Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Blog swap with Bull Run...

We had the opportunity to renew our annual blog swap with the guys over at Bull Run, one of our peers in the MAC Blogosphere. They are good guys are true fans. I am answering some questions from him, soon to come.

1. So there's a new Coach in town and a really interesting hire...a highly successful DIII Coach. How has he changed the Bulls style of play and the culture of the program.

It has been OK so far. Many are glad UB did not go after another character like Quinn. Lance is a classy man with a great story. Jury is still out but overall fan base is pleased with the hire/ Some have concerns over, for lack of a better cleaner word, conservative calls the past couple of games. The offense has really stalled. The other troublesome trend is penalties. Buffalo especially at Penn State beat themselves with terrible penalties like false starts. Bulls fans hoping to correct the penalties and get the offense moving. Still have faith in Lance.

2. You're 2-2, but could easily be 3-1. How do you feel the season is going to date?

If you asked me before the season, I would have taken 2 -2. After watching the games, I have a bad taste in my mouth. Buffalo is still looking for that non-MAC signature win and Penn State could have been that. As I stated before, it was not what Penn State did, it was UB shooting themselves in the foot. Good win over Florida Atlantic but could have beat Nevada. I will take it, but could have been much more.

3. Do you have any idea what Leipold does in the locker room at halftime? Does it involve human sacrifice? You are winning the third quarter 43-3.

The complete opposite of Quinn. Leipold won all those games for a reason. A great football mind and from all that I hear the players are totally bought in. Surrounded himself with coaches he can trust. I look forward to seeing how Lance can recruit. Overall, it has been a long time since great half time adjustments for the Bulls. Great question.

4. On offense, Anthone Taylor is getting big yards but carrying a lot and Licata seems to effective except for picks. What have you seen out of the Bull offense so far and what can we expect Saturday.

Really surprised by the lack of production by the offense. Both teams lost much on the defensive side with big question marks heading into the season. Where Johnson has the led the country, Licata has regressed. The fan base hopes Joe gets going against familiar foes. I would have predicted a monster score for this game before the season started. Now I am not sure what UB will be able to put up against a defense that is improving. Defensive line looking solid and did well against serious competition. Taylor has been the real deal so far. Keep an eye out for #1 and change of pace runner #2 Jordan Johnson. Like Bowling Green the Bulls have real talent at WR and TE. The issue has been getting the ball to them.

5. The defense is certainly very solid so far. Who are the standouts BG fans should watch for?

I have spent a ton of time on the other #1 Boise Ross at CB. Has a pic 6 and leads the nation is pass break ups. Great defender, watch for him. The strength of the defense is at linebacker. Gilbo is a solid contributor and Aozie is making big plays. If you are to key in one player it is #23 Brandon “Crunch” Berry. Brandon has been a force on the field. Pressure on the QB has generally come from the linebacker position. The Bulls except for two big runs vs. Nevada are stout against the run but not strong at putting pressure on the QB. Watch for Brandon as the LB’s make some special plays this weekend.

6. Are KC and the Sunshine Band really playing? Before or after the game?

Sure are! The new AD has created a concert series to try to lure students and fans to the game. A large stage has been built on a converted parking lot called Stampede Square for a large pregame party with live music. For the Baylor game last year when a big crowd did show up it was awesome. It was a big time college football atmosphere. Most of the acts are country, and for the life of me, how does anyone listen to that crap. For what it is worth, my 73 year old Dad is going to the game and mainly to see KC do a little dance but hopefully not see him get down tonight.

Prediction BG 35 – UB 17

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Special Teams Report: BG in plus territory for 2nd time

It was a quiet day for special teams on the BG side, and for the first time in four games this season it was the other team making special teams errors that made it harder to win the game.  BG had a good game, with 5 touchbacks and 1 punt to the Boiler 12 and only one negative play, which was a penalty which had them starting inside their own 10.

Purdue was in positive territory at +2.  They had two successful kickoff defenses and three good punts.  Unfortunately, that was balanced against their two missed FGs, which are probably undercounted in this system, given their significance in the game.

BG Positive (+6)

BG KO TB (+1)
BG KO TB (+1)
BG KO TB (+1)
BG KO TB (+1)
BG Punt to Purdue 12 (+1)
BG KO TB (+1)

BG Negative (-1)

Penalty on KOR starts BG at 8 (-1)

Purdue Positive (+5)

Punt to BG 19 (+1)
PU KO TB (+1)
BG KOR to 16 (+1)
Punt to BG 10 (+1)
Punt to BG 15 (+1)

Purdue Negative (-3)

Miss 19 yd FG (-1)
Penalty on PR start PU at 6 (-1)
Miss 32 yd FG (-1)

Monday, September 28, 2015

BG nets 2nd 2016 MBB Verbal

BG has picked up a 2nd verbal for '16 and it looks to be a pretty good get for the new coaching staff.  The young man is Rodrick Caldwell, a 5'10" PG from Huber Heights Wayne HS, which is down in the Dayton area.  He had reported offers from Miami, Wright State, EKU, NKU, Indiana State and Ball State.

As a Junior, Caldwell's HS team won the Division I state title, which is huge.  They had a big team including one Big 10 recruit and one A-10 recruit, but Caldwell tallied 14 points in the title game.  He was 2nd team all-conference...but that's partly because Wayne that three other players (and seniors) on the all-conference team.  He played at Dayton Stivers the year before and was an Honorable Mention All-State as a Sophomore in DIII.

BG is definitely loading up on guards, which is important.  Winning in the MAC is primarily a guard-driven enterprise and Coach Huger played PG at BG.  Speaking of which, there are a bunch of PGs on our list...sometimes I think HS teams put their best G on the point and that doesn't mean they aren't able to translate to 2s in the MAC.

Welcome to the Falcons, Rodrick.

Purdue Odds and Ends

Some odds and ends from the Purdue win...

That gives BG 3 wins in Big 10 over the last two years, which is actually more than Purdue has over the last two season.  That's a nice stat.  Tim Beckman only won 4 in 3 years at Illinois.

This whole Big 10 thing has not gone unnoticed. Here, the Washington Post writes an article with this headline.

"Meet Bowling Green, Your New Big 10 Overlord."

Here is the kind of thing that has to make Chris Kingston smile all the way to the bank...

Speaking of which, we went to the Alumni tent before the game.  It was great to catch up with some folks, and the event was very nice.  Can't beat a $5 lunch within walking distance of the stadium.  Chris Kingston addressed the my son says, he has learned to use his diaphragm...anyone, it was impressive the pride he showed for what is happening at BG Athletics, competitively and in the classroom.  Loved to see that kind of passion for the school.

Looking at things from a Purdue perspective, their blog referred to the game as "more of the same," which takes all the fun out of the schadenfreude.  They were upset at the pick 6 that got called back, which I would be too, but they have plenty of criticism for themselves as well.

The Purdue hometown paper notes that the first four games were supposed to provide Purdue with a fast start to launch into the Big 10 season and actually provided pretty much the opposite.

There was a definite vibe there...a funereal vibe.  First, they drew only 33K, which can't be considered good and has to make Hazell's seat hotter.  And while the fans who were there were into the game (and props to Purdue for giving their students good seats), when it was over and we were walking back to our car, I noted a strong sense of resignation.  Normally, people are pissed and frustrated when they lose to us, but this time they were, you know, just resigned.

Johnson MAC East Player of the Week...again

Boom.  Matt Johnson notched his 3rd MAC East POTW award this year, in four weeks of play.  Obviously, he's in a system that is designed to rack up huge numbers and he is really performing in that system.  You do have to give Johnson credit...he took BG to a title in a one attack and now he's excelling in a second system.  Coach said on the MAC teleconference today that the season he spent "on the headsets" has made him a Coach on the field.

He's the first player in the history of our program to have four 400 yard passing games in his career, and he has done it in all four games this season.  His 43 completions on Saturday is 3rd most in school history.

As an aside, wouldn't it have been cool to see what Mark Miller or Brian McClure could have done in this attack?

Here are the honors for Johnson to date this year.

