play?

This is a team with a potent and fast paced offense.  They ran 55 plays against Missouri State with only 18 minutes TOP.  That's one play every 19.6 seconds and 6.6 yards per play.  Against Missouri, they had 3.96 yards per play.

Who is this handsome fellow?
Mercury Astronaut Gordon Cooper!
Grew up in Murray, did not attend
Murray State.
Can they run the ball?

They had 4.2 yards per carry against Missouri State and only 3.4 yards per carry against Missouri.  You'd like to think BG can stop the run.

Do they pass the ball?

Well, as mentioned, they had a huge game last week with eye popping numbers and don't forget about Walter Powell.  Three of the 5 TDs against Missouri State were over 37 yards, so there is big play potential.

How is their run/pass balance?

They ran on 40% of their plays against Missouri State in a close game, so presumably they are comfortable in that range.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

Not good, 11 of 30 against The Two Missouris.  They are 5-6 on 4th down.

Do they score in the red zone?

Uh...yeah, about this.  They have 11 red zone trips and 11 TOUCHDOWNS...7-7 in D1 games.

Do they protect the quarterback?

They are pretty good, with 4 sacks allowed in 115 attempts for the season as a whole.  That could be partly a function of play selection.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

So, based on the Falcon Fodder interview with the Murray State beat writer, defense game Murray State a not-so-fresh feeling last year.  As I noted yesterday, they have flooded the zone with JUCO and D1 transfers.  How is it working?  They gave up 58 to Missouri (which is one thing) but 38 to Missouri State (which is another).

Do they defend the run effectively?

They allowed 5.4 yards per rush against Missouri State and we're set for a good day if BG is getting more than that.
Murray's only 2-star restaurant.

Can they be passed on?

Missouri passed on them effectively and Missouri State had 20-31 but gave up only 212 yards.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

This is not a strength.  Their opponents are 22 of 35.

Do they defend in the red zone?

Not good...16 opponent trips with 11 TDs and 1 FG, 5 points per trip.

Do they pressure the QB?

They have 9 sacks, and one guy (Chavez Sims has 5 on his own, which is #4 in FCS).

Look, if Missouri State can get 38 on these guys we should be able to score.

Special Teams:
Murray, KY, is named for John Murray, a one-term
Congressman. This is not a picture of him.


At 38.8, this is not great.  However, he is 6 of 7 inside the 20 and has no blocks.

Punt Return?

Powell is always a threat, but he has a long of 16 so far.


Hard to say.  Missed his ONLY attempt of 39 yards.  Last year, he was very good at 11-14 and 11-13 under 40.


Very strong.  Teams are starting at the 20 on average.  5 touchbacks.

Kickoff Return?

This is incredible.  As a team, they are averaging 37 yards per return.  Powell averages 42 with a TD.  On average, they start on their 31.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

I would not want to play a decent team after what happened last week.  Yes, MAC teams have been struggling against FCS teams and I don't think this is going to be like the Rhode Island or Morgan State game, but I think BG should win this game and I hope that it at least has a reasonable spread.  As noted yesterday, we have injury issues, so this would be a great week to get things done.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Falcon Fodder on BG Injuries....

After being relatively healthy, we are hitting a patch of some injuries.  All this comes from Falcon Fodder of The Blade.

Of course, Darrell Hunter has been injured since the end of camp. DB Diontre Delk was injured in practice and is probably out of the season.  He has played in one game this year and was not on the depth chart.

Everyone saw Gabe Martin come off the field at Indiana.  Arguably our best defensive player, Martin is doubtful for Murray State.

Ditto Fred Coppet, who has a hip injury, which is still being assessed.

Reserve S Josh Pettus hurt his knee and is questionable.

The only good news here is that Charlie Walker (DE) is practicing on a limited basis.  He is probable.

Not to minimize it, but even with this, we are relatively healthy.  If Martin plays, we're down 2 projected starters and a couple reserves.

Clawson Presser: Racer Talk

So, Coach Clawson had his weekly presser yesterday.  There was not a ton of news.  He reiterated most of what he said before about the Indiana game...except to admit that we did play well on special teams (he must be a reader, HA HA).  The most interesting part of the conversation is about Murray State.  The FCS has been knocking off the FBS all over the place.  The MAC has one FCS loss already...Buffalo needed 5 OT to beat Stony Brooke and there have been a bunch of close games.  In fact, only one MAC team has beaten an FCS team by more than 14 points and there have been 8 played.  In other years, it was pretty common.

