They're 1-1 this year, but the loss was to Arizona in overtime. They beat Wyoming by 3 and I think the Cowboys are pretty good. They have clearly recovered from the Amstutz days.
How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?
24. which is a pretty good number. Based on the Phil Steele experience rankings, however, they are the second least experienced team in the MAC--they certainly did lose some productive players off last year's team.
Who are their statistical leaders?
Their punter, Vincent Penza, is #18 in FBS.
WR Bernard Reedy is the #3 receiver in the MAC (in yards and receptions) and #13 in the county in kickoff returns.
What is their turnover ratio?
This is a hallmark of the Rocket program. They are +2.5 so far this year, were +16 last year and +11 the year before that.
How is their QB Play?
It is very good. Terrance Owens appears to have solidified the starting position. He is a dual threat guy, #4 in the in the MAC in passing efficiency and #14 in rushing. Owens had a crazy game at Wyoming, 300 yards, 4 TDs and 74 rushing yards. If he falters, Austin Dantin has also played effectively for them.
What is their scoring and yards per play?
Obviously, no secret last year that they put up some video game numbers on offense. So far this year, they got 17 against Arizona and 34 against Wyoming. They are actually only averaging 4.8 yards per play, which is not that good. Getting all those turnovers does help you score.
Can they run the ball?
They are getting about 4 yards per carry so far this year which is OK but not great. Their main RB, David Fluellen, had 109 yards on 22 carries against Wyoming, his first 100 yard game.
Do they pass the ball?
Well, all told they are 90th in pass efficiency in D1, but as mentioned, Owens is 4th in the MAC on his own. They are completing just 52% of their passes at 10.6 yards per reception, neither of which is a great number.
How is their run/pass balance?
They are running on 51% of their plays so far, so they run a pretty balanced attack.
They are very good--45%--which helps explain the scoring without the huge yard numbers.
Do they score in the red zone?
They are only scoring 3.9 points per red zone trip, which is just average. They have made 7 trips in 2 games, which is also about average.
Do they protect the quarterback?
They do. They give up sacks on 3.2% of their pass plays. Typically, they have had a pretty quick release passing game, which does minimize sacks.
The defense was at the bottom of some of last year's most tumultuous Rocket moments. They had two crazy Arena-style shoot outs and Coach Beckman's refusal to call timeout in the NIU game (because he thought they could get a stop) ruffled a lot of feathers. They brought starters back, which may or may not be good.
Topline: Scoring and yards per play.
Let's Go Rocket, their blogger, told us yesterday that it has been a bend but don't break defense, a phrase familiar to Falcon fans. They are 118th in yardage allowed and only 81st in scoring defense. They are giving up 7.4 yards per play, which is a very big number.
Do they defend the run effectively?
Teams are rushing for 5.5 yards per carry against them, which is also not good. They are 94th in the nation in rush defense.
Can they be passed on?
They are giving up 66% completions and 14 yards per reception, neither of which is a great number. They do have 3 INTs. They are 107th in pass efficiency defense.
Do they get off the field on 3rd down?
They absolutely do. They are allowing only 30% completions on 3rd down.
They've allowed 4 trips per game, which is slightly high, and they have allowed points on each of them. But, three of those were FGs and the have allowed only 2.8 ponts per trip.
Do they pressure the QB?
4 sacks in 83 passing attempts is just under 5% and average but not great. They can get some pressure.
See above. Dude is good. He also has 6 inside the 20 and only one touchback.
Reedy's only had 3 shots with an 8 yard long. I have to believe he has game-breaking ability.
He has struggled. He's only 3-6 and 2-4 inside 40.
Yeah. Boo Boo can relax. 11 kickoffs, 10 touchbacks.
Reedy appears to be really good. He's got a 54 yarder, no score this year.
Obviously, it is their home opener and a rivalry game...they are always tough to beat at home and the place figures to be rocking.
The gap between the two teams had clearly narrowed for last year's game.
I think the challenge is first to the BG offense. Can the Falcons get rid of last week's issue and move the ball up and down the field effectively. It was shaky last week, but perhaps the adrenaline of the rivalry lights a fire.
Then, special teams have to excel. If those two things work, then BG's defense might only need the occasional stop to make the game work.
I mean, I know Wyoming is a good team. Is BG as good as Wyoming?
Obviously, the Rockets are favored and they should be. A road win Saturday would be an upset for BG, but one they are capable of delivering.