Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Duquesne Preview

So tomorrow night BG will take the court in Pittsburgh to play Duquesne.  

Duquesne plays in the A-10 conference, where they have had some decent teams but have failed to win the big prize.  In fact, their tournament drought is back to 1977, which is only 9 years off BG's.  They won the regular-season title in 1980 and 1981 and made the final four in 1940.

They are coached by Keith Dambrot.  No person living or dead has a better winning percentage over BG over so many games than Keith Dambrot.  During his years at Akron, they held a virtual stranglehold over the Falcons.  He left Akron, where he had been successful to go to the A-10, which is usually a multi-bid league.  He has gotten none of those bids. This is his 5th season and he is 68-51.

This is the 27th meeting between the two schools and BG has won 9.  They have won the last 4 against BG and 6 of the last 8.  BG last won in Pittsburgh in 2001.

They were 9-9 last year and they are picked by Blue Ribbon to be 9th in the A-10.  They lost 10 of their top 12 scorers from that team.  They lost 11 players overall, 8 of them to transfer.  So Dambrot went out and did what you do--worked the transfer wire to restock the team.

Their kenpom is 194 right now.  They have wins over Rider (256), Bradley (197) and American (307).  The losses are Hofstra (137) and Weber State (96)--both at home--and Northeastern (164) and Colorado (54), both neutral.  That equals one decent win and no bad losses, really.

They are scoring 1.01 points per possession, which is about average.  They are shooting the ball poorly, but don't turn it over and kill it on the offensive boards, which should be a worry after Chicago State feasted on offensive rebounds Sunday.  They get to the line OK and are making 73%.  Their shooting is mostly focused on 2FG and make only 46% from 2FG.

On defense, they allow 1.02 points per possession, which is below average.  They are #291 in defending the shot to date.  They allow 37% on 3FG and 54% on 2FG, both rankings in the 280s.  They make up for it a little by creating a lot of turnovers and not letting teams get to the line. They are not good on the defensive boards.

Like Dambrot's teams at Akron, scoring is spread across a number of players, four of who are averaging 12 PPG. 

They are lead by Kevin Easley Jr, a SO Chattanooga and TCU transfer who is 6'7".  He's scoring 12.9 PPG on 46% FG shooting and 46% 3FG shooting, 81% FT shooting and 6.6 RPG.  He was SoCon FR of the year.

Next is Amir "Primo" Spears at 12.7 PPG, but far less efficient, shooting 38% and 29% shooting.  Making 77% at the line and 3 APG, leading the team.  He's a 6'3" guy who played prep last year.

Leon Ayers III is scoring 12.4 PPG, also not efficient at 41% and 21% shooting.  He was a JUCO All-American at Henry Ford before going to Mercer.  He is a 6'5" G.

Then, there is Tre Williams, scoring 12.1 PPG.  He shoots 45% and 17%, which is obviously not great.  He has 6.7 RPG and has blocked almost 3 shots per game.  He's #55 in the country in block percentage.  He's a 6'7" transfer from Indiana State.

So, one thing is that Coach Huger is always saying that we get open looks, we just have to make them.  This would be the team to make them against.  On the road, this is a tough game.  Duquesne is a 3.5 point favorite, which is about right, I think.  It would be a nice win if BG is able to get this done, but it will take a better effort than we have seen to date.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Portal Updates

 So, it is that time of year.  We saw that Riley Keller entered the portal a few days ago.

Today there were two more.

One of them is Jack Wardzala, a D-lineman who was never listed on a national signing day.  He did play in the Murray State game.

The other is Gabriel Brown, an o-lineman from Grand Rapids who played in 9 games this year without making a start.

Best of luck to all three.

BG Beats Chicago State

The Falcon MBB team did what they were supposed to do Sunday...they easily beat a team that is not very good and should have been easily beaten.

It wasn't a great performance by BG, but it was never a game. BG led wire to wire.  As unbelievable as it sounds, it was 17-5 with 8 minutes left in the first half.  BG led by 10+ points for the last 25 minutes of the game, stretching it as high as 26.  With 9 minutes left the Cougars had it down to 15 on an 11-0 run, but BG was able to stall it and put the game away.  Final was 75-57.

It was certainly not a pretty offensive game.  Neither team shot well.  BG was 41% on 2FG and 32% from 3FG while Chicago State shot 34% on 2FG and 32% on 3FG...almost all of that in the second half.  The difference was that Chicago State turned the ball on a shocking percentage of their possessions.  That's the highest for a BG opponent since 2017.  BG was also 18 of 23 from the line and +12 on free throws.

Anything that the Cougars did get came from great offensive rebounding, but they still ended up at .75 possessions.  BG had .99 which is not great.

Joe Reece led BG with 18 on 5 of 9 shooting and 5 rebounds in only 25 minutes. That's a pretty good night.  Plowden had 17 on 5 of 8 shooting, plus 1 of 2 from 3FG, 6-7 at the line, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks.  Diggs had 10 on 2of 8 3FG shooting.  Matheney and Curtis each had 4 steals.

Myron Gordon was a DNP..

Next up is the Duquesne Dambrots.  Wednesday in Pittsburgh.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Past and Future Opponent Land--FINAL

 Tennessee (7-5):  Beat Vanderbilt

South Alabama (5-7) Lost in OT to Coastal Carolina

Murray State: (6-5):  Finsihed 6-5

Minnesota (8-4) Upset Wisconsin.  Unbelievable.

Kent (7-5) Beat Miami in OT, won East

Akron (2-10) Lost to UT

NIU (8-4) Lost to WMU

EMU (7-5) Lost to CMU

UB (4-8) Lost to BSU

Toledo (7-5): Beat Akron

Miami (6-6): Lost to Kent in OT

MAC vs. P5:  3-17 

MAC vs G5:  7-9

MAC vs. FCS:  10-1

East vs. West:  14-4, West

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Chicago State Preview

Next up for MBB, the Chicago State Cougars.

This is one of the most challenged--and least successful--programs in college basketball.  Over the last five years, their top win total is 6 and their best kenpom is 335.  There are 358 teams in D1.  Last year, they lost their first 9 games before COVID and injuries forced them to cancel the remainder of the year. 

They are picked to finish last in the WAC.

They do have a new coach.  His name is Gerald Gillion.  They announced him as an elite recruiter, and he was an assistant at Samford, where he would have run across Myron Gordon.  He's actually an interesting hire and you'd think in Chicago you could compete given the HS talent there.  They did try that with the last coach--Lance Irvin--whose Father was a godfather of Chicago basketball.

 They returned only 3 players from last year's team.

They did open the season with two wins, over #312 St. Thomas and #325 SIU-Edwardsville, both at home.  They have since lost to Loyola (31), UCSB (92) and Pacific (161), all away.

They are not a great offensive team, averaging .9 points per possesions, which is #282 in the country.  What they do get is from the 3FG.  44% of their FGA are from 3FG and they are not bad, they make 34.7% which is above average.  They are, however, terrible on 2FG, turn the ball over a lot, don't rebound on offense, and don't get to the line and make only 60% when they do.

They are equally bad on defense, allowing 1.09 points per possession, which is #292 in the country.  They are good on the boards but they are among the 10% worst teams in defending the shot and they give up a lot of FTs and don't force turnovers.  Almost 47% of the FGAs against them have been 3FGs, which is a staggering number.

Tomorrow's game appears to set up to be a jump shooting contest.  They also allow 57% on 2FGs, which is terrible and should be an opportunity for BG, should they choose to attack the basket.

