The Falcons opened the 2012 season with a difficult loss at Florida. BG had its chances, but mistakes in all three phases of the game kept the Falcons from knocking off the Gators in The Swamp. Here’s a look back at how BG lost to Florida at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Sept. 1 ...
OFFENSE: There were a lot of positives from Saturday, especially when you consider the caliber of defense the Falcons faced. BG finished with 327 yards of total offense (4.1 yards per play), and that average per play is pretty good. There was only one turnover –- a costly one, agreed, but only one –- and just one sack (that came at game’s end). Some negatives: Considering the number of pass attempts, 226 net yards passing isn’t very much, and 25 incompletions is a lot When you include those 25 incompletions, that means BG had 33 plays that gained nothing or negative yardage (one pass for no gain, six rushes, one sack). In the second quarter the offense struggled with three consecutive three-and-outs that netted a combined ONE yard of offense, and there were six three-and-outs in 14 possessions. Considering the caliber of talent on the Florida defense, I would say there was more good than bad, although it could have been better.
DEFENSE: I don’t think the Florida offense is as good as its defense –- OK, let’s be honest: I am SURE that is the case. But it also was a terrific effort by the defense to hold the Gators in check most of the game. Florida finished with just 365 yards of total offense, and just 220 yards rushing (125 of those yards came in the second quarter). Of the 63 plays the Gators ran, 10 ended up with no gain or negative yardage. UF also had 11 plays that gained 10 yards or more, a number that (given the talent) probably should have been higher. The Gators had four three-and-out possessions (there were a couple of quick TD possessions that don’t count here). What I liked most was the Falcons’ defensive toughness: Several times the Gators were near the end zone, and BG did a terrific job of keeping them from scoring touchdowns. Also, Florida was 1-for-8 on converting third downs of TWO yards or LESS. That’s just outstanding.
SPECIAL TEAMS: BG’s special teams were the team’s weakest unit Saturday, and a significant reason the Falcons didn’t give themselves a chance to win. On kickoffs, Bowling Green had three returns: on two of those returns, the Falcons didn’t advance to at least the 25. Punt returns were a struggle, not to mention the fumbled punt that could have led to a score. The punting of Brian Schmiedebusch was inconsistent: he had three of 52 yards or more, but he also had a 10-yard punt and a 16-yard punt. Kickoff coverage was good at first (pinning Florida on its 15 on its first kickoff) but then allowing a 38-yard return. And you will notice I haven’t even mentioned the pair of missed field goals, both of which were “knives to the gut” in coach Dave Clawson’s words.
THE LAST WORD: Yes, I know there were a fair amount of negatives on all three sides of the ball. But here’s the analysis of this game in a sentence: The Falcons stood toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the country, and they gave themselves a chance to win. If Bowling Green performs like that all season, they will win more games than they lose. There is work to be done, for sure, but there is a LOT to like from Saturday’s performance, and this BG football team in general.
Want more? Then click here to read The Blade game story and click here to read The Blade notebook. Click here to read the in-game chat from the contest, and click here to read the BiG Look at the contest.