Monday, October 31, 2022

25 Questions on the Broncos


What is their body of work?

In 2016, WMU hit the pinnacle, playing in the Cotton Bowl under RowTheBoat Fleck.   Alum and football great Tim Lester came in after that and he's been OK.  They are 35-30 with no division titles in what is now his 6th season. Last year was his best season at 8-5.

They were picked to be 4th in the West.  They are 3-5 overall and 2-2 in the MAC.  Their only non-conference win was over New Hampshire.  Inside the MAC, they have won @BSU and @Miami (last week) and lost to EMU and OU.  They have yet to lose on the road in MAC play this year.

WMU is dominating this series.  They have won 6 of the last 7. BG has not played them since 2019, and it was 2018 at the Doyt, the last game in the Jinks Era.

BG Hall of Famer Jack Harbaugh coached at WMU for five seasons.

How experienced are they?

This is a very young team.  They have 18 juniors or seniors on their two deep.  

Who are their nationally ranked players?

Sean Tyler is #15 in all purpose yards
Corvin Moment is #8 in sacks
Zaire Barnes is #9 in solo tackles

What is their turnover ratio? 

They are -3


How is their QB play? (MAC Only from here on in)

Nothing to write home about.  He's #7 in passing efficiency.  He has 50% completions with 6 INT and 4 TD.  He is not much of a dual threat. He is a R-FR in his first year as a starter.

What is their scoring and yards per play

They are #9 in scoring and 11th in yards per play.

Can they run the ball?

They are 8th in yards per rush as a team, but there a lot of sacks in that mix.  Their lead back is Sean Tyler, and he's #10 with 4.9 yards per carry.  He's averaging 86 per game.  Note that their #2 back was suspended indefinitely today,

Do they pass the ball?

They are #8 in pass efficiency as a team.  They don't have any big play WRs to speak of.

How is their run/pass balance?

Their play mix is fairly even, running on 51% of their plays.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

At 39% they are 6th.

Do they score in the red zone?

It is pretty good at 5 points per trip.

Do they protect the quarterback?

They have been sacked on 8.7% of their pass plays, which is pretty high.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play

They are 8th in scoring defense and 9th in yards per play allowed.  Not great defensive success.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are very difficult to run on.  They are #2 at 3.5 yards per carry.  Teams do not run on them very much, they are #11 in rushing attempts against.

Can they be passed on?

They are 6th in defensive pass efficiency.  They allow 61% completions, 5 TD and 1 INT and 12.4 yards per completion.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They do.  They are 4th in the MAC at 34%.

Do they defend in the red zone?

Pretty good at 4.5 yards per trip.

Do they pressure the QB?

Pretty good.  Sacks on 7% of opponent's passing attempts.

Special Teams:


They are #10 in net punting. No TDs, they have been blocked once all year.

Punt Return?

They are #11 in punt returns.


All games, he is not bad.  9-12 overall, 2 misses under 40 and a long of 52.


Teams start on the 25.

Kickoff Return?

They start on the 24 but there is a TD in there.

Intangible Miscellany

This is the third straight game where BG is playing a team struggling on offense.  WMU is also not great on defense, but tough to run against.  I think the formula is the same.  BG is +6 on turnovers for the year.  They need to get that done and then continue to get enough offense to win.  They should be able to rush the QB and that will make a big difference.  

BG is a 4 point favorite, if that isn't amazing enough. BG still has a shot at 6 wins, but will need this one for a realistic shot.  More importantly, they have won two MAC games in a row--though it feels like more--but you'd like continued consistency to believe we are on the right track.

Mansfield MBB Preview

When I saw Mansfield on our schedule, I thought, WOW, I didn't know there was a university/college in Mansfield.  Turns out there is, but it is Mansfield, PA, located in north central PA and not near anything.  It is 36 miles from Elmira NY and 430-some miles from BG.

It is a public university with 1,600 students. They compete in Division II and are known as the Mountaineers or Mounties.  Former Detroit Tiger Tom Brookens went there.  All-American basketball player Tom McMillan was from there, played at Maryland, later a Congressman. They hosted the first night football game, in 1892, as a publicity student for Edison Illuminating.

They were 5-23 last year and before that 6-21, 4-24, 7-19 and 11-15.  They were picked to finish last (9th) in the East Division of their conference, PSAC.

As far as I can tell, their last D1 opponent was Duquesne in 2016 and they lost by 5.

Their coach is John Szentesy, an alum in his 5th year.

Like every other team in the world, they have 8 newcomers.  They have two brothers (the Ali brothers) one of whom was Class AAA player of the year in PA last year. (That's the 4th largest in a six-classification system).

This is BG's last game before Air Force comes to town on Monday.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Past and Future Opponent Land

 UCLA--(7-1) Smoked Stanford

EKU--(5-3)  The indomitable Colonels beat SEMO (Nice win).

Marshall--(4-4) The "could win out" Herd lost to Coastal Carolina

Mississippi State--(5-3) IDLE

Akron--(1-8) Lost to Miami

Buffalo--(5-3) Off

Miami--(4-5) Beat Akron

CMU--(2-6) Off

WMU--(3-5) Off

KSU--(3-5) Off

UT--(6-3) Beat EMU

OU--(6-3)  Off

East Vs. West: East 5, West 3

MAC vs P5: 2-19

MAC vs. G5: 6-9

MAC vs FCS: 10-2

Saturday, October 29, 2022

MBB Loses to WVU

MBB started off its season last night with a charity exhibition game in Morgantown with West Virginia.  On the pre-season kenpom, WVU is ranked #73 in the country, which would make them the highest ranked team in the MAC.  They beat BG by 16 in front of over 9,000 people. 

Not sure there was anything too surprising in the outcome.  WVU was up 5 with 10 minutes gone, didn't crack a 10-point lead until there were 5 left in the half and it was a 10-point lead at halftime.

Three minutes into the second half, BG had the lead down to 6, but a 9-0 run for the Mountaineers made that a moot point and BG never got closer than 9 the rest of the way.

Nobody shot well, but BG shot worse.  Also, the Falcons had 20 TOs over 8 assists.  (WVU plays a pressure defense and was #20 in the nation last year in forcing turnovers).

To me, the most interesting thing is who started and who played for how long.

BG went with an 8-main rotation.  We ran a much deeper rotation most of last year as we attempted to find time for our many transfers.  The only real surprise to me was that Mills only played 7 minutes. 

So, within the rotation of 8, we had Agree and O'Neal in the front court, with Metheny at the point and Curtis and Agee at the other guard positions. I was surprised to see O'Neal start, but I guess we felt that with Turner or Towns we would be a little light in the blocks.  O'Neal rarely played more than 10 minutes in MAC play last year, even after Reece was dismissed, and didn't play at all in the last 2 games.

Willie Lightfoot is a FR that they really like, so it will be fun watching him develop and contribute.

Neither Felt nor McCloud  McComb played at all.  It wouldn't have impacted any redshirt for them to play, so I am not sure what is going on.  Felt did seem to be walking gingerly at the scrimmage and McCloud played in the scrimmage.

Mansfield (the one in PA) will be in Tuesday for more exciting exhibition action.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

MBB Preview

MBB will start tomorrow with an exhibition game in Morgantown, WV.