They have only one double-figure scorer.  He is a G named Brandon Betson who is playing at his first D1 college, but his third college in 3 years.  He was all-conference at those other schools and he's having a good year.  He is scoring 17 a game on 50% overall shooting and 45% from 3FG with 92% at the line.

They also have Bryce Johnson, an honest to god FR, who is scoring 9 PPG on 46% 3FG shooting.  Their leading rebounder is Coreyoun Rushin, a Chicago native who transferred from Idaho State.  He's 6'5" and a senior.

Overall, they have 6 FR and 8 transfers.

BG has a 98% chance of winning per kenpom and 95% from ESPN.  This was put on the schedule to be a win and BG will be looking to make it happen.  Anything less will be very disappointing.  The last time they beat a team with a kenpom better than BG's is right now was January, 2017 @Utah Valley.  Before that was 2014.

Sweet Victory


And the flag flies to end the season.  I'm happy for our guys, who have endured a lot and deserved to get a little bit of a reward.  I think it also provides us a little hope for the process we are undergoing, as we move into the "fill our holes" phase.

To be sure, OU is not a top team in our conference.  They are, however, a team in our conference.  They had the same record as us coming in and had beaten a couple teams we lost handily to.  At this point, beating anybody in the conference is at least notable.  We lost to Akron, for heaven's sake.

BG took the opening kickoff and ran 14 plays, only 2 of them passes but also they drive's key play--a 31 yard completion--converted a third down and a fourth down before stalling out inside the 5 for a FG.

The teams traded punts before OU went on an 86 yard drive to score a TD on the first play of the second quarter.  On the next play, BG was faced with a 4th and 1 on its own 37 and went for it and lost a yard.  Loeffler said after the game that he literally wanted to see if we could get a yard.  We could not.  And it happened another time, too.

So OU had a short field, they drove inside the BG 10 but the Falcon defense kept them out of the end zone and it was a 10-3 OU lead.

I think the next sequence is one of the key sequences of the game.  You could feel an old pattern emerging and it would have been easy to fall into it.  But BG did not, instead driving 70 yards on a 10 play drive with 4 plays over ten yards before McDonald and Osborne connected on a TD pass and it was 10-10.

OU came out and on their third play Deshawn Jones got BG a pick and the Falcons were in business again.  The drive ended up with Needham's only missed FG of the season, but it was all good from there on in.

The teams traded 3 and outs to end the half.

OU got the ball for the second half.  How many times has this gone wrong for us?  Not this time...OU went 3 and out.  BG drove to the OU 30 and pooch punted into the end zone.  On the next drive, OU got one first down but then BG forced them to punt.  The punter dropped the snap and BG was in business inside the OU 30, ending with a Nate Needham FG.  13-10 BG.

OU went 3 and out from a sack by Karl Brooks.

BG took the ball on the 50 and moved to the OU 1 for a 3rd down play.  We are in the 4th now.  BG could not convert on 3rd down or 4th down but on OU's first play they tackled Armani Rogers in the end zone for a safety and BG led 15-10 with 13 minutes left in the game.

BG took the free kick and drove 51 yards on 12 plays--converting 2 3rd downs--and ended with a Needham FG to go up 18-10 with 7 minutes left.  OU moved the ball on the next drive, including a 25-yard completion and they were at the BG 31.  A holding penalty set them back and they were forced to go for it on 4th and 12 when Trent Simms picked the ball off for the Falcons.

BG started on the OU 28 with 3:47 left.  They forced OU to use all their timeouts and ended up with a game clinching FG.  OU's last desperate drive ended with another Jones INT.

You start with the defense.  OU came in #8 in the MAC in scoring, but BG came in #12 in scoring defense.  Also, OU was a run-focused team and that had to be a worry.  Now, OU made an odd choice.  They usually have 62% runs, but it was actually 50/50 here and using their "passing" QB, Kurtis Rourke instead of a running QB that would have been suited to the conditions.

Still, BG held them to 10 points.  Created 3 turnovers and 2 sacks.  BG held them to 4.3 yards per carry, well below their average.  OU also completed only 50% of their passes and had only 8 yards per completion, 103 total passing yards.  The Bobcats had 10 first downs, 2 of 11 on 3rd down and 1 of 3 on 4th down.  It was a defensive effort to build on, as Brand and Ferguson return and other holes are filled.

On the offensive side, BG did not have a great game.  BG ran 80 plays, a good sign on its own.  They kept on schedule (more or less) and generated 21 first downs.  BG struggled to run the ball and missed some throws and failed to convert twice on 4th and 1 and ended up with one touchdown and four FGs and a safety to get to 21.

It was, however, good enough.  For all the problems with McDonald, he had time to throw and he missed a couple but he also made some really nice throws.  He was only sacked once.  He completed 24 of 37 and of his 24 completions, 14 were for a first down.  He also ran for at least one first down.

BG was 8 of 19 on 3rd down and had 37 minutes of possession, which is pretty good when run the ball for 2.2 yards per play and get only 4.4 yards per play overall. 

Again, not a great offensive performance, but good enough.  With OU's mistakes in their own territory, this could have been a blowout.

And how about Nate Needham?  Are you kidding me?  Decidedly average a year ago, he missed only one FG this year--it was in this game, when he said the wind quit blowing just as he kicked it--and his four FGs, three 39 or over, on a windy November day in the Doyt-wind-tunnel...well, that did as much to deliver the game as anything.  He's a great story.

More on the season wrap-up.  It promises to be a busy off season.  The portal will continue to roll---just today Riley Keller announced he was transferring--and BG has talked about using transfers to fill some gaps.  "It's time," Coach says.  And it is.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

25 Questions That Signal The End


What is their body of work?

So, Frank Solich created a new paradigm for OU football, which had been historically poor.  He won the East four times, is the winningest coach in MAC history, but never won the MAC Championship.  He resigned in mid-July and was replaced by the OC and associate Head Coach Tim Albin.

They haven't had a great year.  They are 3-8, the same record as BG, and dropped their FCS game.  They did beat Akron, EMU and Miami...all teams BG decidedly did not beat.  They did lose to UB.  A couple of their coaches have announced their retirement and Albin will have the opportunity to put his stamp on the program soon.

OU has won the last 3 meetings over BG and BG won the three before that.  OU is a 6-point favorite.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 27 which is a lot.

Who are their statistical leaders? (Top 20 Nationally)


What is their turnover ratio? 

They are -4


How is their QB play?

So, you will remember Nathan Rourke, their excellent starting QB, who has graduated and now plays for the BC Lions.  They now use his brother Kurtis in a split with UNLV transfer Armani Rogers.  Kurtis throws most of the passes....he's OK, #7 in the MAC in pass efficiency.  Rogers is the #13 rusher in the MAC.

What is their scoring and yards per play (MAC Games only from here on in)

They are #8 in scoring and #6 in yards per play.

Can they run the ball?

This is how they were built.  They are #3 in yards per rush.  DeMontre Truggle is their lead back at 6.3 yards per carry.

Do they pass the ball?

They are 8th in pass efficiency.  They complete 66% of their passes, with 8 TDs and 2 INT and 12.2 yards per completion.  Normally, a lot of short passes and running after the catch.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on 62% of their plays, which is how they are built.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

Teams that plays this style almost always do...they are 5th in the MAC.

Do they score in the red zone?

Not great, 4.84 points per trip.  They have 10 red zone FGs in 25 attempts.

Do they protect the quarterback?

