Wednesday, November 29, 2023

10 Falcons All-MAC

So the All-MAC teams are in for this year.  BG placed 10 players on the All-MAC list, a significant improvement over the four players they put on the list last season.

There were some things I thought were good.  I was glad they recognized Stewart on 2nd team, despite his injuries.  

However, how Cashius Howell is only 3rd team is beyond me.  Also, Dontrez Brown and Anthony Hawkins have to be on there. That's just an outrage.  Further, you'd think there'd be a spot for Taron Keith.  There would almost have to be.

Congrats to our guys who made the team.  Boo to the guys who picked it.  We are getting better.

2023 All-MAC First Team Offense

Tight End – Harold Fannin Jr., Bowling Green

2023 All-MAC First Team Defense

Defensive Back – Jalen Huskey, Bowling Green


2023 All-MAC Second Team Offense

Running Back – Terion Stewart, Bowling Green\


2023 All-MAC Second Team Defense

Linebacker – Darren Anders, Bowling Green

Defensive Back – Jordan Oladokun, Bowling Green

2023 All-MAC Third Team Offense

Offensive Lineman – Alex Wollschlaeger, Bowling Green

Wide Receiver – Odieu Hiliare, Bowling Green


2023 All-MAC Third Team Defense

Linebacker – Cashius Howell, Bowling Green

Defensive Back – Davon Ferguson, Bowling Green

2023 All-MAC Third Team Specialists

Kickoff Return Specialist – Jhaylin Embry, Bowling Green

Monday, November 27, 2023

New Football Verbal: Elias Owens

BG now with 2 3-star commits in as many days.  This young man is Elias Owens, a 6'5" 215 EDGE player from Mansfield Senior High School.  I should say that 247 lists him as an edge but he was also recruited as a TE/WR hybrid type guy.

247 Sports ranks him as the #79 player in Ohio---3 stars. He was offered by EMU, Ball State, Ohio, Minnesota and Pittsburgh.

His nickname is La-La. He plays basketball as well. He was honorable mention all-district last year and second-team all-conference.

The coach at Mansfield Senior is Chioke Bradley.  Myles Bradley, who is Coach Bradley's son, plays football for BG; his daughter is on the soccer team.  Anthony Hawkins also is from Mansfield.

Welcome to the Falcons, Elias.

Falcons Beat Canisius to Leave Quebec 2-1

It was a nice win for the Falcons, against the audio backdrop of Reggie Witherspoon swearing like a carny.

It was a game Bowling Green deserved to win.  They carried the play most of the way.  And when they let the GGs get close at the end, they made the plays they needed to win the game.  It was a very exciting and a nice win for the boys.

It didn't start out great, with Canisius out to a 6-point lead.  BG had the lead 8 minutes into the half and from there on in it was well contested, with the lead shifting back and forth.  BG led by 6, but the Griffins got the lead back and led by 2 with :32. With :03 left, DJ Smith nailed a 3FG and BG led by 1.

BG carried the play in the second half.  In fact, they lead ALMOST the entire way.  There was still some drama.  The lead was as much as 8 and for most of the half never got to a one-possession game.  BG was up 7 with 3:30 or so to play.  They got 3 stops and failed to extend the lead--which might have put it out of reach.  Two missed Agee FTs in there as well. 

Finally, with 1:38 left, Frank Mitchell scored and and-one for Canisius to cut it to 4. They put the press on.  BG called time out.  BG still turned it over. Mitchell scored again and with 1:25 left it was a 2-point lead.

BG ran the clock way down, got the ball to Spurgin who kicked out to Humphrey who nailed a 3 with :51 left.  Canisius came down and matched it so with :44 left it's still a 2-point game.

Then, with :39 left BG turned the ball over again and Canisius tied the game. 

BG called another timeout.  They ran the clock down to single digits and then Marcus Hill drove to the basket and scored, like he always seems to do.  BG up 2. BG used their full timeout to set the defense up.  Canisius came down, clock is at :05 and Uijtendaal was driving to the basket and Spurgin blocked the shot, got the ball, was fouled and sunk both FTs to close the game out.  BG by 4.

Certainly some mis-execution in that last minute.  But, our guys made big plays on both ends of the floor and picked up a win they deserved to get.

The stats reflect a close game.  It ended up slow at 64 possessions.  BG scored 1.18 points per possession, which is their best of the year and the GGs had 1.14, which is a good night as well.

BG shot 51% and 47%, while Canisius was 50% and 42%. Both teams took great care of the ball. The key number is in the last column.  BG committed only 8 fouls for the game and Canisius shot only 3 FTs. BG made 63%, an improvement, and ended up +11 at the line.

Trey Thomas did not play for BG, who played only 7 guys for the game.  Towns, Spurgin, Humphrey, Hill and Phillip, with Smith and Agee off the bench.

Marcus Hill had another great game.  He is #3 in the MAC in scoring right now.  He had 26 points on 10-20 2FG shooting and 0-1 from 3FG. He was 6 of 8 at the line, 3 rebounds, 4 assists and no turnovers.

Jason Spurgin had this best game as a Falcon.  In the preview, I noted that they didn't have any bigs of his height.  Spurgin scored 17 on 5 of 7 2FG and 1 of 3 3FG shooting, 4 of 5 at the line, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 turnovers and a blocked shot game winner.

Humphrey had 9 on 3 of 5 3FG shooting.  Towns had 8 points and 7 rebounds.  Phillip had 8 points and 4 rebounds. Agee had 8 rebounds (0-4 at the line). And DJ Smith was +18 in 16 minutes.

One last note.  Simon has brought a tactical element that we have not seen here in a long time.  He will switch zone and man defenses during a game.  Going back pretty far, our coaches were canonical adherents of one approach or the other.  Dakich and Huger played man unless under absolute duress and Orr played only zone.  Don't remember Jans. 

Anyway, it is interesting.  You might to see it more.  For example, with St. Peters was playing Duke in the NCAAs, they switched defenses coming out of the last 4 minute timeout.  You're ahead, and you eat up some of the time by throwing them off balance.

Anyway, an observation.

BG is now 4-3.  They have most of the week off before playing a Southern Indiana team that looks very different from the one we played last year.  Then, 9 days off before a non-D1 game at the Stroh.  The Southern Indiana game is the last road game of the non-conference schedule.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Falcon Football Verbal

With Early Signing Day coming up on December 20 and the Falcons on a little break, the focus in the football offices has shifted to recruiting.  Coach has said earlier that the way our classes are falling, we will go with high school kids this year.  To date, to my knowledge, BG has 20.  There were 19 before today and one we just learned about.

He is Martreece Dillard, a 6'4" and 263 lb DE/TE who apparently projects to the DE. He's a pretty good-sized fella.  Is said to have an 83" wingspan.

This young man could be a good one.  He's a 3-star recruit from Buford, GA.  BG has 2 players from the same high school--LS Aidan Wilson and Fr LB Alijah Williams, who red-shirted this year.

He was a de-commit from Vanderbilt.  He has offers on 247 reported from Vanderbilt, Arizona, Auburn, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Duke, East Carolina, Florida, Florida Atlantic, Indiana, James Madison, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Missouri and USF. According to 247, the Arizona offer came in after the de-commit.

He also apparently played basketball.

Welcome to the Falcons, Martreece.

Past and Future Opponent Land (Fins)

Liberty:  (12-0) Beat UTEP.  #25 ranked.

Eastern Illinois: (8-3)  Narrowly missed FCS tournament

Michigan: (12-0) You might have heard

OU (9-3)  Beat Akron

Georgia Tech: (6-6)  Lost to Georgia

Miami: (10-2) Beat BSU.  On to title game.

Buffalo: (3-9) Lost to EMU

Akron: (2-10)  Lost to OU

Ball State: (4-8) Lost to Miami

Kent: (1-11) Lost to NIU

Toledo: (11-1) Beat CMU

WMU: (4-8) We played them


P5: 4-17

G5:  6-9

FCS: 10-2

East vs. West: 11-7 West 

Canisius Preview

Canisius is named for St. Peter of Canisius. Canisius played a crucial role in the Council of Trent, where he contributed to the development of Catholic doctrine and practices. He also engaged in extensive writings, producing catechisms and devotional works that made Catholic teachings accessible to a broader audience. Canisius was deeply committed to education. He established several Jesuit colleges and worked to reform existing educational institutions. 

They are the Golden Griffins.