All this to say that even if this was supposed to be a guaranteed win, it won't be that easy.

The hard thing to figure out is how they ended up being picked up in the bottom half of the OVC.  Falcon Fodder talked to the Racer 'Riter and he said that the OVC is deep...and their QB, who transferred from Ole Miss, did not arrive until the start of camp.

That was the other thing that Coach mentioned.  Murray State has a number of transfers from AQ conferences...guys Clawson said he would have been interested in.  We're talking Arkansas, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Ohio State, etc.  Also, there are a number of JUCO transfers.

Peruse the following graphic.

The orange dots are JUCO transfers and the blue dots are FBS transfers.  Pretty interesting.  They are mostly on defense...which was abysmal last year.

Finally, Walter Powell, their WR is really good, in Clawson's opinion.  Says he is an NFL talent.

Just sayin'.  This might be tougher than it looked on the schedule.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

MAC Blogger answers

The MAC Blogger Roundtable is back...this week the questions from Let's Go Rockets!  So, let's go.

1. Heading into the fourth week of the season, the MAC has two more conference games on the schedule.  What do you expect to change as the games start to shift to familiar foes?

I feel like you start to learn a lot more and the games starting having more meaning.  Not many of our programs are built to beat Florida or Mississippi State, not should they lose when playing FCS teams.  Everyone is or should be building to win the MAC.  As the games start, you can better figure out who has what.  I think you will see if UT can gain some traction about a rough starting schedule--they begin MAC play with @CMU and @Ball State.  Similarly, I'm interested to see if Kent can reveal where they are.

2. What has been the most surprising or troubling aspect of your team’s performance through three weeks of the season?

I will go with surprising...and say our QB play.  Matt Johnson is just a completely different element on the field and has made a much bigger impact than anyone expected.  The offense was a major weakness last year, and Johnson has shown the ability to really spark the offense.  He's more difficult to prepare for that Schilz and seems to be more mature than a guy playing his first three games.  A close second would be Travis Greene, who moved to RB to provide us a body there and has shown himself to be a very proficient runner.

3.  While football is a team game, sometimes an individual’s contribution can be paramount to the success or contribute to the failure of the team. Who has had the most impact (positively or negatively) for your team?

There have probably been a number of players, but I would take Boo Boo Gates.  He is just incredibly solid on the back of the BG defense.  He makes a lot of plays and does what a safety does, which is make key tackles in open space.  He is making a huge difference to our defense being able to play as they have.

ICSTR is on plus side for 3rd straight week

BG has now had 3 straight positive games, now...the big game against Tulsa, the OK game against Kent and then a very solid game against Indiana, at least based on our system.  (The whole dumb thing is explained here.)

BG was a +6 and IU was a -7.

BG had a TD and a turnover as big plays, and Indiana added a botched onside kick to their side of the ledger.

(Updated:  Forgot the roughing the punter penalty, results now reflect that.  Still a good game for BG.)

Here is how it shook out:

BG Positive Plays: (+11)
BG Punt block TD (+6)
Indiana KO return to 19 (+1)
BG 45 yd FG (+1)
BG recovers fumble on KOR (+3)

BG Negative plays (-5)
Miss 33 yd Fg (-1)
BG KO return inside 20 (-1)
Roughing the punter (-3)

IU Positive Plays (+5)
IU KO TB (+1)
IU KO TB (+1)
IU KO TB (+1)
IU KO TB (+1)
BG KO return inside 20 (+1)

IU Negative Plays (-12)
BG Punt block TD (-6)
Indiana KO return to 19 (-1)
BG recovers fumble on KOR (-3)
Failed onside kick (-2)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Depth Chart Review

The BGSU depth chart is out for the week.  No real changes.  In fact, I cannot actually see any changes.

Now, there are some worry points.  Charlie Walker has continually been listed as the starting DE, though he has not played since the Tulsa game, when he was injured.  He did travel to IU but did not go.

Also, Gabe Martin and Fred Coppet were injured in the Indiana game and we do not know about their status, though they are still listed on the depth chart.

Anyway, I would ordinarily say this is a week not to push our luck, what with I-AA Murray State coming in.  But, only one MAC team has been an FCS team by more than 2 TDs this year.  You'd hope it would be an easy win Saturday, but that hasn't been the record to date.