Not great, sacks on 7% of attempts.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play

They are 5th in scoring defense and 8th in yards per play allowed.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are 6th in yards per carry allowed.

Can they be passed on?

They are #9 in pass efficiency defense.  They allow 68% completions (most in the MAC) and a 13:5 ratio.  

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are 6th in getting off the field.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They allow 4.7 points per trip which is not bad.

Do they pressure the QB?

They get sacks on 5% of passing attempts, which is average.

Special Teams:


They are 3rd in net punting.  No TDS, no blocks.

Punt Return?

They are 8th in punt returns.  No TD, no blocks.


He is not great.  15 of 22 with a 44 long.  3 misses under 40.  


Opponents start on the 27.  No TDs.

Kickoff Return?

They start on the 29.  1 TD

Intangible Miscellany

The teams have the same record, but one is playing better than the other.  The first thing to watch for is if BG's offensive line has benefitted from a couple extra days off.  They appear to be exhausted and really struggling.  If that's the case, then it's going to be difficult to impossible for BG to win this game.  If they can get Stewart going than and protect McDonald--and OU isn't a great pass rushing team--than there might be a shot.  On the other side, BG has the worst defense in the MAC in conference play.  The Falcons got some stops against the Miami running game and they will need it again or else the offense might never get onto the field.  Neither team has anything but pride to play for.  It would be great to see us end the year on a high note, but it would take a sharp departure from the previous weeks.

Trip To Fort Myers Ends Badly

 After one promising performance against Milwaukee, BG reverted to form Wednesday, losing to Southern Utah 87-73 in a game that wasn't that close.

The first half was competitive with lead changes etc.  SUU led by 4 at the half.  SUU came out on an 8-2 run to stretch the lead to double digits for the first time about 3 minutes in.  The Thunderbirds got the lead to 10 again about 5 minutes in and it never got inside 10 again.  On the contrary, with 13 minutes left it was 16 points, with 8 left it was 21,  It was still 20 with 3 minutes left...BG hit a couple 3s in garbage time to make it look closer, but this was a 20-point game.

BG's shooting was poor again--the worst since Western Carolina.  They took 45% of their shots from 3FG and made only 20%.  Their 2FG was 50%, but it ended up with 42.7% EFG.  They also had 18% turnovers and 28% offensive rebounding, neither of which helped the cause.  They only salvaged the night by getting to the line 29 times and making 26.  Overall, it was .99 points per possession, which is below average.  Last year, BG was winless at this level of offense.

Having said that, the defense was the bigger issue.  The Falcons gave up 1.18 points per possession.  SUU took 44% of their field goals from 3FG but they made 33% and 59% of their 2FGs.  They had some turnovers but killed it on the offensive boards and got to the line 27 times, making 20.  BG did not win last year at this level of defense and only one time the year before that.

Plowden had 18 points to lead the team.  He shot 5 of 13 overall and 2 of 4 from 3FG.  He also had 6 rebounds.  Fulcher had 11 points on 3 of 3 shooting in 20 minutes of play.  No one else scored in double figures.

Dakich always said you wanted to get a win before a break so you could enjoy the holiday.  On that theory, everyone will have something on their mind this year.  BG has Chicago State on Sunday--they are the 3rd lowest ranked team in D1.

Happy Thanksgiving to the Falcon Nation


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Southern Utah Preview

So next up in Ft. Myers is Southern Utah--the Thunderbirds--out of the Big Sky Conference.  This is a very solid mid-major program.  They have been in the Tourney once (in 2001) and won a game in the CIT in 2019.  They were very good last year, finishing 20-4 and winning their regular season title with a kenpom of 135.  They lost the conference tournament and would have been in the NIT in a normal year.

They return four starters from that team and Blue Ribbon picked them to win the Big Sky again.  This year they are 1-3 in D1 games.  They lost @ Dixie State (311), which is not good, but then @ St. Mary's (36) and in 2OT to Cal (126).  FWIW, their coach claims an error by the scorer's table cost them the win. They beat Yale yesterday in OT.

Their kenpom right now is #136.  They are 2 point favorites.

Their coach is Todd Simon, who attended CMU.  He isn't listed as a letterwinner so I assume he didn't play for them.  He was interim coach at UNLV when Dave Rice was fired mid-season.  From there he went to Southern Utah, where he has taken the team from 6-27 to 20-4 last year.

Their leading player heading into the season was Tevian Jones, Blue Ribbon's pick for Big Sky POY.  He's not off to a great start, with 14 PPG on 31% overall shooting and 27% from 3FG.  He did have 24 against Yale.

Their leading scorer is John Knight III, a 6'3" G who is a redshirt senior.  He was pre-season All-Big Sky and is scoring 19 PPG on 57% shooting--virtually all 2FG.  They also have 6'6" Maizen Fauset, who averages a double-double, at 10.8 and 10.4.

They are #6 in the nation in experience.

Offensively, they are struggling at .92 points per game.  They are taking 46% of their FGs from 3FG and only making 26%.  They are about average taking care of the ball and a little above average on the offensive boards and getting to the line.  They also shoot FTs poorly.

Defensively, they are allowing 1.02 points per possession, which is also below average.They are well below average defending the shot and forcing turnovers, but do a good job on the defensive boards and a very good job keeping teams off the line.

This is a solid opponent and well-coached.  It will be a good test for BG to string together two strong games as part of putting a little run together.  I'm looking forward to hearing how it goes.

BG MBB Gets Winning Performance

 BG got their first win against D1 opposition yesterday, pulling off a nice victory on a neutral floor against Milwaukee.  Milwaukee is a good team--not great--but MAC-level opposition.  Given that BG had already lost two games to sub-MAC quality teams, it was worrisome, but the Falcons put the right effort together and got the win by 14.  They were underdogs doing in.

BG led most of the way.  They were up as much as 8 in the first half before Milwaukee brought it back to a tie in the last couple minutes and BG led by 1 at the half.  

Patrick Baldwin hit a 3FG to start the second half and then BG went on a 9-minute, 19-2 run that essentially won the game.  Clearly, runs like that are built on stops and when you can hold a team without any points for over 7 minutes, you have a pretty good shot at winning the game.  To be sure, BG also did a nice job closing it out--the Panthers never got closer than 9 points heading home.

BG had a big offensive game at 1.22 points per possession.  The overall pace was 67 possessions, which is slow for a BG game.  That kind of offensive output would usually be among BG's top 5 games in a season.  They built it the way we are used to seeing them build it...with good but not great shooting, but creating extra possessions with low turnovers and good offensive rebounding.  They also made 15 of 19 FTs.

BG shot 35% of their FGs from 3FG, which is actually below the national average.  BG did make 39% of them, but only made 48% from 2FG, which is a little below the average.  Remember as well that Milwaukee had defended the shot very well this year.

Meanwhile, they held Milwaukee to 1.01 points per possession.  While hardly a stifling defensive performance, it is good enough to win most nights.  Coming in, the Panthers had been very 2FG-focused, but they shot 54% of their FGAs from 3FG and made 34% which is OK, but tough for that many shots. They turned the ball over more than BG and had just an average night on the offensive boards.  They were 11 of 15 at the line.

Individually, BG was led by Daeqwon Plowden, who responded to a challenge from Coach Huger to be the toughest guy on the floor with a career-high-tying 26 points.  He made 5 of 7 from 3FG and 2 of 5 from 3FG, 7-9 at the line, 2 blocked shots, 7 rebounds and 2 blocked shots.

