Tuesday, October 31, 2023

25 Questions for the Glass Jar

What is their body of work?

Ball State is a team that has had success in recent memory, but by and large have struggled.  They had big years under Brady Hoke and Pete Lembo took them to a ten-win season....in the 9 seasons since then, 8 of them were losing. They won the MAC during the COVID season.  Their coach, Mike Neu, a MAC MVP QB at Ball State during his player career.  He is probably on the hot seat.  In his 8th year, he is 21-37 in MAC play.  (This is a Huger-like situation).

They are 2-6 and 1-3.  They lost to Kentucky, Georgia, and Georgia Southern (in Muncie) and none were close.  They won their FCS game and then also beat CMU, just last week.  They lost to Western, Eastern and UT (close).

BG hasn't played Ball State since 2015. Further, since 2000, we have only played them 7 times. FWIW, BG has won 7 of the last 8. 

BG is a 6-point favorite.

How experienced are they?

They have 26 juniors and above on the two-deep, which is youngish.

Who are their national leaders?

There are none in the top 20.

What is their turnover ratio? 

They are -6, 11 worse in the nation. 


How is their QB play?  (MAC Games only unless noted)

It's been a journey.  Their starter from last year transferred to Illinois. They started the year with Layne Hatcher, who has been at a bunch of schools. True FR Kadin Semonza started the next three and then Hatcher started the two after that.  All along, they were using multiple QBs.  Kiael Kelly started the UT game and the CMU game.  BSU pressured UT but it was a low-scoring game.  In the CMU game, though, Kelly was 13 of 16 for 101 yards (safe throws).  He was 19 for 99 rushing against UT and 15 for 64 and 2 scores against CMU.  It appears like he is clicking.  He is a R-FR from Tampa who had thrown only one pass coming into the year.  He started the season opener at WR.

What is their scoring and yards per play

They are 10th in scoring and 5th in yards per play in the MAC--that's the result of the turnovers.

Can they run the ball?

They do.  They are #4 in the MAC in yards per carry. Marquez Cooper is #5 in the MAC in yards per game.

Do they pass the ball?

They are 7th in passing efficiency.  Most relevant is how they have done with Kelly, which you have seen above.  It's RPO heavy, according to Coach's presser.  A lot of EYE VIOLATIONS. 

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on 52% of their plays.

Do they convert on 3rd Down, 

Not really.  They are 9th in the MAC at 31%.

Do they score in Red zone?

Not great, 4.5 per trip.  Only 5 TDs in 11 trips. (Also impacts the yards/score disparity).

Do they protect the QB?

Not really.  They have been sacked on 9.6% of their passing attempts.  A more mobile QB might make a difference.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play

They are 9th in scoring defense and 5th in yards per play.

Do they defend the run effectively?

This is their defensive strength.  They are #2 in the MAC, allowing 3.2 yards per rush. Toledo ran for 210 against them. BG is 3rd in yards per carry, right behind Toledo.  This will be a key element to the game.  As Coach mentioned in his presser...teams are going to load up to stop our running.

Can they be passed on?

They are 11th in pass-efficiency defense. They allow 61% completions, 6 TD and 0 INT, 11 yards per completion allowed.  Great time for BG to get well in the passing game.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are 9th at 41%.  (BG is last on defensive 3rd down).

Do they defend in the red zone?

Not really.  They allow 5.1 points per red zone trip.

Do they pressure the QB?

About average, sacks on 6% of passing attempts.

Special Teams:


They are 5th in net punting. Not blocked in any game.

Punt Return?

Not much.  4 return for -9 yards.  No blocked kicks.


All games, he is 8 of 10. Long of 37, 8-8 inside 40.  Blocked once. 


All games, their KO defense is poor.  Teams start on the 31 and they have given up a TD.

Kickoff Return?

Typical, teams start on the 26.

Intangible Miscellany

Both teams are playing better and both teams are looking to secure bowl eligibility.  Both teams have coaches on a hot seat.  We don't have any recent meetings to judge by.  It will be at home, but in front of a MACTION crowd.  BG is favored and you'd expect to win, but BSU is playing better.  Coach said that he wants to see a Georgia Tech-type effort in our four final games.  That would be great.  One thing at a time.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Past and Future Opponent Land

 Liberty:  (8-0) Beat WKU Tuesday

Eastern Ilinois: (5-3)  Idle

Michigan: (8-0) Beat pants off MSU without sign stealer

OU (6-3)  Lost to Gabbert-less Miami

Georgia Tech: (4-4)  Big comeback shocks ranked UNC

Miami: (7-2) Beat OU

Buffalo: (3-5) Off

Akron: (1-7)  Off

Ball State: (2-6) Off

Kent: (1-7) Off

Toledo: (7-1) Off

WMU: (3-6) Won @EMU


P5: 4-17

G5:  6-9

FCS: 10-2

East vs. West: 5-3 West

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Fly Around and Find Out--MBB Preview

So, when I heard the MBB team's new slogan for the year, I was a little confused.

I asked a couple people what the phrase might refer to and...well let's just say I might be the only person who never heard "f*ck around and find out."

The Todd Simon era is about to begin.  And, you know, he's had about as good an off-season as he can have.  Remembering that he hasn't won a game yet...but I think he's given the team an identity...the striped warm up pants, the slogan up above...I just think there's an energy and a pirate feel to it.  

I think everyone joins me in being very excited to see how this plays out.

Blue Ribbon has BG finishing #8 in the MAC.  Kenpom has us 5th.

A few words on the MAC.  All told, counting graduation, guys going pro and into the portal, only 2 players are returning from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd teams. (Freeman and Coit).  It's a reboot...in many ways.  The MAC is at a low point in men's basketball.  The conference was ranked 19th last year by kenpom and is ranked pre-season in the same place.

Furthermore, there are 4 MAC programs that are consistently good--Akron, OU, Kent and UT.  The other schools are looking to get into that conversation and some are not close.  MAC basketball in Michigan is just terrible.

Simon had a lot to do.  BG was bad last year and had a lot of losses, also lost Samari Curtis and Willlie Lightfoot .  He had only 4 players back...and two of them (McComb and Felt) had played little to no minutes. Agee and Towns were the only contributors back.