When we last saw our team, things were not good at all.  We were coming off three straight winning seasons in forever.  Yes, we had lost Justin Turner, but we had Plowden, Fields and Diggs back and some promising transfers and were picked 6th in the MAC.

Things did not turn out like that.

At all.

We started with a kenpom of 139.  We finished with a kenpom of 284, our lowest ranking since at least 1997, when kenpom started.  That's worse than the last Dakich years, the Orr years or the post-Jans years.

To begin with, BG's starting guards were supposed to be Matheny and Fields, and both of them missed all or most of the season.

Later in the year, Myron Gordon and Joe Reece were dismissed from the team.

In the meantime, BG played the worst defense it has played since at least 1997.  They were #343 in the nation in defense, out of 357.  They were poor on almost all defensive metrics in the MAC.

BG went 2-9 in their last 11 games.  The last 6 losses were by 16, 27, 9, 14, 9 and 40 points.  The last one was to UT, so it stung the Falcon faithful especially hard.

BG did not qualify for the MAC tournament. This in a year when the MAC was the #20 ranked conference....normally they are around 13.

The natives are restless, to be sure.

And you can understand that.  

So, looking toward this year.

First, Diggs, Plowden and Matiss were out of eligibility. Caleb Fields, Cam Young and Josiah Fulcher transferred.

BGSU returns the following players, of whom (as far as we know) 6 are on scholarship.  In addition, Etim did not see action this year.

  • Kaden Metheny
  • Brenton Mills
  • Isaac Elsasser
  • Chandler Turner
  • Samari Curtis
  • Gabe O'Neal
  • Jackson Watson
  • Ubongabasi Etim
So, we need new guys.  Seems to be the world we live in.

BG has 7 newcomers to the roster.  Four are transfers
  • Rashaun Agee, via NM State and JUCO.  The highest ranked recruit we have, he is 6'8."
  • Sam Towns, who came from OU after playing behind some good players.  He is 6'9".
  • Leon Ayers III, a double-figure scorer at Duquesne.  He's a 6'5" G.
  • Madanni Diarra, a 6'11'' wide load guy from JUCO.
Three are Fr.
  • Willie Lightfoot, 6'0" G.
  • Anthony McComb, G, Dayton, big scorer and 3FG shooter in HS and Prep
  • Jamai Felt, a 6'9 FR, highly regarded.  Did not play in the scrimmage.
It will be interesting to see how the starting lineup shakes out tomorrow.  I'd guess Matheny, Curtis and Agee are in the mix.  Beyond that, we will have to see.

BG is picked 9th in the MAC in the MAC poll and 11th or 12th among most other pundits. It is not surprising at all.  That's what you would expect, based on the last thing we saw.

Kenpom starts us at a 276, which if played out, would leave us the 2nd worst team since 1997, only slightly better than last year.

Of course, there are surprises and turnarounds every year.  Can BG be one of them?

BG is a lot longer than they have been in a while. I think this will help them create some mismatches on the wings on both ends of the court.

The most important thing, by far, is that BG has to play better defense.  BG has historically not played great defense while Huger has been here.  The 2019 team was the only one in the top half of the NCAA. The 2021 team was average, and BG has to at least play average defense to compete this year.

How can that happen? Well, BG had a deadly combination last year.  They were easy to shoot against and didn't force turnovers.  So, you have a high number of shooting possessions and they were going into the basket.  BG was last in FG defense, 11th in defending the 3FG and 12th in defending the 2FG.

BG needs to be harder to shoot against.  BG's opponents had the highest percentage of 3FG attempts...and at the same time had a hard time keeping defenders in front of them.  Another last place defense and BG won't be heading back to Cleveland.

BG was fifth in offensive efficiency last year.  If they can get to 7th defensively (a huge improvement), that would put them on the track for a winning season.  

You're going to have Matheny back, which should help the team score. (We were #10 in the MAC in A/FGM). BG took good care of the ball, was decent on the offensive boards and at getting to the line and at FT shooting.  They were 8th in overall shooting and that will need to improve.  In particular, BG had a 2FG heavy mix of shots and only made 49% from 2FG.

With some new players and one returner who did not perform to his historic level as a shooter--but without Plowden and Diggs (and Gordon and Reece)--I'd suspect we're about where we were last year, maybe a little bit better.  The offense could improve a little, but the defense has to improve a lot.

On paper, you'd think making it to Cleveland would be a good goal for this year.  Of course, the larger question is the direction of the program.  Huger's contract extends through 2025...which is this season and two more.  And a new AD is in town but that's two years to buy out if he decides to make a move.

Reports are that donors are not feeling good about where the program is.  You can see that. Huger is not on a rebuild.  He had the team's best-sustained success (somewhat sadly) in decades, but last year was really bad when you are thinking you might be a consistently competitive team.

The Frack money weighs heavily here.  There are legitimate questions about what the money has been used on.   But this is one program that can't cry poor and that's going to be part of the evaluation for Huger.

I'd love to see us exceed expectations and be comfortable moving into the next season.  With so many newcomers, it is really hard to know what to expect.  There is nowhere to go but up....and at the same time, there is a long way to climb from last season.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

van der Merwe presser reaction

So Derek van der Merwe will be the new AD at BG.  He had the presser today, I think everyone will agree that he won the presser but now the real work begins.  So did the last two.

He checks a lot of the boxes I think you want.  

  • I think it's important the people we hire have experience working in under-resourced environments. He has worked at CMU and Austin Peay.
  • He has a MAC background, which I also like.  (His participation in the fat punter game for CMU will require some kind of ritual cleansing, but that can be scheduled).
  • He also has P5 experience, which I think is important as well.
  • He has development experience, even leading overall University advancement at Austin Peay.
  • He is not just a development guy, which I also think experience has taught us is needed.
  • He has been an AD.
  • You can see why he was an attractive candidate.  Of course, the bridge between attractive and successful is the challenge.
He has an interesting background.  He grew up in South Africa in a missionary family.  He didn't play much football in HS and was more interested in the violin.  Decided to play his senior year, walked on at CMU, and then was Academic All-MAC for the Chips.

Again, he said all the right things.  We need to overachieve.  The key is people (as opposed to just money). Great opportunity, community.  He's seen the Falcon "Army" when they are successful and he wants to engage with them/us.

He also said something like "the greatest opportunity comes from great turmoil."

Which is something I believe, too.  It's just a slogan on a poster in the conference room unless it gets put into action, which is really hard.  Because a lot of pain and suffering come from great turmoil, too.

I think everyone's consensus is that the next AD needed to be someone special and a little transformational.  With the challenges we face, an ordinary look-at-my-resume, easy-hire drone isn't going to move the needle the way people expect.  As always, time will tell.

David Briggs asked Dr. Rogers what I believe is the key question. Will BG increase it's financial commitment to athletics?  Dr. Rogers didn't answer yes or no, indicated BG's relatively strong institutional financial position and used a lot of buzzwords. I believe a content translation would be "yes but I don't want to set any expectations yet."  I have heard that BG is preparing to do just that.  I don't think money is all you need, but if you are severely underfunded you are always trying to be Carl Lewis and most times you won't be.