Indiana Benchmarks

So here are the benchmarks for the Indiana game.  A couple thing jump out.  First, the one aspect for the BG defense that was strong was the rush.  The sacks--given the relatively small number of pass attempts--was pretty good.

Beyond that, it is pretty much what you would expect.  The offense was pretty weak all down the line, and could have had an even worse day if it hadn't been for a very good performance on 3rd and 4th down.

Similarly, BG was skunked up and down the line on defense....note that I have added a column for seconds per play.  They say Indiana wants to be at :20 and they were.  BG was at the MAC average.

Also, Indiana's net punting....WORST EVER!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Paul Senn is MAC East POTW---Special Teams

Paul Senn has been named MAC East POTW for his spectacular "blocked" punt--that was practically ripped off the foot of the Indiana punter.  He scored a TD on that play and also had a fumble recovery on special teams.  Senn is in his first year with the Falcons after transferring from a junior college in Cali.  You can watch it below....pretty crazy.  Congrats Paul.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Past and Future Opponent Land

A look at how our opponents fared this weekend....

Only 2 FBS wins for our opponents this week.

Tulsa (1-2)  Lost to Oklahoma
Kent (1-2)  Lost to LSU
Murray State (2-1)  Beat Missouri State 41-38
Akron (1-2)  Came within mere feet of giving Michigan all-time program low
Umass (0-3) Lost to Kansas State
Mississippi State (1-2) Lost 24-20 to Auburn
Toledo (1-2)  Beat Eastern Washinton
Miami (0-2) So freaking idle.  Makes me sick.
Ohio (2-1)  Beat Marshall in Athens.  Team injured again.
EMU (1-2)  Lost 28-10 to Rutgers
Buffalo (1-2) Beat Stony 5 OVERTIMES

2013 Totals:
MAC vs. FBS: 5-21
MAC vs BCS: 1-16
MAC vs FCS: 8-1

Note:  6 of 8 wins over FCS teams by 10 points or fewer and one by 12.

Hoosier Rout: Special Teams and What's Next

Coach said BG got whipped in every phase of the game.  Not to quibble--because I admire Coach Clawson for saying things like that when his predecessor was more likely to dissemble a little bit more.

BG did have a brilliant blocked punt TD where Paul Senn took the ball right off the punter's foot and then there was a turnover on special teams.  Yes, BG missed an easy FG but Indiana flubbed an onside kick.  We will see what we end up with on Tuesday, but for now, I think the special teams were probably pretty even.

So, where do we go from here?

Coach said that at this point of the program we expect to be able to play with anyone.  So, there are moral victories and that was no moral victory yesterday.

It wasn't a conference game.  It doesn't have to matter at all.  It is an opportunity for our guys to realize that they have to play at a high level to win and they have to do it every week.  Shoot, Akron came within feet of beating Michigan today...anyway, other than some pride, not much was lost out there in terms of the team's goals.  But, the Falcons need to put everything back together again.  I believe this team is very capable and better than what they showed yesterday.  That will have to be played out on the field before it matters.

Hoosier Rout: Part II, Defense and Offense

Here's the thumbnail, based on Coach Clawson's post-game presser.

BG likes to play press coverage with corners and put defenders in the box.  Indiana was torching that coverage, so BG had to drop back out of the box, which resulted in Indiana torching the Falcons with the run.

How bad? you ask.  601 yards, 8.1 yards per play....8 of 13 on 3rd downs...6 of them on 3rd and 7 or more...42 points AND two possessions that ended on the BG 1.

That's 5.5 yards per rush, 12.9 yards per pass attempt and 19.7 yards per reception.  Only 24 minutes of possession, but that's because you have to give the ball back after you score.

Indiana is a high powered offensive team.  I don't know how much the Falcons expected to stop Indiana, but pretty much they didn't get stopped at all.  The Hoosiers "punted" only once in the whole game.  Sudfeld was 17 of 26...the guy is really good.  It wasn't an easy assignment but it was really no contest.  BG made a couple plays but the Indiana offense moved up and down the field.

You'd hope to see BG's offense join in the fun.  I think maybe we got a little over-zealous after the Kent game, because Indiana State scored 35 on Indiana and BG scored 3.  There were tons of little mistakes (as noted yesterday) including a dropped TD pass and some penalties.

