Sunday, October 27, 2013

The difference...

There were a couple key differences in the game..

First, Terrance Owens was the difference, especially on the last drive.  He has had a rough season and has been criticized, but he brought everything out there yesterday.  He was 15 of 23 passing for only 130 it wasn't a big numbers thing...3 of the completions were for touchdowns, he had big scrambles, he has a knack for completing a pass just seconds before he gets hit...and he delivered his team to victory on that final drive.

Matt Johnson played very well for BG.  He was 17 of 26 for 208.  He also made some nice runs from pressure.  In fact, I can see Matt Johnson as a senior being the QB that Owens was yesterday.  Johnson was sacked 6 times, at least a couple times when he held the ball for a long time, but he was also victimized by at least 3 key drops.

So when I say that Owens was the difference, I don't mean in comparison to Johnson.

Not so at WR.

UT is just much, much stronger at WR than BG is.  Reedy and Russell are both great players.  They got open, caught passes, and generated yards.  They were also a difference in the game, especially on the game's deciding play when Russell beat double coverage inside the red zone in what Clawson called a "great play."

BG started the year hoping for improvement at WR but without depth, and I think there has been incremental improvement.  Then Gallon went down.  It seemed like Ronnie Moore got most of Gallon's reps, but finished the game with no catches and one drop when he had the ball in space.  Moore, Burbrink and Joplin all had key drops on important plays and those sacks where Johnson held the ball too long are partly on them, too.  UT's WRs are simply better than BG.

As an aside, Heath Jackson could be emerging as part of the answer to that puzzle.  He had 7 catches for 72 yards and seems to be emerging as the sure-handed possession receiver (see Barnes, Jordan) that the BG offense seems to really need.

The final difference was up front.  On the d-line, BG obviously lost Chris Jones and there were some guys lost at D-tackle due to various reasons.  The d-line has been good this year, but not great.  BG has struggled to get pressure without blitzing and that was a big issue yesterday.  As for rushing, BG is 9th in the MAC in opponent yards per carry and that was a difference in the game.  Our D-line did win some battles...there were a number of plays for loss, but the very good UT line dominated and for much of the first half UT ran at will.

Travis Greene deserves a lot of credit.  He had another huge game for BG.  He had some lost yards plays, but he provided consistent and effective yardage, especially in the red zone.  He's just really good at moving in traffic and finding space.

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