Below is a list of Johnson's honors to date in 2015:
• 4th Team Preseason All-MAC QB (Phil Steele)
• 2nd Team Preseason All-MAC QB (Athlon)
• Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award Watch List
• MAC East Offensive Player of the Week (Sept. 7)
• CFPA National Performer of the Week (Sept. 14)
• MAC East Offensive Player of the Week (Sept. 14)
• Manning Award Star of the Week (Sept. 14)
• Davey O'Brien Quarterback of the Week (Sept. 15)
• Maxwell Club National Player of the Week (Sept. 17)
• MAC East Offensive Player of the Week (Sept. 28)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Past and Future Opponent Land

Tennessee  (2-2) Lost 28-27 to Florida, blowing another 4th Q lead.
Maryland (2-2) Lost 45-6 @WVU.
Memphis (4-0) Beat Cincinnati on quick Thursday turnaround
Buffalo (2-2) Lost 24-21 to Nevada.
Umass (0-3) Lost to Notre Dame
Akron (2-2) Beat La-Lafayette 35-24
Kent (1-3) Lost to Marshall in double OT
Ohio (3-1) Lost to Minnesota
WMU (1-3) Lost to Ohio State
UT:  (3-0) Beat Arkansas State 37-7
Ball State (2-2) Lost 24-19 to Northwestern


All FBS: 11-28
P5: 4-19
Non P5-FBS: 7-9
FCS: 9-0

Sweet Victory #2: The Defense

BG's defense continues to play better than I expected, better than anyone had any reason to expect and good enough to win.  There certainly are moments--the blown coverage on Purdue's last TD and a whiff in the open field on the first touch down, for example--and Purdue's freshman QB generated a bunch of passing yards.

But there were other moments, too.  Like the 2nd quarter goal line stand that forced the FG that Purdue missed.  Or the three and out forced after BG turned the ball over on downs at midfield.  Or the stop on 3rd and 1 that forced Purdue to punt and led to a BG score.  Or the red zone stand in the 4th Quarter that led to the 2nd missed FG and BG's winning drive.

Look, the bend and sometimes they break but they don't always break.  I wish they didn't bend, too, but any game where the defense allows 28 is a game BG should win.  I like the results our new DC is getting.  No matter how much they seem to be running around on us, they are always ready to compete, even at the end of a long drive at the end of a long drive.

The defensive struggles are the result of a lack of experienced players.  This is a different struggle from last year's defense, which had experience and 4 guys who ended up in NFL training camps and still had trouble producing.

Just to make the point, with Hunter out and Eilar Hardy ejected, BG was really short on players in a game where the opponent is in multi-receiver sets.

At DB, BG played true freshmen Brandon Harris, Jamari Bozeman, Marcus Milton and Robert Jackson and redshirt freshman Jack Walz.  They also played WR Ronnie Moore.

Overall, BG allowed 5.5 yards per play, which is less than we gained.  That 349 yards of total offense, which is also a pretty good number for the defense.

The key thing for BG was the ability to stop the run.  Normally, Big 10 teams get in trouble and strap up against us and just pile their way down the field.  This didn't happen.  Most of BG's red zone stops were on run plays.  Overall, Purdue gained only 2 yards per rush, but that includes sacks,  The key results were that the Purdue RBs had only 61 yards on 25 carries, which is 2.4 yard per rush and an outstanding day for the defense.

Purdue did have success passing, especially to the sidelines.  Blough had a really nice day for his first start, going 29 of 39 for 74% completions.  Their 8.7 yards per attempt and 11.6 per completion were both significantly better than BG's numbers.  BG did get 2 sacks, but in general Blough seemed to have time to throw.

On critical plays, Purdue was 9 of 17 on 3rd down...which is good...but also 3-3 on 4th, meaning Purdue converted 12 of those 17 possessions.  BG did get two red zone stops which were critical to winning the game.

The Falcons had only one takeaway, which came on the last offensive play of the game.

When we play good run defense, you usually see Trent Greene getting numbers and he had 11 tackles and 9 of them solo.  Valdez had 9 plus the INT.  Taylor Royster had 7 tackles and 2 sacks.   Nilijah Ballew and Ben Hale both had 7 tackles and 1.5 TFL.   (Hale actually started at safety ahead of Hardy).

So, again.  Not saying the defense is accomplished or great.  Just saying they are getting everything out of what they have and they are playing well enough for the team to win and, I hope, will continue to improve.

Sweet Victory #2: The Offense

Since the pre-season preview, I have been writing that the secret to success for BG would be to have a great offense and an above average defense.  We'll talk about the defense in a minute...which I believe is performing above expectations...but I more or less agree with what Coach Babers said last week.  Defense does not have to win championships.  Hey, if it was me I would prefer to win with a great defense.  But, as I have said before, my favorite style of football/basketball/hockey is the one where the Falcons win.

The offense continues to operate at a very good clip.  The offense can, however, still get better.  Obviously, it is not possible to score on every drive, but BG did leave points on the field Saturday, especially on key plays like 4th downs.

In the last two weeks, teams have tried to cover BG deep and cover BG short.  You can't do both.  We showed against Memphis that we can go over the top and get points and we showed Purdue that we can sustain long drives which requires ongoing precision and effectiveness.  It makes us very hard to defend.  If you had to pick a poison, especially as it gets colder and windier, I'd pack the box because it also makes it hard to run.

The first guy you have to look at when you talk about the offense is Travis Greene.  What a warrior this guy has been for us.  He's just a terrific football player.  He's incredible difficult to tackle one on one, and yet (especially for his size) he has incredible drive and downhill ability.  He is very tough in a pile.  He's just a great Falcon and one of the best backs we have had in years.

Saturday, he had 70 yards but only 11 carries, which is 6.4 yards per carry, which is a star in any league.  He scored twice.  He also had 6 catches for 75 yards, which means he accounted for 145 yards of offense, which was 27% of the team's total.  And it isn't all stats.  That run to score the winning TD?  Forget about it.

Matt Johnson had a good/very good day.  He threw 59 times--a product of the Purdue defense as much as anything--and completed 73% of those passes.  The yardage numbers were down, also because of the defense.  BG had only 9.3 yards per completion, which is much lower than normal.  He also threw 2 picks--once bailed out on a DPI call.  The thing is, with the way BG plays, there's no time for anything other than an offensive machine.

Johnson does as much with his feet.  Not only does he run for first downs, but he evades pressure and creates passing lanes.  He is very difficult to game plan for.

BG had a lot of success on the edges.  Whoever was playing Gehrig Dieter was playing off him, and the way BG plays, we will take it everytime it is there.  Dieter had 10 for 96 and Moore 9 for 74.  Roger Lewis had a quiet 6 catches.

Overall, BG had 5.9 yards per play, which is good but not incredible.  BG did have an incredible 39 first downs...although 5 came on penalty.  The 34 earned first downs is still a first down on 37% of your plays.

BG was incredibly effective on 3rd down, with 11 out of 16 converted.  As mentioned earlier, Matt Johnson was personally responsible for 6 first downs on 3rd or 4th down with his feet.  BG was 1 of 3 on 4th down, which is one of those things were one play would make a huge difference.  Of course, maybe the answer is not getting to 4th down.

There was also a costly bad snap on 3rd and 1 that cost BG possession.

Finally, when BG had to have a drive at the end of the game, they found one.  Yes, Purdue assisted with two personal fouls, but BG was able to get up the field and score when they needed it.

I do think the offense can still get better.  But even if they don't, they are going to need to turn out nothing less than this almost every week.

Sweet Victory #2: The Recap

One thing is that we remember this as a great game because we won... but it was really a very entertaining football, if you like that sort of thing.  It was exciting, going for it on 4th down creates more dramatic plays and then you have the back and forth nature and the crazy finish.  Just a very entertaining work of art, for sure, but very entertaining and a great day to be a Falcon.

BG won the toss and took the ball.  I just think we should always do this.  When we had Omar Jacobs we did it.  Let's get the ball and score  a TD and start the game ahead.  Which is, in fact, what happened.  Purdue took a different approach then Memphis did.  Memphis took away the short ball and forced us to go long.  Purdue took away the deep ball and forced us to go short.  So, BG had more time of possession and more long drives than we are used to.  That included the first one, where BG went on a 14 play, nearly 4 minute drive to cover the 78 yards for the TD.

That included converting a 3rd and 16, overcoming a clipping penalty, a mix of passes and runs and then using the Lee inside option play for 16 yards before Travis Greene topped it off with an 11 yard TD run.