Myron Gordon had a rough 11, shooting 2 of 8.  Joe Reece had 10 points on 4 of 8 shooting and 8 rebounds in 23 minutes. Fulcher had 6 points in 13 minutes and made all 3 of his shots.  The team clearly benefitted from having Matheny back.  It doesn't necessarily show on his stats line but the offense seems to run much better with him at the helm.

One last thing...Patrick Baldwin Jr played only 17 minutes.  He turned his ankle at one point and didn't play much after that.  He had 9 rebounds while he was in there, but was 3 of 11 shooting.

Next up this afternoon is Southern Utah.  More on that in a minute or two.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Milwaukee Preview

So next up, from Ft. Myers, is BG and Milwaukee.  The Panthers were previously known as Wisconsin-Milwaukee before rightsizing their name.  They have played in four NCAA Tournaments.  In 2005, they were a 12-seed and beat #5 Alabama and #4 Boston College before losing in the Sweet 16.  They also won the next year in the first round as a #11 seed.  

They fired the coach who had taken them there (Rob Jeter) and cast themselves into the wilderness.  They have had 5 straight losing seasons since Jeter left.

Their coach is Pat Baldwin (Sr), who was a star player at Northwestern and was an assistant with Chris Collins at Northwestern before coming to Milwaukee.  He is 48-71 with the Panthers.

Blue Ribbon had them 6th in the Horizon this year. They were 10-12 last year with 3 starters lost.

BG and Milwaukee have played three times.  BG won a 1975 meeting (the BG team that lost to CMU in the league finale) but then BG lost to them in 09 and 10 under Orr.  Milwaukee is a 2-point favorite tomorrow.

They aren't off to a great start this year.  They beat North Dakota (320) but then lost to Eastern Kentucky (196) and Florida (18).  Eastern Kentucky would probably be a lower-tier team in the MAC.

The news with Milwaukee is a guy named Patrick Baldwin....JR...who is the son of the coach and a 5-star recruit who chose Milwaukee over Duke.  He is presumed to be a 1-and-done.  He is a 6'9" 3, although his bio lists him as a guard.  He was actually the top-ranked recruit in the country before an injury his senior year knocked him down to #4.  He's scoring 17.7 PPG (though on 38% shooting), 85% FT shooting and 8.3 RPG.

So that's a legit cause of excitement.  He will be a handful in the Horizon and the MAC and BG will work to have the length and athleticism to handle him.

Their second-leading scorer is 6'5" DeAndre Gholston, who was their leading scorer last year.  He is scoring 13.7 PPG this year on 41% shooting overall and 36% 3FG shooting.  He makes 83% of his FTs and adds 5 RPG.  In 101 minutes he has contributed zero assits.

The other double-figurer scorer is Josh Thomas, a 6'4" G, scoring 11.3 PPG on 50% shooting and 88% FT shooting and 4.3 RPG.  FR Donovan Newby leads the team with 11 assists.

Overall, they are struggling to score the ball, at .89 points per possession, which is #274 in the nation.  BG is only scoring .91.

They are very much focused on making 2FGs--only about 30 teams in the country try fewer 3FG attempts.  Sometimes a team like that actually makes the 3FG they do take, but Milwaukee makes 26%, which is poor.  They only make 45% of their 2FGs, which explains the poor offensive production. They take good care of the ball, but are poor on the offensive boards and are average at getting to the line, though they make 73% when they do get there.

The defense is also not great, at 1.02 ppp, which is #202 in the country.  (BG is playing terrible defense at #311 in the country).

They defend the shot very well, allowing only 41% on 2FG.  They are less good on 3FG (36%).  They do not force turnovers, which is often true of teams that defend the shot well.  They are good on the defensive boards and teams RARELY get to the line against them.

Teams try a lot of 3FGs against them, which should fit well with what BG wants to do, although has yet to actually do.  BG is #322 in the nation in 3FG while #37 in 3FGAs.

They are tall--#41 in the country for average height.

You don't know what to expect with BG to date.  Or, you don't want to know.  The Falcons have not had a strong performance in any game yet, and this might be the time for it to happen. Even with Baldwin, Milwaukee is not impossible to beat, even though they are formidable.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Past and Future Opponent Land

 Tennessee (6-5):  Beat Southern Alabama

South Alabama (5-6) Lost to Tennessee

Murray State: (6-5):  Beat Eastern Illinois

Minnesota (7-4) Beat Indiana

Kent (6-5) Destroyed Akron, sets up title match with Miami

Akron (2-9) Run over by Wagon Wheel

NIU (8-3) Beat Buffalo, Won West

EMU (7-4) Rallies to beat WMU

UB (4-7) Lost to NIU, no bowl

Toledo (6-5): Beat Ohio

Miami (6-5): Beat BG

Ohio (3-8):  Lost to UT

MAC vs. P5:  3-17 

MAC vs G5:  7-9

MAC vs. FCS:  10-1

East vs. West:  12-4, West

Fields to Redshirt

Thanks to the commenter yesterday who pointed me to social media (IG) where I saw that Caleb Fields had posted that he will redshirt this year and return for next season.

Caleb has been a warrior for our program and I wish him nothing but the best as he recovers  Get well soon.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

BG Loses At Home to Norfolk State

Woof.  Thank goodness BG has soccer...and volleyball...and hockey..because right now things are really tough in the football and men's basketball world.

BG dropped its home opener Friday night against Norfolk State...a game they should expect to win, especially at home.  Yes, as Coach pointed out after the game, Norfolk State is a tournament team, but they're a play-in team.  On the other hand, they have now beaten us twice in a row.

Coach says he "loves the direction" we are headed...says we competed hard, except for 8 minutes...we have to remember it's a 40-minute game, etc.  He's hopeful we will get Metheny back soon.  (Didn't mention Fields).

I guess I understood that we might have some coalescing to do.  I thought we would be a team that would still be able to beat Western Carolina and Norfolk State while coalescing, but apparently that isn't how it is.  Whether the team grows into a competitive team in our conference remains to be seen but it wasn't out there last night.

There was one period in the second half that cost BG the game.  The first half was close--it was tied with 6 minutes left.  BG went up 6 with about 4 left, led by 5 with 2 minutes left and then Norfolk State scored the last 3 to go to the locker room down a bucket.

BG scored the first two baskets of the second half and led by 6 with 18 to play. Norfolk called timeout and that's where the wheels fell off.  

The Spartans got a hoop and then pressured Gordon into a turnover bringing the ball up, which turned into another basket.  In total, they went on a 18-2 run over the next 3:30...yes, that's 18 points in 3:30...and led the game by 10.  There were three turnovers and a ton of missed jumpers on the BG side.

The game was never close again.  Struggling against a zone (as they often do) BG got it to 5 once and then gave up the next 6 points.  Norfolk led by 15 with 2:28 left to play.  BG did come back in the last minute, had it down to 5 with :26 left to play (without the ball), but Norfolk nailed 2 key FTs and led by 9 before BG hit a meaningless 3 to end the game and finalize the margin at 6.

Offensively, you can't talk about the game without talking about 3FG shooting.  BG took 61% of the field goal attempts from 3FG.  That's the highest percentage since an early January 2015 (Jans) game against Chicago State and in bulk numbers it is the highest in school history.

The problem is that BG made 30%.  That was 25% in the first half and 33% in the second half.  The D1 average is 32.7% this year. (Interestingly, it was 35% before the line moved back and has fallen just a bit since then).

