Friday, September 29, 2023

25 Ramblin Wreck Questions

 What is their body of work?

Georgia Tech has experienced an extended downtime.  Geoff Collins was 10-28 when he was fired four games into last season.  Brent Key was named the interim coach and went 4-4 in that role with two ranked wins.  He got the job full time and is 2-2 this year.  Key played at Georgia Tech and was an assistant at Alabama before returning to his Alma Mater as an assistant in 2019.

They lost narrowly to Louisville to open the year....the Cardinals are undefeated so far.  The Yellow Jackets beat South Carolina State (FCS) before losing at #17 Ole Miss and then winning at Wake Forest--the Deacons are 3-1 so far this year.

They are 1-0 vs. BG and 21-point favorites.

How experienced are they?

They have 26 juniors and above on the roster, which is on the low side.  They returned 12 starters.

Who are their pre-season all-conference players? (Phil Steele)

Here are players on the pre-season all-ACC team

2nd Team
DB LaMiles Brooks

3rd Team
K Gavin Stewart

4th Team
LB Trenilius Tatum

What is their turnover ratio? 

They are +3 so far this year and +11 last year, which helped lead to their success.


How is their QB play? 

Their QB is Haynes King, a R-SO who made 7 starts at Texas A&M before graduate transferring. He was a highly touted recruit who has battled injuries. He has been effective this year, #27 in the nation in passing efficiency.  He has 65% completions, with 13.5 yards per completion and 11 TD over 2 INT.  He can also run, getting 6.5 yards per non-sack rushing attempt.

What is their scoring and yards per play

Note that Georgia Tech does not play the wishbone, as they did the last time BG was down there in 2018.  They are scoring 35 a game, which is #35 in the country and they have 6.7 yards per play, which is #29 in the country.

Can they run the ball?

They are 27th in the country at 5.1 yards per rush.  Their main backs average 5.6 per carry.

Do they pass the ball?

As mentioned, King has been very effective.  Eric Singleton is their top WR threat, with 14 catches, 18 per catch and 4 TDs.  He is a true freshman.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on 52% of their plays, which represents a balanced attack.

Do they convert on 3rd Down, 

52% conversion, #15 in the country.

Do they score in Red zone

4.6 points per trip, which is not great.  They have 4 whiffs and 4 FGS in 18 attempts.

Do they protect the QB?

They do.  Sacks on 2.2 of attempts.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play

So, they are 2-2 and have a great offense.  You know the defense isn't as good. They allow 29 points per game and 6.4 yards per play.

Do they defend the run effectively?

No.  They have allowed 6.3 yards per rush, sack adjusted

Can they be passed on?

They are better.  They are 59th in pass efficiency defense, allowing 55% completions but 14 per catch and 5 TD/5 INT.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

Not too good....#73 at 40%.

Do they defend in the red zone?

Allowing 5.5 points per trip, which is OK.

Do they pressure the QB?

Sacks on 8.3% of passing attempts which pretty effective.

Special Teams:


Not bad, just under 40 net yards per punt, #56 in the country.  No blocks and barely any returns.

Punt Return?

7 returns 84 yards which is pretty good.  No TDs and no blocks.


Gavin Stewart, the Steele pre-season guy, was benched. New guy is 6-7, long of 48 and blocked once. 4-4 inside 40.


Pretty normal, opponents start on the 25.  They have 20 touchbacks in 25 attempts.

Kickoff Return?

Started on 24

Intangible Miscellany

The predicted temperature in Atlanta will be 84 with an 89 heat index.  Last time we played down there, heat was a big issue.

Coach says we are focusing on ourselves.  We have two very tough weeks coming up and coming off a terrible game.  We have tended to save our rare best performances for the "big" stages, so maybe the Falcons turn up with a stronger game.  I'd prefer they do it next week in Oxford, but there you go.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

MBB Scheduling Updates

 A couple scheduling updates for men's basketball.

In the Northern Classic in Quebec, BG was originally slated to play Dartmouth, UMass-Lowell and UNC-Asheville as part of an 8-team event.  Dartmouth and Lowell are no longer going to the tournament and the opponents for BG have changed accordingly. 

BG's schedule now says we will play WKU, Lipscomb and Canisius. 

Blue Ribbon has WKU #6 in the C-USA.  Lipscomb #6 in the A-10.   Canisius #3 in the MAAC.

Also, the last game for BG has been slotted.  BG will host Ohio Dominican at the Stroh on December 10, with time TBA.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Loeffler Presser--You Can't Snap the Ball For Them

So, Scot Loeffler had this week's presser.

First, the news on Demetrius Hardamon.  He had long surgery at UM and it was successful.  He might play football again.  He's in the hospital up there, where Jim Harbaugh has visited twice and other Michigan players as well.  So that's excellent news and extremely nice of those folks to come and help him pass the time.

Wishing him nothing but the best.

Coach said the game film might have been worse than he thought.  He then went on to discuss how the team's entire problem is its "mindset."  He says we have plenty of talent to compete, but we do not have the right mindset.  We are inconsistent (I suspect you noticed) and the same thing is true in practice.

There was not any discussion of whether that's a reflection on coaching.  He said we are at the point where "you can't snap the ball for them."

Which is obviously true.  

There was also a ton of conversation about the state of college athletics and how hard it is to create a cohesive unit in the era of the portal. A lot.  I can see that.  Still, it's not impossible. Others are doing it.  I would suggest he ask Tim Albin, Frank Martin, Jason Candle, etc for advice if he needs it.