The defense got a stop and the offense took over at the 19 and promptly picked up 27 yards on the first play of the drive.  A couple of plays later BG had a 3rd and 1 and the snap went over Johnson's head and we couldn't corral it and Purdue recovered and punched it in the end zone (converting 2 4th down plays).  I feel like that was an early turning point.  If BG scores and goes up 14-0, I just feel like the "crowd" is out of the game and it might set up differently.

That's especially true because BG went on another ponderous, plodding 12-play 3-minute drive to score another TD.  It featured one 4th down conversion on the Purdue 15 (When Coach says we need more touchdowns, he means it) and finally Donovan Wilson pounding the ball into the end zone for the TD to go up 14-7.

But now the game is on.  Purdue was beginning to hit their stride.  Blough is going to be a good QB, I think.  This is the series where Eilar Hardy was ejected for targetting (and based on the rules it was a good call, my biggest objection is that I think once they call one in a game they start to cool off and it ends up being selectively enforced) and then four plays later Yancey got the ball in the open field, completely beat a BG defender in the open field and scored to tie the game.

BG got the ball back and drove to midfield before Matt Johnson overthrew a receiver and Purdue had a pick.  They had first and goal from the BG 6, and here the Falcon defense stiffened up and forced a FG attempt which, amazingly, missed (19 yard attempt).  This was another turning the turnover, Purdue went from the chance to take the lead by 7 to the game still being tied.

BG took over on the 20 with 2:21 left in the half and five complete passes later they were on the Purdue 19.  Greene took it to the 1 and then Wilson finished the job and BG led 21-14.  There was 1:02 still to play.

Purdue didn't get any points and the half ended with BG up 21-14.

The third quarter was not so great.  Purdue took the kickoff and went on a long drive that included converting a 4th and 9 from the BG 25 and tied the game at 21.

BG had trouble with a kickoff return penalty again and started on the 8.  This was a real trouble point, and BG at least needed to drive the ball out that area or you had the feeling Purdue would score and take the lead.

Which BG did, picking up 3 first downs and hitting about midfield.  A false start and a couple of unsuccessful pass plays left BG with a 4th and 1.  Here, almost any football coach on earth would have played field position and stuck Purdue deep in their own territory.  BG lined up to go for it and did not convert.

Purdue, however, could not take advantage and went 3 and out.  The defense came up big with a Ben Hale TFL and a Royster sack.  They punted BG back to the 10.

BG moved the ball again.  On the first 11 plays of the drive, BG made 6 first downs.  BG was on the 10 for a 3rd and 6 play, ran the inside shovel to Lee who got to the 4th and on 4th and 2 the Falcons went for it again.  There was less than a minute left to go in the quarter and almost any Coach on earth would have kicked this field goal in a tie game, but give Coach credit, when he says we need more touchdowns, he is backing that up with action.  Now, we need to work on more successful execution of that BG failed by one yard to convert and gave Purdue the ball back.

Purdue drove out to midfield and then Nillihan Ballew had a huge TFL on a 3rd and 1 and Purdue punted BG down to the 15.  With 11:47 left in the game...the action really got going.

BG went on a 10 play, five first down drive to score.  BG converted a 3rd and 11 on a Johnson run and a 3rd and 7 to Ronnie Moore and BG scored on a 3rd down play as well.  On other can't tell the story of the 4th quarter without talking about Purdue's contribution through stupid personal foul penalties that made BG's job much easier.  In this case, they hit a sliding Matt Johnson...and my only point here is that this one was targetting as much as the Hardy hit except that Johnson wasn't injured on the play and they had already called on and the game was in the 4th quarter, etc).

Anyway, BG was now up 28-21 with 8:34 left.  All BG needs is one stop, really, and you have to believe we can score again and its over.  Unfortunately, on the 3rd play of the drive BG completely missed a coverage and Purdue had a 62 yard TD pass and a tie game with 7:58 left to go.

BG got the ball back again.  On the first play Johnson threw a pick 6 and things seemed to have deteriorated very quickly.  BG caught an enormous break as the Boilermakers were called for DPI that I certainly could not detect on the replay board.  Even with that less preserver, Johnson threw 3 straight incomplete passes and BG punted (!!), putting Purdue on its own 6 after an penalty.

There was 7:08 left.  Purdue then went on a very effective drive down the field, facing only one third down (and that was for one yard) before getting to the BG 17.  Once again, though, the often doubted BG defense delivered.  They gave up 2 yards on first down and then forced 2 incompletions to leave Purdue with a 33 yard field goal to take the lead with about 3 minutes left.

Which the guy missed again.  It is just unbelievable what that does to a team's momentum.  The air whooshed out of the stadium.  You can actually feel it.  Coach said later that it wasn't such a big deal to him because either way he wanted a TD to win, but there's no way that didn't shift things.

In the Memphis game when BG had a similar opportunity, I said that if there was one thing we were built for, this would be it.  Said it again Saturday.

BG took the ball.  Johnson converted a 3rd and 2 with his feet.  (For the game, Johnson made 6 first downs running on 3rd or 4th down.  Read that again.)

On a 2nd and 10, BG gave the ball to Travis Greene, who got 12 yards.  Then, Purdue made BG's job easier for the second time with a personal foul that put 15 yards onto the end of the run.  Two plays later BG had a 3rd and 8 from the Purdue 37, Johnson ran for 13 yards and Purdue gave their final assist with ANOTHER personal foul that put BG on the 12.

And here was the individual effort of the game.  Well into the final seconds of the game, BG knew that Purdue was expecting pass.  BG had a time out left, however, so the whole playbook was open and the hand off to Greene resulted in one of the finest individual efforts I have seen in a long time.  I'm not going to try and describe it.  Just watch.

That's a player we should love.  He was running right at where we were sitting and we probably had as good a view of that play as we had of any play all day (as, oddly, we did of the Charles Sharon catch in '03) and Greene took a big hole and then flat out beat a bunch of guys who were thought to be better than him.


And BG had the lead with :09 and that was the game.

A great day to be a Falcon.  More to come.

Falcons Hang #3 on Boilermakers

And there it is.  It was simply a great day for Falcon fans.  For a program like ours, there are no insignificant wins over Big 10 teams...and then to pick up a second in the same month...and to do it so dramatically.  I'm just incredibly proud of our team and the effort they put forth out there.  More later on all that, but it was a great day.

Let me just say this.  There is sports anyway....that beats the feeling you can as you walk back to your car  after your team has completed the Big Power 5 upset.  You're wearing your orange...and you don't have to say a word, you don't have to mock, you don't have to shout, you just walk in your orange and your head held high...they can see you and they know.  They know.

Best walk ever.

It was important to me, too, the Purdue thing.  My father brought our family to the Purdue game in 1972.  He's not with us anymore, but (or, so) I brought my son to the Purdue game when he was 7.  And we won.  And the picture below is that same son holding the 3 up to celebrate the BG's third win in that stadium.

Yeah.  It was a good day.

Friday, September 25, 2015

25 Questions that Boiler Up.

Don Nehlen carried off field after BG's first win at Purdue
What is their body of work?

Things have been tough on the Boilermakers.  Their last 8 win season was in 2007.  Former Kent Coach Darrell Hazell is in his third season and he's 5-22 so far, which, you know, is bad.  This year they are 1-2, with 1 win over FBS Indiana State.  They have lost to Marshall by 10 and Virginia Tech by 27.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

25, which is on the high side of normal.  They returned 8 starters on offense and 7 on defense.

Who are their statistical leaders?

Their only meaningful top 20 ranked players is So. Antoine Miles, who #8 in the nation in sacks.

What is their turnover ratio?

They are -2 in 3 games.


 How is their QB play?

Well, not good at the Cradle of Quarterbacks.  They started the season with Austin Appleby at QB and he was awful, throwing 6 INTs in their 2 FBS games.  He was especially bad at Va Tech and has been replaced by redshirt Fr. David Blough who has thrown only 8 passes in his career.  He is from Texas and Hazell says he can extend plays and keep his eyes downfield.

Josh Harris throws 4th down pass that seals
Purdue win #2
What was their scoring and yards per play?

They are scoring 31 ppg and 5.2 yards per play, both which are solidly average.

Can they run the ball?