BG has been trying more 3FGs so far this season--not THIS many, but more. It's 47% of FGA up from 39% last year.  The overall concept is clearly toward the position-less basketball you see more and more.  BG has no traditional 5 and even when Matiss is back, they will have a stretch 4 in that slot.  Nothing wrong with that, just needs to get turned into wins.  Position-less or not, BG needed to be tougher under the basket last night.

Overall, BG's offense was productive.  The game had 76 possessions, which is on the fast side of normal.  BG scored 84 points...BG had 1.11 points per possession which is a winning number.  Have to say it never felt like a winning offense.  Part of it is watching those offensive sets ending up with a jacked-up 3...it was a zone, of course.  BG made 50% of their 2FGs, which is slightly above the D1 average.  Together, BG ended up with an EFG of 47%, which is below the national average.  However, that was matched with an overall strong turnover rate, good offensive rebounding, good rate of getting to the line and 76% makes to end up with a good offensive game.

One reason it felt different was that while BG made only 10 turnovers, 4 of them were very poorly timed.  Three came in Norfolk's decisive run--decisive runs are built on stops--and one was in the late first half when BG looked to be ready for a decisive run of its own.

It was BG's best post-Turner offensive game, FWIW.

On the defensive side...while that was less good.  Norfolk ended up with 1.19 points per possession.  Since 2018, BG has 1 win with that kind of defensive struggle.  It's only a little less than OSU did.

Norfolk tried only 25% of their FGs from 3FG, while making 56%.  They also made 48% of their 2FGs to end up with 57% EFG, which is really good.  Usually, shooting wins the game.  They were also a little better on turnovers, equal on offensive rebounds and comparable on getting to the line, though they made only 65%.

Individually, BG settled into a slightly more normal rotation.  Yes, 10 guys got 10 minutes, but 3 of them played 30.  Having said that, I don't understand how Reece only got 18 minutes.  He had 10 points, 4-5 shooting and 7 rebounds in those 18 minutes.

Myron Gordon led BG in scoring, with 19 points on 5 of 10 shooting overall and 3 of 6 3FG...4 assists over 2 TOs.  Diggs had 17 on 5 of 12 shooting from 3FG.  Plowden's shooting woes continue, but he made 9 of 10 FTs to go with 5 rebds and 3 blocks and 14 points.  Fulcher had 11 points on 4 of 7 shooting and 7 rebounds in 21 minutes.  Can't quite understand why he isn't seeing more minutes, either.

So, BG is 1-3 and 0-3 in D1.  BG has Milwaukee up next on Tuesday.  That's no joke...Milwaukee has a 5-star recruit, Patrick Baldwin, who is 6'9" and at Milwaukee because he is the coach's kid.  He has double-doubled twice in the young season.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Norfolk State Preview

So, BG has a chance to win their first D1 game tomorrow when they tangle with the Norfolk State Spartans.  Norfolk State is in the MEAC, the lowest rated conference.  They have been in the NCAA Tournament twice, once in 2012 when they upset Missouri as a #15 seed and then last year when they won a play-in and lost to Gonzaga in the first round.  They are picked to finish 2nd in the conference this year.

They have played BG three times.  BG won in 16 and 17 and then lost in December of 2019 at the Boardwalk Battle--playing without Justin Turner, BG played a very forgettable two games, losing to Norfolk and Quinnipiac.

The Spartans are 4-0.  That includes two non-D1 wins....one a non-NCAA win...and then wins against Tennessee State (320) and William & Mary (296).  Their Kenpom is 291.  ESPN power index gives BG a 77% chance to win and kenpom 85%.

They were 17-10 last year, finishing with a kenpom of 210, their best in 5 years.  They returned 2 starters from that team.

One of them is Joe Bryant, a 6'1" G who was pre-season all-MEAC. He's scoring 19.5 in D1 games, shoots 58% from 2FG and has yet to miss a FT.  He's also averaging 7 RPG and had 8 turnovers in the TN State game.

Caheim Brown, a 6'5" JUCO tranfer is scoring 13.5 PPG off  the bench, shooting 46% from 2FG.  Christian Ings, a 6'2" transfer from Rider went wild in their last game, scoring 31 on 10 of 13 shooting.  

They have tried a very small percentage of 3FGs--25% with the D1 average being 38%.  They made 57% of those shots--which is very good.  Defensively, they put a lot of pressure on the ball.  They have forced turnovers on 30% of their opponent's possession.  (Remember the competition. They forced 16 turnovers in the last game with BG).

They have played an up tempo of 72 possessions a game.

Look, BG is favored and should win this game.  For whatever reason, BG has never played well against the Spartans and, of course, lost the last one.  BG is off to a very poor start and will still need to get organized to win this one.  I have no idea about Matheny and Fields, but in any case I think Norfolk State will make this game competitive.  I'd love to see BG organized enough really to put someone away but I will be surprised to see it happen tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Two More Falcons in the Portal

BG has two new football players in the portal.

The first is Chris Oliver.  He came to BG as a D-lineman, played a little in 2019.  Then he moved to o-line last year and has not played at all this year.  He is the second o-lineman who has not played to enter the portal recently.  Here is what I wrote about him when he committed.  He was in the Jinks/Loeffler transition class and is the 8th player from that class to transfer.

Aaron Washington is a LB in the portal.  He was in the the first full Loeffler class and is the 5th player from the class to move along.  He recorded no stats at BG...I think when Brice Brand goes down and you don't get onto the field, that makes you think.  Here's what I wrote when he committed.

Best of luck to both of these young men.

Miami Blows BG Out

Another game, another blowout.

After the start of the season--where we saw a team performing better than expected and better than last year--we knew it was succeeding over a low bar.  The hope was the team would continue to improve, because better than last year was a long way from where we needed to be.

We have not progressed any further and its possible we have regressed.  There was a crazy win over Buffalo, but in the UT and Miami games the Falcons were blown off the field.

Coach Loeffler said as much:

Disappointed. We got our tails kicked up front. We started out dropping a touchdown pass and getting a punt blocked. Our immaturity and our youth showed up today and it was disappointing. Our intensity, our attention to detail, all the things that we preach didn't show up at all today and I'm really disappointed. 

Our defense, I thought, did some good things at times, but I was extremely disappointed. We wouldn't even get lined up fast. I mean our urgency to align, do what we do, it was awful. 

Yeah, they got two good pass rushers. We know that, but they dominated the line of scrimmage and it's the second week in a row that we couldn't do anything. You get dominated at the line of scrimmage the way that we did these last two weeks, it's hard to do anything.”

To make the point, you can have patience with you but you want to make incremental progress.  I understand that guys need to get stronger in the off-season and that will help and this year can be a learning experience.  You'd like to have a little learning along the way.

BG got a 62-yard run from Stewart to score first.  The defense got a 3-and-out.  The offense dropped a wide-open TD pass, lost 5 yards on a pass to the flats and gave up a sack and then had a punt blocked.   Flash forward, with 5 minutes left in the third, it was 34-7 and BG made 5 first downs over that period of time.

BG finished with 258 yards on 65 plays.  Take away the Stewart run, and you have 196 on 64, with 3.1 yards per play.

McDonald was sacked on 8 of 36 dropbacks, that's 22%, an unbelievable rate.  There were 2 official hurries as well.  And there were 8 penalties for 50 yards, meaning they were pre-snap type penalties.

Meanwhile, Miami did what they do--which is score without making any yards.  They had 346 total yards of offense.  In addition to the blocked punt they also recovered a fumble and got good field position when BG intercepted a pass on 4th down, when they should have knocked it down.