BG did have 408 yards in offense, but that was on a crazy 87 plays.  Therefore, we're only talking 4.7 yards per play, which is well below league average.  BG rushed for 3.8 yards per play, 5.4 per pass attempt and 9.8 per reception, all below average.  BG was 8 of 20 on 3rd down (which is pretty decent) but threw a bagel in the red zone after being perfect in the first two games.

So, when Coach says we got "whipped" in all phases of the game, this is what we are talking about.

Travis Greene had only 11 carries for 43 yards, which is 3.9 yards per carry.

Matt Johnson had an OK game, completing 57% with 1 INT before leaving the game after taking a really hard hit.  Gallon (8-82) and Joplin (7-104, one lost fumble) both had decent games.

The offense was episodically productive, but not consistent and ultimately not nearly productive enough to win the game.

Coach said that they were pressuring the BG line--especially at tackle--and that did get them some plays.

Anyway, there isn't too much to say.  These are the things that you expect when you look at a 42-10 game that was actually not that close.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Hoosier Rout: Part I, how it went down.

The game against Indiana was really only close for about 28 minutes.  For that time, the Falcons were in the game, but a late second quarter TD stretched the Hoosier lead and from there it was really no contest.

That might be partly an illusion.  Indiana was moving the ball effectively for much of that time, only to meet stout red zone defense from BG.  Meanwhile, BG's offense was wasting opportunities on the way to producing exactly 3 points.

For example, Indiana took the opening kickoff.  Indiana drove to the BG 2 in 8 very quick plays.  Then, from there the BG defense really played well, stopping the Hoosiers on 4 straight plays and taking the ball over on downs.

The good feeling was short-lived.  BG went 3 and out, punted Indiana back to their own 49 and one play later they were on the BG 3 and this time they scored to take a 7-0 lead.

The BG offense needed to get some traction or else it was going to turn into a track meet.  BG did reasonably well, getting 3 first downs and to the Hoosier 29 but then failed to convert on a 3rd and 3 pass and then Tyler Tate missed a long 47-yard FG.  This was also the drive where Jordan Hopgood got behind the Hoosier d-backs and dropped a perfectly thrown pass that would have been a TD.

Indiana came out hot again with 28 yards on two pass plays.  BG's defense then forced a punt, and the team made its biggest play of the game.  Facing lousy field position, Paul Senn instead pulled of a ridiculous punt block where he pretty much took the ball right off the punter's foot and then he ran it in for a TD to tie the score.

Indiana went right back onto the attack and BG's defense was playing better---except on 3rd down.  First, after getting a 3-and-out, BG was called for roughing the kicker on 3rd and 18 and then Indiana converted on 3rd and 13 and 3rd and 10...and was back at the BG 4.  The Falcons got another goal line stop, taking the ball over again on downs.  Indiana was moving the ball up and down the field, but it was still 7-7.

BG's offense was still reasonably effective. Spurred by back to back pass plays covering 42 yards, but BG stalled out after a false start penalty on 2nd and 4 threw them off schedule and Tate nailed a 45 yard FG and BG led 10-7.

Here was BG's best chance.  On the kickoff, Indiana fumbled and BG recovered at the Hoosier 31.  Facing a chance to take a two-score lead, BG went false start before the first play.  They ended up with a 4th and 1, went for it and ran a play that was totally blown up for a loss and the big chance was squandered.

Indiana turned it the other way.  Less than two minutes later, after converting a 3rd and 17 they found a 43 yard run for a TD and led 14-10.

The next exchange wasn't much better.  BG drove to the Indiana 46 but had to punt.  It was a touchback and Indiana went 80 yards in 2:10 for another touchdown.

BG had the ball back with 2:44 left in the half and one last chance.  BG ran an effective driving using the short pass and got down to the Indiana 15 where 3 straight incompletions led to a very makeable 33 yard FG attempt that would at least have kept the game within one score.  Tate missed that kick and it was 21-10 at the half.

BG has been a second half team and caught a huge break when Indiana onsided the opening kickoff out of bounds.  With great field position BG made one 1st down and then threw an INT to end the drive.

Indiana went 80 yards in 4 plays and it was all over from there.  Indiana scored two more times and the game ended 42-10, a one-sided rout at the hands of Indiana.