The Coach for the Griffins is our old pal Reggie Witherspoon, the ol buzzer banger from one of the crazier nights in the history of Falcon basketball.   He is a Permanent Enemy of the Falcon Nation.

One addition to the post is that Dakich has since said he was in a hurry to beat a blizzard coming through.

This is the 16th meeting between BG and Canisius, with BG winning 9 of the games. The series stretches back to 1956.  In those days, the GG were a true powerhouse, reaching the Elite 8 in 1956. Their last NCAA tournament appearance was in 1996.

The last game we played against them also occupies an infamous place in Falcon history.  It was the 2nd round of the CIT, and Canisius won.  After that game, Coach Jans decided to head up to Reverend's for some drinks....

Witherspoon is in his 8th year.  He had good years his first two years, when he was coaching the players from the previous coach, but since then has not had a winning season. He is 33-63 in his last three non-COVID years.

He's bad.

They were picked to be 3rd in the MAAC in the official poll and in Blue Ribbon. The MAAC is the #26 ranked conference, MAC is #18.

They played four off-season games in Quebec so they probably know where to eat.  They brought eight players back and 3 starters.  The year before 11 players sensibly transferred away from the buzzer banger.

They are 3-2 in D1 games this year.  They got a road win over a really good St. Bonaventure team (who beat Miami by 30 last night) and then beat Wofford and Western Quebec.  As we know, WKU beat BG.

Their losses are @Syracuse (126) and @Cleveland State (157).

They play at pace, to be sure.  71 possessions a when you hear someone say they are averaging 79, you know the real story.

To date, they have been below average on offense, ranked #205 in the nation.  They take 39% 3FGs, which is a little over average, and they are #90 in the nation at making them.  They are #240 in making 2FGs. They do turn the ball over, but they are above average on the offensive boards and at getting to the line. They make only 63% from the line, which is still 5% better than BG.

Their defense is stronger and slightly above average nationally.  Teams are making only 28% from 3FG against them, which is top 50 in the country. They allow 52% from 2FG. They are average on forcing turnovers and not good on their own boards or at keeping teams off the line.

He's a stat that you sometimes see in teams that are overachieving.  Their opponents are making only 61% of their FTs.  That's complete luck and a great help.

Siem Uijtendaal is their leading scorer.  He's Dutch. He scores 14 a game on 48% 2FG shooting and 35% 3FG shooting. And 84% at the line.

Next is Trey Dinkins at 13.2.  It's rough though, with 26% on 2FGs and 34% from 3FG.  

Bryce Okpoh scores 11 a game on 62% 2FG shooting.  He's 6'7".

Finally, Frank Mitchell is a 6'8" Canadian player who averages a double double. He makes 63% of his 2FGs.

Although they lack a true big, they are are long and play the #76 most height in the country.  They are young.

So, put the poutine away.  This is the last game in Quebec.  It's a good test on a neutral floor.

BG MBB Shoots Lights Out, beats Lipscomb

 The Falcons responded to their 3-game losing streak with a victory over a decent Lipscomb team, 82-61. They went to a very tight 6-man rotation and benefitted from the most effective way to win basketball games: putting the ball into the basket.

Remember, when Dr. Naismith hung the peach basket up, he told his students that the object of the game was to throw the ball into it.

Lipscomb led for only :21, BG for over 38. BG leader for the first 15 minutes of the game with the lead generally between 8 and 11.  With 5:21 left in the first, BG led by 10.  BG went on a 14-2 run to end the half and probably the game, up 22.  LU was 1-8 from the field for that time period.

BG opened the half up on a 10-3 run and the lead was 29.  With about 12 to play, Lipscomb began to chip away, getting the lead down to 12 with 8 left.  You build a lead to 12 you feel great.  You let a lead slip to 12 and you're nervous.  Either way, BG had a 92% chance of winning.  Which they did.  Simon got a timeout, BG scored the next 8 points and the lead was never closer than 18 again.

It was a 69 possession tempo, which is slow for BG. BG had 1.18 points per possession, they best offensive game of the season.  They held Lipscomb to .88 points per possession, the second strong defensive game in a row.  

Clearly, the story is in the shooting, since the other factors were close or went Lipscomb's way.

BG had its best shooting game in two years.  They made 63% from 2FG and 56% from 3FG.  They shot that well from 2 against D1 opponents 3 times last year and haven't made 3FGs like that since a 2019 game against Northern.

Meanwhile, Lipscomb made 50% on 2FGs, which is average, and made only 24% on 3FGs.  BG kept them off the boards, took care of the ball and cruised to victory.

BG shuffled some things.  Towns started in place of Agee, but the overall rotation was Towns, Spurgin, Agree, Hill, Humphrey, and Philip.  Trey Thomas did not play--not sure if the injury was re-aggravated or they just didn't want to play him back-to-back this early in his rehab.

Marcus Hill.  Seriously.  He is the #3 scorer in the MAC right now. He netted 33, but here's the important thing.  He's not a gunner.  Yes, he shoots a lot, but he scores efficiently. He was 13 of 19 from 2FG and 2-4 from 3FG.  He also added 4 rebounds and 5 assists over 2 turnovers. He never left the floor.

DaJion Humphrey had 14, making his only 2FG and 4-7 from 3FG.  A hit in any man's league. Jason Spurgin had his best offensive game for BG, scoring 12 on 3 of 6 and 2 of 3 shooting. Agee added 8 points, 9 rebounds and 2 assists. Da'Shawn Phillip was +26.

So, onto Canisius later today.  They are a solid team and it will be another good test for us.  Winning 2/3 would be a nice result for us.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Lipscomb Preview

BG is set for game 2 against Lipscomb up in merry ol' Quebec.

Lipscomb are the Bisons. Not the Bison.

Established in 1891, Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee, has a deep-rooted history marked by its Christian foundation. Initially founded as the Nashville Bible School by David Lipscomb and James A. Harding, the institution primarily focused on theological education. Over the years, Lipscomb underwent significant transformations, expanding its curriculum beyond theology to include liberal arts and professional programs.

Facing challenges in the mid-20th century, including financial hardships and a brief merger, Lipscomb emerged resilient and adapted to the changing educational landscape. In 1988, it attained university status and adopted the name Lipscomb University.

Athletically, Lipscomb was an NAIA powerhouse.  They made 14 tournament appearances in men's basketball and won one national title.  In 2002 they moved up to D1 status in the Atlantic Sun conference. They won the conference tournament in 2018 and appeared in the NCAA tournament.  They also finished second in the NIT in 2018 and have won 3 regular season titles.

They are coached by Lennie Acuff, in his fifth season at Lipscomb.  He was a highly successful DII coach at Alabama-Huntsville, where he won 454 games...67% winning percentage.  He took the Chargers to the Elite Eight twice.  He has yet to take Lipscomb past 3rd in the ASUN, winning 54% in conference play.

They were not bad last year, at 20-13/11-7 record with a 153 kenpom. BG finished at 286.  The ASUN was the #18 ranked conference and the MAC was #19.

They were picked #6 out of 12 by Blue Ribbon. The coaches had them 5th and the media had them 3rd.

They returned 4 starters but their reserves transferred.  Coming into the weekend, they were 3-2, 2-2 in D1. They lost @Wichita State (100) and @Drake (84), and won @Tennessee Tech (318) and at home over Alabama A&M (346).  In the first game of the Northern Classic, they defeated UNC-Asheville (213) by 11, 86-75. Asheville was 3-23 from 3FG. Their top player has yet to appear.

This is a solid offensive team, through last year.  They shoot the ball really well and take care of it well.  Last year they were #37 in EFG and #16 this year to date. They take a very high number of 3FGs and make 39%, which is outstanding. On defense they are average against the shot and on turnovers, poor on the boards but do not give up FTs.

(All Stats coming into the weekend).

Their top player is Jacob Ognacevic, who was all-ASUN last year and was unanimous pre-season ASUN this year.  He was one of the top percentage shooters in the nation. He's 6'8" from Sheboygan, WI, and started at Valpo.  He's injured and has not played all year, including the UNC-Asheville game last night.

In his absence, Derin Boyd (6'3" G) is scoring 20 PPG on 62% and 37% shooting. He was a newcomer last year, transferring from Georgtown College, which is in KY and the college where Demetrius Hardamon started.  He has 7 steals.

AJ McGinnis is scoring 17 PPG on 58% shooting from 2FG AND from 3FG.  He is 18 of 31 from 3FG and #32 in the country. He's a 6'4" G who played at Lipscomb last year but started at UC. He is originally from Huntsville, AL

They have no player with over 4 RPG.  Will Pruitt has 19 assists over 8 TOs.