There's not much to work with here.  Coach Loeffler said that next year is "time."  I'm sure our fans feels the same way.  We knew the line would be a struggle all year, but you'd like to see a little progress here and there.

One more game, in front of what promises to be parents and girlfriends on Black Friday.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

OSU Blows BG Out

 OSU blew BG out last night...in a game that was literally never in question.  BG had 4 points scored with 9 minutes left in the first half.  From there, it was never interesting.  

BG shot better from 3FG (33%) though still not good.  They shot 42.5% from 2FG, which is terrible though not unusual for us...we shot that bad or worse 7 times last year.  We shot 8 FTs and made 3 and had 25% turnovers.

That all equaled .805 points per possession, BG's worst since a 2018 game at the Convo.  It is BG's third straight D1 game with offensive production below .9 points per possession.

Meanwhile, OSU scored at will.  They shot 63% on 2FG, 38% on 2FG and had 38% offensive rebounds. That was 1.235 points per possession, a number BG eclipsed only twice last season--one of them UM.

BG is just really out of sync.  Kaden Metheny did not play which made it just more difficult.  (Along with Fields and Matiss).  But, BG has guys who are just completely struggling and there doesn't seem to be much of an offensive plan when the Falcons have the ball.

Norfolk State comes to BG Friday.  This is a game they should win, but a team that will beat them if they don't get organized.

Monday, November 15, 2021

25 Questions from the Desk of President Harrison

1891 Miami team.  No mention of Florida.

What is their body of work?

Historically, Miami has been the most consistent power in the MAC.  That hit a speed bump one year after Big Ben and Terry Hoeppner left.  Over 12 of the next 13 seasons they had a non-winning record--unthinkable before that.  They flamed out two coaches before Chuck Martin came in.  Martin had 3 non-winning seasons, they went 8-6 with a MAC title in 2019, 2-1 last year and 5-5/4-2 this year.  In the MAC, they have beaten CMU, Akron, @BSU and UB, while losing to @EMU and @OU.  At 4-2, they are tied with Kent and the winner of their Black Friday matchup will take the East (almost for sure).

MU has won the last two in the series, but BG has won four of the last 7, including a Mike Jinks win.  Miami is a 17-point favorite.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 13.  This is a very young team with a lot of FR in their depth chart.

Who are their statistical leaders? (Top 20 Nationally)

Jack Sorensen is #16 in TD Receptions, #6 in receiving yards
Matthew Salopek is #14 in solo tackles.
Ivan Pace is #15 in tackles

What is their turnover ratio? 

They are +3. 

Mud Game


How is their QB play?

It is good.  Brett Gabbert has battled injuries this year and there were some games split between him and AJ Mayer, but Gabbert has had all the snaps over the last 2 games.  He has the top pass efficiency in the MAC. He completes 67% of his passes, at 14.4 points per completion, which is a great combo.  And a 13:1 TD/INT ratio, which is very good.  He is not a big threat to run but he can do it a little.

What is their scoring and yards per play (MAC Games only from here on in)

They are #9 in scoring and #1 in yards per play, you just never see that kind of spread.

Can they run the ball?

They are 7th rushing the ball based on yards per carry.  They have only 5 rushing TDs.

Do they pass the ball?

As noted, they lead the MAC in pass efficiency.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on 49% of their overall plays.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They are 6th in the MAC.

Do they score in the red zone?

Not great, 3.9 points per trip.

Do they protect the quarterback?

Pretty good, sacks on 4.0% of attempts.

McGuffey.  As in Reader.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play

They lead the MAC in scoring defense and #2 in yards per play allowed.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They have the best run defense in the MAC, allowing 2.7 yards per carry.

Can they be passed on?

They are #8 in pass efficiency defense.  They allow 64% completions and a 12:3 ratio.  

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are 3rd in the MAC.

Do they defend in the red zone?

Yes.  They have only allowed 14 red zone trips, least by a lot.  4.5 points per trip.

Do they pressure the QB?

They are good.  They get sacks on 8% of opponent passing attempts. That' more than UT and you saw how that went.

Miami Alum

Special Teams:


They are 3rd in net punting.  They have been blocked twice.

Punt Return?

They are 5th in punt returns.  No TD, no blocks.


He is not great.  9 of 13 with a 49 long.


Opponents start on the 25.  No TDs.

Kickoff Return?

They start on the 27.  No TDs.

Intangible Miscellany

Well, you always have the last game in your mind.  You have a better defense than Toledo had and they are very tough to run against and they rush the passer.  That's exactly the formula that got BG blown out last week.  This is also a short week.  They need to have some kind of idea how to move the ball, or this one will be a repeat of the last one.  The defense is missing key players and Miami throws effectively--also a warning sign.  BG is going to need one of those surprising performances in order to make this competitive.  One note:  Miami doesn't need this game at all.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

OSU Preview

BG plays both ends of the continuum in Ohio basketball, moving from Ohio Wesleyan to Ohio State tomorrow in Columbus.

BG has played the Bucks six times and beaten them twice--1983 and 1994.   

They finished #8 and #11 the last two years in Kenpom and were the victim of a first-round upset last year in the NCAA Tourney (Oral Roberts).  They were picked to be #4 in the Big Ten this year, the top-ranked conference in college basketball.

OSU is 2-0 this year, but both wins were underwhelming given their #18 kenpom and #17 in the AP Poll.  They really should have lost to Akron, trailing with 6 seconds left and saved by a buzzer beat.  They next played Niagara (223)--it was a one-point game at halftime and the lead was down to 6 with a couple minutes left to play.

They brought four starters back from last year's team.  That team was a ridiculous offensive powerhouse, at #4 in the nation in offensive efficiency.  What's interesting is that those results came from being decent at all the factors, not great at any one.  They took really good care of the ball and got to the line.

In the meantime, they landed the top-ranked recruiting class in the country.

In Blue Ribbon, Holtmann says the defense needs to get better this year.  They were #82 last year, which isn't great for a team aiming to be elite.  They are playing better defense this year (after two games) but it is early in the schedule.  They have been easy to shoot 3FGs against--42%, so if that continues, and BG can start making a few, than we might have a shot. 

Offensively, they haven't shot a lot of 3FGs this year.  

Eric (EJ) Liddell is their top player.  He is a 6'7" JR  who was all-Big Ten last year.  He's off to a pretty dominating start, at 27 PPG, 56% shooting, 8 RPG and 7 blocked shots.  He's taken 20 FTs and only made 12.  He is the current leader for the Kenpom Player of the Year award.

Their other double figure scorer is Zed Key, a 6'8" So.  He's scoring 12 PPG on 67% shooting, 6 RPG,  and 2 Blocks per game.

Their leading assist man is Jamari Wheeler, a transfer from Penn State who all-defensive Big Ten the last two seasons.  He is averaging 3.5 APG and 1.5 steals.

Overall, they play an 8-man rotation.  They used different starting lineups in each of the first two games.

OSU is a 14.5 point favorite, which would be their biggest win of the season.  Kenpom has the Bucks at 93% chance to win.  There have been four upsets in that range this year so far--NIU's win at UW is the biggest upset this year to date, FWIW.  Given that BG is still trying to gel everything together, this would appear to be an uphill struggle, but the Bucks might be, too, and that's why we love sports. It would be the biggest upsets in the last 20 years for the Falcons.