He went to work and brought in 9 new scholarship players.  It can happen in today's college basketball world.  But he filled all the scholarships.  Honestly, the roster turnover wasn't unwelcome--remember we were not very good last year.  And he has guys to fit how he wants to play--which is fast and high scoring. Many of them are playing at a level or a role they never have.  How quickly they jell and adapt is what will determine success for this season.

I also understand Simon is bringing high-level MAC recruits in for visits.

He told Blue Ribbon that once everyone got there, they were who we thought they were, which doesn't always happen.

So to look at the players...

We have covered these guys as they came in.  A couple observations/notes.

Rashaun Agee was a multiple winner of the Battle Belt for summer practice.  Seeing what was coming, he lost some weight and is running the floor.  We've seen a lot of ability from him and if he is ready to laser focus, he can be a real game-changer.  Also, being more mobile he can guard other 4s, which should keep him out of foul trouble.

You may have seen Jamai Felt on crutches at the scrimmage.  He apparently re-injured the knee he had surgery on last year.  It doesn't look good, as I understand it.  It's a real shame.  He was positioned to be a contributor both years had he not been injured.

Jason Spurgin is the only player coming in from SUU.  He scored 10 pts and 6 rebounds last year for the Thunderbirds.  At 6'10" he will have a key role--Coach says he will play a stretch role on offense. The key, to me, though, is as a rim protector, something BG just has not had.  On tempo-free block percentage, Spurgin was #80 in blocks in the nation and #3 in the WAC.

According to Blue Ribbon, Simon likes two ball-handlers.  That appears to be Marcus Hill, 3rd team JUCO All-American, along with Trey Thomas, the Vanderbilt transfer.  DJ Smith is a third man in that rotation.

On the wings, BG has Da'Shawn Phillip, 3rd team All-MEAC, DaJion Humphrey, #19 JUCO recruit in country, PJ Edwards, highly ranked ouf of HS and Ejay Greer, who played at Rocktop Academy.

And Spurgin, Towns and Agree inside.

BG has a shot at a decent record.  The schedule is pretty soft.  Kenpom projects 18-12, 16-12 in D1 games and 10-8 in the MAC.  In perspective, it would be BG's 5th winning season since the 2002 Dakich-WVU year.  After two seasons with Kenpom's in the 280s, the worst in the kenpom era, a winning season is a start to getting back on track.  I like what I see, but he hasn't won a game yet.  

Friday, October 27, 2023

Football Verbal

With the coaches presumably out recruiting for a few days, BG has a new football verbal.  This young man is Cameron Pettaway, a 5'9" 165 lb RB/WR type from Farmington, MI.

BG is his only reported FBS offer, though he had DII and DIII offers.  I'd guess that's owing to his size, but he is reported to run a 4.4 and I can see him playing a Taron Keith role on the team.  Farmington used him in the slot, in the backfield, jet motion....etc.

He was all-state last year.  He's some information from a local news story on him...pretty interesting.  He is cited as a leader for Farmington.

Welcome to the Falcons, Cameron.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Past and Future Opponent Land

 Liberty:  (7-0) Beat Middle Tennessee State

Eastern Ilinois: (5-3)  Beat Bryant

Michigan: (8-0) Beat pants off MSU without sign stealer

OU (6-2)  Beat WMU

Georgia Tech: (3-4)  Lost to BC

Miami: (6-2) Lost to UT

Buffalo: (3-5) Beat Kent

Akron: (1-7)  We played them

Ball State: (2-6) Beat CMU

Kent: (1-7) Lost to UB

Toledo: (7-1) Won @Miami

WMU: (2-6) Lost to OU


P5: 4-17

G5:  6-9

FCS: 10-2

East vs. West: 5-3 West

Sweet Victory #4


Here we are.  Two weeks in a row.  And .500 on the season.  BG beat Akron 41-14 at the Doyt, on a very rainy day.  Yes, Akron is 1-7.  We will take it.

The first half was competitive.

BG took the opening kickoff and had a decent drive.  They were gifted when Akron jumped offsides in an old-school Detroit Lions moment on 4th and 3. On first and 10 from the Zip 20, BG did nothing else and Anaya finished from 36.  3-0 BG.

UA drove to the BG 27 and then three 3 straight incompletions and then missed a tough 45-yarder in the Doytelements.

BG went three and out and then UA went on a drive, including a 35-yard pass with an uncalled OPI and then scored to go up 7-3.

The first was rough for the Falcons.  Both teams ran 15 plays.  UA had 114 yards, BG had 58.

BG went three and out.  Kicking from their own 24, Kleather launched a 63-yard punt that flipped the field.  Made a difference when Jalen Huskey picked the ball and was in a position to run it to the 3-yard, from which Stewart scored on the next play.  10-7 BG.

The game settled in for a while.

UA three and out.

BG 1st down and out, punt Akron to the 1

UA gets a first down and shanks the punt.

BG goes 3 and out, failing on a 4th down and 1 at the UA 42.

So, with most of the quarter spent in UA territory, BG had not extended the lead and UA had a shot.  They were ready to go 3 and out when Fortune found them.  Their punter took a bad snap and brought the ball down.  BG had the block on and ran right by him, the left side was wide open and he ran to the BG 34.

You can feel some momentum here.  It's late 2nd, and Akron gets the ball in the 3rd.  Moment of significant danger.

UA proceeded to do way less than nothing. Howell with an 8-yard sack.  Holding on 2nd down.  Eventually, 3rd and 20 from the BG 49.  Less than :30 left. Undercuffler is rushed hard, he retreats, Ali Saad forces a fumble and Dontrez Brown picks it up.  You're praying he scores, but the big man gets it to the 13.

Momentum flips again. Balezak goes to Hilaire in the end zone.  BG has the spacing wrong, but he's still open and misses a catch he makes 99% of the time.  Anaya FG and BG up 13-7 at the half.

BG has 81 yards on 27 plays.  Akron has 157 on 33 plays.

Then the third quarter happened.

UA took the kickoff and made 3 first downs.  To the BG 37.  Then, they threw an INC pass....and after a day of uncalled UA push-offs, Morehead lost his mind on what he felt was BG DPI.  The 15-yard penalty he took was a big deal.  Watch what happens next.

It killed their drive and BG started on the 12.