As a team they average 4.8 yards per carry, which is nothing special even though it includes sacks.  However, Markell Jones, their leading rusher, averages 7.2 yards per carry.  DJ Knox actually has more carries but only 4.5 per attempt.

Do they pass the ball?

As noted above, not yet this year.  Low completion percentage, too many INTs.  It will be interesting to see what Blough does for it.

How was their run/pass balance?

They have run the ball 48% of the time this year, which is on the high end of the game as it is currently played.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They have converted 33% which is poor.

Do they score in the red zone?

They are not bad, at 5.1 points per trip.

Do they protect the quarterback?

5 sacks in 124 drop backs is 4% and pretty good.

Most.  Horrifying. Mascot.  Ever.

Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They allow 35 points a game, which is on the high end of average but 5.4 yards per play, which is pretty average.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They have done pretty well, allowing on 4.5 yards per attempt.

Can they be passed on?

They have also been good if not great here.  They have allowed 57% completions but 11.6 per reception, which is a relatively high number.  They also have 3 INTs.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They allow 33% success, which is very good.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They are very good, with 4 outright stops in 15 attempts and 4.3 points per trip.

Did they pressure the QB?

They are very good.  They have 9 sacks in 109 dropbacks, which is 8.3%, a very high number.  This will be a big test for a BG line that has struggled on pass pro.

Special Teams:


They also switched punters.  The new guy is Joe Schoppers who is averaging 44.8 yards per kick, which is good.  They are giving up 10 yards per return and have given up 1 TD and been blocked twice in 18 attempts.

Punt Return?
There is no larger drum on earth.

They've only had 2 for no real impact.


Griggs is only average.  He is 3 of 6 with a long of 34 yards.  One of the misses is under 40 yards.


They have 7 touchbacks in 16 kicks and the opponents start on the 29, which is not great.

Kickoff Return?

They start on the 26 on average, and haven't shown much on kickoff returns.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

Boiler Up.
In a lot of ways, this one appears to set up pretty well for BG, considering that it is a Big 10 opponent.  This is probably the worst team BG has played to date.  Furthermore, their QB issues leave a question mark as to whether they will be able to take advantage of BG's hit and miss defense.

Having said that, this is still a Big 10 team on the road.  And, BG will have to prepare for a QB that has not put very much on tape to date.

There's some pressure on Purdue, I would think.  People have to be expecting to start to see some improvement.

Obviously, these Big 10 games get our boys amped up.  And we are difficult to play against.

Pass protection is going to be critical.  If I was Purdue I would do just what Memphis did...cut off the short pass and then try to rush when BG throws longer routes.  Having seen that last week, it will be interesting to see how BG responds.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Special Teams Research: Memphis

Finally wrapping up is the special teams report.  BG lost the kick game again.  It was BG's best special teams game, ending at +1 for the game overall.  There were no scoring plays and the only major negative for BG was allowing the fake punt.  BG's kickoffs and punts had general success.  Beyond that, Memphis had a huge game and a nearly flawless one.  Great kickoffs, a fake punt, a long FG, 3 deep punts.  They had just an onslaught of successful special teams plays,

BG Positive (+8)

KO TB (+1)
46 yd net punt (+1)
Mem KO return to 18 (+1)
BG Punt to 10 (+1)
KO TB (+1)
KO TB (+1)
45 yd net punt (+1)
Mem KO return to 18 (+1)

BG Negative (-7)

Punt return penalty puts ball inside 10 (-1)
BG Missed PAT (-1)
Allows successful fake punt (-3)
BG KO return to 5 (-1)
BG KO return to 7 with penalty (-1)

Memphis Positive (+17)
KO TB (+1)
Punt inside 20 (+1)
KO TB (+1)
Punt to 9 (+2)
Punt to 10 (+1)
Fake punt (+3)
52 yd FG (+2)
KO TB (+1)
KOR ret to 5 (+1)
KO TB (+1)
KOR to 13 before penalty (+1)
KO TB (+1)

Memphis Negative (-3)
KO return to 18 (-1)
KO return to 18 (-1)
-5 yd PR (-1)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Lewis MAC East Offensive Player of the Week

In the least surprising thing ever, Roger Lewis was named the MAC East Offensive Player of the Week after the Memphis game.  This is interesting...Memphis had allowed just 272 passing yards this season and Lewis went for 261, the second biggest game in school history and 7th in MAC history. He leads the nation in receiving yards.  Congrats to Roger!

From the MAC Release

Bowling Green sophomore wide receiver Roger Lewis (Pickerington, Ohio) exploded against a Memphis defense which had allowed just 272 yards through the air in their first two games of the season, catching seven passes for a career-high 261 yards and three touchdowns on Saturday in a 44-41 loss. Lewis' 261 yards receiving were second-most in school history and seventh most in MAC history for a single game. His three touchdown performance marked a career-high for the sophomore and the first such performance since the 2013 season at Bowling Green. Lewis now leads the nation with 510 receiving yards through three games, and became the first player in Bowling Green football's 96-year history to have consecutive 200-yard receiving games.

Memphis Odds and Ends

It was one of those ended up being a gorgeous day and we had a really nice crowd, with over 20,000 in the house.  It was a very good environment and absent the result, a very entertaining game.

The sad thing is that we didn't win.  I always feel like when we get people who are new and we don't win we lose them for the future.  Of course, last year we got the Indiana win and it didn't seem to help that much.

One thing that works against repeat customers is just that the gameday experience when we have a big crowd continues to be difficult and less than welcoming.  It started with the area where we were supposed to park, which had severely reduced capacity due to people parking in one space and then putting their lawn chairs in the neighboring space.  Then, there were huge lines to get people into the stadium and then up the ramp into seats.

I totally get that the ramps aren't big enough (the architects apparently never anticipated that people would actually come to sit in all those seats) but there could easily be a new gate opened in the chain link fence.

Finally, the concessions lines are just ridiculous.

Other notes...

The game featured two very marketable coaches.  There's been a lot of talk about Babers, but Justin Fuentes from Memphis is also very upwardly mobile.  He coached at TCU before Memphis and he's rebuilt that program.  I think you will see him at a P5 school sometime soon.

The officials were just bizarre, and I'm not even talking about the fact that I understand they were even getting the reviews wrong.  I just felt like there were a lot of odd calls and an unusual number of calls that needed to be reviewed.

I came up with the idea that if a ref makes a call that is overturned, he should have to sit in a kind of penalty box for like 5 plays.  That'd be cool.

BG continues to have issues with penalties, which I am not blaming on the refs.  There are special teams issues with penalties, but also on defense and even offense.  This is something you never saw with Clawson and it is making it harder for the team to win.

Finally, Memphis was clearly trying to keep the short ball away from us.  They gave up some long balls, but I kind of like the strategy.  If you can force BG into lower percentage throws and keep the short pass and run game from getting any rhythm, I do think you make it harder for us to become the offensive machine we need to be.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Past and Future Opponent Land

It was near miss week in the MAC.

BG lost by 3 to Memphis.
Kent lost by 3 to Minnesota.
CMU lost by 3 in OT to Syracuse
Umass lost by 2 to Temple
NIU lost by 7 to OSU
Miami lost by 4 to UC

Eek.  Could have been a big one.  Three of these were even home games.  Anyway.

Tennessee  (2-1) Beat West Carolina 55-10
Maryland (2-1) Switched QBs beat USF 35-17
Purdue (1-2) Lost 51-24 at home vs. Va Tech
Buffalo (2-1) Beat Florida Atlantic 33-15
Umass (0-2) Lost 25-23 to Temple
Akron (1-2) Beat Savannah State 52-9
Kent (1-2) Lost to Minnesota 10-7
Ohio (3-0) Beat SE La 35-14
WMU (1-2) Beat Murray State 52-20
UT:  (2-0) Win of the day again, beating Iowa State in OT
Ball State (2-1) Fell behind EMU 17-0 but won anyway, because, EMU


All FBS: 8-18
P5: 3-13
Non P5-FBS: 5-5
FCS: 9-0

Memphis: Special Teams

For the third straight game, BG's special teams were poor.  This was probably their best game, in that they didn't allow a special teams touchdown, but in general special teams are making it harder for us to win games.