Past and Future Opponent Land

 Tennessee (5-5):  Blown out by Georgia

South Alabama (5-5) Lost big to App. State

Murray State: (5-5):  Beat SEMO

Minnesota (6-4) Lost to Iowa

Kent (5-5) Lost to CMU, East back in play

Akron (2-8) Lost close to WMU

NIU (7-3) Beat Ball State

EMU (6-4)) Lost to OU

UB (4-6) Lost to Miami

Toledo (5-5): Beat BG

Miami (5-5): Beat UB

Ohio (3-7):  Beat EMU

MAC vs. P5:  3-17 

MAC vs G5:  7-9

MAC vs. FCS:  10-1

East vs. West:  10-4, West

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Falcon MBB Takes Care of Opener

 When you have a team like Ohio Wesleyan on your schedule, you are supposed to beat them easily.  And BG did.101-60.  BG burst out to a big early lead and never looked back.

Next up is Ohio State on Monday, BG's toughest challenge of the season.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Loeffler Presser: Transfers Coming?

Normally, Coach Loeffler's pressers are not that interesting.  He mostly just rolls with coachspeak and rarely reveals anything happening with the team other than general platitudes...the main exception being the one or two times he completely lost his shit.

Anyway, today he had something more interesting to say.

"We need to get bigger and we need to get stronger.  We need to fill our holes with some guys to make our team better.  We made a decision to not go down the 14-15 players transfer portal like a lot of teams did.  We did that for a reason.  We needed to make sure we had a foundation of local football players on our team to establish some kind of culture, but we've got a good locker room now and now it's to time to fill our holes, get big and strong and to compete for championships."

He says this has been "the formula from the git-go" and that he is following the Clawson model.  He checked himself about the championships and said "it's time."

Coach Clawson certainly did use transfers.  David Kekuewa, Kamar Jorden, Paul Senn...he did fill holes selectively with transfer players.

I'm guessing we're doing to be a little less selective than that, if we are going this route.  And that's what I read into what he is saying.  My count has us with 8 players who have verbally committed, and I think we might bring in a much larger number of transfers who can play right away.

We saw the impact it made on the defense.  Imagine the impact a couple of o-line transfers might have made--though there were only 1-2 incoming OL transfers in our conference.

He knows we need to compete next year.  If this is a five-year plan we can't be 3-9 next year.  Plenty of people don't trust the process, but we can all agree that the process was to eventually win and I think he realizes it needs to happen at some level next year.  If it doesn't get turned around, we're going to end up just starting over again.

In fairness, he has always said he wanted to build a real culture before he started to bring in transfers.  He says the culture in the locker room is good now. Fair enough...he's going to live or die on that, so he better be right.

I also don't honestly believe he ever thought he was going to need to bring in a larger influx of transfers for year 4...but if it wasn't clear before the UT game it is now.  As he said after the game, that's how good we need to get.  Or better, since UT won't be playing in the MAC title game.

Also, the transfer game is much different than it was when he started.  The fact is, it's a much bigger part of the game now.  And they aren't all problem players, which was true back when no one transferred.

I have nothing against Matt McDonald, but I do hope one of the transfers is a QB who can push McDonald...that QB apparently is not on the roster right now.

It will be interesting to see, but that's something I didn't expect him to be so direct about.  We will all keep our eyes on the news to see if players are coming to BG via transfer who can "fill holes."

One last thing.  Let's not skip the stronger.  I recall after the 2011 season Clawson said a similar thing.  We needed to get stronger.  And we did.  You could see it.  The guys who do have will need to have epic work in the weight room.  Problem is, Loeffler said we needed to get stronger last year, and we're still talking about it.

Stay tuned.

Diata Burns in the portal

So, Diata Burns is in the portal.  He was a transfer last year, started all five games.  He actually entered the portal in the off-season and then was persuaded to return.  He played in 5 games this year and DNP in the last two, presumably leading to his portal decision.  His twitter shows a couple offers from DII schools.

Best of luck to Diata.

(h/t: first saw this on azz.com)

Very Quick Ohio Wesleyan Preview

 Quick preview on Ohio Wesleyan for Friday....

They are DIII and play in the North Coast Athletic Conference, where they were picked to finish 6th this year.  Last year, they were 6-6 and they were 12-14 the year before that.

They have five starters and 3 additional contributors back from last year's team.

They played an opener Tuesday and lost 61-56, after a furious rally.  Henry Hinkle and Grant Spicer scored 14 in the loss with Spicer adding 9 rebounds.

Hinkle is a freshman.

Their coach is Mike DeWitt and he has been there 23 years.  A Battling Bishop alum, he had them winning conference titles five years ago.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Worst Day Ever

There's no way to sugarcoat it.  That was awful.  BG was demolished in a rivalry game where it felt like they might have a shot.  At any rate, you'd think you'd be competitive.  Or you'd want to be.  But we were not...it wasn't even close.

On offense, UT completely controlled the line of scrimmage.  Absent a few Terion Stewart runs (which UT eventually sorted out), BG could not run the ball.  UT had everyone close to the line of scrimmage, daring McDonald to go over the top, which he couldn't do because everything he did with any kind of drop back resulted in an onslaught of Rocket lineman.  The short passes were thrown in the teeth of the Rocket defense and went nowhere.  Entering the 4th Q, BG had 66 yards of total offense.

On the other side, BG was also overwhelmed on the line of scrimmage.  They started out getting some stops but eventually UT just took over.and finished with 539 yards total offense against a defense that started the season as a pleasant surprise. (Note that BG was playing without Bryce Brand and Davon Ferguson, two impact transfers.)

There was a brief moment when it appeared to be a game.  Candle had gone for it on 4th down in his own territory--which was idiotic--and BG had gotten the stop and scored their only meaningful touchdown.  

The defense got a stop and then UT shanked its punt and BG had a short field again.  They drove to the redzone and took a virtually uncontested 11-yard sack leading to a Nate Needham 47 yard FG.

So it is 14-10.  BG gets a stop and it isn't feeling too bad...but due to a personal foul BG starts on their own 5 after the UT punt.

The next sequence is as bad as it can be.  (Note that UT is getting the ball to start the second half).

BG gets out to the 25 but gives up a 3rd down sack and punts.  UT starts on their 46.  4:30 left in the half.  UT scores in 3 plays, less than one minute.  21-10.

On the UT kickoff, BG commits a personal foul and starts on its own 12.  3:34 left to play.  First down false start, Steward loses 6 on third down.  BG punts, UT starts on their own 41.  2:32 left to play.  

UT scores on a one-play 59-yard TD pass.  28-10.

BG has the kickoff on its own 21.  Falcons go 3 and out, including a sack, and UT uses time outs, so only :26 elapses.

After BG's punt, UT has the ball on their 35 with 1:32 left...which they cover in 4 plays in a :37 drive to go up 35-10.


BG is able to finally run the clock out, but the game is over.  To cap it off, UT takes the second half opening kickoff and goes 75 yards in 11 plays, aided by a pass interference call, and made it 42-10.

It was as dreadful a 10-minute segment of football as we have had.  A defense giving up big plays, one after another, and an offense unable to stay on the field.

Here's what Loeffler said:

“This is the first time this year that I could sit here and say that we were physically beaten in every phase of the game. We lost up front on both sides of the ball. Defensively we couldn’t stop the run, and then offensively we couldn’t get into our game plan whatsoever. We were facing a three-man rush taking sacks. They [Toledo] did a great job. They’ve done a great job recruiting, no question about it. They have big, strong guys, and we’ve got to catch them.”

There was one point I looked down on the call sheet and wondered which one we wanted to call.

It was an absolutely awful night...and he didn't even mention the stupid penalties. 