And the Falcons went on their only real drive of the game.  10 plays, 88 yards, 5:34.  Only one 3rd down, a converted 3rd and 8.  Stewart with a 16 yard TD run. BG up 20-7 with 5 left in the third.

First play of the next drive, Undercuffler is sacked for a 16 yard loss and BG recovers on the 9.  BG struggles, BG fails on 3rd down but an obvious DPI is called (Hi Coach Morehead) and then Stewart scores, BG up 27-7.  3:20 left.

UA fails on 3 plays.  Going on 4th down, Trent Simms picked them and ran to the UA 36. BG is still struggling on offense and has a 3rd and 10.  Coach said after the game that BG ran a play they ran against OU, essentially running a double move with Fannin running wide open down the seam.  We didn't win the double move and Bazelak stayed with it.  We called the same play, but this time he "reset his feet with depth" and hit Fannin down the seam for the score.  34-7 :23 left.

Akron failed on a 4th in their own territory early in the 4th and BG converted for another score and it was 41-7 and the game was over....41-14 final.  (The game was over before that, I guess).

The game capsule:  BG forced turnovers, the offense capitalized and BG won easily.  The BG offense did not move the ball much, but they did not make mistakes or commit penalties and they took advantage of what the defense gave for them.  You can win like that.

BG ran 56 plays.  42 of them were runs.  Now, they ran on 11 of the last 12 plays of the game...so before that it was 31 runs and 13 passes...still a run heavy game.

Steroid Gerbil Terion Stewart had a huge game.  He is a stud. He had 19 carries for 131 yards and 3 TD.  That's 6.9 yards per carry and only ONE lost yard.  He's the #4 rusher in the MAC and #2 in yards per carry.

Overall, BG ran for 214 yards and 5.1 per carry.  And only 3 penalties.

That's good.  The passing game was just terrible.  As a team, 8 of 14 for 83 and a 36-yard TD pass.  However, no sacks and no INT, so they at least kept us in the game.  Overall, BG had 5.3 yards per play. 

The defense made a ton of big plays.  There were 2 fumbles off pressure, 2 INT, 5 sacks and 5 hurries.  Those plays decided the game.  

In between, BG held UA to 4.2 yards per play.  Sack adjusted, UA had 4.5 yards per carry, which is just an average day.  Undercuffler was 22 of 39, which is a decent percentage for 10.6 per catch.  You pull off the 58 sacks yards though and they had 4.5 yards per passing attempt.  Plus 2 INT.  Also 9 penalties for 67 yards.  So big plays and solid defense on the rest of the plays.

Darren Anders had a day.  Team-high 6 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 TFL, 1 forced fumble and a hurry.

Ditto Dontrez Brown with 5 tackles and 2 fumble recoveries.

Cashius Howell, 2 sacks and a hurry. 

Ali Saad with a sack, a fumble forced and a hurry that led to the Huskey INT.

Also, good special teams.  Kleather had a huge punt and also put them on the 1.  Anaya made both FGs.

So, look.  Akron is not great.  BG did what you should do, which is win the game.  BG is 4-4 and has 2 straight wins.

Friday, October 20, 2023

Zippy-Zip....Don't Zip Back.

 What is their body of work?

The Zips are one of the traditionally struggling teams in college football.  Terry Bowden was there and had one 8 win season.  Tom Arth came in and 3-24, with two of those wins over BG.  He was replaced and Joe Moorehead was brought in.  He's 3-16 but they are making some signs of progress. 

So, yes they are 1-6 last year, but they are close to winning games. They lost to Temple by 3.  Lost to Indiana in 4 OT.  Lost to UB in OT and to CMU by 7.  They also lost big to Kentucky and NIU and their one win was over Morgan State by 3.

The two teams have split their last 6 games. The 2020 loss to Akron was a program lowpoint.

BG is a 7.5-point favorite.

How experienced are they?

They have 23 juniors and above on the two-deep, which is very young.

Who are their national leaders?

Blake Hesler is #12 in combined returns

What is their turnover ratio? 

They are -4. 


How is their QB play? 

Third-team All-MAC QB DJ Irons was injured for the year.  They are playing 2 QBS....Undercuffler is more the throwing QB and Bullock is the running guy.  Undercuffler has an efficiency rating of 117, which would be #6 in the MAC and ahead of Bazelak.

What is their scoring and yards per play

They are 10th in the MAC at 15.6 per game.  They are 10th in yards per play at 4.4.

Can they run the ball?

They are 11th in the MAC at 3.3 yards per rush. Their lead back is averaging 5 yards a carry, which is #8 in the MAC. Every but him drags the average down.

Do they pass the ball?

Undercuffler completed 67% of his passes with 2 TD and 4 INT and a paltry 9.6 yards per attempt, indicating a very short pass play mix.  Bullock is much less effective passing, though they have a similar number of attempts.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on 40% of their plays, which is low even in today's game.

Do they convert on 3rd Down, 

They are last in the MAC at 28%.

Do they score in Red zone

Not good, 3.8 points per red zone trip.

Do they protect the QB?

Not really.  They have been sack 25 times, on 9.6 of their passing attempts.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play

They allow 28 points a game, which is #7 in the MAC.  They allow 5.3 yards per play, which is #6 in the MAC.  (Note that the turnover deficit hurts their points per game).  This is a solid defensive team.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They allow 4 yards a carry, which is #4 in the MAC.

Can they be passed on?

They are #6 in the MAC in passing efficiency defense. They allow only 53% completions, which is top in the MAC. They have 12 TDs and 6 INT and completed passes average 12.6 which is a lot.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are 5th at 36%

Do they defend in the red zone?

Not at all.  They allow 6 points per red zone trip.

Do they pressure the QB?

About average, sacks on 6% of passing attempts.

Special Teams:


They are 9th in net punting.  No blocks.  Allowing -6 yards on 9 returns.

Punt Return?

No TDs, 1 block, 6.7 yards per return


It's been not good.  They are used three kickers. Noah Perez is listed as their starter,  he's 3-6 with a long of 40. Has not been blocked.


They are 10th, with opponents starting on the 26. No TDs allowed.

Kickoff Return?

Typical, teams start on the 26.