I don't understand why no one asks him when he will start.  He said he was going to live in "this community" and time will also tell if he means Perrysburg.

So, day one looks good.  Wishing him good luck and success.

Update:  From the comments, someone noted that he is the Director of Athletics and Recreation and asked whether that was too much for a guy trying to be the AD.  It certainly is not unheard of at BG. During COVID, Moosbrugger was named Director of Athletics, Recreation and Wellness.  Ron Zwerlein was Director of Athletics and Recreational Sports.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Past and Future Opponent Land

UCLA--(6-1) Clocked by Oregon in Chipenfreude game.

EKU--(4-3)  The indomitable Colonels beat 1-6 North Alabama 56-53

Marshall--(4-3) The "could win out" Herd got a nice win @James Madison

Mississippi State--(5-3) Lost to Bama

Akron--(1-7) Lost Wagon Wheel to Kent by 6

Buffalo--(5-3) Shocked UT with 24 4th Q points

Miami--(3-5) Lost to WMU

CMU--(2-6) We played them

WMU--(3-5) Beat Miami

KSU--(3-5) Beat Akron

UT--(5-3) Lost to UB

OU--(6-3)  Beat NIU

East Vs. West: East 5, West 3

MAC vs P5: 2-19

MAC vs. G5: 6-9

MAC vs FCS: 10-2

Sweet Victory #4

And sweet it was.  This team is not where it needs to be, but consider has been 1,425 days since we woke up with back-to-back MAC wins.  It shows how terrible things have been (truly) but a sign of progress.

Not counting the year Loeffler beat Morgan State in the opener, we have not been .500 since 2015.

BG went on the road and won a conference game.  They never trailed and it was a two-score game for the last 13 minutes.  This is what you need to do and what we haven't been able to do in years.

We still need to play much better, but improving on wins is what we need now and hopefully are starting to do that.

So, how did it happen?

To start with, the overall stats ended up very even. The difference, plain and simple, was CMU's four turnovers to BG's zero.

There's nothing wrong with that.  Good teams force turnovers and don't make them.  (BG is tied for 21st in NCAA at +6 for the year.  To no one's surprise, UB is #1 in MAC at +8).

Let's start with the defense.  CMU is hurting on offense.  They are not strong at the QB position and their MAC POY RB is out with an injury and then his replacement was injured in the 2Q and they were down to a walk-on.

BG's defense held them to 18 points.  They struggled when CMU went to a mobile QB and we tried 7 different guys on Joel Wilson, the TE, but he caught 8 passes in 8 targets.  (He's a good player, yes.  I always wonder why BG can't do the same kind of thing with Sims.)

And costly penalties, especially leading to the first CMU FG.

But there was a key fourth-down stop (McIlwain should stop with the analytics), 6 sacks, 2 hurries, a strip sack, a pressure-induced INT for Walter Haire, 3 forced get the idea.

BG's pass rush is for real.  You have Brooks with 3 sacks in the game and Demetrius Hardamon with a sack and a scoop and score.  And numerous other plays ruined.

Pausing for a moment.  Karl Brooks has a PFF grade of 90 on pass rush.  That's number one in the MAC and #6 in the FBS.  He's our best pass rusher since Chris Jones.  He creates a situation every time he is on the field.  He has gone from a raw and unreliable member of the program to a stalwart.

Demetrious Hardamon was MAC East POW last week.  Coach says he is a rags to riches story.  He transferred here from an NAIA school.  Walked on.  Lives in the weight room.  Practices hard.  Has a 3.5 GPA.

Want a sign of progress in the program?

So, looking at the offense.  The first drive was great, innovative plays, nice pace, etc.  From there on out, it was a slog.  BG got a nice punt return and started at CMU's 40 and turned that into a FG.  Late in the half, BG got the ball on the 50 and converted with a score.  And the last TD was in clock killing time.

BG sustained only two drives over 50 yards.

The hold ups were clear.  McDonald was sacked six times.  BG had 17 penalties for 146 yards (not all on the offense but way too many).  It is hard to sustain drives like that.

At the same time, McDonald had his best game as a Falcon in terms of pass accuracy.  He was 18-21 for 253, 2 TDs and 0 INT.  That's a really good 14 yards per completion.  It isn't a ton of passes, but that's the kind of game we wanted to play and he executed it.

Jaison Patterson had 101 net yards.   He is the first BG back over 100 yards since Terion Stewart last year against UB.  That's 5.6 yards per carry.  A hit in any man's league.  He got most of the carries, but Taron Keith averaged 6 per carry and Johnson 3.6.  Collectively, the three backs had 5.3 yards per carry, which is a solid running game.  (Overall running stats are blurred by all the sack yardage).

There's something in there.  Clean up the penalties and sacks, and we are slowly emerging as a threat to move the ball.

FWIW, Loeffler said one sack (I assume on the botched screen pass) was his fault because he "added a tag and confused the TEs") and McDonald said a couple were on him.

BG has had a pretty solid set of guys on the line and the line is definitely better than in the past.  Interestingly, they played two guys at LT...Kameron Stewart and Tunde Fatukasi.  Stewart transferred from Coastal Carolina and Fatukasi from Rutgers.  Coach says Stewart will be a good player when he gets stronger--he has 1 more year left--and Fatusaki will be an NFL LT.  He has three years left and has 2 brothers in the NFL.

What is interesting is that according to PFF, Stewart was our best run blocker for BG in the game but struggled to pass block and Fatusaki was our best pass blocker but struggled to run block. As one person, they were all-MAC.

So, BG is 4-4 and 3-1.  This is the best we have been in 7 years.  That is better than it not being true, but is ahead of a very low standard.  WMU is next and they are not having a great year, either.  We have a chance to notch #5 at home, coming off rest, before heading into the toughest part of our schedule.  

Thursday, October 20, 2022

25 Questions that Fire Up


Look away....

What is their body of work?

CMU has generally been a strong MAC program.  They rode the wave through the Brian Kelly and Butch Jones era.  Then, things went off the rails, through Dan Enos and John Bonamego, going 48-65 over that time. They brought in Jim McElwain, who was a former coach for Florida.  He was 20-13 with two bowl games.  They were picked to be #3 in the West.  

They are not having a great season.  They are 2-5, with wins over Bucknell and Akron.  Their losses are UT and BSU in the MAC, along with Penn State, Oklahoma State and South Alabama.  They are 1-2 at home this year.

CMU is a 6.5 point favorite.

How experienced are they?

This is a very young team.  They have 15 juniors or seniors on their two deep. 

Who are their nationally ranked players?

Donte Kent is #3 in passes defended
Thomas Incoom is #8 in TFL

What is their turnover ratio? 

They are -7.  This is amazing.  They have lost 10 fumbles.


How is their QB play?

He's not great, #11 in the MAC in passing efficiency.  He has 56% completions, 13 TD over 4 INT and 11 yards a completion, which is not enough to warrant such a low completion percentage.  He can run but does not do it very much.

What is their scoring and yards per play

They are #7 in scoring and 8th in yards per play.

Can they run the ball?