Hoosier Carnage

Obviously, more to come later.  You're not going to win a road game against next to anybody playing like that, and especially not in the Big 10.  BG made way too many mistakes--especially on offense and especially in the first half--to win the game.  BG had 3 offensive points against a team that allowed 35 to Indiana was a very disappointing effort.

Two good things.  First, I think this team will show the ability to use a day like this to increase its focus for the rest of the season.  So far, our offense has had 1 good game and 2 bad games, and that's who we are right now.  We have seen what they can do, consistency is now needed.  Clearly, we are not good enough to win if we don't play well.

Second, this game matters 0% for our goals.  Yes, you'd like to win it, but there are 7 more games that really, really matter.  BG has to avoid playing like THAT in one of those 7 games.

So, disappointing.  And I'm sure that the team is disappointed.  What happens next?

Update:  Coach Clawson, in his post-game presser, said "we got whipped in every phase of the game."

Friday, September 13, 2013

MAC Blogger Roundtable

Hustle Belt had the hosting this week.  You saw my answers, click here to see what all the kids have to say.

25 "Hoosier Mama" Questions

What is their body of work?

When I did my interview this week on the Crimson Cast podcast, the host referred to Indiana football as the gateway for the Big in the gateway drug, I thought.  Obviously, football has struggled recently.  In the last 10 years they have one winning season, and that one was 7-6.  They've lost like 3 times in a row to Ball State, and while they thought things might be looking up this year (like bowl-bid looking up) with a ton of guys back they lost at home to Navy and come into the BG game 1-15

See what they did there?
How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

25, which is a pretty good number.

Who are their statistical leaders?

FBS rankings

RB Tevin Coleman is #16 in the nation in all purpose running.

Nate Sudfeld is 11th in passing efficiency, 3rd in "points responsible for" (which sounds ominous) and 19th in passing yards.

TE Ted Bolser and WR Shane Wynn are tied for 14th in scoring.

CB Tim Bennett is #13 in passes defended.

What is their turnover ratio?

They are -2 so far this year.


How is their QB Play?

They list 2 QBs.  One is Nate Sudfeld, who started last year as a true freshman.  As noted above, he is one of the more efficient passers in FBS.  The other is Tre Roberson, who has technically started both games this year after breaking his leg and taking a medical redshirt last season.  He's more of a running QB, though he had a big game before he was injured.  He's only a sophomore and was highly recruited.  The answer is, their QB is very good and there could be two guys who play.

What was their scoring and yards per play?

This is a team with a potent and fast paced offense.  They are averaging 54 points a game and 7.3 yards per play.  Now, they popped 73 on Indiana State so that kind of tilts it a little but they also put 35 on Navy.

Can they run the ball?

As a team, they are averaging 5.4 yards per carry, which is good though not great.  Now, Tevin Coleman, their leading rusher, is averaging 9 yards per carry and over 100 yards per game, and the next two leading runners are 6.5 and 5.6 yards per carry.  This is not a run-heavy team but to date they have shown some productive runners.

When you think fine tobacco, you think hoosier poet.
Do they pass the ball?

Yeah, as mentioned, they are 13th in the nation in efficiency.  Sudfeld has completed 73% at 13.5 yards per completion, which is just highly efficient.  Their Coach is Kevin Wilson, who is a spread offense guru, and they run it pretty up-tempo.  Wilson learned the spread at Northwestern (arriving just as Brandon departed) and then at Oklahoma.

How is their run/pass balance?

They have run on 53% of their plays.  They did have a big lead in their opener.  Against Navy, they passed 43 times in 69 attempts.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

Yeah, they are good...15th in the nation with 57%.

Do they score in the red zone?

Also very good.  Overall, 10 of 12 and 5.5 points per trip.

Do they protect the quarterback?

They have allowed zero sacks.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.
These are useless to you here.

Here the laughter turns to sadness.  They are allowing 38 points per game, and while part of that is a very hard to stop Navy triple option, it also includes giving up 35 to Indiana State.  Phil Steele predicted they would have one of the worst defenses in the Big 10.  They are giving up 5.6 yards per play, which is not terrible.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are allowing 5.3 yards per rush, most of that coming in a 444 yard onslaught from the Midshipmen.  Given the Indiana offense, BG simply must establish a running game Saturday.

Can they be passed on?

So far, not so bad.  #48 in pass efficiency defense, though part of that is Navy, too.  Opponents are only completing 38% of their passes against the Hoosiers...but BG is almost for sure the top passing team to face Indiana to date in 2013.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are very good here, allowing only 26% conversion.