Intangible Miscellany

BG is favored for the first time this year in an FBS game. Back at home after a long set of road game, things are set up for BG to begin to string wins together.  UA is hungry for a win, too, having lost close and at 1-6 to date.  I think both teams covet this win.  Last year's game was a thriller and I think this one could be very similar. 

Monday, October 16, 2023

Loeffler Presser

Not too much news today.

Coach pointed out that BG leads the nation in turnovers lost and ALSO in turnovers gained.  This has to be amazingly rare.  (They both are ties, but still seems odd). We are tied for the lead in INT.

He says if we can eliminate the turnovers and "absurd" penalties, then we have a shot to be pretty good.

As for the quarterback, it will be a game-time decision.  He says Bazelak is facing injuries and "some things."  Honestly, this is what you would expect him to say.  Weather looks decent for Saturday.

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Past and Future Opponent Land

Liberty:  (6-0) Beat Jacksonville State

Eastern Ilinois: (4-3)  Lost to SEMO

Michigan: (7-0) Beat Indiana

OU (4-2) Lost to NIU

Georgia Tech: (3-3) Idle

Miami: (6-1) Beat WMU

Buffalo: (2-5) We play them

Akron: (1-6) Lost to CMU by 7

Ball State: (1-6) Lost to UT in a close game

Kent: (1-6) Lost to EMU

Toledo: (6-1) Beat Ball State

WMU: (2-5) Lost to Miami


P5: 4-17

G5:  6-9

FCS: 10-2

East vs. West: 4-2 West

Sweet Victory #3


Sweet Victory.  It was the good, or better, Falcons who showed up and they went on the road and picked up the W in the conference.  It was a win they badly needed.  It was far from a great performance, especially on offense, but it was good enough to win, which we often have not been, so we'll take it.

To start with, Conner Bazelak did not play.  Here's what coach said, quoted in The Blade.

“He had some things that I don’t want to get into,” Loeffler said of Bazelak. “We knew the ball was going to be wet, I don’t want to get into too much, so he’s got some things that he’s got to get healthy with. We made that decision, and it was the right decision.

“We needed to have the quarterback be able to handle the ball because we knew it was going to be a slugfest.”

Last time we heard about an injury, it was a hip.  This sounds like a hand injury, but who knows?  

Orth started.  More on that later.  The headline was defense and special teams winning the game and the offense doing enough to close the deal.

BG started with the ball.  Stewart burst free for 19 and fumbled, which BG got back.  Then two straight false starts set them back.  BG punted and forced a three and out and then on the 4th play of the next drive fumbled again, this time recovered by UB. 

Starting on the BG 33, UB got a first down, a BG personal foul and then ran the ball in from the 10 to lead 7-0.

BG took the ball, made 2 first downs running and then Orth hit Osborne for 42 yards to the UB 7.  On three plays BG made 2 yards and kicked a short FG to make it 7-3.

BG forced a fumble from Cole Snyder deep in UB territory and Lorfils returned it to the 9.  Stewart took it to the 1 and then Orth scored to put BG up 10-7.  

Moving into the second, we see BG get a sequence to go in its favor that usually bites them.

BG got a stop and started on their own 14.  When they needed it, they got their only real sustained drive of the game, moving the ball 86 yards in 13 plays and just over 8 minutes.  BG converted a 3rd and 5 and 3rd and 6 on the drive. Orth had two rushes over 10 yards and Stewart ran for 19. A couple passes were sprinkled in, with a 3-yard toss to Keith for the score and BG leading 17-7.

BG's defense then got a stop after one first down and with UB punting from their own 38, the Falcons blocked the punt and ran it in for the score to make it 24-7. 

BG had a chance to keep rolling when it got a pick two plays later and started on the UB 32.  BG ran one play and then turned it back over again.  UB made a last-minute drive and McNulty missed from 50.

Starting the 3rd, UB switched QBs and then threw a pick to Ferguson and BG started on the 50.  Five plays later BG again threw an INT to give it back to them.

UB then drove 74 yards on 8 plays over 4:33 for a TD, including a 4th and 9 conversion.  At 24-14 with 3 minutes left in the 3rd, the game was still in play.

Starting the 4th, BG had another shot to extend the lead. On the UB 26, BG took a personal foul.  On 3rd and 19 Orth ran for 18.  After years of going for it on 4th and short, BG tried and missed a 42-yard FG.

UB drove to the 50 and threw four straight incompletions.  

Starting at 8:08 BG had a chance to put the game away on offense but went 3 and out.  UB got as deep as the BG 37 before a 4th INT by Davon Ferguson got BG the ball back.  They sprung Keith loose for a 62-yard TD that was called back on a BS holding call.  BG ended up punting and then got another INT to close the game out.

It was a victory and should not have been even that close. BG had three chances deep in UB territory--twice off INTs--that should have been converted to points.  I know that people like it when Orth is in there, but we are too one-dimensional to succeed long-term with this attack.  We need what we saw against Georgia Tech and we will need both QBs to do that.

The offense was good enough. The Falcons ended up with 5 yards per play, which is below average. BG ran 59 plays, and 43 of them were on the ground. Stewart got the ball 25 times for 123, which is 4.9 yards per carry.  The MAC average last year was 4.8. Orth had 72 on 10 carries and together it was a competent attack. BG was 9 of 16 passing with 2 INT and 77 yards. 42 of that came on one play, though BG allowed no sacks.

We took what we had to work with and fashioned a winning game plan for this opponent, to our credit.

The defense was great, allowing 3.6 yards per play, well below average while generating 5 turnovers. UB rushed for only 4.5 yards per carry and their passing attack was even worse than BG's.  They were 9 of 29 for 71 yards and 4 INT. BG had 9 pass break ups, which is a huge number along with no sacks but 2 hurries.  UB is a struggling offense and BG took advantage, dominating them on a down-by-down basis and on turnovers.

And special teams.  The blocked punt was huge. It's just a dagger play, especially when both teams are struggling to move the ball.

So BG moves to 3-4 with 5 to play.  No doubt, with the exception of UT, most of the games are against the poorer teams in the MAC and BG has an opportunity to notch some wins.  We still have yet to put two winning performances together back to back, and that's what we will be looking for against the Zips, who are 0-3 in the MAC.  They lost in OT to UB and narrowly @CMU, but were blown out by NIU.