After the game Coach said we have a bunch of freshmen out there playing against guys who are "just better than them" right now.  And I guess that might be true.  It seemed like the players making the most visible mistakes were not new, but perhaps (for example) on the short kick returns there were blocking issues upfield...and the penalties might have been against new guys, too.

Anyway.  It wasn't a good day on special teams.

First, BG had a penalty on a TD and needed to kick a 35 yard PAT which he missed.  He also missed a 48 yard FG, which is less of a big deal.  Coach still has confidence in Tate--and I'd concur with that 100%.  An observation is that the issues have started since Tate started to also handle the kickoffs, but I don't imagine the two are related, but who knows.

BG had issues on two kickoff returns.  Most of the kickoffs were touchbacks and BG would have been better off if they all were.  Coppet had one return from the end zone that only got to the 5 and on another one Redding muffed it at the goal line, only got to the 13 and then BG got marched back by penalty.  

The last one was decisive, because BG went three and out and punted Memphis back to the 45 and Memphis was able to drive 44 yards for a FG that game them a lead they did not relinquish.

For that matter, BG had a penalty on a first quarter punt return that also had them starting inside the 10 and went 3 and out and Memphis drove for its first TD off that field position.

Anyway, not only are special teams not helping the team win games but they are actually making it harder.  Coach said (no really) that we can kind of expect the same growing pains next week and then things might stabilize in the MAC season.

Memphis: The Defense

You're going to look at the 44 points and think the day was a disaster for the BG defense.

I'm going to tell you that while BG didn't have a great day on defense, they won their share of battles and remain better than they were last year and better than I expected them to be given what was lost.

Memphis has a good team, a great QB and put up some numbers.  They had 541 yards on 90 plays, almost 6 per play which is good if not great.  BG was OK against the run, holding the team to 3.1 yards per carry, though the top backs were at 4.5 and 4.7.  The pass defense was certainly soft.  They were 29 of 40 for 9.6 per attempt and 13.3 per completion, both really strong when combined with the completion percentage.

And yeah, they scored 44 and while there were two short fields due to special there weren't as many as before and the offense provided no turnovers.

Let's just finish the issues.  BG had 2 personal fouls on defense in the first quarter on eventual scoring drives and BG was totally undisciplined on the "Flipper" play that Memphis used for a wide open TD and had big trouble defending the screen pass.

That doesn't sound too good.

Now.  Beyond that, BG had 3 first half stops and got a stop when they had to have it in the fourth quarter.  They forced FGs on 2 red zone trips, the first times Memphis was denied a TD in the red zone this year.  And they held the Tigers to 11 points fewer than they got against Kansas last week.

I'm not saying this is the 2013 defense or even close.  I'm just saying that they won some battles against a very good team and kept battling.  Coach mentioned that fatigue was an issue--and Memphis dominated the second half...that 4thQ stop was BG's only stop of the second half.  He said that the Memphis line is like "tall trees" and the BG defense kept running against trees and got worn out.

That's an occupational hazard when you don't care about time of possession on the offensive side.  BG had the ball for only 23 minutes.  BG definitely has a short rotation, especially on the d-line and double especially at end, and that's just something that is going to stay an issue because we're going to try and make their job easier with points, not possessions.

Austin Valdez led the team with an eye-popping 20 tackles.  WOW.  Memphis ran 90 plays and 5 of them had TDs so Valdez was in on tackles on 20 of the 84 remaining plays.

Trent Greene had 10 tackles and there were 9 for Sanford.  They both had a pass break up, along with Mack and Stephens.  Lunsford and Bush had sacks.

Again, things are not great, but the defense is battling and their are winning in some cases.  I think the change in coaching has made a difference and I hope we see the defense remain healthy and continue to improve.  Depth issues on the d-line may put a ceiling on the overall level of improvement but that also remains to be seen.

Here's the question for you.  If BG can get "more touchdowns" as Coach says, is the defense good enough to give us a shot to win?

Memphis: The Offense...

The offense continues to put up playstation numbers.

And yet, after the game, Coach Babers said, "we need to score more touchdowns."

He's right.  Actually, one more touchdown and this would be a different post.  But to put up those kind of numbers and to be thinking you still need more?  Shows you the kind of expectations this style of play brings.

Coaches biggest concern was drops.  When you play a rhythm game like we play, you need to catch the ball.  And then there was the one TD that was dropped on the Dieter pass.  I'd add one other concern, but we will get to that in a second.

There was plenty of good about the offense.  There was 570 yards of total offense on only 74 plays.  That's 7.8 yards per play.  BG completed 62% of its passes (slightly below the 65% goal), with 9.8 yards per attempt and 15.8 yards per completion, all of which are just outstanding.  BG was 7 of 15 on third down and scored TDs on both its red zone opportunities.  (I doubt if too many teams will get 6 TDs on 2 red zone trips).

BG also ran effectively, though it didn't always feel like it.  Once the sacks are removed, BG had 6.48 yards per attempt, which is also very good.

And BG scored 41 points without any turnovers and with some dreadful field position.

The individual star goes to Roger Lewis, who came close to a school record with 261 yards in receptions, which would be a big day for many teams.  Furthermore, he accomplished that on only 7 catches and he scored three times on pass plays of 62, 94 and 62 yards.  Memphis was clearly determined not to give BG the short stuff--to make us hit the low percentage bombs to win the game.  I give them credit, too.  They didn't back off their game plan.  They were still putting their CBs on an island with Lewis after the 3 TDs.

It was a very good day for a guy who has been a beast for the last two games.  Coach said in the post-game presser that it remains a team effort--it is the only WRs that demand coverage that get Lewis single coverage...which is true.  But for the second week in a row, a good team had no answer for guarding Lewis.

Matt Johnson had another big day at 28 of 44 for 443 yards and 4 TD.  He also ran the ball 7 times for 64 yards.

Other individual stars were Travis Greene with 63 yards on 11 carries, Burbrink with 8 catches and Moore with 7, and Redding with a TD grab in 2 catches.

The biggest issue for the offense...beyond the drops...was pass protection.  BG gave up 4 sacks on 48 passing attempts (counting the sacks in attempts) with is 8% and too high.  Part of that is a by-product of taking away the short game...when BG is throwing those short slants you are not likely to be sacked.

Another factor is that when Memphis brought an extra guy, BG had a back in to block and a couple times I saw them get overpowered by the blitzer.  Memphis is a big and physical team.  Still, maybe BG needs to leave a TE or bigger player in to block on plays like that.

There have been some protection issues in other games as well.  BG gave up 4 sacks and there were other situations where Johnson was pressured.  I don't know what the coaching is in terms of throwing it away.  On a couple of the sacks Johnson was pressured inside the pocket, moved around but couldn't get out of the pocket and I don't think he had a lane to get rid of it.  He didn't make any mistakes (throw a pick) under pressure, so I think he's doing all he can do.

However it happened, Memphis was able to win enough battles up front to disrupt our passing game.

No better example exists than the last drive.  BG got the ball with 3 minutes left down 3.  If you are going to go to the Baylor offense and you are going to retool everything and you have all these players and high octane, eye popping would seem like this would be the situation you did it for.

And in that situation, we did come up short.  We picked up a DPI for 15 yards, but then Johnson was sacked and BG went to Greene on the flat to try and get him in space and it was blown up for another 5 yard loss.  BG got seven back to Burbrink and on 4th down had to go deep.  BG went back to Lewis, the ball was a little short and he was covered and it was a battle and the defender broke the pass up and that was that.

One last thing to remember for Falcon Fans.  BG put these kind of numbers up against a good Memphis team...what can they do in conference play?

Memphis Recap: Close to doing something big

BG lost 44-41 to Memphis yesterday in front of a big crowd on what turned out to be a beautiful day at the Doyt.

It was a highly entertaining football game, especially if you like offense and trick plays.  It was close until the end and featured two good football teams.

There's no shame in losing to Memphis.  That's a very good football team that has won 10 games in a row.  To win they had to pull out a fake punt and a flea flicker play and a big gain on 4th down.  They had to pull out all the the point where their Coach in the post-game press conference said "What just happened?"

That's a very good team.  They have offensive skill players, a great QB, and they are big and fast.  The defense obviously gave up a lot but got more stops in the second half when it was needed and they dominated BG on the final drive when the game had to be closed out.