Do they defend in the red zone?

Not good...5.5 points per trip.

Do they pressure the QB?

This has been a real strength.  They have had 5 sacks against 42 passing attempts (counting sacks).

Special Teams:


Very good.  At 41.5 net punting, they are 23rd in FBS.  No blocks.

Punt Return?

Well, they have only returned 4, but one was for a TD.  No blocks.


They have only tried one FG (26) and they made it.  However, their kicker (Ewald) was 15-20 last including include 5-8 from over 40 and a long of 46.


Very strong.  They have 10 touchbacks in 16 attempts and teams are starting at the 21 on average.

Kickoff Return?

Not especially good.  They are starting on the 22.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

It is hard to say.  First, Indiana was hoping to make a bowl game, which means they really can't afford to pick up a second loss so early (and they play Missouri next week).  As I talked about on the podcast, our guys are 100% motivated to show they are Big 10-worthy.  We have won games like this before and are only slight underdogs.  The real test is whether BG can control the ball against an Indiana defense that is not great

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Chris Jones is now a Patriot...

Catching up with BGSU Grad and MAC defensive player of the year Chris Jones.  Jones was drafted by the Texans and then waived.  He was picked up by the Bucs, was inactive for the first game and then waived by them yesterday.  I noted when he went to Tampa that the Patriots had put a claim on him, but lost out on waiver priority.  To me, that's huge.  If there is one organization that is good at finding talent in less likely places, it is New England.

The good news is that after he was cut by Tampa Bay, Chris was picked up by New England, where he is on the 53-man roster.  Lotta movement for Jones, but it would be great if this was his home.

Hang in there, Chris.

MAC Blogger answers for the week.

1. With Bowling Green's strong showing last week against defending MAC East Champs Kent State, they recently were bumped up to the top of our power rankings over NIU. Would you put BGSU (or any other team) ahead of the Huskies right now? Why or why not?

Well, obviously this is a Bowling Green blog, but I wouldn't put BG or any other MAC team ahead of NIU right now.  Don't get me wrong, we are thrilled at where the team is right now, but based on one game with Kent (without their best player) I wouldn't put us ahead of what is a very good NIU team.  We will know more after the UT and OU games later in the year.

2. There appears to be a huge chasm between the top of the MAC (NIU, BG, BSU, Ohio, UT) and the bottom (CMU, WMU, EMU, MU, UMass, Akron) with Kent State and Buffalo leaning more towards the top. Do you think this is good or bad for the MAC? Do you see things possibly evening out at all?

On one hand, it does help our good teams build up gaudy records, which gets attention, unwarranted as it might be.  Look, some teams are always going to be better than others--this isn't Lake Woebegon--so in a sense the teams might change but this isn't that unusual.  I worry more about the teams that seem to have structural issues--EMU, UMass and Akron--as opposed to CMU, WMU and Miami, where winning has at least happened historically.  Speaking of Miami, I wonder what everyone thinks about that.  Treadwell certainly isn't making the progress I expected.  Related question---combined with Dan Enos, is it possible the Dantonio coaching tree sucks?

3. Even with all of the talk of the "New Association" for the AQ teams, this is still the last year of the BCS. Which team is most poised to crash the BCS, and is this the year the MAC wins a BCS bowl game?

So, last year NIU busted the BCS with 1 loss.  That was controversial enough, so let's assume you need to finish with 1 or fewer losses to bust in.  Right now, 5 MAC teams (UT, WMU, Buffalo, UMass and Miami) already have two losses.  Of the 1 loss teams, I think it is safe to say that EMU, Akron, and CMU will not be running the table.  I don't see Kent doing it either, which leaves us with OU, BG, Ball State and NIU.

Honestly, I think the only team in that group that has a shot at making it again is NIU.  We're happy with how BG is playing, but there's a lot of games ahead (@Indiana, @Mississippi, UT, Ohio U. and @Buffalo) before you can starting thinking like that.

I appear on Crimson Cast....

This is just up on the web...I did an interview with Scott at Crimson Cast---an Indiana blog--which started out to be about our upcoming game and then turned into a talk about Dan Dakich, Urban Meyer, and why MAC teams are so motivated when they play against the Big 10.  Scott's a good guy and I thought the interview went really well.  Check it out!