Friday, October 13, 2023

25 Questions From the Bull

What is their body of work?

UB had some really good years under Lance Leipold, who was highly successful.  Mo Linguist came in and is 2-4 in his 3rd year after a bowl appearance last year.  They are 2-4 so far this year, and 2-0 in the MAC with an OT win over Akron and a big win over CMU.  FWIW, they lost to Liberty by 28.  Also, they lost their FCS game to Fordham, who is among the "others receiving votes" in FCS. 

BG has lost 5 of the last 6 to UB. The Bulls beat BG 38-7 at the Doyt last year.  Here is part of what Coach said after the game....see if this sounds familiar.
“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 be honest with you."
UB is a 4.5-point favorite.

How experienced are they?

They have 32 juniors and above on the roster, which is typical today.

Who are their national leaders?

Devin Grant is #1 in interceptions.
Anthony Vennini is #13 in punting

What is their turnover ratio? 

They are +5 over 6 games, but it was +4 in the CMU blowout.


How is their QB play? 

Cole Snyder is the QB and he is OK, not great.  6th in the MAC so far in passing efficiency.  Only 9.6 per completion and 11 TD over 4 INT.  His efficiency is 123, Bazelak is 111.

What is their scoring and yards per play

They score 28 a game, which is 75th in the nation and 3rd in the MAC so far.  At 4.8 yards per play, they are 121st in the nation and at the same time 9th in the MAC.  (The MAC is offense-challenged to date, with 5 of the 10 lowest scoring teams from the MAC.  BG is one of them).  This is a big discrepancy which we will see below is a combination of turnovers and being very effective in the red zone.

Can they run the ball?

They are not great, averaging 3.5 yards per carry. Their lead backs are 4.1 and 4.6 respectively, which is not great.

Do they pass the ball?

As mentioned, OK, not great. For the yards per catch they have, their completion percentage should be higher.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on 45% of their plays, which is low even in today's game.

Do they convert on 3rd Down, 

They are 32%, which is not good at ll.

Do they score in Red zone

They are deadly in the redzone at 5.75 points per trip.

Do they protect the QB?

They do pretty well, allowing sacks on 5% of their passing attempts


Topline: Scoring and yards per play

They allow 34 points a game, which is 112th in the nation and 8th in the MAC. They allow 6.5 yards per play, which is #119 in the nation and 11th in the MAC.   (BG allows 6.1 yards per play).

Do they defend the run effectively?

They do not.  They allow 5.5 yards per rush, worst in the MAC and 5th worst in the country. (BG allows 4.1 per carry).

Can they be passed on?

It's better.  They are #102 in the nation and 8th in the MAC.  They allow 65% completions, 11.4 per c completion and 15 TDs over 7 INT.  (BG is last in the MAC in passing defense).

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

Pretty good, they allow 38% conversions, #63 in the nation.

Do they defend in the red zone?

Not great.  5.5 points per trip allowed.

Do they pressure the QB?

About average, sacks on 5.6% of passing attempts.

Special Teams:


They are really good, #16 in the nation in net punting.  He has not been blocked and no return TDs allowed.

Punt Return?

6 returns for 7 yards.  They have blocked a punt.


McNulty, who was MAC Special Teams Player of the Year last year, has been hit and miss this year.  He is 9 of 13, with 1 of 3 under 40 and 6 of 8 over 40.  Long of 53.  No blocks, but UB has blocked one.


Really good.  Teams start on the 23.   30 KOs, 23 TBs.  When they are returned, only 14 per return.  (Dear BG:  Please fair catch).

Kickoff Return?

Average, they start on the 27, mostly due to 3 OB kickoffs.

Intangible Miscellany

So here we are.  We have reach the easier part of our schedule at 2-4.  It could have been worse, many had us heading into this game 1-5.  It should also be better.  Anyway, UB is a team that has beaten us pretty regularly, but this is not a Lance Leipold team.  They present a comparable profile to the Falcons and so finally the bar has been lowered to the point where we have a shot at winning.  Coach says consistency is the game now....like last year.  We are playing for bowl eligibility and need 4 wins to gett there.  Last thing....we look at these teams and think that at least we are playing someone we can beat...they look at us and think the exact same thing.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Loeffler Aggravated Presser

Scot Loeffler wasn't in a "clean a few things up we'll be fine" mood yesterday.  Far from it.  He used words like "frustrated," and "aggravated" to describe his mood.  Said he is not happy. Which you wouldn't expect, but he's usually not this blunt.  

Many people feel the same way.  He had the five years he said he needed. He was given patience.  And you can see where we are, which is nowhere close.

He did do one thing certain to aggravate his critics, by calling out the 21-2 record of the teams that have beat us.  We are 2-4...and he thinks we should be 4-2 or 3-3.  That would be my point.  I get that it was a tough schedule.  He had five years to build us "the right way" to being a sustainable championship contender and it has not happened.

Yes, Miami and Ohio are good teams.  The point is that WE WERE SUPPOSED TO BE A GOOD TEAM, and they beat us 65-7, with one of the games a home game.

The schedule gets much easier and it is possible we go on a winning streak and look like things have turned around.  To match last year's 5-3 MAC record, we'd need to go 5-1 from here on out.  To make a bowl game, you have to go 4-2.

I guess it comes down to what you want from the program.  Do you want to be EMU, who has made bowl games the last 4 non-COVID years, winning more than 7 games overall once in that time and never winning more than 5 in the MAC?  Maybe we give up on beating the top teams in the conference. That's what we have now.  We are set up for that.  With our funding level, maybe that's all we can be.

I don't think that's what we want.  Cast into the wilderness when Mike Elko was not hired to replace Clawson, we are now in year 8 and have not found our way again.

Sunday, October 08, 2023

Past and Future Opponent Land

Liberty:  (5-0) Beat Sam Houston State

Eastern Ilinois: (4-2)  Lost to UT-Martin

Michigan: (6-0) Beat Minneota

OU (4-1) Beat Kent

Georgia Tech: (3-3) Won when Miami did not take a knee

Miami: (5-1) We played them

Buffalo: (2-4) Easily beat CMU

Akron: (1-5) Blown out by NIU

Ball State: (1-5) Lost to EMU

Kent: (1-5) Lost to OU

Toledo: (5-1) Beat UMass

WMU: (2-4) Lost to Mississippi State


P5: 4-17

G5:  6-9

FCS: 10-2

East vs. West: 1-1

Sadness Accrues

Lower the flag.