Regardless of whose "fault" it is, we are not going to be what we want until we are putting consistent, quality efforts on the field and that has been very rare.

As for why we can play well against Michigan in the Big House or against Toledo, but then pull a stinker like last Saturday, maybe we decide focus for the big games but don't choose to do so for the rest of them.

He said Bazelak is really tough and intimated that he played very injured on Saturday.  Orth is back.

He says we are paying little to no attention to who the opponent is.  Our focus is on our own game and consistency.  If we have the right mindset, we have a chance.

He called our schedule "preposterous."

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Past and Future Opponent Land

The MAC's record of 16 straight years of beating a Big 10 team ended (h/t to Hustle Belt).

Liberty:  (4-0) Beat FIU 38-6
Eastern Ilinois: (3-1) Beat McNeese St
Michigan: (4-0) We played them
OU (3-1) We played them
Georgia Tech: (2-2) Beat Wake Forest
Miami: (3-1) Beat Delaware State
Buffalo: (0-4) Lost to Louisiana
Akron: (1-3) Lost in OT to Indiana
Ball State: (1-3) Lost to Georgia Southern
Kent: (1-3) Lost to Fresno State
Toledo: (3-1) Beat WMU
WMU: (1-3) Lost to UT


P5: 3-16
G5:  5-9
FCS: 10-2
East vs. West: Null set.

Falcons Embarrassing at Homecoming

"The one thing I can assure you is the people that are in there, we are going to have a really good game plan for and I can promise you they will play their tails off."

Scot Loeffler, Monday

“First half was the ugliest half I’ve ever seen in coaching... I asked our team to play super hard and to make sure we played super hard between the whistles, and we were poor outside of the whistles. That is not how football should be played...We are going to watch this tape and throw up."

Scot Loeffler, Saturday

Ooof.  It was a low point Saturday.  It started out glorious.  Beautiful day.  Nice crowd.  People fired up.

Sadly, when the team came out of the locker room in the 2nd half, they could look out and literally watch 75% of the people who had stayed to see the band (totally worth it, by the way) streaming for the exits.

Certainly, the first half had a lot of misfortune.  Balls slipping out of hands. Deflected touchdowns. Just weird plays, for sure.  Also, at halftime, OU also had 6.8 yards per play and over 10 in the first quarter. BG had 3.65 yards per play and 8 yards on 13 plays in the 2nd quarter.

There was misfortune and then also just getting beat.

A good example was when BG got a big special teams play and the ball deep in OU territory.  Game was over at 31-0, but there we were.  BG had two false starts and a sack and turned the ball over on downs.

OU is good.  They are a division championship team.  That's how good we need to get.  The head-head results speak for themselves.

And then we lost our composure.  Three ejections, one on targeting.  A melee where we got 3 or 4 penalties and OU got one.  A disappointing lack of discipline. 

It's one thing to play like crap.  It's another to embarrass the program like we did.

Here is a sad record.  In 4+ seasons under this coach, we have lost MAC games by 24+ or more 17 times. Five were in the COVID year, so 12 times in 3+ seasons if you prefer.  Or, 7 times in the 2+ years since COVID, when we were supposed to be on the rebound.  There were a couple high points (UT, Minnesota) and we did win 3 in a row last year.  But you can't get smoked like that at home by a MAC opponent in front of a crowd we're hoping to get back to the stadium someday.

  1. 2019 Kent 62-20
  2. 2019 WMU 49-10
  3. 2019 Miami 44-3
  4. 2019 OU 66-24
  5. 2019 UB 49-7
  6. 2020 Toledo 38-3
  7. 2020 Kent State 62-24
  8. 2020 Buffalo 42-17
  9. 2020 Ohio 52-10
  10. 2020 Akron 31-3
  11. 2021 EMU 55-24
  12. 2021 Toledo 49-17
  13. 2021 Miami 34-7
  14. 2022 UB 38-7
  15. 2022 Kent 40-6
  16. 2022 OU 38-14
  17. 2022 OU 38-7
OU, for comparison, has gone 18 MAC games in a row without losing by 20.  The last was to the Babers BG team in 2015.

You could go on and on. You are what your record says you are.  

It was ironic having the 2013 MAC Champs at yesterday's game, since that was the model we are or were using.

There's still 8 games left.  We will see what happens.  As Gibby said, we could still make a bowl, but that wasn't what it was about.  Do we want to be EMU--playing for a bowl berth every year.

2020 should have been rock bottom, you know?

Friday, September 22, 2023

25 Questions....Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty

 What is their body of work?

OU is as good as they have ever been in football.  From 1968 to 2005 when Frank Solich arrived, the Bobcats had 8 winning seasons and 8 zero or 1 win seasons.  Since then, they have been consistently competitive and made 10 bowl games.  It's a new day in Athens.

Of course, they won the East last year and they have five division titles since Solich arrived.  Their last MAC Championship was 1968.

They are 3-1 this year.  They lost their opener at San Diego State and since then beat Long Island, won @Florida Atlantic and they beat Iowa State in Athens.

They have beat BG 5 of the last 6, including last year when the game was for the MAC East and they trounced the Falcons with their backup QB, scoring 28 points in the second quarter to put the game away at halftime.

How experienced are they?

They have 28 juniors and above on the roster, as those COVID years clear out.  BG has 37.  Phil Steele ranks them the #4 most experienced team in the MAC.