Injuries Via Falcon Fodder

No one seems to ask Coach Clawson about injuries during his presser, and then the information seems to come out shortly before or after.  Falcon Fodder has the following today:

  • Kekeuwa and Hopgood are likely to play.
  • Hunter is out but is working out in a cast and has an unknown status for the year.
  • Jermal Hosley is out for the season.
  • Charlie Walker is doubtful.
You never like to see anyone hurt, but this team is relatively healthy.

Clawson Presser

Coach Clawson held his weekly presser yesterday.  Not a terrific amount of news, but here goes....

FIrst, we can expect Indiana to play very fast...almost an Oregon style of play.  Very quick tempo and very difficult to defend.  They have multiple QBs.

Interestingly, Coach says he did not really look at the Navy film.  Navy plays triple-option and essentially none of it is applicable.  We spent more time watching what they did last year.

Finally, he said that Matt Johnson is now the starting QB.  So, for all the BG fans who were sweating it, the job is now his and he would have to do some unforeseen things to lose it.

Coach did mention that as defenses see film on Johnson they will adjust, so BG will have to adjust along with them.  Which is better than the alternative, which is when you don't succeed and they don't need to adjust.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

International Centre for Special Teams Research--Kent Edition

Coming off the best special teams game of the Clawson era, we now head to Kent to see how it all shakes out.  As predicted, it was a game with only one point plays....nothing game changing, nothing dramatic.  (The whole dumb thing is explained here.)

BG did end up on the plus side, but this time just at +3.  Kent finished at +5.

From BG's perspective, you'd certainly like to have a bigger game, but your special teams didn't lose the game either.  And, the last two seasons the Kent game was BG's worst special teams performance, so an even split is a victory in that context.

Here is how it shook out:

BG Positive Plays: (+6)
BG kickoff touchback (+1)
BG punt +50 net (+1)
BG 41 yd FG (+1)
BG kickoff touchback (+1)
Kent kickoff return inside 20 (+1)
BG punt inside 20 (+1)

BG Negative plays (-3)
Allow 2 Pt conversion (-1)
BG KO return inside 20 (-1)
BG net punt 18 (-1)

Kent Positive Plays (+5)
KSU 2 pt conversion (+1)
BG KO return inside 20 (+1)
Kent punt inside 20 (+1)
Kent KO Touchback (+1)
Kent punt 58 yard net (+1)
Kent punt 54 yard net (+1)

Kent Negative Plays (-1)
Kent kickoff return inside 20 (-1)

Game Notes, Depth Chart

The game notes are out for the Indiana game, including the depth chart.  Not much to say here....I think it is an exact copy of last week, which is a good thing.  Charlie Walker is listed at DE1, which he also was last week.  He did not play at Kent and I have no idea of his status for Indiana, perhaps someone will ask tomorrow at the presser.

Anyway, static is good.  The team continues to be relatively healthy and performing at a high level.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Benchmarks, KSU Style

So, now the benchmark report for the BG-Kent game.  Pretty much these numbers are pretty sweet for the Falcons.  Let's take a look.

The running/play was above average, and both the passing metrics are well above the MAC average.  Plus, BG completed 76% of its passes.  You'll note something that says sweet spot up there, which is when teams can average a sack-adjusted 12 yards per completion and still complete 60% of their passes.  (The idea is that teams usually boost one at the expense of the other, but when you have them both, you are being highly productive.)

BG's yards per play was outstanding.

On the downside, BG did give up 3 sacks, which is a lot given the relatively small number of passes we threw.  BG played turnover free ball, however, and was absolutely deadly in the red zone.

For the game, Kent's offensive numbers are not too bad.  They had a nice day running when you factor out the sacks, though for the second straight week BG forced a run-dominant team to try to be a pass-dominant team.  In the end, their yards per play was below the MAC average.  Kent was perfect in the red zone and their punter is an absolute bomber.

Anyway, that's what something like that looks like.  Great to see those offensive numbers.

Matt Johnson MAC East Offensive POTW

Word out from the MAC on this rainy Monday...Matt Johnson is the MAC East Offensive Player of the Week for his stellar performance at Kent Saturday...which came in his first collegiate start. Here are the was a pretty good day.

He went 19-for-25 for 357 yards and two touchdowns as Bowling Green pulled away for a 41-22 victory. Johnson led the team from the start, guiding the Falcons on a nine-play, 77-yard scoring drive on the opening possession of the game.
Congrats, Matt.  Go Falcons!!