Faced with the opportunity to establish themselves as a legitimate MAC East contender, the Falcons were pushed around by the RedHawks and beaten 27-0.  The only realistic goal remaining is a bowl game, which would require going 4-2 from here on in.

Georgia Tech won at the other Miami, FWIW.  Miami handed them the game, but still.

BG won the toss and deferred.  Miami took the ball and drove it for 11:31. They converted three 3rd and 4s and a 4th and 1.  It was a 17 play drive, with 8 of the last 9 coming on running plays.  And it ended 7-0/

BG took the kick, made one first down, took a sack and punted.

Miami was moving the ball when BG forced a fumble, but was unable to capitalize, hindered by a holding call. And punted.

The teams traded punts and Miami started on their own 18 with 4:45 left to play.  BG had an INT on 3rd down, but a roughing the passer was called and the drive continued.  (It was a tough call, to be sure.)  Gabbert scrambled for big yards a couple times, a 3rd and 7 was converted, DPI was called in the end zone and Miami was up 14-0 inside of 1 minute.

BG got the ball to start the 2nd half. They did respond, moving the ball down the field much as Miami did to start the game.  BG converted a 3rd and 6 and 4th and 6 to get to the Miami 13.  What happened next is something we have seen too much. BG took a false start, threw and incomplete pass under pressure, gave up a 10-yard 3rd down sack and missed a 46-yard FG.

Miami with on a 9-play, 5-minute drive, converting a 3rd and 10 and scoring on 3rd down, and it was 21-0 and with 3:33 left to play in the 3rd, the game was over.

Bowling Green was just terrible on offense.  They had 9 first downs for the game.  Overall BG was 11 of 23 passing for 72 yards, 1 INT, 0 TDs.  The long pass play was 16 yards.  BG game up 27 yards on 4 sacks, so in 27 drop backs they netted 45 yards. Coach said after the game that we had guys running wide open in the back end, but we didn't execute.

Stewart was going to get the ball more, but carried 8 times for 63.  Non-sack, 6 yards a carry for the team.

That was 3.2 yards per play, of which BG ran only 42. 1-8 on 3rd down, 0-1 in the red zone.

On defense, Miami came in last in the MAC in time of possession. They held the ball for almost 30 minutes. They ran the ball 47 times for 4 yards per carry, but they were consistent and able to move the chains.  Their long run was only 17.  They had a couple big runs from Gabbert.  He was 15-18, for 170 yards.  So Miami had 186 yards rushing and 170 passing, which is kind of what BG described they wanted to do last week.

Miami was 9-14 on 3rd down.  Absolute killer.

So there you go.  BG is 0-2 and down a tie breaker to the teams likely to play for the East title.  The aggregate score is 65-7. BG goes to UB next, who smoked CMU yesterday.  The schedule does get easier, to be sure. But, absolute best case, it looks like the program is evaluated at 6-6 again.

Thursday, October 05, 2023

25 Questions From the Cradle

 What is their body of work?

For most of my life, Miami was the landmark program in the MAC.  They were just good every year, it seemed.  After Terry Hoeppner and Big Ben left, they wandered into the wilderness. They've restored credibility to the program under Chuch Martin, who is 38-28 (58%) in MAC competition as the Miami Coach.

They are 4-1 this year. They lost to the other Miami, and then beat UMass, UC, Delaware State and Kent.  They are positioned to make a run in the MAC East.

This is the 76th time we have played Miami.  The teams have split the last 10 games--the 10th game in that sequence was the Fog Bowl. BG won 17-13 in BG last year (BG game notes list the game as being in Oxford).

Miami is a 9.5 point favorite.

How experienced are they?

They have 25 juniors and above on the roster, which is on the low side. 

Who are their national leaders?

Graham Nicholson is one of 18 kickers in FBS to have not missed a FG.
Yahsyn McKee is #14 in passes defended
Brett Gabbert is #5 in yards per completion and #20 in passing efficiency
Gage Larvadain is #8 in receiving yards per game, #5 in yards per possession and #18 in punt returns
Alec Bevelhimer is #8 in punting

What is their turnover ratio? 

They are even.  5 going in and out.


How is their QB play? 

Their QB is really good.  Brett Gabbert, who did not play in the game last year.  He's completed 59%, 10 TD over 3 INT with an eye-popping, nationally-ranked 17 yards per completion. Not much running.

What is their scoring and yards per play

They are #51 in the nation, scoring 32 a game. They are #17 in the nation in yards per play at 7.1.  Coach mentioned that they like to run the play clock WAY down...the are #118 in total plays. 

Can they run the ball?

They run for 5.2 yards per carry. That's #26 in the nation. Their lead back averages 4.8 per carry.

Do they pass the ball?

As mentioned, very good passing.  Not the greatest percentage, but big yards per completion. Gage Larvadain, their WR, is a transfer from SE LA.  He's dangerous with the ball in his hands.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on 62% of their plays, which is a very run-focused

Do they convert on 3rd Down, 

Not great, 37% which is #94.

Do they score in Red zone

4.5 points per trip, which is not great.  They have 10 TDs in 15 trips.

Do they protect the QB?

They do not.  Sacks on 9.8% of their attempts.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play

They allow 23 a game and that's #49 in the country. 

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are hard to run against, at 3.8 yards per carry, #52 in the country.

Can they be passed on?

They are average at #76 in the country. They allow 63% completions, 12 per reception and 7 TDs over 4 INT.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They allow 37% which is #56 in the country.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They are really good in the red zone, allowing 3.9 points per trip.  7 TDs on 17 trips.

Do they pressure the QB?

Decently, sacks on 7.7% of passing attempts.

Special Teams:


Kicking game is always good.  They are #7 in net punting.  No blocks, no TDs.  8 inside 20 against 2 touchbacks.

Punt Return?

Gage Larvadain is nationally ranked, as noted.  No TDs, no blocks.


Nicholson is 9-9, with 5 over 40.  He is a bomber.  No blocks, they have blocked one of the opponent FGs.