In the opener, Pruitt was their leading scorer,  He scored 19 on 6 of 11 2FGs. McCormick had 18 on 8 of 10 2FG shooting and had 10 rebounds. Boyd had 18 on poor shooting but 9-10 at the line.

Without Orgnacevic, they play really small.

BG has never played Lipscomb.

Falcon MBB Lose 3rd Straight

BG played their first game in Quebec last night, and it did not turn out as hoped.  BG is clearly a work in progress.  WKU played really tough and aggressive defense and it knocked the Falcons on their heels and by the time it all sorted out, BG was too far behind to catch up.

BG led for only 3 minutes and not at all during the final 32 minutes of the game.  They were resilient and kept chipping away, but ultimately couldn't close the gap.  

With 2 minutes left in the first half, BG had cut the lead from 9 to 4.  WKU pushed it back to 7 and then scored the first 8 points of the second half to put the lead to 15.  The lead was over 10 for most of the first 10 minutes of the second half.  BG missed a key opportunity in that range when the Falcons got 7 consecutive stops and generated 0 points, as both teams went over 3 minutes without scoring.

BG got it to 5 with about 8 left--with the ball--but failed to cut it closer.  A minute later they had the ball again down 5 but couldn't sink the shot. The lead got back to 9 but BG chipped it back to 5. They missed 2 opportunities to get closer before Towns was fouled and made 1 FT to cut it to 4 with 2:35 left.

BG got the stop, after all that down 4 with the ball, but turned it over, leading to a WKU score.  Inside of 2 minutes, WKU ground it out and won by 7.

It felt worse than it was at the time. BG actually outshot WKU.  According to this guy, teams that win the EFG battle ONLY (as BG did) win 36% of the time.  BG lost the game with turnovers.  You can't have double the turnovers and win a game, even with a modest shooting advantage.

BG shot 56% from 2FG and 19% from 3FG.  WKU shot 39% and 24%. Because of the extra possessions, they scored one more FG than BG anyway, and were +6 at the line, with BG going 14-22 and WKU going 20-29.  BG remains 346 out of 362 in FT%.  BG's 3FG shooting went from bad to worse.  BG is ranked #332 in that.

Marcus Hill was back at it after a short slump.  He scored 29 on 9 of 13 from 2FG and 11 from 3FG. He drew 9 fouls. He was 8 of 12 at the line with 5 rebounds, but also 5 turnovers.  No other Falcon was in double figures.  Towns had 9 and 5 with 3 turnovers. Agee had 7 points, 6 rebounds and 5 turnovers in a 15 minute stint. Trey Thomas did not start but played 24 minutes, and clearly has some rust on him.  Enough said there.

BG is now 2-3 and it doesn't get easier.  Next up is Lipscomb, a quality team many of us are not familiar with.

Friday, November 24, 2023

WKU Preview

So, its the battle of Bowling Green renewed again, this time taking it to a new location, Montreal, Quebec.

Sacre Orange.

From 1944-63, BG and WKU played 25 times, often doing a home-home in the same season.  That was the golden age of Falcon basketball, but it wasn't a great series.  WKU won 17 of the 25 matches.  They were rolling during this time, under the tutelage of E.A. Diddle, their Hall of Fame Coach. He had the red towel, which is now part of their logo.  They were regularly ranked during this time with numerous NIT appearances (this is pre-NCAA).

Since that all ended, the two teams have played 9 teams, with WKU winning 6. Making it 23 of 34 for the Hilltoppers.  

Firmly down the rabbit hole, this is the 8th time the two teams have played on a neutral floor.  Other games have been in Cincinnati, the Louisville Armory (twice), Cleveland Arena, Owensboro (KY), the Toledo Sports Arena, Madison Square Garden and the US Virgin Islands....and the Toppers won 6 of 7 on neutral floors.  BG lost the game at the Sports Arena...for a few years there the BG-TU game was played at the Sports Arena as well.

BG's only neutral floor win was the last meeting between the two teams, which was in the Virgin Islands in 2020, the year the MAC Tournament was canceled.  Justin Turner had 27 that night.  Frye 19.

Rick Stansbury was their coach.  He coached there for 7 years and won 61% of his games. However, he never made the NCAA tournament and was fired.  (Some UT fans would like to do the same to Tod Kowalcyk for the same reasons).

Their new coach is Steve Lutz, who was head coach at Texas A&M Corpus-Christi and took them to the NCAAs twice, winning a PIG once.

They are 3-1, but 2 of those wins are non-D1.  They are 1-1 in actual games.  They beat Murray State (158) and lost to Wichita State (98), both games away.  

Their kenpom is 146 right now.  They were picked #3 in the conference poll and Blue Ribbon had them #6.

As is often the case when you switch coaches, they lost all their starters and only returned four players total.

On offense, they have been below average.  They try 73% 2FGs, one of the highest rates in the country.  Which is good, they are #347 shooting 3FGs. They take excellent care of the ball and are very good on the offensive boards.

On defense, they are above average to date. They are #98 in turnovers forced.  They are decent against the shot and on the defensive boards but they foul a lot--one of the most in the country.

Their leading scorer is Don McHenry, who is a JUCO transfer.  He is scoring 13.8 on mostly 2FGs and 43% shooting.  Leads the team with 12 assists.

Brandon Newman is scoring 12 a game, shooting 42% overall and 33% from 3FG.  He also leads the team with 6.5 RPG. He is 6'5" and transferred from Purdue, where he was a role player.

Khristian Lander is scoring 10.3 per game. He was a highly-rated recruit out of HS and transferred from Indiana.

They have six players scoring from 8 to 6 points a game as well. 

First game of 3.  This will be a tough one.  BG has been shooting poorly.  I think Trey Thomas will be back, which should lead to some improvement right away.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Sweet Victory #7

Sweet victory.

And there you go.  The first winning season since 2015.  A long time in the wilderness and the worst stretch in program history.

I'm really proud of our guys for last night.  After that UT gut punch, it would have been easy to come out flat in a nearly empty, rainy, cold Waldo Stadium last night.  But that's not what happened.  BG jumped on the Broncos early and the game was over at halftime.  That alone is a sign of resilience and maturity.

So, by now there should be no doubt that Scot Loeffler will be back next year. He's not right where he said he would be after five years but he's only one year behind, particularly with a bowl win.  Here's something I thought of last night...when we were going through late December and losing players to P5 teams in the portal...and then if I told you Hardamon would miss the season, what are the odds you'd think we'd improve by one game.

He said some interesting things in his presser.

First, and I think this is so key, is that we have to bring everyone back.  We lose almost no one off of our depth chart.  Coach repeated his sales to pitch to Harold Fannin, who can absolutely play where ever he wants. You surely saw that last night. (Here's what I wrote on him when he was our first verbal that year).

We can be pretty good next year and we have a big high school class coming in.  But we can't lose our top 6-7 guys to the portal.  I don't know how that works, because some of our guys could play at larger schools and get a little NIL-love. I don't know if we have to pray to some portal god or what, but for our progress to continue we need to get everyone back.

Coach also said we have to take the next step.  Look, given our schedule and the way those tough MAC games were sandwiched into the P5 games, 7-5 is an accomplishment.  Our MAC record stayed at 5-3.

Even so, there's a clear demarcation:

Record of teams we lost to: 49-6

Record of teams we beat (FBS): 16-32

We played three games against the top teams in the MAC, and we only put up a representative effort for half of one of them. The other 2.5 games were not competitive.  To win a title, that's where it needs to continue to improve and I think Coach would agree.

A couple of last thoughts from me:

How much would you like to have the first half of that Liberty game back? 

BG succeeded this year based on huge turnover differentials. That can have a distorting effect on the rest of the game.  Phil Steele notes that since 1990, teams at +10 or more have had the same or lesser record 72% of the time the next year.  (Best example:  USC was +22 last year.  OU was +12 and lost 3 regular season games again).

BG was only +7 overall.  Of course, it was -4 in the Liberty game.  The point is that BG relied on getting turnovers to succeed, and sometimes that can mask what you need to do to improve.  And at some level, turnovers involve a level of luck. They're not random, but your lineman can deflect a pass and it's a matter of fractions of an inch that the ball ends up going up and toward one of the lineman's teammates.  Fumble recoveries have similar elements.

BG is 3rd in scoring offense in the MAC right now, but 5th in yards per play.  That's largely because of the short fields. 