Durkin Returns to Work

The University announced that Bill Durkin has returned to work as offensive line coach at BGSU.  The Sentinel-Tribune has the information here, which contains the conditions that Durkin has to meet to remain employed as a football coach at Bowling Green State University.

When this came out, I said I had confidence it would be handled appropriately.  I know there was a lot of commentary that he had to be released.  I'm not a zero tolerance policy kind of guy.  I don't know Coach Durkin at all, so it is impossible to know what the right thing to do is.  Sometimes a second chance is the right thing to do, sometimes not.

I do know this.  You could argue that the measure of success in life is how well you do with a second chance.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Past and Future Opponent Land

A look at how our opponents fared this weekend....

Only 2 FBS wins for our opponents this week.

Tulsa (1-1)  Beat Colorado State 30-27 after trailing 27-17 after 3.
Indiana (1-1)  Lost to Navy
Murray State (1-1)  Beat NAIA Campbellsville 83-14.  Game stopped with 6 minutes left.
Akron (1-1)  Squeaked by James Madison.
Umass (0-2) Lost to FCS Maine.
Mississippi State (1-1) Beat Alcorn State
Toledo (0-2) Lost to Missouri
Miami (0-2) Destroyed by Kentucky
Ohio (1-1)  Edged by North Texas State in Athens.
EMU (1-1)  Lost 45-7 at Penn State.
Buffalo (0-2) Lost 70-13 to Baylor.

2013 Totals:
MAC vs. FBS: 3-13
MAC vs BCS: 1-10
MAC vs FCS: 6-1

Note:  5 of 6 wins over FCS teams by 10 points or fewer

Sweet VIctory #2: Special Teams

There were no big plays like we had against Tulsa, but the special teams--when called upon--put together a very solid effort.

Anthony Farinella had a very good day on kickoffs.  He forced two touchbacks on eight attempts.  The coverage was good as well.  The Flashes averaged starting at their 25 and their longest return was 24 yards.

Tyler Tate--who looks like a Bolivian revolutionary--made 2 FGs, including a 41 yarder.

Brian Schemiedebusch only had to punt 3 times.  He parked one inside the 20 and he shanked one.

Ryan Burbrink was solid on punt returns, though he did give everyone a heart attack with an over the shoulder grab in traffic.

We'll have more when the ICSTR meets, but it was a solid performance for the special teams, which continue to be a key part of the Falcon effort.

Sweet Victory #2: The Defense

The first half could in Kent could not have been comfortable for Falcon defense.  Highly touted and coming off a shutdown performance....and facing a team without its best offensive had to think that they were going to have their usual success.

That was not the case for the first 30 minutes.  Kent shredded the BG defense with running and passing.  For the first half, Kent averaged 8 yards a play.  It was completely one-sided.  Their QB--Colin Reardon--looked like a senior.  He was running the option for yardage, he was scrambling and finding guys who were left all alone in the confusion.  Their runners were getting big yards and the team was generating big plays.  In Coach's words, "we were on our heels."

The defense made some locker room adjustments.  Coach said they involved keeping a safety outside some kind of arc and then bringing more pressure.  It worked.  For the second half, the BG defense was the defense we expected to see and probably more, holding Kent to 2.0 yards per play.  The defense threw a shut-out in the second half and held Kent to 55 yards.  In other words, total domination.

You could definitely sense the pressure.  Reardon was running for his life a lot more and even though BG did not get to him, his accurate passes in the first half became inaccurate.  (He also got hit and was injured in the 2nd Quarter and I thought his passes became less accurate after that, but those might not be related).  Even better, though, was that when Reardon scrambled BG players picked up the receivers on the fly and left Reardon with no options.

Kent had the ball for about 9 minutes in the 2nd half.  On their first five drives in the second half, their highest yardage gained on a drive was 13.

That's just a great job by our coaching staff and they deserve huge credit.  Mike Elko and the assistants really excelled Saturday.

Individually, Gabe Martin had a huge day, with 9 tackles, a sack, 2 TFL and a hurry.  Ted Ouellete had 6 tackles and 2 hurries from the inside.  DJ Lynch also had a sack.  Whether they show up on stats or not, though, everyone was performing at a high level in the second half.  There's no stat for having a guy covered and forcing the QB to throw the ball away.