Who are their pre-season all-conference players? (Phil Steele)

Here are players on the pre-season all-MAC tea

1st Team
QB Kurtis Rourke
RB Sieh Bangura (FR of year last year)
WR Sam Wieglusz
DE Vonnie Watkins
LE Keye Thompson

2nd Team
RB Jacoby Jones
LB Bryan Houston
KR Keegan Wilburn

3rd Team
OT James Amburgey

4th Team
OT Shedrick Rhodes
CB Torrie Cox

What is their turnover ratio? 

They are -1.


How is their QB play? 

Kurtis Rourke is the best QB MAC, and won the Offensive POY last year.  He was injured for the BG game and the UT game and bowl game last year and then at the start of this year. He's played in 3 games this year.  He's a dual-threat QB and a really good player.

You may recall CJ Harris, who played the BG game last year, along with the MAT title game and the bowl game and the opener this year, has left the team due to a "recent medical emergency."  Happened this week.

What is their scoring and yards per play

They have not been an offensive juggernaut, scoring 16 PPG and 4.5 yards per play so far this year.  That includes their FCS game, when they scored 27.

Can they run the ball?

They are a run focused offense, but averaging only 4.3 yards per carry this year.  (sack adjusted).  MAC average was 4.8 yards per carry last year.  Their backs are averaging 3.6.

Do they pass the ball?

Rourke is not off to a great start.  He has 59% completions, only 9.8 yards per completion and 2 TD over 2 INT. His efficiency is 111, with Orth and Bazelak in the 130s.  They throw a lot of short passes, so sacks are low but you'd expect a better pass completion rate.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on 55% of their plays, which is actually fairly low for them.

Do they convert on 3rd Down, 

42% which is above average.

Do they score in Red zone

4.2 points per trip, which is not great.  They have 3 whiffs and 4 FGS in 13 attempts.

Do they protect the QB????

They do.  Sacks on 2.3% of attempts.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play

Here the story turns.  They are the best defensive team in the MAC and one of the best in the country.  They are allowing 11.8 point per game (#14 in nation) and 4.46 yards per play (29th).

Do they defend the run effectively?

Yes, they do.  They allow 2.5 yards per rush, #16 in the country.

Can they be passed on?

It's harder. They are #30 in the nation. They allow 62% completions, but only 9.5 per completion and 6 INT over 4 TD.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They allow 28% which is #12 in the country.  So yes.

Do they defend in the red zone?

Allowing 4.3 points per trip, which is really good.

Do they pressure the QB?

Sacks on 6% of passing attempts which is a little below MAC average.

Special Teams:


Not good.  To date, #112 in the nation. 5 of 15 punts inside the 20, which could bring the overall average down.  No blocks and no returns.

Punt Return?

6 returns 16 yards.  No TDs and no blocks.


They have used two kickers.  The current one is 5-7 but long of 40.


Not good, opponents start on the 29.

Kickoff Return?

Started on 24

Intangible Miscellany

Well, here we go.  This is a big game.  A loss would mean BG needs to win out and OU lose twice for BG to beat OU in the East.  A championship is a lot tougher without this game.

BG has struggled with OU and laid an egg last year in the first meaningful game in years.  Also, BG is not looking healthy, although we will see who takes the field Saturday.  The Bobcats play great defense. BG will need both dimensions to succeed and that looks to be really difficult.  Tough to run against, and for all we know the #3 QB will be in the game.  The defense will need the performance from the first half against McCarthy to keep the game close and then who knows.

It will be homecoming.  Forecast looks awesome.  OSU game safely at night.  Hope for a little home field, and as I said on Monday, for BG to be bigger than the circumstances this time.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Falcons Get Verbal from Highly Recruited TE

BG has its latest verbal, this one a highly recruited TE who plays at Cincinnati Moeller. His name is Eli Jacon-Duffy.  

He is 6’4”, 220 lbs.  Moeller was a regional champ last year.  He didn't have eye-popping numbers but his recruiting took off after the season ended and he ended up recruited in G5 and smarty-pants FCS circles and a 2-star recruit on 247.  Also, second team All-GCL South.

  • 20 catches, 254 yards, 2 touchdowns
  • 7 pancakes, 5 knockdowns

Offers are from OU, UA, EMU, UT, WMU, Temple, Liberty, Air Force, Army, UAB, and Temple, plus 8 Ivy League schools, Bucknell, and four other FCS schools.

He also played rugby.

Welcome to the Falcons, Eli!  (When he gets here, he will be referred to online as EJD. :))

Monday, September 18, 2023

Loeffler Presser. Bad day in the Falcon Nation.

Sigh. Not a great day in Falconland.

First, you have the hockey team involved in a hazing scandal...unbelievable at Bowling Green of all places.

Then, Loeffler's presser was sobering.  I had mentioned after the game that it was a bad sign when he invoked "hell or high water" less than 30 minutes after the game ended.

Turned out to be the right way to read that. We have a lot of injuries.  We canceled practice for today.  I cannot say how shocking that is.  We have moved everything back and won't be able to make a game plan until later in the week when we actually know who we are going to have available.

He said, "at a lot of positions we don't know where we are at."

A lot.

We are going to have to "dig down."

He didn't provide any specific info on the QBs, but he said Bazelak was hurt in the EIU game.  He had limited practices and the medical personnel ruled him out on Friday.  Nothing more on Orth or any of the other specific players, even Hardamon.

Saturday presents a big challenge.  OU is the defending East Champion. They beat us 38-14 last year without Rourke, who is back.

