I have a busy "off" day today, so I'm trying to sneak work in between life (SHHH ... please don't tell my wife). I've already taken a BiG look at the contest, and I'll have a Sunday Morning Quarterback analysis later tonight (Wait. What. Doesn't this post have "morning" in its title? Never mind). For now, here are a few notes and quotes from Saturday that I didn't use in the game story or notebook. Here we go ...
- First, the Falcons victory is their third in a row, marking the program's longest winning streak since the 2009 team won its last four regular-season games. BG also snapped a six-game home losing streak to Miami, beating the RedHawks at the Doyt for the first time since 1997.
- The Falcons were able to have success running the ball despite running out of an "empty" formation on several occasions. The running back would be on the hip of a tackle or tight end, then come back to the quarterback to receive the handoff.
- Sophomore running back Anthon Samuel finished with a career-high 171 yards rushing against the RedHawks. His previous best was 141 yards at Idaho in the first game of his college career. The effort was his ninth game with 100 yards rushing or more, and he has played just 16 career games. Samuel has surpassed 100 yards rushing in four of his last five games.
Samuel now has 1,509 career rushing yards, placing him 20th on BG’s all-time rushing list. His big day Saturday allowed Samuel to pass Bob Ramlow (1,384), Godfrey Lewis (1,431), Chris Bullock (1,434) and Phil Polak (1,435) on the list; his next target is Vic DeOrio, who ran for 1,545 yards from 1955-57.
- Senior defensive tackle Chris Jones finished with 2 1/2 sacks against Miami, giving him at least one sack in each of his last six games. Jones now has 24 1/2 sacks in his career, the third-best total in school history. He needs 1 1/2 sacks to tie Diyral Briggs for second on the list, and he will need to do some work to tie Kevin O'Brien and his school-record 31 sacks.
- After Saturday's effort the BG defense now leads the Mid-American Conference in scoring defense (19.4 points per game), rushing defense (112.71 yards per game) and total defense (330.57 yards per game).
“Our defense right now is playing really, really well,” Clawson said. “We’re good up front, and those guys are good at pressuring the quarterback. I think we’re covering well in the back end, and our linebackers are active. We’re playing at a high level on defense.”
Currently the Falcons rank 28th among FBS schools in scoring defense, 24th in rushing defense and 23rd in total defense.
- Miami came into the game struggling to run the ball, averaging just 103.7 yards per game. But Clawson said that didn't mean his team's defense could ignore the RedHawks running game.
“Even when you have a quarterback of [Zac Dysert's] level, you have to defend his running game,” Clawson said. “That’s not a team where you can empty the box and say they’re one-dimensional because of the threat of him taking off. We were always plus-one in the box because we didn’t want to give him seams and pass-rush lanes and let him escape.”
- Samuel said the Falcons offense was motivated to score after Miami cut the lead to 17-12 in the third period.
“We knew 17 points wasn’t going to get us a win against Miami, because they have a pretty good offense,” Samuel said. “We went in with the mind-set that we were going to score, and we wouldn’t be denied. We had some good runs early, and that opened up the passing game.”
- While the BG defense has been good in recent weeks, it hasn't created many turnovers before Saturday. The Falcons intercepted a pair of passes and also forced-recovered a fumble for three turnovers created, their highest total since ... Miami turned the ball over three times against the Falcons last season.
“With all the things we’ve done well on defense this year, we haven’t had a lot of ball disruption,” Clawson said. “Last week had a bunch of ball disruptions –- we’d have our hands on the ball three or four times –- but we didn’t get a turnover. We work on [creating turnovers] all the time, and it was great that in a game of this magnitude that we came through.”