Sunday, October 13, 2013

Narrow Defeat in Cowbell Land

So, the Falcons went down to Mississippi yesterday to play a good SEC team.  As Coach said after the game, the only thing you can be disappointed in is the final score.  BG played with the Bulldogs, was obviously well prepared and played without fear in a very tough environment.  After three weeks of playing teams we were supposed to beat and did (if not as proficiently as we would like), this was an opportunity to show that the team could elevate its play against a good team.  And they did.

The start was certainly similar to what we have seen in other games, as MS State took the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards in 5 minutes to score a TD.  BG made one first down and punted.  Then BG got a break when Boo Boo Gates got a pick in the secondary and ran the return 34 yards to the MSU 13.

When you look back, this is one of the missed opportunities.  With a holding penalty and a negative rushing play, BG actually lost 4 yards and had to settle for a FG.

On the next play from scrimmage, MSU's QB ran 75 yards for a touchdown to go up 14-3.

At this point you had to be pretty nervous.  You've got that whole Indiana feeling all over again.  That is not, however, what happened.

BG drove to midfield and put MSU down at their own 1.  The Bulldogs were still moving the ball, and drove from there to the BG 31 before a big sack by Taylor Royster forced a punt.  BG started on its own 4.

And here the Falcon came alive.  In what was probably the most important offensive series of the game, BG marched the 96 in 6 plays to get the TD and make it 14-10.  The drive featured a PI against MSU, but also a Johnson rush for 13, a Greene rush for 29, a Beck reception for 28 and a Givens run for 7 and the score.

MSU took the kickoff and came right back, marching 75 yards in about 3 minutes to get a TD and go back up 21-10.  The drive featured mostly Dak Prescott runs and was aided by a personal foul on BooBoo Gates which resulted in his ejection.  (I didn't see it, so I have no idea how good the call was.  It was reviewed by replay, which is the rule.  I do not believe BooBoo is a dirty player or a headhunter).

BG got the ball back with 1:04 left. Travis Greene ran for 19, and Johnson completed passes of 6 and 20 yards and BG was on the MS State 25 and finished the half with a FG that left it 21-13 and BG was within one score.  Coach said that the FG was huge in terms of sending BG into the locker room with some momentum.

BG got the ball to start the half and showed something they have shown in every game...the 3rd Q is our time.  BG marched down to the MS State 27 before missing a 45 yd FG.  The defense got a 3 and out and BG started on its own 24.  BG made 41 yards on two Burbrink receptions and tack on a facemask and BG was on the 18 yard line.  Travis Green drove it to the 6 and then Matt Johnson ran it twice and scored on the second one to make it 21-19.

Clawson said he thought about going for 2.  There was 3:51 left in the 3rd.  He said he usually doesn't go for 2 until the 4th and I agree.  I think coaches make a mistake by trying to chase that point too early.  As he said, if BG is down 2 and gives up a TD then we are down 2 scores, whereas if BG gets the single point, even a TD keeps us in the game.

So, at 21-20, of course, that's all the scoring there was.  MSU drove to the BG 27 before BG stiffened up and Oulette got pressure on a 3rd down pass and then the Bulldogs missed a FG.  (No team has made a FG against BG this year).

BG drove to the MSU 40 and had it 2nd and 2 but could not get the first down after 2 running attempts.  BG went for it on 4th--another decision I endorse--and did not convert the first down.

MS took advantage and ran the ball down to the BG 8.  It was 4th and 3 with 4:27 left in the game.  Mullen decided to go for it instead of kicking a FG and taking the FG out of the game.  They had already missed one FG and have struggled this year and we all known the Mullen's mentor Urban Meyer was more than willing to just say screw it, no more FGs, so they went for it and BG got the replay-verified stop.

BG had one last shot.  MSU actually had a stop after a 3rd down sack but there was another face mask penalty.  BG had one more first down in them before hitting their own 45 and a 4th down pass went through Ryan Burbrink's hands and that was the game.

Again, a strong and tough effort by the Falcons.  I hope it provides the confidence they need as they prepare for the UT game.  We have a bye week--which is nice--and a chance to recover.

Two final notes.  Chris Gallon was injured, we will need to keep an eye on that.  There was some conflicting information on BooBoo Gates.  I believe the final understanding is that no part of his targeting foul will carry over to the UT game, so we will keep an eye on that.

More later on the numbers.


Anonymous said...

On the road, tough SEC environment, warmer climate that Falcons are used to - and failure to convert doesn't change the number of scores necessary for the win - under those circumstances, the best you can hope for is an opportunity for the offense to drive a long way in a hostile environment to give you the win (which by the way, you still have a shot for if you fail to convert) - I have no idea why we didn't go for two.

Why would not want to try from 2 and 1/2 yards away?

Anonymous said...

Other than not going for two, I thought that the Falcons played well. Matt J. played particularly tough I thought (good decisions with the ball, accurate, moved well outside the pocket); Defense (other than the first drive for Bulldogs) looked stout against a good team (particularly in the red zone); receivers and running backs also strong (good hands and movement after the first touch); and (again other than failing twice to go for two) the game was well coached. If we play like this for the rest of the season - the Falcons will be tough to beat. [Roll along].