The thing is...from a BG I just feel like BG could have won this game and then we'd be the ones moving toward being a very good team instead of a good team.  As good as I think Memphis is, this is one that we could have gotten in front of a big crowd we could have brought back again.

When BG got a stop late in the 4th and had the ball with 3 minutes left and needing a TD to win, I was just sure we were going to get there.  Almost 100% sure.  Instead, after a DPI, Johnson was sacked and Greene was hit on a screen pass for a five yard loss.  BG got seven of them back and went long on 4th and 18 into (this time) good coverage and that was the end of it.  When it was down to one battle, the battle was won by the Memphis D.

In addition to losing the crucial battle at the end, BG just made too many mistakes to win and that's what makes this a lost opportunity.  The game had no turnovers, true, but BG missed an XP that was made long (but very makeable) by a unsportsmanlike on BG (Coach said our guys said a "cuss" word) and then there were two awful kickoff returns with penalties, and allowing a fake punt to succeed and falling for the flea flicker...and, maybe most significant of all when BG ran a trick play and Gehrig Dieter put the ball right on Ronnie Moore's hands and he was going to score he dropped it.  BG also extended drives for Memphis on penalties a couple of times.  

Honestly, I think Memphis would be the best team in the MAC or at least one of them.  They pulled out all the stops and they had more than BG did yesterday.  But, the Falcons could have won the game and it would have been a huge step forward for the program.

Friday, September 18, 2015

25 Questions in a Trap....

Dino will need to keep BG out of the trap.
What is their body of work?

This is a program on the rise.  The end of the Tommy West era and the ill-fated Larry Porter era sunk the Tigers to a low point.  They were 5-31 over three seasons.  Justin Fuente came in and after a couple tough years had the Tigers 10-3 and in a bowl game.  They are 2-0 this year, with wins over Missouri State and @Kansas.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

25, which is a lot, but only 11 are returning starters and only 3 on defense.

Who are their statistical leaders?

QB Paxton Lynch is 3rd in the nation in completion %, 4th in pass efficiency and 4th in yards per pass attempt.

Mose Porter is 16th in receiving TDs.

What is their turnover ratio?

They are even this year.


 How is their QB play?

Paxton Lynch, who is 6'7", is very, very good.  This is a run-based offense, but he is 30-37 with 3 Tds and no picks.  He has 432 yards on those 30 completions which 14.4 on average, which is very, very high, especially given the completion percentage.  He does not run much.

What was their scoring and yards per play?

Um.  Yeah.  Scoring 59 a game. 7.3 yards per play.  Lotsa productivity.

Can they run the ball?

They average 5.3 yards per carry.  They have two backs who carry almost equally...Jarvis Cooper averages 5.9 yards per carry and Jamairu Henderson averages 5.8 yards per carry.

Did they pass the ball?

As noted above, they like to run the ball but if you crowd the box, they can get big yards and they haven't thrown picks.  This is a dangerous offense.
Memphis Grad Kathy Bates

How was their run/pass balance?

They have run the ball 70% of the time this year, which is incredibly high in today's game.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

Get this.  They are converting 61%.  No, really.

Do they score in the red zone?

Yeah.  You could say that.  They have 14 red zone trips per game and they have scored on every trip and they have 13 TDs.  Among the best I have ever seen.

Do they protect the quarterback?

2 sacks in 50 drop backs is 4% and a little above average.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

Their defensive numbers are also very good.  They've only allowed 15 ppg and 3.5 yards per play.  The latter number is ridiculously low.

Do they defend the run effectively?

So far, very good.  They allow only 2.8 yards per attempt, which is outstanding.  They have 11 TFL in two games.

Can they be passed on?

They have also defended the pass well, with only 52% completions allowed and less than 10 yards per completion.

Did they get off the field on 3rd down?

They have only allowed 29% conversion to date.

Do they defend in the red zone?

On six red zone trips they have one stop, 3 TDs and 2 FGs, which is good if not great red zone defense.

Did they pressure the QB?

With 4 sacks on 67 drop backs, they have pretty below average sack totals.
Going to Graceland....

Special Teams:


Not surprisingly, he has punted only 5 times.  He's averaging 48 yards per kick while putting two of those inside the 20.  He has 3 kicks +50.  Only two have been returned for 13 yards and there has been one touchback, so his net is 39 which is above average.  No blocks.

Punt Return?

So.  if you thought BG was going to get a break from punt return terror, forget it.  Robert Proctor has returned 7 for an average of 13.9 and a TD.  Beware!  No blocks.


He was only 21 of 32 last year, though 15 out of 16 inside 40 and a long of 54.  He's 2 of 2 this year with a long of 32.


They have lots of practice here.  They have kicked off 20 times with 16 touchbacks.

Kickoff Return?

Here they get less practice, with only 2 returns at 26.5 per.

That's a Bass Pro built it the form of a Pyramid.
Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

A few things.

First, it is hard to tell what Memphis has.  They beat Kansas, who also lost to South Dakota State, and Missouri State, who were picked 9th in the MVC and came back to beat DII Chadron State the next week.  Their coach said that the competition was taking a step up this week and I suspect that is probably true.

Having said that, I suspect that Memphis is very good, especially on offense.  I doubt if the defense is as good as their numbers appear.

It worries me a little bit that this game might be a trap for us.  Coming off the big Maryland win and then with another Big 10 game coming next week, this game against a "non-P5" opponent kind of seems like trouble.  Also, Memphis might be better than Maryland and Purdue.

That will be a test for Coach's ability to get the guys to focus this week.  It will help being at home...where a good crowd is certainly hoped for.

I think one of the keys is going to be BG getting stops against the run without crowding the box.  If BG has to commit to stopping the run, every indication is that they will go over the top for big yards.

This is also a game featuring two coaches who very well could be in P5 jobs by next season.

Every indication is for a shoot out.  If somehow it isn't, then BG is likely to be the winning team.  If you like scoring, you might be happy at the Doyt Saturday.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Babers with LOL Presser

Coach Babers delivered some presser magic last week, full of his assortment of colorful and arcane references to make his point.

To wit:  he said BG played conservatively with their emotion on defense against Tennessee and that when Trent Greene blew up the FB and then blew up the TB on that play down by the goal line, he described it as reckless driving.  "That's not having your hands at 10 and 2, that's one hand on the wheel and you're rockin' and rollin'."

He says Matt Johnson is making very fast progress but the still makes mistakes.  "We're still allowed to coach him.  He isn't Peyton Manning."

He said that Memphis is bigger and faster than BG.  They won 10 games last year and beat BYU in a bowl game.

When asked about the 4th down calls, he said that when you go to Las Vegas and you see all those giant casinos, that's because they usually win...and point spreads are usually the same way.  When BG is an underdog, we have to do something to change the odds.

He says BG will be an underdog for the third straight week.  (Currently +3).

He made some kind of reference to using a bunch of weird formations on extra points to putting stuff on film to confuse our conference opponents.

They asked him if he had special teams concerns.

The answer:  Yes.

He said we need gunnars and we need the punter to get it higher and not so long.  He said our kickoff guy has to do better on specialty kickoffs.  As for Tate:  "He's allowed to have a bad day."

Anyway, that's the Babers presser news...there were several laugh out loud moments.  He is a funny man who draws truly fascinating examples.

International Centre for Special Teams Research: Another Rough Ride

So, it was the second poor day in a row for BG special teams.  This one was certainly improved over the Tennessee game.  With the state of our special teams, touchbacks on kickoffs are extra valuable, so that was good and we did generate a turnover.  At the same time, BG missed two makeable FGs, gave up a PR TD, had a very poor OB kickoff and a poor kickoff return and all that worked out to an overall -4 rating.  I think there is hope for improvement.  I think that Tate will bring him game around and I'm hopeful we are now just a couple clicks from getting the punt thing resolved.  For now, this was the only phase of the game we lost against Maryland.

For their part, the Terps had only one negative play and that was the fumble.  Beyond that, they made a number of important plays.