My only point is that the defense seems pretty solid.  And Hardamon will be back. The offense has room to grow.

There will be big losses at WR.  Stewart can be back and if he is and he stays healthy, he's a game changer to be sure.  We beat UT with him in the lineup.  (But we beat them without Finn the year before.)

The line still has to be better and, most importantly, teams that win the MAC have an elite QB and I don't know if we have that guy on the roster.  Certainly, better protection would make a difference but I'm still not sure.

I would not mind seeing some new blood on the staff on the offensive side of the ball.  I'm not expecting that, but I do think that some fresh thinking might help the team.

If we keep everyone, we can portal selectively.  That would include at WR.  We do have a number of young players coming up, including Jaylon Tillman, who scored last night.

The guys get to rest and get healthy.  We will find out our bowl assignment in a few days.  We get the extra practice and, I hope, a bowl win.  When the team takes the field in '24, it will be with the most optimism since 2016.

And let me just say how great it is to watch us winning games again.

Sunday, November 19, 2023

25 Questions For the Season Ender

What is their body of work?

It has been 7 years since PJ Fleck rowed out of Kalamazoo. They are 41-39 since then, with 3 bowl appearances.  They had a former star as their coach and he was 8-5 and 5-7 in his last two years and was fired, showing a significant philosophical difference from Bowing Green. Lance Taylor has come in--he coached in the NFL and at Notre Dame and came after one year at Louisville.  They are 4-7 overall and 4-3 in the MAC.  In common opponent land, they also lost to UT, Miami and OU and also beat Ball State.  They lost their last game to NIU in a 24-0 shutout.  WMU has won two of the 3 games the teams have played since Babers left, including the final game of the Mike Jinks tenure.  BG beat WMU last year.  BG is a 1.5 point favorite.

How experienced are they?

They have 25 juniors and above on the two-deep, which is low.

Who are their national leaders?


What is their turnover ratio? 

They are -+5 (All Games).


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

They have started 3 QBs this year.  Hayden Wolff has taken all the snaps for the last 4.  He's an ODU transfer.  He is #6 in the MAC in pass efficiency, completing 65%, only 10.6 yards per reception and 5 TDs over 2 INT.  He's not too much of a dual-threat, but he does run.

What is their scoring and yards per play

They are 3rd in the MAC at 28 points per game.  They are 5th in yards per play--the difference comes from the turnover margin, much like BG.  BG is 5th and 7th.

Can they run the ball?

They are #5 in the MAC in rushing.  Their lead back, Jalen Buckley, averages 5.1 yards per carry (#10) and is #2 in rushing attempts in the conference.

Do they pass the ball?

Well, you can see above how they have been with Wolff at the helm. Kenneth Womack leads the MAC in receptions but only 8.7 per completion. 

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on 55% of their plays, which is a lot.  

Do they convert on 3rd Down, 

They are #9 at 34%

Do they score in Red Zone?

They are ok at 4.8 points per trip.

Do they protect the QB?

They have been sacked 6.5% of their passing attempts, which is typical.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play

They are 10th in scoring defense and last in yards per play allowed.

Do they defend the run effectively?

No, in fact.  They are 11th in yards per carry allowed.

Can they be passed on?

They are last in pass efficiency defense. They allow 60% completions, which isn't terrible, with 12.7 yards per completion and 14 TDs over 6 INT.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are last, allowing 48%.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They are below average at 5 points per trip.

Do they pressure the QB?

Sacks on 6.5% of opponent passes, which is in the average range.

Special Teams:


They are 10th in net punting. They have been blocked once and allowed a TD (all games).

Punt Return?

They have 6 returns for 52 yards.


All games, he is 8 of 14.  Long 49. He is 6-7 inside 40 and has not been blocked.


All games, opponents start on the 23.  No TDs.

Kickoff Return?

Not great, they start on the 23.  No TDs.

Intangible Miscellany

So, this is one of those games.  BG is going to a bowl game either way and WMU is not.  It's going to be rainy/snowy in Kzoo that day, but at least right now slowing up around game time.

So assuming that everyone comes to play, it is really hard to call.  We have no idea who will be out there for BG.  Stewart and Keith are game time decisions (per coach), Bazelak was injured in the UT game and who knows who else.  Coach says we are really banged up.

So, this should be a decent matchup.  BG has struggled on offense and WMU is not good on defense.  However, you have no idea who will be out there and BG is not deep.  I assume WMU is also banged up.

Clawson used to say this was a game to show "who loves football."

BG is coming off the gut punch loss in the rivalry game with nothing to play for.  It will be interesting to see if they show up.

Past and Future Opponent Land

 Liberty:  (11-0) Beat UMass

Eastern Illinois: (8-3)  Beat Robert Morris

Michigan: (11-0) Beat Maryland

OU (8-3)  Beat CMU

Georgia Tech: (6-5)  Beat Syracuse

Miami: (9-2) Beat UB

Buffalo: (3-8) Lost to MU

Akron: (2-9)  Lost to EMU

Ball State: (4-7) Destroyed Kent

Kent: (1-10) Lost to Ball State

Toledo: (10-1) We played them

WMU: (4-7) Lost to NIU


P5: 4-17

G5:  6-9

FCS: 10-2

East vs. West: 9-5 West

Saturday, November 18, 2023


Yeah, that was a rough one. Bellarmine is a well-coached, experienced team that is used to playing each other and they completely took it to the Falcons MBB team last night. The Knights rained 3FGs which kept BG out of transition and in the half-court they played a packed-in matchup thing that forced us to the perimeter without kickouts and that did not work out for us, 85-67. 

We are a work in progress to start with and playing without our floor general on top of that.

It was trouble from the drop.  BG led for only 1:11 and never in the last 37 minutes of the game.  BU came out to a 17-6 lead 7 minutes into the game.  BG got it down to 4 once (with the ball) in the second half and went to the locker room trailing by 8. BG shot 1-12 from 3FG in the first half.

BG was never closer than 6 in the first half. The lead got over 10 with about 15 to play and was never in single digits again. BG got it to 11 a couple times but Bellarmine answered with a hoop each time.

It was as one-sided as it looks.

BU won the tempo battle.  The game was played at 65 possessions. BG ended up at 1.03 points per possession, which is slightly below average.  BU scored 85 in those 65 possessions, a scorching 1.3 points per possession.  Since at least 1999, BG has not won a game when allowing that many points per possession, which is no surprise, few teams have. We beat WMU in 2018 allowing 1.24.

BG shot 48% from 3FG and 28% from 3FG. Unfortunately, more than half of BG's shots were from 3FG.  BG is 14-52 over the last two games from 3FG.  BG took good care of the ball and rebounded well and got to line but made only 50%--12 of 24.  We are #335 in the country in FT shooting to date.

Meanwhile, BU made 55% on 2FG and 65% from 3FG. That's the highest against BG since Evansville in 2018. They had an average game with turnovers, better than the usually do on the offensive boards and got to the line a whole bunch, and made 18 out of 23.  Bellarmine made 80% around the rim.

This is all below. I doubt if any team has won a game where the shooting looks like this.

Coach Simon substituted liberally trying to find a combo that might click. Only McComb and Greer had positive +/-.

So, Thomas didn't play.  Hill was in foul trouble and logged only 20 minutes.  The leading scorers for BG were McComb (career-high 15 points, 3 of 4 from 2FG, 2 of 6 from 3FG, in 18 minutes), Dajion Humphrey (12 points, 3 of 9 from 3FG, 3 of 7 at the line), Agee (11 points on 4 of 7 shooting, 6 rebounds and 3 assists in 20 minutes, also 3 of 8 at the line) and Spurgin (10 points, 4 of 7 shooting, 2 of 4 from 3, 6 rebounds and 4 assists).

So on we go. We seem to expect Thomas back for the next game, which is Friday against WKU in Montreal, where we will spend the weekend with 3 games.  Sacre Bleu.  

Friday, November 17, 2023

Bellarmine Preview

Bellarmine arrives in the Stroh today.  This is a team probably no one knows much about.  They are the Knights and from Louisville.  Since the 1960s, they were a nationally prominent program in DII. They won it all in 2011, made 4 other final four appearances, 2 more times in the Sweet Sixteen and 13 other tournament appearances.

In 20-21 they moved up to D1 in the Atlantic Sun.  They won the 22 ASUN tourney, but were not eligible yet.  In fact, this is their last year of not being eligible for the tournament.  They upset Louisville last year.

