Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sweet Victory #2: G-O...G-O

And that is what it feels like.  You head out to the stadium, week after week, year after year, there are good times, there are bad times.  You're disappointed, you're thrilled.

And then yesterday happens.  That is what it feels like.  And remember, this program has now provided us two moments like that since last December...pretty fantastic stuff.  Honestly, the feeling leaving the stadium yesterday was about as good as I can feel.

So, thanks to the people--players, coaches, support staff--who put in the hard work to give me the chance to be that proud and excited.

Things had clearly not gotten off to a great start this year, but to think you could lose by 28 at WKU, lose your All-MAC QB and then end up with your first Big 10 win in your stadium only 15 days later...that's a hell of a moment for this program.

Coach Babers was fantastic in his press conference, and I recommend you pop over and listen to it.  A lot of stuff...bandwagon jumpers, (train's closed, now, BTW), telling stories to your grandkids, James Knapke and a chip on his shoulder, not letting other people define you, guys playing with broken fingers, Tyler Tate (!!) wrestling down the Indiana guy on the blocked, community.  It's all in there.

At one point, he says that he asked the players Friday night if they wanted to play to win or save stuff for the MAC season.  They wanted to go and Babers said...

"You know what that means to me, right?  G-O...G-O."

When asked what the thinking was behind the onside kick, Coach Babers said...

"The thinking was we wanted to get the ball back so we could score again."


And go they did.  BG ran 113 plays in the game.  When I looked at that a couple hours after the game, my eyes nearly fell out of my head.  BG threw 73 passes and completed 46--both school records, and the 113 plays is only 2 plays off the FBS record.


Coach compared the game in his presser to a 15-round prize fight, and that's a pretty good analogy.  There were an incredible number of reversals and changes of fortune.  The second half alone had 9 lead changes and was about as entertaining as a football game can get.

On a normal game, I like to go through the flow of the game from the beginning.  That's going to be tough here.  There's one spot in the 4th Quarter where the game really focused in...

Before that, the first half was relatively unexpected.  BG was getting stops--Indiana scored on only 2 of 7 possessions and BG's offense was driving into the scoring area but not getting TDs.  Tyler Tate kicked 4 FGs and the game was 14-12 at halftime.

From the presser, there was a lot of high-level motivating going on in the BG locker room, talking about what happened to Ball State and Iowa and god knows what else.

Anyway, nobody is having trouble scoring in the second is (to follow the analogy) haymaker after haymaker. There were four TDs in the 3rd Q and Indiana let 28-26 entering the 4th.

As the 4th Quarter started, BG was on the Hoosier 9.  They got to the 1 and it was 4th down.  G-O...G-O.  BG goes for it and Fred Coppet scores and BG had a 32-28 lead.

Four plays after that, Indiana was back in the end zone and back in the lead, 35-32.

BG got the ball back and drove it down to the Hoosier 37 and had 4th and 4.  BG went for it (BG punted once all day) and did not convert.

Obviously, this is danger time.  If you are trading scores, falling down two scores means you are going to need a stop at some point.

Indiana completed a 30 yard pass on the first play after the 4th down and converted a 3rd down to get to the BG 22.  Their outstanding TB Tevin Coleman was eating BG up at that point and broke into the clear.  Just at that moment, I think IU could see them closing the door.  Instead, BG gang-tackled Coleman and stripped the ball.  Fumble forced by Walker, fumble recovered by Ward.

That was the game's biggest play.  BG took over on its own 12.  The Falcon offense was humming by now, Knapke firing Hoosier-revenge bullets all over the field.  On the next drive, he went 6-6 and had two rushes for 12 yards--one to convert a crucial 3rd and 5.  He capped the drive with a 31 yard toss to Ryan Burbrink for a TD.

Less than 4 minutes after the strip, BG had the lead again 39-35.  G-O...G-O.

Indiana then embarked on a 9-play drive down the field, 67 yards.  It was high drama.  There was a scrum in the corner that resulted in a 2nd and goal from the 1.  (And, classless Indiana fans booing an injured Falcon on a play when the referee was signaling for the trainer from the end of the play.  Hope it was a nice ride home for you folks).

Anyway, they ran a sneak on 3rd and 1 and BG stood them up.  Frankly, the best thing for BG was for them to just score, but on 4th down and inches you're buckled up for the stop.  Sudfeld stuck the ball over the pile for a clear score and Indiana led 42-39 with 2:04 left.  BG had 1 time out.


Coach said after the game that he wanted IU to FEEL us in the 4th Quarter.  He wanted them to get that tightness, because he knew we would relax and execute.  He wanted them to FEEL us.

I think they were feeling us.  We will cover the Hoosier reaction a little bit later, but they needed this win to try and be bowl eligible.  And, this had been marked as a win the entire time.

The thing about running the Falcon offense is that BG essentially runs a two-minute drill for the whole game.  So the Falcons were ready.

Here's the other thing that I haven't mentioned.  Roger Lewis is a beast and he was a beast all freaking day Saturday.  He finished with 16 catches, but it was more than that.  Indiana had no answer for him.  Remember, Lewis was at one point headed to the Big 10 and he is clearly a Big 10 talent.  The Hoosiers are not a good defensive team and Lewis was just abusing them.

The drive didn't start great.  Ronnie Moore mishandled the kickoff and BG started on the 12 with just under 2 minutes left.  Knapke threw an INC, and then hit Lewis twice for 18 yards.  BG on the 30.

BG ran for 2 yards before Knapke-Lewis netted 12 more yards on 3rd and 1.  BG on the 44 with :56 left as the Falcons burned their last time out.

Next, Knapke hit Ryan Burbrink for a 17 yard gain where Burbrink reached way behind him to make a spectacular catch...maybe the game's most forgotten play.

A couple plays later it was 4th and 2 from the Indiana 37 and about :20 left.  Too long for a game-tying FG.


BG lined Lewis up 1-1 on the edge and sent him down the field.  He torched the D-back and the only answer was to interfere him baldly in the open field.

Now BG is on the 16.  They go to the Lewis again, and this time the IU CB just wrapped him up and didn't attempt a defense.  How many times do you get two PI calls in key time like that...that's how obvious it was.  Anyway, that one was in the end zone, so BG was on the 2.

They ran a slant to Lewis, broken up.  And the, Knapke ran a fade to Lewis, 1-1 in the corner and Lewis made a huge play to win the ball and put the Falcons ahead with :09 left.

Great feeling in the stands...hugging, high-fiving.


It was not over.  The extra point was blocked and IU was heading the other way with the ball.  That's 2 points and they still get the ball.  And then, Tyler Tate--yes, Tyler Tate--wrapped the dude up and clung on for dear life until the rest of the team showed up.

It ended with a hail mary and a huge celebration, as well it should have.

BG had never beaten a Big 10 team at home and might never again.  BG had beaten a Power 5 team since Pitt in the Brandon era.  Clawson had 0 Power 5 Babers has 1.

It was a great day to be a Falcon.  Huge amount of pride in our effort and for the team for turning it around after the WKU debacle.


1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Definitely an entertaining game ... and I was a little choked up at the end ... Fabulous ... FYI - We were at UC-UT the night before ... then drive to north of Dayton to sleep ... then to BG ... and back to Cincy Sat evening. Lotta football ... almost 2300 yards of total offense. Toledo looks a little scary to me.