Coach was philosophical about it and determined to find a way.  They're going to need a really good game plan.  Ohio plays great defense and if we're running the B team out there on offense, it is going to be rough.

Coach promises us a killer gameplan.  He's going to need it. 

OU has opened at a 13-point favorite.  Who knows?  If it happens, this will be a dig down for the ages.

It has caused a lot of conversation among Falcon fans about the scheduling practices of our football program.  In short, the practice of playing these P5 teams for the money and the injuries that can come from it.

Saturday is an extreme example.  But it is an example.

As I understand it, the schedule is what it is because the athletic department needs the money.  As we know, we are among the most underfunded athletic programs in the FBS and in the MAC, for that matter.  In 2022, 12% of our athletic department funds came from competition guarantees.  It's almost 50% of our football program.

Of the 12 teams in the MAC, 8 of them play 2 P5 opponents.  WMU actually plays 3.  UB, EMU, UT and OU only play 1.

Since 2015 and excluding the COVID year, BG has played at least 2 P5 games 6 times and less than 2 only once (the first Jinks season).  We played 3 twice, including the 2015 Championship season.  At least it was Purdue and Maryland, not the #2 ranked team.

Just to say this practice isn't new and it isn't just us.  It is part of playing in the MAC.  You could get more global and talk about the priority we place on football, but that's part of 100 other decisions that woven throughout our athletic program.

Maybe it would be better if the P5 schools went their own way and we only play G5 opponents.  We'd have less money but that would mostly impact administrators and coaches.  Other revenue streams would probably be less.  Anyway, for now this is what we have and the situation we are facing this week is part of the deal.  We have under-performed many times in the last few years.  It would be so great to see us rise above circumstances Saturday.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Hardamon Update

Past and future Opponent Land

Liberty:  (3-0) Smoked UB in Buffalo. Puts opener in perspective.
Eastern Ilinois: (2-1) Beat Illinois State
Michigan: (3-0) We played them
OU (3-1) beats Iowa State in Athens
Georgia Tech: (1-2) Beaten by the #17 Ole Miss
Miami: (2-1) Beat P5 Cincinnati
Buffalo: (0-3) Lost to Liberty
Akron: (1-2) Lost to Kentucky
Ball State: (1-2) Beat Indiana State
Kent: (1-2) Beat Central Conneticut
Toledo: (2-1) Beat San Jose State
WMU: (1-2) Lost to Iowa


P5: 3-15
G5:  4-4
FCS: 9-2
East vs. West: Null set.

Michigan Defeats Falcons

 A few things.

I'm proud of how our guys played.  They stayed with Michigan for a half, moved the ball, got some turnovers, pressured the quarterback...I thought we hung in there really well.  In the end, they had too much for us and won 31-6.  We covered and we represented ourselves well.  I was proud of the effort.

In particular, we had to play Hayden Timosciek at QB.  You may well have not previously heard that name.  He is a walk-on transfer.  Here is the post I did when he committed. To make matters worse, he was the scout team QB during the week, imitating McCarthy.  He had taken zero game snaps and no snaps this week in our offense.  He showed some real guts under those circumstances.

It could end up having a high cost.  You hope to come out of something like that healthy, and it was not what appeared to happen.  We will eventually know more, but I am taking my cue from Loeffler saying "come hell or high water," we would find a way to win Saturday.  If he's invoking that, then I suspect we have problems.

Of course, there was the awful injury to Demetrious Hardamon.  I have no info on him and won't until it becomes public.  We are sending him all of our love.  He's one of our top players.  Also academic All-MAC in Construction Management.  Just heartbreaking.

Coach said that Gazerek has a high ankle sprain, which would mean he is probably out on Saturday.  Trent Simms was injured.  Branch-Haynes. I don't know if there were others.

And QB.  So, Bazelak was apparently injured in practice Thursday and did not play.  Orth started the game and then left with an injury I am assuming to be a concussion.  Which led to Timosciek.  This situation bears watching. OU is ridiculously good on defense and is coming off a P5 win.  The Bobcats are #14 in the nation in scoring defense.  We are going to need strong QB play.

These games are a known cost of our program.  We need the income to compete.  Ohio played only one P5 game and it was at home.  UT played 1 as well, though away. On the other hand, the coach says our players love to play in these games, and you can certainly imagine the thrill of playing in The Big House or the Horseshoe.  But it takes a toll and the players pay it.

Next up is what is probably the biggest game of the season.  If BG has championship intentions, you pretty much have to have this one.  It's at home, it's homecoming.  Hell or high water.

Friday, September 15, 2023

Michigan Preview

 No 25 questions this week.  I'm on the road and, frankly, of all the teams we might need to know something about, this is probably the least.  Whether you root for Ohio State or Michigan (after Bowling Green), there's a chance you know quite a bit about the Wolverines.

This is the highest-ranked team we have ever played.  We have previously played Ohio State and Boise.  The 2003 OSU game might be the biggest near miss in program history.  BG lost 24-17 and could very well have beaten the Buckeyes that day. The Boise game was at the Doyt in 2009.

(Editor's note.  I have been reliably informed and verified that the above information, which came out of the BGSU Game notes, is incorrect.  OSU was #1 when they played us in 2006.  Management regrets the error).

BG is about a 40-point underdog.  Based on this, in the last 25 years, only two teams have overcome bigger point spreads--when Howard beat UNLV in 2017 and when Stanford beat USC in 2007.  The Stanford coach?  Jim Harbaugh.