BG Positive (+9)

KO TB (+1)
10 yard punt return (+1)
Recover fumble on kickoff (+3)
KO TB (+1)
KO TB (+1)
KO TB (+1)
KO TB (+1)

BG Negative (-13)

Missed 27 yd FG (-1)
Allow PR TD (-6)
Missed 2xp (-2)
KOR to 18 (-1)
Missed 34 yd FG (-1)
KO OB gives ball to MD in plus territory (-2)

MD Positive (+16)

Made 41 yd FG (+1)
KO TB (+1)
PR TD (+6)
Stop 2XP (+2)
Punt inside 20 (+1)
BG KOR To 18 (+1)
Punt 46 yard net (+1)
KO TB (+1)
Punt to 1 (+2)

MD Negative (-3)

Fumble PR (-3)

Maryland Odds and Ends: Schadenfreude Included

Some last odds and ends from the great day in College Park.

First, all day I have been running into BG fans were are totally pumped by what happened and who recognize why it matters.  Encouraging them to be at the Doyt on Saturday.

It was a big day for Ryan Burbrink, a Maryland boy who made his way to BG after no one in Maryland offered him a scholarship.  In fact, BG didn't offer him a scholarship.  He has turned into an all-conference performer.  And I am sure it was incredibly satisfying to beat the home team in front of your family and friends and notch a TD as well.  Well done Ryan.  Enjoy.

The Big 10 announcers were agonizing to listen to.  The worst part was when they somehow got it into their heads that BG hadn't beaten a P5 team since 2008.  I believe that came from the BG Game Notes, which referenced that being the last ROAD win over a P5 team.  Anyway, it was one of those things...when you have it wrong, you don't just say it once, you repeat it over and over again.  They mentioned it multiple times, put a graphic was great.  Of course, we were all screaming at our TVs..."Indiana.  Last year!!"

One thing was different from last year's Indiana win was Coach Baber's demeanor.  There was no repeat of last year's manic "Train" speech.  In football terms, he acted like he had been there before.

I have a column in my TweetDeck that just shows me tweets with Dino Babers in them.  Falcon fans are going to have to get used to what I saw, which is a ton of fans who covet our Coach.  The Illinois fans have been babbling about it since Beckman was fired, but now pretty much every team that is dissatisfied with their Coach--which is pretty much every team--is talking about Babers.  If he wins the next two, it just gets louder.  He's an attractive candidate and sooner or later if he succeeds he is going to have options.  Sooner could be after this season.  Let's see what happens.  Enjoy the ride.  But expect the chorus to be out there and only quiet down if he start to lose, which we don't want either.

Finally, the best part of the P5 upset experience is to get online and see how the local press responds to the humiliation.  It is always a rich and enjoyable experience, because the entire season had been built on beating BG and then, you know, THEY DON'T AND IT IS THE WORST DAY EVER.

And that makes me happy.  The word is schadenfreude.

Here are some nuggets from the Washington Post.

Maryland cornerback Sean Davis looked exhausted. He sat defeated in the end zone during the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game against Bowling Green, staring ahead and slamming his hand into the turf as a Falcons receiver celebrated yet another touchdown.

“Not the outcome we were looking for,” Maryland Coach Randy Edsall said in a terse postgame news conference that lasted less than five minutes.

“The loss hurts,” Maryland offensive lineman Andrew Zeller said, “but we have to get back out and grade the film...The footage won’t be pretty."

24/7 Sports

Maryland didn't just get upset by Bowling Green today. This wasn't a plucky Mid-American Conference team having a good day or getting a few lucky bounces. This was the Terps, seven-point favorites, were overmatched and out-classed throughout the second half of an embarrassing 48-27 loss.

This was an unknown team scoring 42 points in the second half and unwrapping its back-up quarterback like a victory cigar on Maryland's home field.

Today's loss means whatever chances Maryland had of overachieving its way to a bowl game are crippled. And the ugly way by they lost -- allowing 491 yards and 6 touchdowns in in the passing game alone hurts in recruiting.

I suspect we aren't unknown anymore, so how does that taste?  Best line is the victory cigar, by far.

Oh, sweet victory.

Monday, September 14, 2015

BG with First MBB '16 Verbal

So BG has picked up its first verbal for the 2016 class.  For this young man, Coach Huger has picked into his old home in South Beach, and brought back a 3-star (Rivals) commit.

His name is Dylan Frye and he is a 6'2" PG (Mater Academy) who has been getting strong notices for some time.  He was 2nd team All-State (6A) as a sophomore, transferred to another school, led them to a state title and then transferred back to Mater where he will play his senior year.  He is a good student with a 4.3 GPA.  You can check here for some of his AAU stats and some scouting that includes that this might be the dual-threat passing and shooting PG BG has been looking for for a long time.

An internet website has ranked him as the #22 recruit in Florida.

He had D1 offers from Bryant, High Point, Liberty, Loyola MD, N Florida, Radford, Rider and UCF.

Welcome to the Falcons, Dylan!

Two Falcons win Player of Week

BG had two players make it onto the MAC East Player of the Week list.

Matt Johnson was a no-surprise winner on the offense.  He had a huge day with Playstation numbers in the big upset and is well deserving.  In another week, Roger Lewis at 15/200 would have won, too.

Joseph Davidson won for special teams player, averaging over 50 yards per kick.

Congratulations Matt and Joseph!!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Past and Future Opponent Land

Tennessee  (1-1) Blew big lead, lost to Oklahoma in 2OT.
Memphis (2-0) Beat Kansas 55-23
Purdue (1-1) Beat Indiana State 38-14
Buffalo (1-1) Lost 27-14 @ Penn State
Umass (0-1) Lost 48-14 @ Colorado
Akron (0-2) Lost to Pitt in Akron 24-7
Kent (1-1) Beat Delaware State 45-13
Ohio (2-0) Beat Marshall 21-10.  This is notable.
WMU (0-2) Destroyed by Georgia Southern, 43-17.  Also notable.
UT:  (1-0) Win of the day, beating #18 Arkansas 16-12/
Ball State (1-1) Lost 56-23 to Texas A&M


All FBS: 6-12
P5: 2-10
Non P5-FBS: 4-2
FCS: 6-0

Sweet Victory #1: Special Teams

Wrapping everything up now...the special teams.  They were a horror in Nashville, and they were flawed in College Park, for sure, but they were improved and they didn't lose BG the game and in fact generated a very big play.

It didn't start out very well.

Joe Davidson boomed another punt inside the 20, but William Likely was able to field it near the sideline and go 85 yards for a TD.  After the game, Coach said that it was "heart breaking."  The plan was to kick it OB, but the punter just missed and that gave them the chance to put it away.  Coach said that he went over to the punter and the special teams coach and "motivated" them to make sure Likely didn't hurt us again.

And he didn't.  BG did some rugby style stuff to limit returns and, in fact, even generated a fumble that was recovered inside the MD 20.

BG also missed 2 FGs inside 40 yards, as Tyler Tate starts the season off in an unusual slump which we are confident he will work his way out of.  On the plus side, he had 6 touchbacks in 8 kickoffs, helping to keep Likely from hurting us.

The only issue on kickoffs was a bizarre squib kick that went out of bounds and gave MD good field position.

Joe Davidson has got some leg on him.  He punted 3 times and averaged 50 yards per punt.  BG is going to rank low in net punting due to the return issues, but if that gets sorted out BG has a real weapon in the Long Tall Punter.

Nothing particularly great was done on returns.  BG's KOR return game has not generated much at all and we're generally thankful for the touchback.  Ryan Burbrink did have one nice punt return.

Anyway, point is that the special teams kept us on our ass for the Tennessee game and it was less like that against Maryland.  Having said that, there were still issues with the kicking game and it could still stand to get better.

Sweet Victory #1: The Defense

No secret here...the defense was the biggest area of concern for our team heading into the season.  The defense was not good last year and lost almost everyone.  One thing they did gain was a new DC, and I just think that's making a huge difference.  The ultimate thing is that BG probably isn't going to need a MAC-leading defense to win...but they need to get some stops and we are in that zone right now.

Coach mentioned that the defense made great strides since the first game, which I think is certainly true.  They were just more solid, solid tackling, guys on the ball.  An impressive team effort, sort of in the mold of what we saw in the last Elko days.

First, BG held Maryland to 20 points.  Remember, one TD was on a PR.  That's going to be winning number if repeated.

BG held Maryland to 341 yards.  The Terps only ran 59 plays, so that equals out to 5.6 yards per play, which is only an average number.

BG held the Terps to 16 first downs (!!!), 22 minutes of possession (no really), 3 of 12 on 3rd down,  and forced 6 punts.  Oh, and 3 turnovers, too.