Despite the presence of a true bell cow, they are #8 in yards per carry. They have Lew Nichols back there, who led FBS with 1,800 yards last year and was MAC Offensive player of the year.  Despite 133 carries this year, he is averaging only 3.6 yards per carry.  He was DNP-Injured last week against Akron.

Do they pass the ball?

As noted above, not great. Their top two receivers are mostly possession guys. 

How is their run/pass balance?

Their play mix is fairly normal, running on 47% of their plays.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

At 33% they are 11th.

Do they score in the red zone?

It is poor at 4.8 points per trip with 8 empty trips in 28 tries.

Do they protect the quarterback?

Pretty typical.  Sacks on 6% of their pass attempts.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play

They are a better defensive team.  They are #4 in scoring defense and third in yards per play allowed.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are very difficult to run on.  They are #3 at 3.4 yards per carry.

Can they be passed on?

They are 5th in defensive pass efficiency.  They allow 61% completions, 14 TD and 2 INT and 11.4 yards per catch.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They do.  They lead the MAC at 31% allowed.

Do they defend in the red zone?

Not great, 5.1 points per trip.

Do they pressure the QB?

Pretty good.  Sacks on 7.4% of passing attempts.

Special Teams:


They are 2nd in the MAC in net punting. 

Punt Return?

They are #6 in punt returns, but that buries the lede.  They have blocked 4 punts this year.


They are not good at all.  Their two kickers are 3-10, with a long of 48. 


Teams start on the 26.

Kickoff Return?

They start on the 26.

Intangible Miscellany

CMU is a lot like Miami.  They aren't great on offense but play strong defense.  The biggest difference is their huge number of turnovers.  As we wait to see if BG can play consistently for a few weeks in a row, they need much of what they had against Miami.  They need to run the ball effectively and they need to lock down a less than great CMU offense and do it on the road

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Past and Future Opponent Land

 UCLA--(6-0) Was off.  Big game with Oregon next week

EKU--(3-3)  The indomitable Colonels lost to Sam Houston

Marshall--(3-3) The "could win out" Herd lost to Louisiana.  No FBS wins since leaving South Bend

Mississippi State--(5-2) Lost @UK

Akron--(1-6) Lost to CMU

Buffalo--(4-3) Beat UMass

Miami--(3-4) We played them

CMU--(2-5) Beat Akron

WMU--(2-5) Lost to OU

KSU--(2-5) Lost to UT

UT--(5-2) Beat Kent

OU--(5-3)  Beat WMU

East Vs. West: East 2, West 2

MAC vs P5: 2-19

MAC vs. G5: 6-9

MAC vs FCS: 10-2

Sweet Victory #3: Whammy Reversed


Sweet victory indeed.  #3.  We have won 3 of our last 5, including one P5 game (in other words, 3 of 4 in non-P5).  It is our best period since Jinks won the last three games of his first season, against the wounded dregs of the MAC East. And our best start in 7 years.

Are we where we want to be?  No.  Are we where we should be?  Everyone has an idea on that.  Are we making progress?  Yes.

Also, it broke a three-game losing streak to Miami.

Miami was picked to win the East by Phil Steele.  They came into the season 21-8 in their last MAC games.  Yes, that was all predicated on a different quarterback.  This was still the set-up that won @Northwestern and beat Kent.  They have beaten people.

I don't know how to say this, but it was a normal football game....and the first we have won like that in a long time.

Credit to our players for their resilience.  Coach said that he went "bonkers" on Wednesday with the lack of energy or encouragement among the players.  There was a player meeting on Thursday and Friday Coach's wife attended practice and she said it reminded her of a practice at Florida when Loeffler coached there under Urban.

If true, I'm glad we reinforced the behavior with a win.

Anyway, I think resilience is the most important life skill you can have.  I don't care who you are, you are going to need it and if you have ambition or goals you are going to need more of it.  Our guys could have walked away but they did not.

I thought there were three keys to winning the game.

It started with the defense.  Miami is not a strong offensive team.  They came in 11th in scoring and 9th in yards per play.  BG did what they should do with a poor opponent...they shut them down.  Plenty of times in the last 7 years we have made poor offensive teams look like the Ramblin' Wreck.

This did not happen.  Miami made 10 first downs and had only 189 yards of total offense.  It was our best tackling game since....well....Miami last year and in the range of the tackling in the Minnesota win (from PFF).  Also from PFF, our best overall defensive effort since the Marshall game.

Smith had 91 passing yards against 23 sack yards and a strip sack. Yes, he beat us for some runs but the Miami backs had 2.2 yards per carry.

In the second half, Miami had 3 first downs.  Their longest second half drive was 33 yards, with 26 yards on one play.

The next key was the offense.  Look, the offense has a lot of room for improvement.  Notably, this red zone offense is painful to watch.  BG was 3-6 in the red zone, really 3 of 5, because the last one was in victory formation.  BG had 17 red zone points on those 5 trips.  One of those was the Keith run, which was from the 19.  We struggle even more up close.  We threw a pick in the red zone (Coach said he called the wrong play) and McDonald essentially threw another pick in the end zone that the guy didn't catch.  We can't make short yardage and we missed a short FG.  Our one legit short-yardage red zone score was an old end-around to Harold Fannin Jr.

Also, there were 4 dropped passes.

So, how was the offense the key to winning?  Coming in. Miami was the #10 run defense in FBS.  They allow 2.8 yards per carry.  Far and away top in the MAC and they played a representative non-conference schedule. Meanwhile, BG struggled to run against UB's last-in-the-MAC run defense.  My preview said that we would probably just switch to mostly passing, like we did against UB.

Lo and behold, BG ended up running the ball effectively. BG averaged 4 yards per carry--both the number above and the game number include sacks as rushes.  Patterson and Johnson both averaged 5.2 yards per carry. Patterson had 94 on 18 carries, much of it on tough runs, breaking tackles and being hard to bring down.

It was our best run game since the UB game last year and our best run blocking game of the season (PFF).

How did this happen?  Coach said we changed the running game up...we did a "bunch of things we haven't done all year long."  He credited the coaches and team for making those changes in a game week. We mostly run gap plays, not zone plays. Patterson had 7 zone runs (out of our 10). We averaged 15 yards per attempt going off right guard. The other thing I noticed was that we seemed to run sweeps to the right more than normal.   Maybe an Xs or Os guy can help flesh it out.

The jet sweep left was also very effective with a TD and another first down on 3 attempts.

The last thing was BG's ability to close the game. 

4th Quarter, BG is up 17-13 and just took the lead, 11:31 to play.  In past games, this has been a moment of maximum danger.  Can we sustain success?  At first, it looked sadly familiar.  On 3rd and 9, Smith ran for 26 yards to the BG 48.  BG gets a break from a delay of game penalty and then Smith is running on 3rd and 7 and BG stops him for 3 yards...enough to force Miami to punt.

BG ball on their own 10.  This is 7:10 left to play.  BG needs first downs.  If they punt from here, Miami starts around midfield and we're in trouble.  They got 2 first downs...Patterson for 13 and then Patterson for a net of 13 after a 45 yard run had a holding call upfield.  BG is enforcing the running game at the end, just like real teams do.  A sack finally ends the drive, but BG is on their own 34.  Sir, with the wind, gets a 41 yard punt fair caught and Miami starts on the 25.