Speaking of which, it has been old home week between BG and Michigan.  Everyone knows by now that the Harbaughs lived in BG when both Jim and John were born.  Their Dad was a starter for the 1959-60 teams, one of which won the national championship.  And everyone involved knows Ay Ziggy Zoomba.

We have played twice previously.  We lost 42-7 in 2000, Gary Blackney's last season, and 65-21 in 2010 under Clawson.  Both years, we won 2 games all season.

Clearly, Michigan is a playoff team that is among the top in college football.  Beyond that, they are the kind of team that is a tough matchup for us, because they will mostly dominate the line of scrimmage and play power football.  They have won modestly in their first two games against similar opponents, scoring in the 30's both times.

An upset here is the biggest win in program history and one of the biggest upsets in modern college history.  It is also just as unlikely as all that sounds, but what did Howard think that day?

I hope we represent well and I hope we stay healthy.  The turning point of the season is next Saturday.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Falcon Football Verbal

So, BG has a new verbal commitment on the offensive line--Rico Steele, an OL from the Pittsburgh area, West Mifflin to be accurate.

He's listed at 6'4" and 300, was all-conference and in the Trib 25, a ranking of top players from the newspaper over there.  He plays for his Dad and is called a "brawler" which is interesting in the context of Pittsburgh football.  He also worked hard this summer to improve his technical skills and footwork, which should be interesting as well.

The article linked above lists offers from: Akron, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, James Madison, Kent State, Miami (Ohio), Toledo, UMass.

Welcome to the Falcons, Rico

Sunday, September 10, 2023

BG Solid in Expected Win, Sweet Victory

The Falcons looked a lot more solid in their victory over Eastern Illinois.  As well, they should...that's what EIU is on the schedule for.  It wasn't always great and it wasn't a dominating performance--on the other hand it wasn't one of the two MAC teams to lose their FCS game and two more who needed the last minute to win.

It's possible the FCS might see an influx of talent.  Players who would have sat on the bench on G5 teams are now moving to FCS to get onto the field.

Anyway, the final was 38-15.  BG led 7-6 after 1 and 21-12 at the half, aided by a highly successful fake punt that Loeffler said was "100% on him."  (I have many questions.)

Anyway, EIU has a shot, starting with the ball in the 3rd.  They drive to the BG 26, but the defense rallies, coming up with sacks on 1st and 2nd down and then a pick in the endzone on 4th down.

BG went on a 14-play, 5+ minute drive that included a 4th down conversion.  They drove to the 2 before stalling (ineligible man downfield included) and kicked at FG to go up 12.

EIU went 3 and out and then Taron Keith went to work, going 58 yards to the EIU 16 before Bazelak hit Fannin for a score to make it 31-12 with 1:07 left in the 3rd and it was over from there.

Starting with the offense.  BG did most things better.  The running game was probably just above average.  BG didn't run that much.  They had 9 straight runs to close the game, but before that it was 30 passes and 25 runs.  I'm guessing that EIU was giving us run looks so we went to the pass. As a team, BG rushed for 4.1 yards per carry, which is actually not very good. Stewart had 5.1 yards per carry.

On the pass side, BG was highly effective.  Bazelak was 23 of 28 for 319, 3 TD and 0 sacks. That's 13.9 yards per completion, which actually is good.

Taron Keith is an amazing player.  He had 6 catches for 123 yards and every single yard was after the catch.  Not sure that happens too often.  Fannin had a great game too with 7-109 and 1 TD, 86 yards after the catch.  In addition to the TD, he had a catch that got us to the 1 and one on the 4th down conversion on the first drive of the 3Q.

Osborne and Hilaire had 4 catches each and Ibrahim had a tip-toe TD that was fantastic.

Overall, BG had 8 yards per play, which is really good.  No turnovers. 5 of 9 on 3rd/4th down. No sacks allowed and only four pressures.  

BG ran 64 offensive plays.  Wollschlaeger, Stewart and Padgett played most of them.  Dunbar played 42, Pabst played 40, Warner 24 and Fatusaki 24.

The offense was much better, which is should have been.  It's week 2 and it was EIU.  Whether the offense is cured remains to be seen.  When we face the OU defense, will we be able to protect the QB and run the ball up front....and let our playmakers do their thing?

Gibby said the defense was competent.  I would agree.  EIU had 5.5 yards per play...the average in MAC games last year was 5.3. and 4 10-play drives.  We had an INT, 5 sacks and another 4th down break up that could have been an INT but was knocked down instead.  And only 1 3rd down conversion in 10 attempts.

Is our identity making big plays on both sides of the ball?

You take the sacks out at EIU ran for 5.2 yards per carry.  They were 21 of 33 (64%) and 12 yards per completion.  

Also 20 first downs.

Competent is a good word.  Strong on 3rd, a pick in the end zone...overall held them to 15 points and only 3 scores. But, in the margins room to imrpove.

Special teams.  Well, there was the WIDE OPEN fake punt. The kickoff game was weak on both ends---we tried to squib one and EIU taught us how to handle it and we kicked another OB.  BG also had a couple of big hits on kickoff coverage, particularly Wimberly. We made our only FG and all of our XP. 

For individual players on defense, I'd note that Ali Saad and Evan Branch-Haynes--two p5 transfers--are improving, based on PFF. Hardamon and Howell were beasts on the pass rush--this is a hidden test for our team.  Hardamon was great last year with Brooks attracting a lot of attention.  It will be harder this year...he's very capable and having other guys contributing will open space up, especially if Hardamon can force teams to double him.

Overall pass coverage was just OK.