Their coach is Scott Davenport.  He has been there for 16 years and most of the NCAA success. He is 409-150 (73%) at Bellarmine.

The ASUN is the #18 ranked conference.  That's one spot ahead of the MAC last year.  They were 15-18 last year.  They are picked #6 in the official pre-season poll.  Blue Ribbon has them 7th.

They are 0-3 this year. They lost big @Washington (74), by 8 @ Kansas State (40) and by 8 against @ Chattanooga (182).  Their kenpom is 262.

It's early and they have only played on the road, but they are a below average offensive team and a poor defensive team. They have played at a very slow pace. Their shooting and turnovers are below average and they are among the worst on the offensive boards and getting to the line.  (Teams that want to control the pace often don't crash the boards).  They try and average number of 3s and make 34% which is not bad. 

On defense, they are easy to shoot against but they have forced turnovers and they don't foul.  They are also poor on the defensive glass. Teams made 35% from 3FG against them and 64% from 2FG, which is among the worst in the land.

Their leading scorer is Ben Johnson. He's a 6'3" G scored 12 a game with most 3FGs.  He's making 44%. 

Next is Bash Wieland, a 6'6" G scoring 11.7 a game on 56% shooting, mostly 2s. 

Peter Suder is a 6'5" G scoring 11.3 PPG but only at 39%, mostly 2s.

Their leading rebounders are 6'10" Langdon Hatton and 6'5" Alex Pfriem.

For whatever reason, Garrett Tipton was named pre-season All-ASUN but has had a really rough start, shooting 25%.

BG is a 3.5-point favorite. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

No Look Oakland Game Story

 So, I'm afraid I saw and heard nothing about the BG-Oakland game last night, with the exception of score reports leaking through the overloaded Doyt cell phone transmitter.

Oakland is a good program, well coached and have played two Big Ten teams tough.  It figured to be a tough game for BG and it was.  This is fine.  We are a work in progress.

The Falcons never led.  Oakland led for the last 34 minutes of the game. Oakland led by 10 at the half.  For much of the half it kind of bounced between 8 and 12, with BG never putting the run together to get back into the game.  In fact, with 7 left in the half, OU went on a 12-0 run to stretch their lead to 21.  It ended 81-62.

BG struggled on offense, with .82 points per possession.  Oakland scored 1.08 in a quick 75-possession game. 

So, it's not hard to see how it happened. BG shot 53% from 2FG but only 20% from 3FG.  Oakland made 54% and 39%. BG didn't take good care of the ball and was -11 at the free throw line.  BG shot only 50% at the lie

Jason Spurgin had a big game at 17 and 10 on 7 of 11 shooting.  He fouled out and was the only BG regular with a plus/minus on the plus side.

Sam Towns scored 10 on 5 of 6 shooting and had 9 rebounds. 

BG's leading scorers from the Arkansas State game combined for 14 points.

Next up is Bellarmine on Friday night at the Stroh.

Sadness Accrues

 And there was much sadness.

What a night, huh?  A great crowd, spirited fans of both sides, and a game that came down to the very last minutes with a shocking finish.  Much like the game last year, in fact, though we did like the result better that time.

The rivalry game has delivered incredible drama the last two years.  It was a dogfight until the end.

It is hard to imagine BG playing much better than they did in the first half.  Working without Terion Stewart, they were just amazing.  They had 14 first downs. Almost 20 minutes of possession. Bazelak was 17 of 22 for 207 yards.  Meanwhile, the Rocket offense was off the field, with only 7 first downs and only 10 points.

Yes, BG led 28-10 at the half.

I don't think anyone on BG's side thought it was over and alas, it was not.

It unraveled right away in the second half.  BG got the kick and had a chance to put the game away with a score. They got to a 4th and inches near their own 35. They decided to go for it but in the excitement got a critical false start penalty.  On the punt, the snap was high and Kleather had to rush the kick, which covered only 12 yards.

Two passes later, UT was in the end zone and it was 28-17.

BG came right back and drove into UT territory.  Cam Orth was in to provide the running dimension and he was doing it, on a 12 yard run to the UT 20 when he was hit from behind and fumbled and UT recovered.

BG's defense responded, though, getting a 3-and-out. UT's punted unleashed a monster kick and the Falcons started on their 6.  They made four first downs, including on 3rd and 13 and were back at the UT 29 for third and 6. Bazelak was sacked on the next two plays and BG turned the ball over with 3 minutes left in the 3rd.

The defense continued to hold up.  UT drove to the Falcon 48, but a Jordan Porter pass break up led to 4th and 6 and UT went for it but did not make it.

The offense started near midfield with yet another opportunity to finish the Rockets off.

Alas, they went three and out as Bazelak was under constant siege from the Rocket pass rush.  They punted UT to their own 11 having taken less than a minute off the clock.

Finally, the dam broke.  Peny Boone had a 55 yards run and the Rockets scored with the two-pointed to make it 28-25.

BG went 3 and out, failing to convert a 3rd and 2.  After the punt, UT started on their 16.

And....on 2nd down...Finn overthrew his receiver and Oladokun intercepted the ball on the Rocket 39.

Freeze frame that moment right there. There was 10 minutes left. You have a short field.  You have to think you can make this a two-score game.

Bazelak is injured now, and it was Orth for the remainder of the game. Bowling Green made a first down and then took a holding call.  On 3rd and 8 from the 22, Orth just missed an open Hilaire in the end zone, in what is probably the second most tragic moment for BG in the game.  A FG followed and the lead was 6 with 7:25,

The defense does their job again, sacking Finn and forcing UT to punt.  It was a short punt that BG let land and somehow got a holding penalty anyway and started on their 34 with 5:42 left.

Three first downs and the game is over.  Reporters asked Loeffler if he considered running it three times to burn clock, which he did not do.  I think we did the right thing.

We ran one run and two passes.  The issue here is that we had no realistic hope of making the first down running the ball (remember, Stewart is injured) and that the offense was unable to move the chains. I guess knowing that, you might have run the clock and put it into your defense's hands...ultimately, when BG needed the offense in the 2nd half, they didn't produce.

One minute and one second went off the clock.

UT takes the ball on their own 23 with 4:36 left.  Clock is rolling, they convert and 3rd and 6.  The defense got them into a 4th and 2.  This is just heartbreaking.  There's 1:45 left.  We are one play from winning the game.  And, sadly, one play from losing it.  UT hit Stuart with a pass for the first down but he ran untouched down the sideline for a soul-crushing score.  Coach said after the game that someone on the field made a mistake to let it happen, though he didn't go into detail, which is fine.  It is what it is.

BG did get the ball back but lost 7 yards and turned it over on downs. And the Rocket students stormed our field.

Oh my.

BG ran 81 plays, UT ran 57...that yields 7.3 yards per play for UT and 5 for BG.  BG dominated time of possession at 37 minutes and 17 in the second half. BG was 6 -17 on 3rd down and UT was 3 of 11.  Both teams turned it over once. Coach said after the game that UT made one more play.  With all the second half struggles for our offense, it was down to one play and it went the other way.

BG's never ran the ball effectively.  Man did Keith run hard but the line just doesn't make it easy.  He's not meeting contact up field.  Also, UT was close to the line defensively, because the Falcons had a hard time on deep drop passing due to a lack of protection. BG averaged 4.1 yards per carry, sack adjusted.  His long run was 14.

Meanwhile, before going out, Bazelak was 6 of 13 for 79 yards. Orth was 3 of 11 for 23 yards. BG completed 56% of its passes for 11.8 yards per completion.  The biggest issue was that they were sacked 5 times and hurried 8 times, making that 13 pressures in 51 attempts...almost 25%.

BG made 1 first down in the 4th quarter.

The defense did what it could, getting key stops against a high-powered UT attacked.  They sacked Finn three times (twice by Howell) and kept his running from taking over the game. They had no answer for Boone--and I don't have an answer for why he only ran it 15 times--and Finn did complete passes.  In the end, Coach said there were two huge mistakes, one of them on the decisive play.

BG heads to play WMU, who have been playing a little better.  They can finish with 7 wins, a one game improvement over last year, and two with a bowl win.  It was BG's best game against a good MAC team this year.  As I always say, whether that's good enough is the decision.

Monday, November 13, 2023

25 Questions for the RIVALRY Game

 What is their body of work?

So, the Rockets have slowly build their program from good to really good.  For a number of years they were good but not able to get over the top, always good for a couple head scratchers during the season that cost them the top position.  They broke through last year, won the MAC, and then their bowl game. This year, they lost barely to Illinois to open the year and have run the table since.  The NIU, Ball State and Miami games were close....they beat Miami 21-17, whereas BG did not.  They are set to play in the title game already.

