Years from now some BC fans might look at a recap of this game and think that were were in control and running the ball at will. However, that won't capture how tight this game was. Even watching it back, it felt like BC was lucky to leave with the W. We scored 48 but could have scored 60+. Their defense was that bad and our mistakes were costly. But winning can mask a lot of issues. One thing that not hidden was the team's poise. Other BC teams don't win this game. For that, I think we can see this season as a step forward.
Rettig had time and it showed. He made some crisp throws. He worked his reads. Even the stuff that doesn't play to his strengths, like throwing on the run and the bootlegs, looked good. My only complaint is that he didn't run the ball. There were huge holes available on his read options.
In a way this offense is perfect for Andre Williams. He's got power and speed. While he has some issues with eluding tacklers and weaving through traffic, when he burst through a tackle or hole, he's gone. This game was textbook and I'm happy that the NFL is taking notice. He carried BC on Saturday. Willis had a few good runs and made a big difference in special teams (see below). On the negative side, Willis did drop a pass thrown his way. Sinkovec made some nice catches.
Amidon's TD was a nice example of him finding a spot and then weaving through traffic into the endzone. Unfortunately he also dropped a catchable 3rd down early and fumbled. Harrison Jackson pulled in a TD but wasn't a factor after he took his big hit. Parsons dropped a catchable ball. Naples showed good speed on his TD. There was one pass that Dudeck caught where he was sort of slow turning and didn't get many yards after the catch. It was a shame because he was wide open when he caught it.
The offensive line was very good. Gallik screwed up one shotgun snap, but also had a very very good game. Vardaro opened up a huge hole for one of Williams early big runs. Patchan ran really well. Harris Williams played well.
Although a few drives stalled out and our third downs weren't great, it is hard to complain about the offensive game. We had over 300 yards rushing and threw the ball efficiently. I still think we are a little too predictable with regards to passing on passing downs and running early in a set of downs. But I feel better about our offense right now than our defense.
The problems with the defense started up front. We are now very thin and spent much of Saturday with just three down limeman, but they didn't make many plays. Wujciak was the best of the bunch. Not sure what was going on with Edebali. He didn't get any pressure and wasn't near many of the running plays. Appiah played a lot without being disruptive.
Daniels was our best linebacker Saturday. The interception was huge but he was also our most consistent tackler. It was an off day for KPL. He had trouble with the read option and stumbled a few times. Divitto also had some trouble wrapping up and in coverage. Keyes was fooled on a few QB exchanges too.
Sylvia went out with an injury and we missed him. There was a lot of confusion in the secondary and plenty of missed tackles. Asprilla made some tackles but also got blown up a bit on some of their bubbles. He also couldn't pull in a sure INT on one of their scoring drives. ALJ missed some tackled. Bryce Jones fell down on a TD. CJ Jones was okay. Williams was very active but also missed his share of tackles.
There has been a healthy debate on Don Brown since the Villanova game. For as much as we love the sacks and "dudes" the defensive stats are not impressive. I have purposely ignored some of the defensive scheme issues because I've been happy with the new approach overall. This was the first game where I felt like we had true defensive failures. There was a lot of confusion and plenty of terrible tackling. Was it fatigue because of the thin air? Was it because we are thin and playing backups? I don't know. But it is on Brown to make sure our vulnerabilities are not so obvious. I also can't figure out why we played so much zone and base defense. Pressure is our signature and yet we weren't aggressive this week. I don't get it.
Special Teams: B
Willis' TD really saved the day. We are on the ropes and he made something out of nothing. There was some good blocking on the right side, but a lot of the success of the play was Willis' speed and the confusion among NM State after Willis stumbled early in the return.
Freese was awesome. I know the altitude helped but he was still very accurate on his kicks. His punts were fine.
Dudeck's muffed return early showed that this wasn't going to be a clean game. I also wondered why we let so many punts roll.
This game reminded me of our 2004 scare against Ball State. In both cases BC found themselves on the road in a dog fight with a really bad team. It also felt a bit like last year's Army game. The difference between Ball State and Army and now New Mexico State is that this team had a set of plays and some players they could rely on to execute. That may seem like an overly obvious comment, but minimal execution is the difference between bad teams and competent ones.
This team plays with a confidence and enthusiasm that clearly comes from Addazio. We avoided a trap and came out with a win. It sounds simple, but BC fans know that other coaches probably would have lost that game. Now he's got to get the team refocused for the stretch against three peer programs.