Friday, November 13, 2015

Sweet Victory #8: The Defense

It was not an unusual story for the BG defense.  It is not the first time that the phrase "bend but don't break" has been brought out.

Bend.  WMU had 27 first downs, 205 yards rushing for a sack-adjusted average north of 5 yards per carry.  Even at that, WMU came into the game with the MAC's top rushing offense and while they got their yards, BG kept WMU from winning the game on the ground.

They were 24-40 passing with one pick...and 7.1 yards per attempt and 11.8 yards per reception, both better numbers than BG had.  They finished with 5.7 yards per play--less than BG due to the running.

Even so, BG gave up a good number of yards and first downs.  The difference--two turnovers, a FG stop in the red zone and a total stop as well and they held WMU to 4 of 13 on 3rd down and 1 of 3 on 4th down.  Those two stats go a long way to explain the part where BG didn't break.  The ability to get the other team off the field is key.

And the red zone stop at the end?  That was huge.  Yes, BG was up two scores, but the Falcons were able to hold that lead while forcing WMU to kill almost five minutes of precious game time with no return.

BG also had 5 sacks, including a key one on the game's critical fourth down play.  And, after a rough start, BG closed the last game with 6 scoreless stops.

This has been how BG's defense has worked most of the year, especially against better opposition.  I don't think they are going to suddenly turn into a shutdown defense, but at the same time this level of success, if it can continue, is enough to keep BG on the winning side.

BG is 8-2, just for the record.

Austin Valdez had a huge game, with 15 tackles, 1 sack, 2 TFL and a hurry.  Clint Stephens had 12 solo tackles and 2 breakups, battling through some early issues covering Corey Davis.  James Sanford had 12 tackles and 1 break up while Trent Greene had 11 tackles and a fumble recovery.  Terrance Bush had 2 sacks, Zach Colvin had 1 and Royster and Lunsford split a sack.  Alfonso Mack had an interception.

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