BG and UT have split the last four meetings.  BG won last year in a thriller, with Finn injured.  Toledo is a 10-point favorite.

How experienced are they?

They have 30 juniors and above on the two-deep, which is experienced.

Who are their national leaders?

Jacquez Smart is #4 in KOR
Quinyon Mitchell is #3 in passes defended, 
Jerjuan Newton is #13 in receiving TDs
Peny Boone is #5 in rushing yards per carry, #11 in rushing yards, #13 in yards per game, #14 in TDs

What is their turnover ratio? 

They are -1, but that's 17 out and 16 in, which is a lot both ways (All Games).


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

He's good.  Dequan Finn is #1 in passing efficiency and #22 in rushing in the MAC. He completes 67% of his passes (2nd), 10 TD over 4 INT and 14.5 yards per reception.  

What is their scoring and yards per play

They lead the MAC in scoring at 34 per game.

Can they run the ball?

They are #2 in the MAC at 4.8 yards per carry.

Do they pass the ball?

As mentioned, they are #1 in passing efficiency and it's not very close. Completing 67% at 14.5 per reception is astounding. They have the #7, #9 and #15 WRs in the MAC.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on 62% of their plays, which is a lot.  Probably misleading since Finn can scramble but the play was a called pass.

Do they convert on 3rd Down, 

They are #2 in the MAC at 41%.

Do they score in Red Zone?

They are deadly at 5.4 points per trip.

Do they protect the QB?

Yes, they do.  They have only been sacked 3 times in over 140 attempts. Finn is tough to pin down and their line is tough.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play

They are 4 in scoring defense and 5th in yards per play. They are tied with BG in yards per play.

Do they defend the run effectively?

No, in fact.  They are 10th in opponent yards per carry.

Can they be passed on?

Yeah, they lead the MAC in passing efficiency defense and it is not close. They are #7 in the nation. They allow 45% completions, 4 TD and 7 INT and 11.7 per completion. 

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are 6 at 37%.  (BG is last on defensive 3rd down).

Do they defend in the red zone?

They are good at 4 points per trip.  This is key to them being #4 in scoring defense.

Do they pressure the QB?

Sacks on 6% of opponent passes, which is in the average range.

Special Teams:


They are last in net punting. He has been blocked once.  (All games)

Punt Return?

Not bad.  9 returns and 72 yards. No TDS.


All games, he is 8 of 9, long of 44, missed only above 40.  Not many FG attempts at all,


All games, opponents start on the 30, which is not good.

Kickoff Return?

Typical, teams start on the 26.

Intangible Miscellany

OK, so on paper this game would skew to UT.  They are very good on offense with a dual-threat QB.  Their big weakness is run defense, which should be good for BG except that the top 2 RBs are game time decisions. BG already struggles to throw the ball.  

On the other hand.  BG tends to show up for big games...I give you Georgia Tech and UM and contrast with Ohio and Miami. They certainly showed up last year for this one.  We have seen that we can be very competitive when we play like that.  UT only beat Ball State 13-6. They clearly are capable of being beaten on the right night. 

Compared to the other two Loeffler wins over UT, this one would hardly be an upset at all.

I don't think we get anything for UT already being in the MAC title game and there's still some chance out there they end up on New Year's if they don't lose again.

It's time to play the game.

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Oakland Preview

Greg Kampe has coached at Oakland for 40 years. It's incredible in this world.  They were DII when he got there, and he has now taken them to 3 NCAA tournaments.  He's a Falcon...played football and basketball for the Falcons.  This year, he was inducted into the inaugural class of the National High School Hall of Fame.

He has been very successful...however, based on kempom, last year was their worst year since 1999, which is as far back as the records go.  They were 13-19, but were 2-11 at one point.  He plays real schedules...they played the #21 non-conference schedule in the country last year. The kenpom was 272.

This will be the 12th meeting between BG and Oakland. BG has won the last 3, including last year at Oakland. 

I mentioned they play a tough schedule.  They are 0-2 this year, with losses to Ohio State and Illinois, both on the road.  They showed up both times.  At OSU, they led as late as 9 minutes left to play and against Illinois they led with 11 left and the game was tied with 7:30 to play.

They have shot 47% of their field goals from 3, one of the highest in the country.  They make 34.5%, which is above average but not great.

Their leader to date is Trey Townshend.  He's 6'6", scoring 18 PPG on 41% shooting, almost all from 2FG.  He also averages 9 RPG and has made all 7 of his FTs.

Their second leading scorer is Hillsdale transfer Jack Gohlke. He's scoring 12 a game on 8 of 24 shooting---each and every one of them from 3FG. He's 6'3".

Blake Lampman has 11 PPG on 40% 3FG shooting.

So 2-0 meets 0-2.  Kenpom has this ranked as pretty much a toss up.  Should be an interesting game, taking place at the same time as the BG-UT game!

BG MBB Goes 2-0

 BG came out hot, taking a 15-3 lead with 6 minutes gone in the first half.  The lead was solid and in that range.  With 7 left in the first half, BG was up 12.  Arkansas State went on a 13-0 run to take the lead with 1:32 left.  BG led by 3 at the half.

The second half was closely contested for the first 11 minutes.  With 9:11 left, ASU led by 1.  The Falcons then went on a 20-7 run that seemed decisive at +12 with 4 minutes left.  But the Red Wolves scored that next 9 and had it back to 3 with 2:07 left. 

Big possession for BG.  They run the clock to 1:40 before Marcus Hill made a layup, BG got a stop and then Hill scored again to make it a 7 point lead with :57.  Again, you'd think it would be over, but ASU got an and-one to make it 4.  BG missed the back end of a 1-1.  Spurgin got a block on the next possession but ASU nailed a 3 with :19 left to make the lead 2.  Humphrey was fouled and made both.  BG got a stop and Towns cleared the board and was fouled.  And then he made both FTs and it was an 81-75 final.

BG had a really good offensive game at 1.17 points per possession. ASU was also good offensively at 1.08 points per possession. The game had only 69 possessions, which was low given what we expected from these teams and their new coaches.

The shooting was almost identical.  BG shot 57% from 2FG and 33% from 3FG with 30% FGAs from 3FG..  Arkansas State shot 58% and 32% with 34% of their attempts from 3. That equals out to nearly identical EFG.  Rebounding was largely a wash.  The difference was turnovers and free throws.  BG had only 6 turnovers....ASU had only 10, but that's 4 extra possessions.  And BG was 15-20 at the line, and ASU was 4-9.  BG had 4 in garbage time.

Marcus Hill led BG in scoring.  He has 26 on 9 of 15 shooting from 2FG and 0-2 from 3FG.  He made key baskets at the end and in BG's big 2nd half run.  8-10 from the line, 5 rebounds and 4 assists over 1 TO.  If that might work for you.

DaJion Humphrey had 22 on 4-5 2FG shooting and 4 of 6 3FG shooting, 2-2 from the line.  And 4 rebounds.  No one else was in double figures.  Agee had 9 and 6...4 of 5 shooting. Spurgin had 9 points and 3 blocks. Towns had 7 rebounds.

So, BG goes to 2-0. This was a nice win over a team competitive with us.  BG has opened 2-0 in consecutive seasons for the first time in 39 seasons. 

On we go.  First road game of the Simon era against former Falcon Greg Kampe in the O Zone.

Past and Future Opponent Land

Liberty:  (10-0) Beat ODU

Eastern Ilinois: (7-3)  Beat TN State

Michigan: (10-0) Beat Penn State

OU (7-3)  Beat UB

Georgia Tech: (5-5)  Lost to Clemson

Miami: (8-2) Beat Akron

Buffalo: (3-7) Lost to OU

Akron: (2-8)  Lost to Kent

Ball State: (3-7) Beat NIU

Kent: (1-9) We played them

Toledo: (9-1) Beat EMU

WMU: (4-6) Beat CMU


P5: 4-17

G5:  6-9

FCS: 10-2

East vs. West: 6-4 West

Friday, November 10, 2023

Pardon Signs and Commit for MBB

 So, signing day is in the books.  BG MBB has a signing and a significant JUCO verbal commit.  Let's begin.

I cannot wait to be in the Stroh when Jaxon Pardon hits the floor for the Falcons.  Cannot wait.  His Dad was one of the most popular players we ever heard, playing back in the Dakich heyday.  When a big possession was coming up, he would pound the floor waiting for the opponent to get to half court.  It is seared in my brain.  Grant Cummings, lifetime Falcon, posted this highlight from Pardon.