Teams start on the 24.

Kickoff Return?

This is pretty good, they start on the 29.

Intangible Miscellany

So the big question, from the moment the final whistle blew at Bobby Dodd, was whether BG could build on the upset or not.  In the past, they have not.  To his credit, Coach walked to the podium and said the same thing.  Today, it is a chance for the program to define itself.  There is a much easier set of games coming up.  We have seen that we are capable of playing well enough to win this one, but that;s what it will take.  Miami is better than OU on offense and not as good on defense, but plenty good to be dangerous.

BG will need to do everything well.  A balanced offense, eat clock and get the Redhawks off the field consistently.  Take care of the ball and make more big plays.  You want to be a championship team--this is the type of game they win.

Tuesday, October 03, 2023

"Humiliating": The Atlanta Journal Constitution on the BG Win

So, the team might have moved on past Georgia Tech, but we have one more thing.

My favorite thing for years as been to read the opposing papers the day after we pull an upset like this.  It never disappoints.  It KILLS them to lose to us...which makes it all the most satisfying to me. Something like this.

So let's wade into the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

  • There’s no light way to put it: What a humiliating afternoon it was Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium. 
  • This was the lowest point of coach Brent Key’s tenure. It was a pathetic showing for any program, let alone one with bowl aspirations.
  • “That was an embarrassing display of football,” Key said. “An epic of a failure as you can possibly have. All three phases, all aspects of the program.”
  • How disgraceful for a program that seemingly was trending in the right direction.
  •  A troubling admission from senior linebacker Paul Moala: “For sure (we overlooked this team). 
  • Woah nelly, the red flags. The words “lackadaisical” and “overlooking” are concerning. 
  • If the Jackets continue playing as they did Saturday, no bowl will even want them watching from the stands.
  • Except this misstep might be worse considering the circumstances – and that, again, Tech just should’ve been past this. The fans concurred, as their recurring boos indicated. 
  • “It was that far,” Key said, holding his hands to indicate how close the first-down marker was. “If we can’t sneak a football that far, we don’t deserve to win a football game.”
  • Bowling Green converted 10 of 17 third downs, including nine of 13 across the first three quarters. Last we checked, Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes aren’t running that offense.
Ahhhhhh.  Let it wash over you. It never disappoints.  HA.  HA.

Monday, October 02, 2023

Loeffler Presser: Cheez-its and Brian Griese

Loeffler presser....

First, Terion Stewart won MAC East Offensive POW (or, OPOW or MEOPOW) and Deshaun Jones won MAC East Defensive Player of the Week.  Congrats to them both!

He said we won "some team award," which had to be the Cheez-it National Team of the Week, voted on by the Football Writer's of America.  (SOME TEAM AWARD?????  Are you serious???)


Also, they sent us every box in the Cheez-it family of products and we sent back this...

Some team award, indeed!

OK, seriously.

Coach said we finally played to our ability.  Much of the press conference was pretty amazing for how almost fatalistic coach sounded.  We finally played to our ability.  We did nothing different in practice.  Any win is a great win in today's college football.  It's almost like, if we decide to play we're good.  I'm just waiting to see what happens.

Look, I get what he is trying to do.  If the Georgia Tech win was the result of some super-human effort, a unicorn if you will, then that's all it will ever be.  Who could do something like that twice?  But, if it wasn't...if the same preparation and the same focus could get you a win any week, that's a much different situation. And it can be controllable.

The biggest headline is he says that he knew we were going to win big on Wednesday.  He says he knows his team's psychology and he could tell we were going to win easily.  Claimed to have the same vision before the Minnesota win.  If this is true, we could save a lot of injuries and just have him let everyone know what's going to happen.  Also, given our record there would have been many more disturbing premonitions, if true.

There was some interesting content.  He says he has learned a lot.  He no longer calls the plays.  He is part of game planning.  But he has learned the most important part of his job is working directly with the players and is more than "Xs and Os."  And he's right.  It always seems to me at any level that a coach calling the plays is going to be of limited success.  Saw a photo of Bum Phillips today and he didn't even have a headset on (that's me, not Coach.  I don't know if Loeffler saw a photo of Bum Phillips at all).

He said the GT game is our model of how we want to win.  We don't want to throw for 350 yards.  We want to run for 150-200 and throw for 200-250. We want to eat the clock up and keep the other team off the field.  GT ran 58 offensive plays.  It was a great team win because of that.  Can't argue at all. I would love to win that way.

He also noted that BG won the battle up front on both sides of the ball.  The Dline, to a man, played like "savages." The Oline had their best game as well.  I think that was true.  You win a game like that, it is because you won up front.

And Finn Hogan came up, of course.  Coach made some weight predictions for Hogan, as he did after the game, said he would be our Hybrid TE and play in the NFL.  Beyond that, he said Hogan, a CMU transfer is grateful to be here and a true team guy.  He did not complain about playing time. Eventually, he got his shot and he didn't throw it away.  (Here is what I had when he transferred here).

The 2-Qb situation will continue.  He says Orth and Bazelak get along, which he, Scot Loeffler, could not do in a similar situation.  He says he and Brian Griese "hated each other's guts" though they now are "best buds."  Kum-ba-yah.

Up comes Miami.  A big test for us.  Coach will know the result in 48 hours!

Sunday, October 01, 2023

Past and Future Opponent

Liberty:  (4-0) Idle

Eastern Ilinois: (4-1) Beat Northwestern State

Michigan: (5-0) Beat Rutgers

OU (3-1) Idle

Georgia Tech: (2-3) We beat them

Miami: (4-1) Won at Kent

Buffalo: (1-4) Won in OT at Akron

Akron: (1-4) Lost in OT to UB

Ball State: (1-4) Lost to WMU

Kent: (1-4) Lost to Miami

Toledo: (4-1) Beat NIU

WMU: (2-3) Beat Ball State


P5: 4-16

G5:  5-9

FCS: 10-2

East vs. West: Null set.

Sweet Victory AKA Steroid Gerbil

Well, how about that?  Just when things are just about as frustrating as they can be, we come out and do something like that.  Coach Loeffler echoed the feelings of everyone in the Falcon Nation when he came into the presser and said, "now we want to put two of these together."

