Thursday, November 12, 2015

Sweet Victory #8: The Recap

It was slated to be BG's toughest game since Memphis left town and I think it qualified as that.  Even with that, against a very good team, BG was able to win on the road.  This one was big for our guys. I'm immensely proud of the effort and success this year.  Even the defense--undermanned as it is--continues to grind and seems to have an ability to win battles late when they are really needed.

Of course, that locks up BG's 3rd straight East title.  (Technically, it was locked up before the game when NIU held off Buffalo, but with the win BG will take the East outright.)

Anyone care to remember when it seemed like we would never get even one East title?  Just stop for a minute.  BG is 8-2, two big upsets, undefeated in conference...this has been a pretty damn good year.  Now, there are still some things that could make it better (ahem, UT, MAC title), but to date it would be hard for it to be much better.

I would not have been surprised if the game had been a track meet and it certainly looked at first like that was going to be what would happen.

BG took the opening kickoff and did what it does, which is to operate a 10-play, 79-yard drive in 1:47 (which is just unbelievable), capped by Johnson going over the top to Lewis for 35 yards and BG had a 7-0 lead.

WMU came right down the field, hitting Corey Davis 3 times for 48 yards.  (Coach said after the game that after this drive the team dropped into zone on him and didn't try to play man against him).  Anyway, they got to the BG 26 before Terrance Bush picked up a 3rd down sack and they hit a 48 yd FG to make it 7-3 BG.

BG took the kickoff and went 77 yards in 2:05, capping off with a Travis Greene 24 yard TD run.  With that, BG was up 14-3 with 7 minutes left in the first.

In past weeks, that might have been it.  Up 2 scores. BG would have just extended the lead and coasted home.  WMU was better than that.  They drove 77 yards in a 4-minute drive that resulted in a touchdown that made it 14-10.

Then they forced a three and out--hampered by a dropped pass on a long pass to Ronnie Moore that might have been a touchdown, his second potential big play drop--and then WMU scored again early in the second quarter to take a 17-14 lead and the hunter became the quarry.  It was the first time BG had trailed since the UMass game (take a note on that).

The two teams traded punts after that (making it 2 straight stops for the WMU defense) and then BG had an 80-yard drive in less than 2 minutes with Johnson hitting Teo Redding for a 42 yard TD to give BG the lead back, 21-17.

WMU started on their own 12, converted a 4th down deep in their own territory but punted from inside the 25.  BG started on its own 45 with 5:40 left in the half and an excellent chance to build the lead, which they did 5 plays later with Johnson hitting Roger Lewis again for a 31-yard TD...Tate doinked the XP...BG up 27-17.

WMU roared back into BG territory and then lost a fumble, giving BG a turnover, up 11, with 2:21 left in the half and BG starting on its own 34.  This is a moment of maximum danger for WMU.  BG is perfectly suited to get into the end zone and go up 3 scores heading into the locker room.

It was a battle WMU's defense had to win and they did.  BG made one first down and then had 2 incompletions and a sack and BG had failed to land the head shot it had available.

WMU took the ball at 1:32 and they went 3 and out and that opportunity still existed for BG when they got the ball back on the 36 with 1:03 left.

BG made 2 first downs and then Johnson was intercepted on a bubble screen that was returned (with penalty) down to the BG 14.  (At halftime, Coach Babers said that our players heard a whistle and didn't block the bubble screen, but the officials said they didn't hear it).  Anyway, the defense kept WMU out of the end zone but the Broncos got a FG...meaning that they had been faced with being down 34-17 and instead were down 27-20.

And then the Broncos took the opening kickoff and then ran a 8 play drive to tie the game at 27.

That's a pretty big turnaround in a short period of time.  The ultimate news, however, is that WMU did not score again.

BG took the lead for good on its next drive, a 77-yard drive featuring 34 rushing yards for Greene and Coppet and an eventual TD for #8.  BG lead 34-27---after the XP hit the upright and went through.

BG's defense earned a 3 and out and the Falcons made the last TD of the game on a 11 play, 3:48 long drive that featured a lot of Travis Greene, including the ultimate TD.  BG had a 2-score lead with 2:54 left in the 3Q.

The defense got another 3 and out and BG had another chance to close the game out as the third ended and the 4th began.  With a 2nd and 2 on the WMU 44 and seemingly headed the right way, Johnson was sacked twice and once again WMU's defense had kept the Broncos alive.

WMU is still 100% capable of scoring twice and tying the game, and now that had some stops, it was starting to get a little tense.  They drove into BG territory and had a 3rd and 3 on the 37.  BG's defense came up very big, blowing up a run for a loss of 4 and then tackling Corey Davis 1 yard shot of the "line to make" on 4th down for a turnover on downs.  Very big possession.  Still 10:24 left.

Given another opportunity to close the door, BG went 3 and out.  Joe Davidson--who is a monster weapon--bombed a 65 yard punt down to the WMU 5.  With 9:17 left, WMU faced a long field to drive.  Even if they did it, it was going to eat up time.

Which they did.  Mixing in a 44-yard completion, they ended up with a 1st and goal on the BG 4.  With their running game, you have to like their odds of getting into the end zone.  However, BG stoned a run on first down, forced incompletions on 2nd and 3rd and then sacked Terrell on 4th for a huge red zone stop.  WMU had used up half of the remaining time and ended with no points.

BG took the ball with 4:33 left.  WMU had all 3 time outs, which they used in getting BG off the field with only one first down.

Even so, WMU started with 2:44 left needing 2 scores and no timeouts...and Mack sealed the game with an INT and the Falcons had the big road victory sealed.'

More on the individual units to come, but the offense was good though not unstoppable and the defense bent but continued to make big plays when needed and stopped a very good offense at 27 points and finished with 6 straight scoreless stops.  That's a potent formula.


Anonymous said...

A good win. I can't recall the exact point of the game. Definitely second half, I think BG up 14. Driving after several good runs. An 8 yard run made it second and 2 ... I said, Get the first down first, then do your thing to put them away." ... Oh no, passes, and I think sacks, ... thus leading to zero points. I wasn't a happy camper with the coaches sometimes good, old fashioned football still has a place.

Orange said...

Well, and BG was certainly getting yards on the ground. I think they'd tell you that they just take what the defense gives them. I think on 2nd down they figure worst case is you bring Wilson in and blast in on 3rd...but then the sack.

Anonymous said...

A great performance by Greene, Dieter and the O-line/defensive front 7 with one thing to work on: not going 3 and out (happened 3 times in first half). Offense is predicated on getting first downs and many of Johnson's passes were uncharacteristically off. Get back to that 77% completion percentage and sustain drives.