Jaxon grew up in Fort Wayne and he is 6'4".  He was first-team all-conference and played AAU ball as well. He scored 15 a game as a junior and appears to track as a combo guard.

The commit is 6'11" Preston Squire from Layton, UT.  (Updatte:  he signed today as well.) He is playing JUCO ball this year as a freshman at Salt Lake Community College.  He's transferring, so that tells me he qualified and doesn't have to graduate before he transfers and plays D1 ball.  

During his junior season of high school, Squire aided his team to a third place finish in the state while compiling a 21-3 record. He posted 11.1 points per game to go along with 5.6 rebounds. Squire followed it up in his senior season with 13.2 points per game and 7.7 rebounds while adding 3.4 assists and nearly a steal per game (0.9) to his stat line. 

He plays for the #5 ranked JUCO team in the country and is scoring 9 PPG and 6 RPG in 22 minutes. He has started two of their games.  He had offers from Missouri State, Idaho State and UMass.

Jaxon and Preston.  Welcome to the Falcons.

Thursday, November 09, 2023

Arkansas State Preview

So, BG enters its first game in the Sun Belt challenge.  I love this, by the way.  Great way for us to get a good home game every season against a conference that is comparable to ours.  The Sun Belt last year was #14 ranked and the MAC was #19.  I'm a fan. Based on the Kenpom rankings, this is the 2nd best team on our pre-season schedule.

This is the fifth time we have played Arkansas State.  Each team has won 2.  BG won in 1950 in BG (BG's leading scorers Jim Gerber and Eli Joyce--townie alert).  In 1988 BG played them in Lexington in the Kentucky tournament and Arkansas State won. In 2006, the last Dakich season, we played Arkansas State in a home and home with each team winning at home. (They were the Indians until 2008, now are the Red Wolves.)

They have not been wildly successful.  They have 3 winning seasons in conference in last 10 years, one NCAA trip, which was in 1999 and they were the 15 seed and lost to Utah in the first round.

Bryan Hodgson is their coach, in his first season. You will remember him as the bearded assistant to Nate Oats at UB.  He went with Oats to Alabama and just now has started at Arkansas State.

They are picked 10th in the conference by Blue Ribbon and 9th in their official pre-season poll.

He says they will play in a Nate Oats style.  They will play fast and go for 3s and layups with good defense. 

A brief digression.  I thought Coach Simon said something interesting in the post-game presser after the Chicago State game.  I think some of our fans thought we were not going to worry about playing D.  Coach said it starts with defense and rebounding, which makes sense because you start a fast break with a stop and a rebound. That legendary 2019 UB team was #31 in the nation in defensive efficiency.

They were blown out in their opener by Wisconsin, shooting 4 of 21 from 3FG.

Seven guys got 10 minutes

They have a guy named Caleb Fields, but it's a different Caleb Fields than our guy.  He averaged 11 a game last year and scored 17 in Madison. He also had 4.6 assists per game.

Avery Felts...averaged 8 PPG last year, 39% 3FG shooter.

Freddy Hicks, transfer from Tarleton State, second team All-WAC 6'6".  Had 16 points and 6 rebounds for Tarleton.

Derrian Ford is a transfer from Arkansas and was a 4-star recruit and Arkansas POY in HS twice.

Dyondre Dominquez is 6'9" and a transfer from UMass.  Had 14 points and 8 rebounds in the opener.

Taryn Todd played for TCU, New Mexico, Northwest Florida State  College (same as Trey Diggs) and now ASU.  

LaQuill Hardnett played at UB and had 11 PPG and 7 RPG for the Bulls,

Sweet Victory #6


And there you go.  BG cruised to a 49-19 victory over Kent Wednesday night, becoming bowl eligible and now with a shot to get to a 7-win season for the first time in 8 seasons.  It is BG's first 4-game winning streak since 2015.  From 2016 to 2022, BG did not win 4 games in any season.

We are what we are.  So far, not as good as Ohio and Miami (or close) but better than the worst teams in the MAC.  Whether that's good enough at this point is a debate.

I felt like the game had two turning points. The first came in the second quarter when Kent chose a FG on 4th and 4 on the BG 18 to try and make it a 14-9 game.  They doinked the FG and BG took the ball and scored 3 plays later on a drive highlighted by Orth to Keith for 74 yards (two plays, including the score).  It was 21-6 at that point and it was never a one-score game again.

The other came in the second half.  BG took the opening kickoff and drove inside the 5-yard line.  On 4th and 1, BG went for it and did not make it.  (I like the decision, but not the inability to make 1 yard).  KS drove to midfield and then punted BG to its own 2.  BG went 3 and out, shanked the punt, and Kent scored to make it 28-13.

With 5 minutes left in the 3rd, this is the kind of thing that can turn a game.  Plenty of time, especially because BG had been giving up yards.

What BG needed was a drive.  And they got it, going 75 yards in 12 plays and running 7:05 off the clock.  That included a 4th and 3 conversion, both QBs, and miracle grabs by Taron Keith and Finn Hogan.  The score made it 35-13 at that was that.

A few thoughts.

BG played without Terion Stewart (along with Oladokin and Tunde Fatukasi.  According to PFF, Jake Burns had a fantastic game in Tunde's spot).  This essentially left us playing without most of our offensive production.  BG's coaching staff actually had a creative game plan to try and move the ball, something they have not always done.  That included letting Taron Keith run wild.  He ended as the first player in program history with 100 yards rushing AND receiving in the same game.  BG also ran Fannin 5 times for 25 yards and he caught 4 for 92.

It was enough. BG ended up with 7.7 yards per play and 476 yards overall. A good offensive performance against a Kent team that does play decent defense.

It was a great example of complimentary football.  BG used a FR, an INT, a big punt return and a big kickoff return (both by Embry) to start each time in Kent territory and scored each time. Add in a fake punt that extended yet another drive.  This has been the formula and it has won 4 straight.

More creativity might be needed, as Coach said today that Keith and Stewart will be game time decisions for Toledo on Tuesday.

BG's defense was more in a bend-don't-break mode. It was certainly good enough.  They held KSU's backs to 4 yards per carry and a long run of 13.  KSU did pass the ball well on us, going 23 of 40 for 284 yards, 12.3 per completion.  Kent was also playing without their #1 WR--actually was leading the MAC in receptions. However, BG forced two turnovers and had 4 sacks and 1 hurry against a struggling Kent offensive line.  BG allowed only 2 TDs.  It was a credible performance and all worked together for an easy win. 

BG continued to have too many penalties, with 11 on the game.  That's not good at all.  BG only turned it over once and were sacked only twice.

So, BG will be in a bowl game for the second straight year.  They have a shot at 7 or 8 wins, an improvement over last year.  I think we're better than last year.  But if that's good enough, again...that;'s a debate.  One I'd like, at this point, to hear you debate without using the words "Mike Jinks."

Tuesday, November 07, 2023

25 Questions for Flashing

What is their body of work?

So, Kent has struggled over the years in football.  It didn't look to get better when they hired Sean Lewis, a former BG OC, after being rejected by a few other coaches. Lewis exceeded expectations, taking them to a MAC Championship and two bowl games in five years.  He moved on to Colorado and Kent moved on to Kenni Burns.

It has been a rough transition.  They lost 22 transfers...7 to P5 teams, 6 to G5 teams and 4 to FCS teams. They are 1-8 this year. The only win is over an FCS opponent.  Only one of those losses was a one-score game, and that was their last game against Akron, a game they should have won.

Kent has won the last five against BG.  Three were blowouts, including a 40-6 beating last year.

BG is a 9.5-point favorite.

How experienced are they?

They have 27 juniors and above on the two-deep, which is youngish.  Most are on defense.

Who are their national leaders?

Andrew Glass is #12 in FG%.

What is their turnover ratio? 

They are -1


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

Well, that's an interesting question.  They had been splitting time between Alaimon and Ulatowski until the Akron game when Ulatowski went the whole way and played really well.  They are listed as OR on the depth chart for this week. 

What is their scoring and yards per play

They are last in the MAC in scoring at 13 PPG.  Also, last in yards per play.

Can they run the ball?

They do not.  They are 11th in yards per carry at 2.8 per carry.  Only 1 rushing TD.  

Do they pass the ball?