BG was bleeding clock on every plan.  It went from 7:10 to 3:23.  Still, Miami has two time outs and plenty of time.  You only win the game with a stop.

How many times have we seen this go wrong?

Smith went running and we got him for three yards.  Darren Anders broke up passes on 2nd and 3rd down.  And then on 4th and 7, Smith went on a designed scramble and Haire and Hawkins came upfield and took him down 1 yard short.

The game is not over.  BG starts on the Miami 34, with the wind. Still, there's already one missed FG in the rear view mirror.  Miami has 2 time outs.  BG needs a first down.  How many times, I ask you, have we gone 3 and out in a situation like this?  Or any team?  Miami knows you are going to run. Patterson gets 5 on the first carry and 0 on 2nd down.  Facing a third-down and 5, Patterson and most of the line went right and he powered his way past the marker for the first down. Now, the game is over.

So the third thing--making first downs and getting a stop in crunch time and being confident enough to bleed clock while you do it.

It was a highly satisfying win. I'm proud of our guys.  The next test, as always, is to put a streak of good games together consistently.  At 3-4, BG can still reach its goal...but we need at this point in the rebuild to demonstrate the ability to play well each week.  I don't think that is an unrealistic expectation.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

25 Cradle Questions

The late, great Bob Hitchens

What is their body of work?

If you have been around a while, you know that Miami for many years was the MAC's pre-eminent program.  Back in the Doyt Perry era, they were BG's top rival.  In the mid-70s, they won 3 straight MAC titles.  After success under Randy Walker and Terry Hoeppner,  they chose Shane Montgomery to lead them out of the post-Big Ben era. They went 2-10 twice under Montgomery and 1-11 under Mike Haywood, his replacement.  Haywood was 10-4 (fog bowl year) in his second year.  He left for Pittsburgh, a job he would never actually have, and then Don Treadwell came in.  He was a disaster, 8-28, including 0-12 the season he was fired. 

In comes Chuck Martin.  Martin is a Brian Kelly guy, working with him at Grand Valley (where he also replaced Kelly and won 2 NCAA titles) before going to Notre Dame and then Miami.  It took him a little while to get things going (Coach Loeffler mentioned this at his presser).  He didn't win 8 games until his fifth season--2019, a MAC Championship season.

This year, they are 3-3. Most notably, they beat Kent 27-24 in their last game.  Also, they beat Northwestern in Evanston in a down year for the Cats. They also beat Robert Morris, while losing to UK, UC and UB.

The RedHawks have won the last 3 games in the series.  The last BG win was the crazy game in the Jinks era .  Loeffler has never beat Miami. Miami is a 7-point road favorite.

How experienced are they?

This is a very young team.  They have 14 juniors or seniors on their two deep.  They added 13 transfers in the portal.

Who are their nationally ranked players?

Eli Blakely is #19 in passes defended.
Ryan McWood is #10 in tackles

What is their turnover ratio? 

They are +4.


How is their QB play?

They started the year with Brett Gabbert at QB.  Third-team All-MAC, he was injured in the opener at UK.  He is unlikely to return. He was replaced by Aveon Smith, a R-FR.  His passing numbers are not great.  He is 11th in the MAC in pass efficiency, with 52% completion, 6 TD over 4 INT and 11.7 ypc. He is a dual-threat QB, something BG has struggled with.

What is their scoring and yards per play

They are not about scoring.  See defense.  They are 11th in scoring and 9th in yards per play. 

Can they run the ball?

They are decent, 4th in MAC at 4.5 yards per carry.  There are only 5 RBs in the MAC averaging 5 yards per carry or more. Their lead back averages 4.6 yards per carry.

Do they pass the ball?

As seen above, it's not great. Their leading WR is Mac Hippenhammer, with 22 catches.  Third-team All-MAC, had a 63-yard TD last year vs. BG.

How is their run/pass balance?

This team is run focused, running on 67% of their plays.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

At 32% they are last.

Do they score in the red zone?

It is poor at 4.1 points per trip.

Do they protect the quarterback?

Not great.  Sacks on 8 of their pass attempts.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play

Here is where they excel. They lead the MAC in scoring defense and are 2nd in yards per play allowed.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are very difficult to run on.  They allow 2.8 yards per carry and the #2 team is 3.8.
That's #10 in the nation.  BG didn't run great against Buffalo's #12 defense.  This will be a challenge and I think you will see BG game plan the pass from the start.

Can they be passed on?

They are 3rd in pass defense efficiency.  They allow 60% with 10 TD and 5 INT and 11.7 yards per completion.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are 5th, allowing 37%.

Do they defend in the red zone?

Not great, 5.9 points per trip.

Do they pressure the QB?

Not really.  Sacks on 6% of passing attempts.

Special Teams:


They are 3rd in net punting. They have been blocked once.  No TD allowed.

Punt Return?

12 returns, long of 35, average of 6.5


They usually have good kickers.  This guy isn't great.  He's 9-12, 2 misses under 40 and blocked twice..  Long of 49.


Teams start on the 28.

Kickoff Return?

They start on the 25.

Intangible Miscellany

Look, this team (BG) is difficult to size up.  The point spread probably is generous to BG.  I'd like to say you never know which BG team is going to show up, but the good BG team has really only shown up once. It goes without saying that the team that showed up last week won't beat anyone and won't get 7 points against this team.  It seems to me that BG needs to be able to stop the run.  The Falcons are #10 against the run, but Miami is relatively one-dimensional.  Tackling simply must improve.  Then, the pass game must click.  I don't think the Falcons will run on Miami.  The Falcons are capable of winning this game but will need to find whatever is "missing."  Default performance will yield default result.

Sunday, October 09, 2022

Past and Future Opponent Land

UCLA--(6-0) Beat #11 Utah 42-32

EKU--(3-2)  The indomitable Colonels were idle

Marshall--(3-2) The "could win out" Herd were idle

Mississippi State--(5-1) Beat Arkansas

Akron--(1-5) Lost to OU

Buffalo--(3-3) We played them

Miami--(3-3) Beat Kent

CMU--(1-5) Lost to Ball State

WMU--(2-4) Lost to EMU in Kzoo

KSU--(2-4) Lost to Miami

UT--(4-2) Smoked NIU

OU--(3-3)  Beat Akron

East Vs. West: East 1, West 0

MAC vs P5: 2-19

MAC vs. G5: 4-9

MAC vs FCS: 10-2


So, let's wallow a little bit in how the "debacle" (in Coach's words) unfolded yesterday at the Doyt.

BG came out incredibly flat, given that Coach says they prepped well and we were telling ourselves it was our "Super Bowl."  If it was, we were the Denver Broncos of 1989.

Anyway.  BG came out incredibly flat.  We deferred and UB got the ball and moved 75 yards on 8 plays, facing only 1 3rd down and it was a 3rd and 1.  Essentially, BG put up no opposition. UB up 7-0.

BG got the ball, converted a 3rd and 23.  A false start put them behind the sticks and then on 3rd and 15 McDonald threw a pick.