Anyway, this one is where it belongs, in the win column.  BG had a solid effort. As Urban said, "one thing we will never apologize for is winning."

It was great to be at the Doyt, Awesome student turnout.  Hope to see them back in two weeks.  Overall, the crowd was 12K, which is what you can expect when your program is where it is.

Next week will be very difficult, let's hope we don't get too banged up.  Then, the OU game, homecoming....really the linchpin to our season.

Friday, September 08, 2023

25 Questions That Romo, Payton and Garropolo

What is their body of work?

They are not at their highest point, that is for sure. From 2000-2015, they were in the NCAA Tournament 10 times with 4 quarterfinal teams.  That takes them two years after Babers left.  Then, things went south.  They had a couple of average seasons, a 3-8 year and did not renew Kim Dameron's contract.  Things got a LOT worse, with the next guy going 3-26 over three years.  He was let ago and the current coach was 2-9 last year and 1-0 this year, with a win over Indiana State, also a struggling program.

BG and EIU have never played. They are 4-9 against the MAC and lost by 7 to NIU last season.

How experienced are they?

They have 36 juniors and above on the roster, as those COVID years clear out.  BG has 37. 

Who are their pre-season all-conference players? (Phil Steele)

First, about their conference. There has been realignment going on in the FCS as well.  The Panthers play in the OVC, but that conference dropped to below the number needed for an automatic bid.  So, they have merged FOOTBALL-only with the Big South.

Here are players on the pre-season watch list.

RB Juwon Farri, Eastern Illinois, Sr. -- 2021 Big South Off. Player of the Year; 3x All-Conf.
WR Justin Thomas, Eastern Illinois, Gr. -- 4x All-MIAA; D3 All-America
OL Chad Strickland, Eastern Illinois, Sr. -- 2022 2nd Team All-OVC; 2019 Freshman All-America
LB Elijawah Tolbert, Eastern Illinois, Jr. -- 2022 1st Team All-OVC
DB Nick Coates, Eastern Illinois, Jr. -- 2022 2nd Team All-OVC
DB Russell Dandy, Eastern Illinois, 5th -- 2021 OVC All-Newcomer Team
PK Stone Galloway, Eastern Illinois, Sr. -- 2022 1st Team All-OVC
KR Mark Aitken, Eastern Illinois, Jr. -- 2022 2nd Team All-OVC
KR Cooper Willman, Eastern Illinois, Jr. -- 2022 2nd Team All-OVC
LS Jack Valente, Eastern Illinois, Jr. -- 2022 2nd Team All-OVC

What is their turnover ratio? 

They were -4 last year and +4 in the opener.


How is their QB play? 

Their QB is new, a transfer from Georgetown, where he was 2nd team All-Patriot. He was effective in the opener, at 63% completions, 12.8 yards per completion, 2 TD and 1 INT.  He does not appear to be a dual-threat QB.

What is their scoring and yards per play

Last year they scored 22 points a game and had 4.7 yards per play, both of which were well below average.  They scored 27 and 5.5 yards per play in the opening.

Can they run the ball?

Most of the backs are new.  For example, the guy on the "watch list" earned all those accolades at Monmouth.  He carried 1 time in the previous week. Their leading rusher was Kevin Daniels, a transfer from Northern Arizona.  They rushed for 3.9 yards per carry, sack adjusted, in the opener.

Do they pass the ball?

They had success in the opener, as noted above.  Their best received is Cooper Willman.

How is their run/pass balance?

In the opener it was pretty much 50/50.

Do they convert on 3rd Down, 

42% in the opener.

Do they score in Red zone

1 TD in 3 red zone attempts

Do they protect the QB????

1 sack in 32 attempts.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play

Last year they allowed 31 a game.  They pitched a shutout against the Sycamore and allowed 3.5 yards per play.  They have five new players on the 1-line.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They were pretty good, allowing 3.6 sack-adjusted yards per carry.

Can they be passed on?

They were not good last year.  Held ISU to 50%, 8.9 yards per completion, and 4 INT

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

Held ISU to 4 of 14

Do they defend in the red zone?

Did not allow ISU into the red zone.

Do they pressure the QB?

3 sacks on 29 attempts

Special Teams:


They have a new punter and he was good, over 40 yards and 2 inside 20.

Punt Return?

No punt returns, although their return guys are on the watch list.


Their kicker is back, he was really good.  11 of 12 last year and 11 of 11 inside 50.


Not great, ISU started on the 30

Kickoff Return?

Started on 21

Intangible Miscellany

Look, this is one game on the schedule that BG is supposed to win.  Last year we lost it and made a bowl game anyway.  Despite the claims of Coach Loeffler, it was a loss to a team we should have beaten and a low point.  Partly that happened by winning our G5 game....which we have already lost.  This game simply must be won and won comfortably.  A loss and I honestly don't see anything good happening.

Monday, September 04, 2023

Loeffler Presser

Coach Loeffler had his presser today.  It was actually relatively interesting with good questions (except one).

That question:  "it is reassuring to be right there with Liberty?"

Seriously? That was Loeffler's 30th loss in 4 years and 1 game.  There are no reassuring losses anymore.  That was a question for year 3.

Loeffer said: we let one slip away and a big jump is needed


Coach said he like our run blocking, especially on the perimeter.  We ran the ball effectively--as well as we have since Loeffler has been here.

The problem was 9 pressures

Two of the picks were "horrific" decisions

The other three.  "I don't know what to tell the guy."