We all agree.  After the Minnesota win, we came out the next week and "laid an egg" in Coach's words.  To be who we want to be and are supposed to be, you have to have strong performances week in and week out.  And we have not done that.

But let's not let the moment pass.  What a great afternoon to be a Falcon.  Paid $1.1M and then come home with the victory??  Yes, please.

As long as I watch Falcon sports, it's hard to describe how good it makes me feel when we win, especially in a situation like that.  It's a week-changer, for sure.

It did not start out great.  GT was up 14-0 5 minutes into the game.  It was prime time for BG to fold, on the road against an ACC team and getting smoked last week.

But that didn't happen this time.  BG scored the next 38 points.

Starting on their own 25 and sparked by a 32-yard run by Terion Stewart, BG marched the 75 yards in 10 plays and 5:24.  When they got inside the 20 they switched to Orth who had an 11 yard run and then scored the TD to make it 14-7.

The teams traded punts and then BG got a 3-and-out and started on their own 36 after a 15-yard Embry punt return. BG held the ball for 11 plays, making 2 3rd and 1s and coming off a 2-18 before a holding call put them behind the sticks and they ended up with a 39-yard Anaya FG to make it 14-10.

GT made a first down on the drive and then went 3 and out and then a huge break ensued. They snapped the ball off the shoulder of one of the blockers and BG recovered on the GT 40.

It was looking like the Falcons would not capitalize when a 3rd and 12 morphed to a 4th and 7 on the first series. But BG converted that 4th and 7 and then a 3rd and 9 and scored on a 3rd and 10....on maybe the highlight of the year, as Finn Hogan made a one-handed catch for the ages.  It was talked about on every post-game show on every network.

And BG was up 17-14.  GT was down to the BG when 21 when a sack and a heavy pressure intentional grounding drove the Yellow Jackets back to their 43 and they punted and BG kneeled the half out.

Hard to imagine it going better.  Making key plays.  Eating up the clock...22 minutes of possession.

And we get the ball to start the half.  Bazelak hits Hogan for 50 on the first play?  Really?  Who are these guys?  A couple plays later Bazelak carried into the end zone for a TD to put BG up 24-14.

They went to the fair and were on the BG 14, 3rd and 1.  BG stoned them on the 3rd down play.  GT went for it and the Falcons stuffed the QB sneak. 

Brent Key said:

“It was that far,” Key said, holding his hands to indicate how close the first-down marker was. “If we can’t sneak a football that far, we don’t deserve to win a football game.”


The key thing here is that BG went for the kill.  So often has not happened. They went on a 10-play, 86 yards, 5 minute drive that featured converting on 3rd and 12 and 3rd of 16 before Stewart went in from the 6.  BG up 31-17.

But wait. On GT's 2nd play from scrimmage, Deshawn Jones grabbed a pic and ran it 45 yards for a pick 6 with 2:23 left in the 3rd, putting BG in the driver's seat.

And Georgia Tech went on an 8-play drive to get it to 38-20 at the end of the 2nd quarter.  Importantly, they did not get the 2-point, leaving it at 3 scores.

BG went three and out and GT continued to try and rally.  Honestly, I didn't fee like it was over.  They drove to the BG 19 and then BG closed the door. Jordan Oladokan grabbed an INT on the BG 5.  The offense took over, got a break on a face mask from Georgia Tech and proceeded to eat 8 minutes off the clock with 5 first downs before turning the ball over on the GT 35 with 4 minutes left and the game now over.

Tech scored again with 1 minute left to cut the lead to 11 but BG recovered the onside kick and it was sweet victory formation.

Honestly, that's how wins are supposed to look.  Made big plays.  Got turnovers.  Closed the door when the time came.  Incredibly proud of our guys.

BG had the diverse offense we were hoping for, sparked by Terion Stewart.  Coach said after the game that we have to get him the ball more and Falcon fans agree completely.  This 9 carry stuff has to stop.  He was 26 for 138 and a score...plus 1 reception for 27.  He was the difference maker in this one.

Coach called him a "steroid gerbil," a brilliant piece of fractured prose. He also said he is a "pain in the ass" to tackle.  

He certainly was. 

Bazelak had a really good game.  He was 21 of 32 (12.5 per completion).  1 TD, no picks and one great QB draw.  BG used 7 receivers to get there, showing variability at wideout that will make them hard to defend if execution is good.

The line should get their due.  Their pass blocking was the best against FBS opposition, per PFF. Previous best was a 34 grade at Liberty and this was a 60. The run blocking was also the best against FBS opposition, though not as dramatically.  Bazelak was sack twice and pressured 8 times.

Others? 10-17 on 3rd down. 1 of 2 on 4th. 5 scores in 5 red zone attempts, 4 of them TDs.  Time of possession?  42:45.

On defense, BG stuffed the GT run game, yielding 3.3 yards per carry.  That includes sacks.  Jamal Haynes had 5.6 yards per carry.  And Georgia Tech did pass the ball effectively, at 23 of 37 and 348 yards, but 2 INT and 3 sacks. 

A couple notes.  First, significant parts of those numbers came on the first two drives and the garbage time drives.

Second, BG did a lot with pressure and they pressured GT 13 times, which is a lot. Of course, there were the 5 negative plays, INT and sack. GT was 2 of 8 on third down and went scoreless twice in the redzone on  5 trips.

BG's tackle numbers aren't huge because GT ran so few plays.  Sipp had 7 and Huskey 6. Roberts, Davis and Wilson had sacks. Davis and Dontrez Brown had 3 pressures each.  Brown also had 2 pass break ups.  Anders had 2 TFL.  

A great team effort for the defense.

Special teams.  BG switched punters to true freshman Jackson Kleather, who punted only 3 times for 42 yards.  There was a 49-yarder and the net was 35, mostly because of one return.

Anaya made a 40 yard FG and continues to reliably make shorter FGs.  BG gave up a long KO return on the opening kick as well.

So there you go.  BG notches a big one.  Loeffler has won 15 games at BG and 12 against FBS opponents.  4 of those 12 wins have been as 16+ underdogs....Minnesota, Ga Tech and UT two times.  You wonder if our players don't get really up for those games in big venues or a rivalry game...and less so in others.

They will get a chance to answer that question Saturday in Oxford.  So hoping for us to string some success together.