They are 8th in passing offense. They have a 52% completion percentage, which is 11th, but 11.1 yards per completion, which is decent.  Only 2 INT.  Chrishon McCray leads the MAC in receptions.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on 52% of their plays, a lot for a team not good at it.

Do they convert on 3rd Down, 

No.  They are last at 25%.

Do they score in Red Zone?

Not great, 4.4 per trip.  Only 4 TDs in 9 trips.

Do they protect the QB?

No. Sacked on 12% of passing attempts.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play

They are 11th in scoring defense and 8th in yards per play.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are 3rd in the MAC in rushing defense based on yards per carry allowed.  Given how BG's offense has performed, this is a challenge.  They will load up to stop the run and that's usually a struggle for us.

Can they be passed on?

They are 9th in passing efficiency defense. They allow 53% completions, which is #2 in the MAC. They give up 14 a completion and have only 1 INT.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are 10th at 42%.  (BG is last on defensive 3rd down).

Do they defend in the red zone?

Not really.  They allow 5.2 points per red zone trip.

Do they pressure the QB?

No.  Sacks on 4% of opponent passes.

Special Teams:


They are 9th in net punting.  Blocked once.

Punt Return?

Not much.  6th in punt returns.  No TDs.


All games, he is 10 of 11. Long of 48, only miss outside of 40.


All games, opponents start on the 26.

Kickoff Return?

Typical, teams start on the 25.

Intangible Miscellany

So, Kent has not been very good this year.  Three questions.  Can BG move the ball if they can't run.  Enough at least to win.  Will BG continue to force turnovers?  And how will Kent respond to a soul-crushing loss to Akron?  Will they realize they are close to winning?  Or did they leave it all on the field?  This is the easy part of our schedule and Kent has been thumping us.  Love to see BG get this series back on track.

Monday, November 06, 2023

BG Nails Cougars to Win Opener

 Well, that Todd Simon era is off to a roaring start as BG picked up a 70-41 win over Bewley-less Chicago State.  BG was playing without probably its top player, Trey Thomas, the Vanderbilt transfer.  He has a sprained ankle and will miss a few games.  Even so, BG cruised to the victory over the Cougars.

CSU came out on a 6-0 run.  BG took the lead 9-6 with 14 left in the first half and never trailed again.  CSU hung close for a while, trailing 19-16 with 8 left.  BG went on a 13-5 run to close the half out with a lead of 11.  BG came out and put the game away in the second half.  The Cougars could not buy a basket and when there were 10 minutes left they had been outscored in the 2nd half by 21-6.  The lead got as high as 34 before BG closed it out winning by 29.

BG had an OK offensive night at 1.01 points per possession.  They held CSU to .59 points per possession.  That's the worst offensive efficiency by a BG opponent (D1) in the kenpom era, which dates to 1999.  That shooting disparity is incredible.  CSU made 25% of their 2FGs and 25% of their 3FGs. In the second half they shot 18%. They shot 20% from 2FG and 12.5% from 3FG.  It was just a horrific night.  BG had a slight edge in turnovers, won the rebounding battle and BG finished +2 at the line.  BG was only 11-20.

As mentioned, BG didn't have a great offensive night.  Shooting was OK, a lot of turnovers, decent rebounding and poor FT shooting.  Coach Nairns said after the game that we got open looks and they didn't fall....they call them "10 out of 10" shots, which means you take them every time.  It means you touch paint and kick out.  I did think the ball movement was light years better than it has been in recent years.  Good attack angles and fast rotation to pressure the defense.

I thought a big difference for BG was rim protection.  For the last two years, BG was terrible  preventing 2FGs...allowing over 53% each year, ranked above #300 each time.  Spurgin was a big part of that, blocking 3 shots and influencing many others.  In all, BG blocked 6 shots for the game, but more than that, CSU had to earn everything it got at the rim and BG mostly didn't foul in that situation.

Marcus Hill, the huge JUCO scorer, had a big game.  Thrust into the PG position with the Thomas injury, he scored 18 on 50% shooting....2 assists and 3 turnovers.  He was +26 for the game. Also 6 rebounds.  Agee had 14 on 7 of 10 shooting and 8 rebounds. DJ Smith had 10 on 2-6 shooting but he made all 6 FTs.  J. Spurgin had 6 rebounds and 3 blocks. PJ Edwards had 4 assists over 0 turnovers. Da'Shawn Phillips had 10 rebounds.

So, it's 1-0.  This was a game BG was supposed to win easily and they did.  Nothing wrong there.  It was a fun night and I was encouraged by the ball movement on offense and the rim protection and pressure on the point guard that we displayed.

On we go.  Our toughest pre-MAC opponent comes in Saturday, a game we are still favored to win.

Sunday, November 05, 2023

Past and Future Opponent Land

Liberty:  (9-0) Beat La Tech, will host CUSA Title game

Eastern Ilinois: (6-3)  Beat Lindenwood

Michigan: (9-0) Beat Purdue

OU (6-3)  Off

Georgia Tech: (5-4)  Beat Virginia

Miami: (7-2) Off

Buffalo: (3-6) Lost to Toledo

Akron: (2-7)  Beat Kent in ridiculous comeback

Ball State: (2-6) We played them

Kent: (1-8) Lost to Akron in ridiculous choke

Toledo: (8-1) Beat UB

WMU: (3-6) Off


P5: 4-17

G5:  6-9

FCS: 10-2

East vs. West: 6-4 West

Chicago State Preview

So, the Todd Simon era will open Monday night.

He has done as good a job as possible to get the Falcon Nation wound up.  We are doing a great job generating student support. I expect some good crowds, exciting play, and an improved team.  A commenter says we beat Wright State in a scrimmage and lost to Fairmont State.  It could still be that kind of year.

The first opponent is Chicago State.  This one has been a bit of a soap opera.

They are one of D1's struggling schools.  They went D1 in 1984 and have had two winning seasons...the most recent in 2009.  They have had 26 seasons with single-digit wins. 

Last year's 11-20 record broke their streak of 8 straight single-win seasons.  It did include 4 non-D1 wins. They finished 0-3 in the MAC, losing Kent by 29, Ball State by 7 and OU by 27, all on the road.

This is our 4th meeting in a series that began in 1970.  BG has won all 3, including the last meeting by 28 in the Stroh in November 2021.

So the soap opera came in when the Cougars announced the signing of the Bewley twins in August.  This is, or would be, a game changer.  These guys are legit talents...

The brothers, both former 5-star recruits, are 6-foot-9-forwards from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The two last played prep ball in 2020-21 at West Oaks Academy in Orlando before signing with Overtime Elite where they have competed over the last two seasons. 

The Bewley's were the first players to sign with Overtime Elite and, at that time, Matt was ranked as the No. 2 overall player in the 247Sports 2023 recruiting rankings and No. 3 by ESPN and Rivals. Additionally, he was named as the No. 1 power forward in his class by 247Sports, ESPN and Rivals. Ryan was rated the country's No. 4 power forward (No. 20 overall) by 247Sports, the No. 6 power forward (No. 12 overall) by ESPN and the No. 4 power forward (No. 16 overall) by Rivals.

Overtime Elite is an alternative path to the NBA which allows players to play your one-and-done year without enrolling in a University. The players are paid.  There is an option for maintaining college eligibility. (I think this is a great idea.  There's nothing about pretending to be a college student for one year that prepares you for the NBA).

The NCAA has declared them ineligible. You can read a good explanation here.  It's confusing.  The Bewleys claim they were paid only for their NIL rights, just like an NCAA Athlete....and the NCAA claims...not...I guess.   They are suing the NCAA in Federal Court and have asked for a temporary restraining order...and the hearing will be on Tuesday.

I assume they will not be in uniform on Monday. But who knows.

They are independents again, after being in the WAC.  That means they have to front-load their schedule, because they generally have to schedule teams before conference play starts for them.  They will play 18 games before New Year's and 11 after...only 8 of them are D1 opponents.

They return 3 starters, including their top two scorers.  Those are 6'6" Wesley Cardet, who scored 16.6 PPG on 45% and 34% shooting and 5 RPG...and 6'6" Jahsean Corbett, who scored 14.2 PPG on 47% and 32% shooting. He also averaged 8.8 RPG.

Their PG graduated and it is not clear who is filling that role.

Under their current coach, they have typically played very slowly. Between 66 and 69 possessions a game. They were 231st in offensive efficiency and #351 in defensive efficiency.  Their only area that showed any strength was offensive rebounding, #32 in the nation.

So here we go.   BG is favored by 8.5.