Short week to Oxford on Tuesday.  Miami is playing to set up a one-game showdown with Kent.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

MBB Opens With Thud

 Well, the opener turned out to be a tough start for BG's MBB team.  A lot of new faces, looking to March, etc....but Western Carolina had a lot of new faces, too.  This is one where we got a look at where we are right now and the distance to where we need to be.  That doesn't mean we can't get there.

But it was a rough performance.  BG went the first 6 minutes of the game without a FG, and trailed 14-3.  Over the next 8 minutes, they got it back to 1, but the Catamounts took the game back over, stretching the lead back to 10 and leading by 8 at the half.

BG played better in the second half.  They took the lead for the first time about 7 minutes in.  BG took the lead with 7 minutes left and did not relinquish it in the regulation.  They didn't really stretch it either.

BG got a 2FG from Joe Reece to take a 2-point lead with 1:02 left.  Then, WCU took some time to shoot and BG got a stop as Diggs cleared the board.  BG was up 2 with :39 left and the ball.  There's a 90% chance that BG wins the game.  They decide to run clock, which makes total sense, but when the time comes they execute nothing and Gordon misses a jacked-up 3FG.  A basket late in the shot clock there and the game is over.

WCU has a shot...and it worked, because when they came down to try and tie the game BG's defense parted the way for them and the Catamounts ended up with an uncontested layup, right out of a pre-game drill.  

Having lost that opportunity to win, BG found the rest to be an ugly experience, with WCU winning the OT 11-3. 

It was a pretty ugly game.  Nobody shot well, there were 34 turnovers and 41 fouls.  It looked like a season-opener.  For all that, it was there to be won and it was not.

BG was OK from 2FG, with 50%, which is about the national average.  Problem was that 34 of BG's 74 FG attempts came from 3FG (46%) and BG made only 5 of those 34 shots.  Add in a not-great turnover rate, average offensive rebounding and average FTs and you have nothing to pull those numbers up and you end up with .83 points per possession.

The last time BG shot worse from 3 than that was...their last MAC game against Akron in Cleveland.  The last time BG won a game with this kind of offensive output was the 2013 EMU game (46-44) which was forgettable yet unforgettable.

WCU had .93 points per possession, which also isn't great.  They had a very similar mix of 2FGs and 3FGs...and made only 38% of their 2FGs but 35% of their 3FGs went in. They had a strong game on the offensive boards and got to the line more.  Had they made better than 55% at the line, the game would not have been close.

The other interesting thing is the rotation.  BG had 11 guys play 10 minutes or more.  And that's with Fields and Matiss not in action.

We will accordingly have to watch individual stats, because no one is going to put up big numbers under this scenario.

BG had 2 double-doubles...Plowden at 18/13 and Reece at 10/12.  Plowden was 5-16 shooting, missing 8 3FGs, so the scoring was inefficient.  Reece was 5 of 6 shooting and double-doubled in 25 minutes.

Diggs and Matheny had rough nights, combining for 2-14 from the field and 7 turnovers.  That's OK, we know those guys can play.  I saw moments out of everyone I liked.  Samari Curtis showed the ability to create opportunities and pass the ball.  Gabe O'Neal had some good minutes.  He finished effectively at the rim.  I thought Fulcher made some plays.  Obviously, no one made enough shots, but there were some moments where our guys stood out.

Is this rotation going to work?  Will players ever get into enough rhythm to be able to score?  Will everyone stay happy?  Time will tell.

One thing is that BG has been under .85 points per possession in their last 3 games...those games being notable for being without Justin Turner.  If you recall the Stetson game in the tournament last year, it was ugly.  Good players looked like they had landed on an unfamiliar planet.  Justin was a great player and he had a role on the team.  I think it is possible the Falcons are just struggling to see how it all fits together.  Turner made everyone else better and took the effort on his shoulders.  It should be interesting to watch this unfold.

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

25 Rivalry Questions


What is their body of work?

I doubt if anyone reading this is not intimately familiar with this.  They regularly lead the MAC in recruiting and have the highest-paid head coach in the conference, yet they are 21-19 over the last 4 seasons.  Since 2005, they have won the MAC once.  CMU, BG, NIU and Miami have won more over that time.  Their relative lack of success has caused problems in Toledo, as the Blade details internal division over the "retirement" of UT's athletic director.

Yet, UT has entered an unprecedented period of dominance over BG, winning 10 of the last 11, interrupted only by the shocking 2019 upset.  The Rockets are 9-point favorites.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 21.  This is not a lot but possibly a number that will become normal.

Who are their statistical leaders? (Top 20 Nationally)

Bryce Mitchell is #13 in KO returns, though he is injured.
Samuel Womack is #15 in passes defended.
Dequan Finn is #16 in passing yards per completion
Maxen Hook and Jacquez Stuart are #4 in punt return TDs

What is their turnover ratio? 

They are +6.  I doubt if they are too many teams with losing records at +6.


How is their QB play?

Well, this has been interesting.  Up until the NIU game UT was using a two QB system with Finn and Bradley.  Since then, Finn has been the lone QB and he has been effective.  In the EMU loss, the was 30 of 45 for 461, 3 TD and 1 INT.  For the year, he is #8 in passing efficiency (behind McDonald) and is also the team's #2 rusher.

What is their scoring and yards per play (MAC Games only from here on in)

They are #8 in scoring and #3 in yards per play, which is unusual given the turnover advantage.

Can they run the ball?

Unusually for a Rocket team, they are #6 in the MAC in rushing offense.  Koback is the lead back, averages 6.6 per carry, 4th in MAC.

Do they pass the ball?

They are 10th in passing efficiency.  The TD-INT ratio is good, as is yards per completion, but they have only 53% completions.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on 55% of their overall plays, obviously a run-heavy mix.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

No.  They are DFL in the MAC in 3rd down conversions.

Do they score in the red zone?

They are last at 4.4 points per red zone trip.

Do they protect the quarterback?

No.  Sacks on 11% of passing attempts.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play

They brought Vince Kehres in to help with the defense and possible take Candle's place eventually.  Also, every answer can be found at Mount Union.  Anyway, they are better.  They are 3rd in scoring defense and #1 in yards per play allowed.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are #5 in the MAC, allowing 3.9 yards per carry, which is still pretty good.

Can they be passed on?

Not much.  They are #2 in pass efficiency defense.  They allow 60% completions but 11.2 per completion.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

OK...they are 5th.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They are pretty good at 4.1 points per trip.  

Do they pressure the QB?

Not too bad.  They get sacks on 7% of opponent passing attempts.

Special Teams:


They are 10th in net punting.  (BG is 11th).  They have been blocked twice and allowed a TD return in all games.

Punt Return?

They are 3rd in the MAC in punt returns.  No TDs in MAC games but they have scored in all games.


He's 13 out of 21 with a long of 50, all games.  9-11 under 40.


Opponents start on the 25.  No TDs.

Kickoff Return?

They start on the 27.  1 TD.

Intangible Miscellany

So this is as close as a BG-UT game has been predicted in a long time.  It is very hard to tell which UT team will come out for any game.  Will they rally to the rivalry?  Or are they playing out the string.  Will BG rally to the rivalry, as they did in 2019 and build on their performance in Buffalo plus additional rest?  What will the crowd be like, #Maction-wise?  Who knows, right.  I think this game could be competitive.  BG will need to move the ball against a good UT defense, and contain a mobile QB, which has not been a strong point.  So, tough....but would be SO AWESOME.