UB drove to the BG 6 before the Falcons finally diagnosed the QB keep part of the option play and a FG was forced.  10-0.

BG went 3 and out (net -3 yards) and made 29 yards on a net punt.  UB started on our 48, were on the 1 after one play and then in the end zone, up 17-0 with 4:36 left in the first quarter.

I guess that would qualify as a flat start.

BG went three and out and after a 29 yard punt, UB had the ball in BG territory.  BG had them 3-12 when they fumbled and Jordan Anderson returned it down to the UB 31.  Seems great, except BG got a 15-yard sideline penalty and started on the UB 46.

McDonald hit Sims for 35 yards to the UB 6. This is seemingly when BG gets in trouble.  We have trouble getting running space all over the field, but it is trouble X 10 inside the 5. On 3 plays, BG lost a yard and had it 4th down from the 7.  They lined up for a FG, ran a fake where the holder was supposed to lateral it to the kicker, who was sprinting to the left.  He got the ball but fell down in the open field, UB picked the ball and returned it back to the house but had a penalty.

That was BG's first chance to get the game to 17-7.

UB then went on a 15 play drive from their own 15 to the BG 1, before the Falcon defense rallied and stopped them on 4th down.

Still, BG starting on its own 1?  The Falcons, hindered by two penalties of its own and aided by a PI, drove the ball to their own 34.  This time they got a good punt, leading to a fair catch on the UB 19.  Unfortunately, BG was called for fair catch interference, and UB was out to the 34. 

The defense got a three-and-out and then Embry had a 42-yard punt return to start BG on the UB 33.  Jaison Patterson took the ball, made a great move at the line and another at the second level and seemed to be heading for a score when he fumbled, UB recovering on their own 1.

That was BG's second chance to get the game to 17-7.

It was the last time there was even the most remote chance of BG getting back into the game.  On 3rd down from the 8, Washington broke loose for a 92-yard TD run to put the Bulls up 24-0.

BG went 3 and out, highlighted by a botched Statute of Liberty play. 

UB got the ball on their own 36 and finished it off, aided by two BG penalties drove into the end zone to make it 31-0.

Just a complete disaster.  As bad as you can play and in a MAC game you have been pointing to.  A team you beat last year.  Just so disappointing.

To illustrate the issue, I went through and found the following plays for both teams that were:
  • 20+ plays
  • Turnovers
  • Pre-snap penalties
  • Unsportsmanlike/Un. Roughness
  • Bad Punts/Other ridiculous plays like watching the QB catch the throwback pass
  • Sacks +6 yards
BG Negative/UB Positive Plays
  1. Snyder,Cole pass complete short right to Washington,Mike for 0 yards to the BGSU49 fumbled by Washington,Mike at BGSU49 forced by Tau,Kitione recovered by BGSU Oladokun,Jordan at BGSU49 Oladokun,Jordan return 20 yards to the UB31 (Snyder,Cole), out of bounds PENALTY BGSU UNS: Unsportsmanlike Conduct 15 yards from UB31 to UB46.
  2. Snyder,Cole pass complete deep left to Williams,Quian for 33 yards to the BGSU31 (Simms,Trent), 
  3. PENALTY BGSU False Start (Grant,Jalen) 5 yards from BGSU49 to BGSU44.
  4. McDonald,Matt pass intercepted by Fuqua,Marcus at UB40 Fuqua,Marcus return 20 yards to the BGSU40 (McDonald,Matt), out of bounds.
  5. Washington,Mike rush middle for 20 yards gain to the BGSU14 (Bacon,Chris), out of bounds, 1ST DOWN.
  6. Sir,Sami punt 39 yards to the UB42 Williams,Quian return 10 yards to the BGSU48, out of bounds at BGSU48.
  7. Snyder,Cole pass complete deep middle to Gassett,Jamari for 47 yards to the BGSU01 (Simms,Trent), out of bounds, 1ST DOWN.
  8. Sir,Sami punt 29 yards to the BGSU47, out of bounds at BGSU47.
  9. Lawler,Mason rush left for 9 yards loss (-18) to the UB16 fumbled by Lawler,Mason at UB20 recovered by UB Cobb,Keyshawn at UB16 Cobb,Keyshawn return 9 yards to the BGSU00 TOUCHDOWN nullified by penalty, clock 00:48 PENALTY UB Illegal Block in Back (Blades,Elijah) 10 yards from UB25 to UB15.
  10. Williams,Quian pass complete deep left to Snyder,Cole for 15 yards to the BGSU28 (Bacon,Chris), 1ST DOWN.
  11. Snyder,Cole pass complete deep right to Marshall,Justin for 21 yards to the BGSU06 (Anderson,Jordan), out of bounds, 1ST DOWN.
  12. Johnson,Jamal rush middle for 3 yards gain to the BGSU15 (Dolac,Shaun) PENALTY BGSU Personal Foul (Grant,Jalen) 6 yards from BGSU12 to BGSU06. NO PLAY.
  13. PENALTY BGSU False Start (Warner,Bronson) 5 yards from BGSU30 to BGSU25. NO PLAY.
  14. Sir,Sami punt 47 yards to the UB19 fair catch by Williams,Quian at UB19 PENALTY BGSU Kick Catch Interference (Wimberly,PaSean) 15 yards from UB19 to UB34.
  15. Patterson,Jaison rush middle for 32 yards gain to the UB01 fumbled by Patterson,Jaison at UB09 forced by Muse,Jahmin recovered by UB Fuqua,Marcus at UB01, End Of Play.
  16. Washington,Mike rush middle for 92 yards gain to the BGSU00 TOUCHDOWN, clock 02:43, 1ST DOWN.
  17. PENALTY BGSU UNS: Unsportsmanlike Conduct (Brooks,Karl) 15 yards from UB35 to UB50. NO PLAY.
  18. McDonald,Matt rush middle for 10 yards loss to the BGSU15 fumbled by McDonald,Matt at BGSU17 recovered by BGSU McDonald,Matt at BGSU15, End Of Play.
  19. Snyder,Cole pass incomplete short right to Marshall,Justin broken up by Burton,Jalen PENALTY BGSU Offside (Saad,Ali) 5 yards from BGSU42 to BGSU37. NO PLAY.
  20. Snyder,Cole pass incomplete short middle to Gassett,Jamari broken up by Horne,Brock PENALTY BGSU UNR: Unnecessary Roughness (Horne,Brock) 11 yard from BGSU22 to BGSU11, 1ST DOWN. NO PLAY.
  21. Snyder,Cole pass complete deep right to Curry,Boobie for 20 yards to the BGSU01 (Bacon,Chris), out of bounds, 1ST DOWN.
  22. Sir,Sami punt 29 yards to the UB40.
  23. Johnson,Jamal rush middle for 0 yards to the UB03 fumbled by Johnson,Jamal at UB02 forced by Patterson,James recovered by UB Patterson,James at UB03 Patterson,James return 97 yards to the BGSU00 TOUCHDOWN, clock 08:33.
  24. Lawler,Mason kickoff 65 yards to the UB00, Touchback PENALTY BGSU Offside (Taylor,DJ) 5 yards from UB25 to UB30.
  25. McDonald,Matt pass incomplete short right to Croom,Cavon broken up by Bass,Jaylon PENALTY BGSU UNR: Unnecessary Roughness (Grant,Jalen) 15 yards from UB26 to UB41.
  26. McDonald,Matt sacked for loss of 9 yards to the UB32 (Kante,Ibrahim).
  27. Cook,Ron rush left for 28 yards gain to the BGSU47 (Huskey,Jalen; Simms,Trent), 1ST DOWN.
  28. McDonald,Matt sacked for loss of 7 yards to the BGSU13 (Michel,Max).
  29. I almost forgot allowing the fake punt to work.