On some of those pressures, we had guys running "scot free" in the secondary.  If we protect the passer, the guys are open for big plays.

An example was that there were multiple guys wide open on the 3rd play of the game that we missed due to terrible protection.

Orth's INT in the red zone that would have tied the game was a misread.  There was a guy wide open and anyone could have made the throw.

If we protect the passer, we will run and pass.

He was asked about juggling guys on the Oline.  Coach said that we settled in better in the second half.

Loeffler: "We have a good idea how to pass the ball"  Me:  "That's a relief."

Also Loeffer: "When you have poor spacing you will see a ghost."

He was asked why we switched to passing when the run game seemed to be working.  Coach said eventually you have to.  I think that is right.  Eventually, they will load the box.

As far as getting Stewart and Keith more touches, the key is to run more plays and the key to that is to make first downs.

Both QBs will play Saturday


We tackled pretty well

We had eye violations, discipline things

Sometimes we made mistakes and they didn't make the play either

Defense was put in difficult positions and did well on quick changes.

Special teams

Poor kicking

Lost the hidden yardage battle--terrible kickoffs both ways, especially return

We didn't rush the punter aggressively in this game but we think we can block them

He was asked about choosing personnel to rush field goals.  He said you need fast guys who can bend

Eastern Ilinois

Had 4 picks and two sixes last week

Switches their coverages a lot

New DC

Tough to come off a high turnover game---can be afraid

Last note:

Abdul-Fatai Ibrahim is a "savage" blocker.

Falcon Verbal From Georgia

BG has a new verbal, this one from Perry High School and Warner Robins, Georgia.  His name is Maurice Hayes, a 6'2", 170 lb CB/WR.  There is very little information on him that I could find, but he must have done something, because he had offers from Air Force, The Real Miami, Morgan State, SEMO, Georgia Southern, Wofford and WMU.

Welcome to the Falcons, Maurice.

Sunday, September 03, 2023

Past and Future Opponent Land

Liberty:  (1-0) We played them

Eastern Ilinois: (1-0) They beat Indiana State
Michigan: (1-0) beat East Carolina
OU (1-1) beat Long Island.  Rourke still injured
Georgia Tech: (0-1) Lost to Louisville.  People seem excited by what they saw anyway
Miami: (0-1) Lost to other Miami
Buffalo: (0-1) Lost to Wisconsin
Akron: (0-1) Lost close to Temple
Ball State: (0-1) Lost to Kentucky
Kent: (0-1) Lost to UCF
Toledo: (1-0) Narrowly lost to Illinois
WMU: (1-0) Beat St. Francis PA


P5: 1-6
G5:  0-3
FCS: 3-0
East vs. West: Null set.

So....MAC has 1 FBS win to date.  

Falcons Lose to Liberty

The Falcon's opener provided the full gamut of emotions.  There were some good elements.  There were some "atrocious" elements (Coach's words).  In the end, it was not good enough in a game where it was clear that had we played well it was there to win.  You can see where it leaves us...without a proven ability to play 60 minutes of effective football.

The Good:

BG was down 24-0 and got back into the game. (Obviously, it'd be more impressive to win the game.  But they did get back into the same.  That's getting less comforting.  The NCAA did a post a couple years ago that showed that only 9 teams had ever come back down 30 to actually win.  Just gives you an idea.

The running game.  For this game, Coach Loeffler made good on his "hell or high water" pledge.  Taking the sacks out, BG ran for 7.1 yards per carry on offense.  Not sure how long it has been since we did that, especially against an FBS opponent and/or on the road.

BG's defense made adjustments.  After the initial 71-yard, 9-play drive, they held Liberty to 5.3 yards per play, which isn't great but is at least average. After the squib kickoff debacle, they held Liberty to a FG.  LU ran only 69 plays.

The kick block team made a huge play that resulted in a score and kept BG in the game heading into halftime.

The Bad:

Coach called the first 20 minutes of offense "atrocious."  And it was.  A lot of the focus will be on Bazelak and he certainly struggled.  He had the #205 passing rating according to PFF.  At one point, he was 4 of 11 with one of the completions a Hilaire circus catch that bailed out a poor throw.  He was inaccurate.  The Fannin INT was an outright terrible throw.  Having said that, the protection was equally bad.  He was pressured on almost half of his total dropbacks. It was a conveyor belt to the QB.  It has to affect even the throws where he has time.

And it's not just on the players.  Where was the game plan?  Coach said he hadn't seen too many times where a team played so differently than it practiced.  Huh.  BG finished 11-31 for 137 yards and 5 INT. BG had the lowest passing efficiency in the nation.

5 interceptions.  Last season we threw 11.  If we did anything well last year, it was take care of the ball.  I don't have any college stats, but in the NFL a team with 5 picks has a 6% chance of victory. In fact, this is where it could have been worse.  Other than the pick-6, they only got 6 points on the other 4.

Kickoff return.  OMG.  Four times we ended up inside our own 20--three of those inside the 15. Worse, they squibb kicked and the ball rolled all the way to the 1 where BG recovered it.  (BG threw a pick from the 2 and the defense bailed the offense out, holding Liberty to a FG.  For reference, the rules allow you to get the ball on the 25 every time (except the squib).  We needed every yard we could get.

Closing drives.  Down 10, first drive of the second half. BG drove to the Liberty 1, and had a score called back by a questionable penalty.  On the other hand, from the 16, they gained 0 further yards.  FG made it 7, and Liberty went down and scored a TD.