That's a winning effort.

Breaking it down, BG did a nice job with the MD RBs, who had 63 yards on 17 carries.  Most of the running came from the QB, who 94 on 8 carries.  This is certainly an area of improvement.  BG would get pressure--sometimes with 4 and sometimes blitzing--but couldn't bring Hills down or contain him in the pocket.  An area of improvement.

There was never any doubt that the Terps had issues at QB and they certainly showed themselves.  BG did what you are supposed to do with an average QB, which is keep him in check.  Hills was 15 of 30 but only for 168 yards.  That's pretty unproductive and a low percentage for the kinds of passes he was throwing.  I felt like BG's coverage was pretty good.  Darrell Hunter left with a suspected concussion that was not, but Alphonso Mack seemed to get in on some plays after that.  (He also recovered a special teams fumble).

To me, the player I noticed the most was Trent Greene.  He made some big time plays on the Md backs.  He tie for the team high with 8 tackles, and 2 for loss.  Eilar Hardy had 8 and 1 TFL.  Other standouts were Zach Colvin with 2 TFL, Turner with 2 INT,  and Sanford at 2 pass defenses.

Not to diminish the team effort, though.  Six players were in on tackles for loss and four players broke up passes.

I just feel like the defense has played with a stronger sense of order and they make plays that are available to them.  I felt there were glimpses over it in Nashville and obviously more on Saturday.  If it can continue, it just changes the outlook for the team completely.

Sweet Victory #1: The Offense

Coach Babers said that the offense would hit its stride in the early to middle part of this year.  And, in his post-game presser, he still felt that there was room for improvement, especially when missing deep balls, which are integral to the scheme.

Having said that, as a preview of what could be...that was pretty good.

BG finished with 692 yards of total offense.  That's 14 short of the school record...on the road against a Big 10 team.  That means that for all of the games against Temple and Liberty and VMI, etc, this game was only 14 short of the overall record.  That's strong.

BG ran 105 plays, which nets out to 6.6 yards per play.  Get this...Bowling Green had 35 first downs...they made a first down on exactly one out of every three plays they ran.

Matt Johnson had what might be a career day for many people, but I believe will be viewed as a typical day when this year is done.  He was 36 of 55, which is 65%, which Coach says is the minimum he needs not to "get in trouble."  In Coach's words...if you have 65% and "a bunch of big numbers after that" you are in good shape.

He did have that.  BG had 491 yards passing and 6 TDs.  That's 8.9 per attempt and 13.6 per reception, which is just eye popping when combined with a 65% completion.  There was one INT...a throw behind Moore that got off his fingers and probably belongs to both of them...but one pick in 55 passes is totally workable.

Those 36 completions were distributed to 9 different receivers.  The clear leader was Roger Lewis, for whom Maryland had no answer at all.  Tennessee succeeded in taking him away, but Maryland did not.  Lewis went 15 for 200 and 2 scores.  Honestly, he might not generate big numbers for the whole year because I don't think teams are going to let him do that in general and other guys will get the benefit of his ability, but he had a great day in College Park.

Ronnie Moore had 8 for 79...Rhodes had 2 for 108 (!) and 1 TD.  Besides Lewis and Rhodes, Burbrink, Dieter and Lee also had TD catches.

The running game was also effective.  BG ran the ball 50 times (I know, right?) and had 201 yards for the game.  That's not great...but it was good enough.  After the game, Coach said that BG would like to run the ball, but teams are taking the run away and we take what they give us.  (I suspect that might change in the coming games).

Fred Coppet had a great game.  He had 109 yards on only 15 carries, which nets out to 7.3 yards per carry.  Travis Greene struggled more at 65 in 18 carries (he may not have been 100%) and Donovan Wilson had 28 yards on his 7 game killing carries.

BG also turned the ball over only once.  There was another fumble, but BG recovered it.

So, a nearly record setting day in this setting...a great success for BG.  Defense next.

Sweet Victory #1: The Recap

There is an awful lot to like about yesterday's win.  It gives me a completely different view of our team and changes the view of the season 100%.  To win going away against a Big 10 team on the road,  this was just a huge thing for our program and for these guys.  This is going to be a very big season that seems to be pointing toward a Northwest Ohio final at Ford Field.

Enough of that for now.

Coach said in his presser that BG improved a lot from the first game, and that was certainly true on all three phases of the game.  We'll look at each of those later.

Certainly at halftime, things were frustrating.  BG had moved the ball all over the field but only had six points.  A drive to the 9 ended in a missed FG, a drive to the 25 ended in a failed 4th conversion, and a drive to the 26 ended in a failed 4th down conversion.  That's just very frustrating and seemed to call back to issues that the offense had last year and also issues that impacted us throughout our previous experience with a system offense.

Meanwhile, though, the defense was keeping the Falcons in the game.  They had given up only 13 points, forced 3 punts and just seemed to be competing the whole way.

So, at halftime it was 13-6.  Then, the rains came and the teams ended up spending most of an hour waiting until it was safe to play.  Coach said that during this time the Falcons scrapped their second half game plan and went to another game plan...which, I think it is safe to say, was a winning maneuver.

For as frustrating as the first half was, the second half was all Bowling Green, as the Falcons turned into a machine on offense that scored at will and a defense that was getting increasingly stingy and getting some takeaways.  In all, BG outscored Maryland 48-14 in the second half for a victory formation triumph that was just incredibly satisfying.

BG got the ball to start the half, drove down the field (featuring a 64 yard completion to Robbie Rhodes) and then missed another FG, so things were still a little craggy at first.  The defense got a 3 and out and then BG launched a 4-play, :35 scoring drive that tied the game, culminating in a 58 yard completion from Matt Johnson to Roger Lewis.  13-13.

Unfortunately, Lewis was called for an unsportsmanlike after the TD and BG was kicking off from the 20.  On the kickoff I am not sure what was being attempted but Tate squibbed it right out of bounds and MD started at the BG 45 and they scored a couple plays later to go back up 20-13.

The next sequence might well be the key sequence in the game.  BG down 7 and gets a 3 and out.  Davidson booms the punt (this dude has got some leg) and the William Likely, the star punt returner fumbled the ball and BG covered inside the Terp 20.  BG was still struggling a little...false start made it 3rd and 10 from the 14 and then BG went for it on 4th and 3 from the 7.  MD made it easy for BG by jumping offside and then Greene scored to tie the game again at 20.

BG forced the Terps into a 3rd and 11 and got the punt, but Johnson threw a pick (that was probably half on him and half on Moore) but the defense did the job again forcing another 3 and out for the Terps, who punted BG down to the 1.

So, if the fumbled punt wasn't the biggest part of the game, this next part is.  The simple thing is BG went on a (I am not making this up) 15 play, 5 minute+ TD drive to cover the entire 99 yards and get into the end zone.  Along the way, they converted a 3rd and 10, got a DPI on 3rd and 13 and then scored on a play where Johnson was pressured in the pocket, moved around and threw a tracer to Burbrink in the back of the end zone...a play that Coach Babers called "big time."

Early fourth, BG finally leads 27-20.

On the next drive, it was BG's chance to help out.  BG had the Terps off the field on 3rd and 8 but Clint Stephens was called for an unsportsmanlike to extend the drive and Maryland took advantage, scoring 5 plays later to tie the game back up at 27.

The final 12:26 was just beautiful.

BG took the ball, Johnson went 5 of 6 passing, finishing with a 27 yard pass to Lewis for the TD on a 7 play, 2:33 drive.  BG up 34-27.

Maryland made one first down but then the BG defense tightened.  From their own 44, Maryland decided to go for it on 4th down (I assume figuring that nothing was going to be accomplished giving the ball back to BG) and Dernard Turner intercepted the ball.  Then, :34 later, Johnson hit Rhodes from 44 yards out and BG was up 41-27.

You have to feel good but the game was not over.

Md switched QBs and their new QB threw a pick on his first play--this time Clint Stephens.  Starting on the +40, BG now slowed things up a little bit but still scored in 5 plays to put the game away at 48-27.

For good measure, MD's new QB and threw a complete pass and then another pick.  BG finished with 7 straight hand offs to Donovan Wilson and ended up inside the 10 when it all ended.

Just a great team victory.  So proud of our guys...more to come.