BG Positive /UB Negative Plays
    1. McDonald,Matt pass complete deep right to Broden,Tyrone for 23 yards to the BGSU49 (Dolac,Shaun), 1ST DOWN.
    2. Snyder,Cole pass complete short right to Washington,Mike for 0 yards to the BGSU49 fumbled by Washington,Mike at BGSU49 forced by Tau,Kitione recovered by BGSU Oladokun,Jordan at BGSU49 Oladokun,Jordan return 20 yards to the UB31 (Snyder,Cole), out of bounds PENALTY BGSU UNS: Unsportsmanlike Conduct 15 yards from UB31 to UB46.
    3. McDonald,Matt pass complete deep left to Sims,Christian for 35 yards to the UB06 (Fuqua,Marcus), 1ST DOWN.
    4. Venneri,Anthony punt 46 yards to the BGSU25 Embry,Jhaylin return 42 yards to the UB33 (Venneri,Anthony), out of bounds.
    5. Snyder,Cole sacked for loss of 10 yards to the BGSU21 (Hawkins,Anthony).
    6. Johnson,Jamal rush middle for 23 yards gain to the UB46 (Cobb,Keyshawn), 1ST DOWN.
    7. McDonald,Matt pass complete deep middle to Bench,Andrew for 27 yards to the UB43 (Patterson,James), 1ST DOWN.
    8. McDonald,Matt pass complete deep middle to Lewis,CJ for 26 yards to the UB49 (Murdock,Khalil), 1ST DOWN.
    9. McDonald,Matt pass complete deep middle to Lewis,CJ for 24 yards to the UB25 (Murdock,Khalil), 1ST DOWN.
    10. McDonald,Matt pass complete short middle to Hiliare,Odieu for 3 yards to the UB38 (Muse,Jahmin) Roughing The Passer (Williams,Daymond) 15 yards from UB38 to UB23, 1ST DOWN.
    11. Mosley,Nick rush right for 13 yards gain to the UB49 (Cobb,Keyshawn), 1ST DOWN, PENALTY UB Face Mask (Cobb,Keyshawn) 15 yards from UB49 to UB34, 1ST DOWN

    Well, I suspect that we are running out of runway on the program's current staff.  Who knows, but at 2-4 and playing this poorly, it is hard to imagine us making a bowl game.  With the AD situation, the best thing for BG would be for Loeffler to earn a credible one-year extension and then let the new AD come in and evaluate.  I think the administration will be forced to move, which might mean the new AD will pick a football coach with only weeks or days on the job.

    I wouldn't be shocked even to see it happen mid-season, though without an AD in place to start the coaching search, a mid-season change makes even less sense than normal.

    Ultimately, the first six games are a good test of where we are in the rebuild.  And a rebuild is fine, but eventually, something needs to be rebuilt.  You have a team with one good win, one skin-of-the-teeth win over a 1-5 team, and then losses to your FCS opponent and a blowout to a MAC team, both at home.  The problems seem systemic.  Somehow, the operating system doesn't work and the whole is less than the sum of its parts.

    Saturday, October 08, 2022

    "It looked like the past, to be quite honest with you."

    Woof. That quote was from Coach Loeffler. And he's right.  It did.  Gibby said it was among the worst games he had ever seen us play and I can't disagree and I have seen a bunch of them.  So have you.  But this was just the worst.  Bad play piled on top of bad play.  And this was a team that we were supposed to be equal with.  And we are supposed to be competitive with teams in our conference and we simply are not.  Key phrase is "something missing."

    There was no one there to start with and even less by the end of the game.  Here is what it looked like under the Doyt at halftime.

    Coach Loeffler did not mince any words.  There was no talk about UB being some kind of secretly great team.  More to come, but here is what Coach had to say, and I'm not sure I could say it any more accurately.

    On taking responsibility for today’s loss:

    “In all three phases, to play as bad as they did, it starts with me. I’ll take responsibility for it.

    We’re supposed to be competitive, and we were as far from competitive today as you can

    possibly get.”

    On the disappointment of today’s loss:

    “We’re supposed to be competitive. That team right there that we just played was equivalent

    to us, and we didn’t play well in all aspects. We need to figure it out, we need to get it fixed.

    We’re playing a good Miami of Ohio team next week, but that was as disappointing a half and

    disappointing a game that I’ve had probably in my career.”

    On playing competitive football:

    “I expected this would be a heck of a football game, and on paper it should have been. There’s

    something missing that you can go and play as well as we’ve ever played around here in a long

    time to playing as bad as you can play, and that’s the truth. The Marshall game, we played as

    well as you can possibly play. You play that type of competitive football, you have a chance to

    beat anyone in this league, but that was a debacle. . . we crushed ourselves, plain and simple.

    We beat ourselves in every aspect.”

    On emotions in the game of football:

    “I thought preparation was as good as we’ve prepped. I did not like the emotion of our team on

    our sidelines. They [Buffalo] had emotion, we didn’t, and I don’t understand that. That’s the

    part of the puzzle that I don’t get. This is an emotional game, and obviously I’ve got to figure

    out how to get their emotions going because that was not an emotional football game

    whatsoever for us.”

    On takeaways from today’s game:

    “If you don’t take lessons from today, you’re out of your mind. We’ve got to get consistent. You

    can’t play this up and down and be this up and down from week to week. We’ve got to find that

    secret sauce. If you go out here and you play your ass off and you’re disciplined and you did all

    the things you’re supposed to do and you lose, that’s one thing. . . but it looked like the past, to 

    Friday, October 07, 2022

    25 Questions for Mo

     What is their body of work?

    UB was the worst team in the MAC when they joined the conference.  In fact, their win over BG in the first meeting resulted in the resignation of Gary Blackney shortly thereafter.

    They improved, especially under Turner Gill, underperformed under Jeff Gill and then hit their stride under Lance Leipold, going 24-10 the last 3 years, though without a league title. He left and took guys with him, and Mo Linquist came in.  They were 4-8 last year and were picked third in the East this year.  They are 2-3 this year, losing their FBS game to Holy Cross and to Maryland and Coastal Carolina, before winning their last 2 over EMU and Miami, in an upset.

    Until last year, UB had won the last 4 against BG, with the last 3 being blowouts with record-setting rushing efforts by Jaret Patterson.  BG won last season, riding perhaps Matt McDonald's best game at BG to a 56-44 win.  The two teams scored 7 4th Q TDs---it was pure #MACTION,

    UB is a 2-point road favorite, down from 3.5 earlier in the week.

    How experienced are they?