Down 7, a chance to tie the game.  On the 17, BG throws a pick.  Loeffler says the "slot man" was held.  Perhaps, but it also seems like the ball ended up where there were two defenders.

Lastly, after that pick, LU started on their 2. It's the very end of the 3rd quarter.  We get the quarter break. We still have a shot.  Get a stop and we will get field position.  Key point in the game, and LU executed it perfectly, driving 10 plays, almost 7 minutes, to our 47. We had one more real chance and threw a tipped INT.

How does this project?  Who knows?  The coach certainly sounded like the 2 QBs will continue.  Teams are going to pressure our QB--5 times LU got pressure without blitzing.  The running game needs to continue and the passing game needs to improve.  Have no doubt, we will face heavy boxes until we prove we can throw the ball.

So, we probably win next week and lose the week after.  The next chance to see what we have will come in Athens against the predicted East champions.

Friday, September 01, 2023

LIberty, Liberty, Liberty

 What is their body of work?

Liberty has only been FBS since 2018. Turner Gill coached the first season, and than Hugh Freeze the next 4.  All 4 were bowl games and they were 34-16 and ranked in two of those years.  Freeze went to Auburn.  Their new coach is Jamey Chadwell, who coached Coastal Carolina to a 31-6 record over the last 3 years.  They had only been in FBS for four years.

Liberty is in a conference for the first time, in FBS football, playing in the C-USA.  They were picked #2 by the media pre-season and they were #4 in Phil Steele.

BG has played them once--during the FCS era, with BG easily winning.  They are 5-10 against the MAC, including Marshall and UCF.

How experienced are they?

They have 21 juniors and above on the roster, which is a little low.  BG has 37.  Liberty is #119 on the Phil Steele experience score and BG is #71.

Who are their pre-season all-conference players? (Phil Steele)

First team:
Kendy Charles, DT

Second team:
Quinton Cooley, RB
Quinton Reese, S

Third team:
X'Zauvea Gadlin, OT

Fourth team:
Noah Frith, WR
Bentley Hanshaw, TE
Jay Hardy, DT
Tyren Dupree, LB
Brandon Bishop, Nickel
Kobe Singleton, CB

What is their turnover ratio? 

They were +3.


How is their QB play? 

Good question.  Neither coach has revealed their starter, in a cagey battle of nerves and wit between two criminal masterminds.  They have 3 potentials.  Johnathan Bennett played most of the snaps last year was was effective, completing 59%. Kaidon Salter also played quite a bit, had about the same rating and maybe runs a little better.  Both had ratings about where Orth was last year. Also, Trey Lowe is in the mix, after playing at WVU and Southern Mississippi.

What is their scoring and yards per play

Last year they scored 27.5 a game and had 5.7 yards per play.  Would have placed them 8th and 3rd in the MAC.

Can they run the ball?

Almost a completely new set of RBs this year.   Quinton Cooley had 402 yards on 96 carries at Wake Forest last year. James Jointer was highly recruited but carried once for Arkansas last year.  Billy Lucas was the conference offensive rookie of the year.  Victor Venn was highly recruited out of HS, went to Colorado and then had baggage, I guess.  Vaughn Blue is a FR who went to prep school, two-time all-state.  

Who knows?

Do they pass the ball?

They were average last year, as mentioned above.  Their #2 WR is back. (Frith). CJ Daniels was with them last year, but injured. They also have transfers from UT-Martin and Louisiana.  

How is their run/pass balance?

FWIW, Coastal Carolina was heavily run-focused. Their offensive line has one proven player, two little used transfers (WVU and Akron), a guy who played 60% of the snaps last year and a guy seeing his first action.

Do they convert on 3rd Down, in red zone, protect the QB????

New Coach.  New players.  Who knows?


Topline: Scoring and yards per play

There's a lot more stability on the defense, which has no players on the top line who transferred in.  Some are new to their roles. They allow 24.6 PPG and 5.0 yards per play, which would have put them 4th and 3rd in the MAC.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They were pretty good, allowing 3.7 yards per rush.  Obviously meshes with "hell or high water" running.

Can they be passed on?

They were pretty good.  #23 in the nation.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

Very good, at 32%

Do they defend in the red zone?

They were #56 on straight percentages

Do they pressure the QB?

They got a lot of pressure last year, at 10.3% sacks per passing attempt.  Normal is about 6%

Special Teams:


Their punter is not back, so no idea.

Punt Return?

The guy is gone, so who knows.


Nick Brown is back.  He was 11-19 last year, long of 49, blocked once and 8-12 under 40.


The punting is doing kickoffs for the first time, so no clue.

Kickoff Return?

The guy is gone, so who knows.

Intangible Miscellany

Liberty's OL is coached by Bill Durkin who was a Clawson-era OL coach at BG.

So, the spread is 9.5.  Look, this isn't an incredible team.  They are good, they are at home.  Coach says they would be a championship MAC team...well, that's who we are supposed to be and the players say it's championship or bust.  This is a great opportunity to see if the program-wide growth that would need to happen to bring this team from relevant to title contenders has happened.  

There are reasons it is a bad matchup.  Liberty may not end up great on offense, but their defense looks really solid, and that's usually not a great sign for us.  But, we are going to need to beat teams with good defenses, so let's hope everyone is ready to go.

Last thing, Coach mentioned being banged up, especially on the o-line.  WHO exactly gets out there will be important to watch at kickoff tomorrow.

Openers have always been crap shoots.  It's even more so this year, with a new coach and tons of new players on both sides.  Let's hope we roll a 7.