    They have 37 plays who are Juniors or above on the depth chart, an astounding number. There are 13 graduate students.  They brought in 25 transfers this year, 13 from P5 programs.

    Who are their nationally ranked players?

    Alex McNulty is #3 in FG/Game
    Shaun Dolac leads the nation in solo tackles.

    What is their turnover ratio? 

    They are +1.


    How is their QB play?

    Their QB is Cole Snyder, a Rutgers transfer who BG recruited as well.  His QBR is 128, #6 in the MAC. He's completing 60%, 8/3 ratio and 11 yards per completion, all of which are solid if not great numbers. He runs sometimes but is not great.

    What is their scoring and yards per play

    They are scoring 28 PPG which is 6th in the MAC.  They are gaining 4.8 yards per play, which is 8th in the MAC.  This is an OK offensive team.

    Can they run the ball?

    They gain 3.1 per carry, which is 11th in the MAC. Their two lead backs gain only about 3.7 per carry collectively.

    Do they pass the ball?

    As seen above, they are 8th in the MAC in pass efficiency. They have a few big passing plays, but their top receiver is just at 13 yards per reception.

    How is their run/pass balance?

    Run/pass is essentially 50/50.

    Do they convert on 3rd Down?

    Not bad.  At 37% they are 6th in the MAC.

    Do they score in the red zone?

    Pretty good, 5.3 per trip.

    Do they protect the quarterback?

    Pretty good at 5.7% of their passing attempts.


    Topline: Scoring and yards per play

    They allow 31 PPG which is 5th in the MAC. but 11th in yards per play allowed at 7.1. 

    Do they defend the run effectively?

    They are worst in the MAC at 5.8 per carry.

    Can they be passed on?

    They are 7th in passing efficiency.  They allow 63% completions, which is about average, 7 TDs over 3 INT and a big 14 per completion.  Teams run on them a lot.

    Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

    They are 5th, allowing 38%.

    Do they defend in the red zone?

    Not great, 5.6 points per trip.

    Do they pressure the QB?

    Not really.  Sacks on 4.5% of passing attempts.

    Special Teams:


    They are #6 in the MAC.  No blocks and no TDs allowed.

    Punt Return?

    They've only had 3...nothing huge, no blocks, no TDs.


    He's really good.  Made 10-11 this year, long of 52, 5-6  past 40.


    Teams start on the 28.

    Kickoff Return?

    They start on the 29.

    Intangible Miscellany

    This has the potential to be a good game.  BG, with a MAC win under its belt, needs to string some quality games together.  There's probably no 6-win season without a win tomorrow.  To me, the key is running the ball.  BG was improved at UA but not great and they need to run the ball effectively in this one.  BG's defense was a disappointment against a weak UA offense and we are 11th in scoring defense right now.  Hopefully, that will get squared around and see BG tackle better and guard the running lanes out of the pocket....and win those long 3rd down conversion battles.

    Monday, October 03, 2022

    Monday Presser/Depth Chart Update

    Just a quick update....other than trying to oddly make this into a rivalry game,  Coach didn't say anything newsworthy today.  Also, nothing new on the depth chart, with the line the same as played nearly all the snaps on Saturday.

    Sunday, October 02, 2022

    Past and Future Opponent Land

    UCLA--(5-0) Beat a ranked UW team.

    EKU--(3-2)  The indomitable Colonels beat Southern Utah by 7

    Marshall--(3-2) The "could win out" Herd beat Gardner-Webb 28-7

    Mississippi State--(5-1) Wooof, crush Texas A&M

    Akron--(1-4) We played them

    Buffalo--(2-3) Surprising win over Miami in Buffalo

    Miami--(2-3) Surprising loss @UB

    CMU--(1-4) Lost handily to UT

    WMU--(2-3) Beat New Hamphsire

    KSU--(2-3) Gutted out win over 

    UT--(3-2) Beat CMU

    OU--(2-3)  Lost @ Kent

    East Vs. West: East 1, West 0

    MAC vs P5: 2-19

    MAC vs. G5: 4-9

    MAC vs FCS: 10-2

    Sweet Victory #2


    All victories at this point are sweet.  As Coach said after the game, "it wasn't pretty," but it is a win in a conference where we are learning that more than ever anything can happen.

    And I do believe that one of our previous teams gives up at least a FG on that last drive.  Akron started from the 2--and they had made a similar drive already--and made progress, including a cringe-worthy 24-yard QB scramble on 3rd and 22.  But the team did finish, got the ball on downs and then made a first down to kill the clock, something else we have struggled with recently.

    So, yeah, not pretty.  The only worse thing would be to lose.  We had to have this game to have any shot of getting to 6 wins.  Now, we have to go 4-3 from here on in. Did yesterday project to that?  No, probably not.  We won't play an Akron again.  This team will have to be much better starting right away to get there.

    BG won the game on the turnover battle.  There's nothing wrong with that.  BG takes good care of the ball and is +6 in turnovers this year.  Furthermore, Akron made catastrophic turnovers, one on a pick-6 and one on a muffed punt inside their own 5 at the end of the first half.  That's 14 of BG's 31 points right there.

    There were a myriad of other mistakes on their side, dropped balls, ill-timed penalties, etc.  Winning takes consistent quality plays and they just don't make them.

    BG had a ton of issues:

    • Two red zone trips netting 3 points in the first half.
    • Allowing a disastrous long KOR right after a pick-6.
    • Akron was 11 of 17 on 3rd down.  They converted from the following distances: 9, 11, 10, 16, 22
    • Taron Keith nearly muffed his own punt inside the 5-yard line.
    • Had real difficulties dealing with Irons. And yeah, a lot of people will, he's tough to handle.  Having said that, we don't consistently cover gaps in pass rush and didn't ever seem to adjust to what to do when he got out of the pocket.
    There were others, I'm sure.  As Coach said, "it wasn't pretty."

    There were positives, though.
    • Coach felt Matt McDonald had his best game at BG.  His PFF grade was 90, which is in the neighborhood of his best games.  He was clearly healthy and ran when we needed him to.  He's actually a more effective passer when blitzed than not blitzed.  He missed some throws--especially on those first empty drives--but he also made some big throws when we needed them
    • BG had explosive plays. Of 65 plays, 6 of them went over 19 yards. We really need those explosive plays, because it just doesn't look like we have the kind of team that can routinely march down the field a few yards at a time.  It just requires too many winning plays in a row for us.
    • It was good to have Jamal Johnson back.  He makes a difference.  He and Patterson averaged 5.7 yards per carry, which is pretty good and the best we have run this year.  Coach said it was improved but not where it needs to be.  Up front, we certainly won some battles but were just completely stuffed sometimes, especially on short yardage.
    • McDonald was sacked only once.  On the other side, BG sacked Irons 6 times.  Irons is not better when being blitzed.
    • Akron's backs were held in check, with an average carry in the low 4s.
    Overall, we need every win we can get.  I'm not sure that in year 4 this is what we envisioned--that is, in a death-struggle with other teams in the bottom of the league--but it is where we are.  

    What needs to happen is what we have not seen since 2015....which is week-to-week winning efforts against teams in our conference. It's hard to see that happening, but who knows?