The D-League as petri dish for weird basketball concepts.
fee fi foe film
Indiana's quarterback battle isn't quite over yet (photo via courier-journal.com)
Indiana fell back to earth after their program-first triumph over Penn State, allowing 473 yards in a 42-28 loss to Michigan State and pulling starting QB Nate Sudfeld in the fourth quarter after he struggled to move the ball. I've watched each of these games and think I have a grasp on Indiana's overall quality: a well-coached offense that can put up points on anyone but is limited by their talent in the backfield and on the line coupled with a defense that's ... well, pretty bad.
For an expansion on that boiled-down point, let's go to the full breakdown.
WR Cody Latimer is off to the best start of his career (Andrew Weber/US Presswire)
Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid? Spread. The Hoosiers don't have a fullback, almost always have at least three receivers on the field, and never go under center, even in short-yardage situations.
Basketball on Grass or MANBALL? Basketball on grass. They didn't run much in this game, but when they did it was read option with QB Tre Roberson or simple inside zones.
Penn State's defense let this happen. Against Indiana. Penn State's defense of yore is dead.
Penn State lost to Indiana 44-24 last weekend despite holding a 14-13 lead early in the third quarter. It was IU's first-ever win over PSU. Both teams left a lot of points on the board. Indiana had a failed 4th-and-3 in the red zone and settled for two field goals from inside PSU's ten-yard line in the first half; Penn State's first two drives ended with a failed 4th-and-5 on the IU 26 and another turnover on downs when their long snapper sailed one on a field goal attempt, losing 31(!) yards in the process. The final score, however, seems fitting to me after watching the tape—Indiana controlled most of the game and would've completely dominated if not for PSU WR Allen Robinson, who was easily the best player on the field and, if not for Taylor Lewan, would probably take that honor this weekend, as well.
Thanks to some creative editing by the BTN (I taped the replay when it was apparent nobody was uploading a torrent of this game), the charting is not comprehensive even before I stopped after Indiana took a 42-17 fourth-quarter lead; a few drives from the first quarter were cut out, as were a couple late drives. A sanity check with the box score and PSU blogs gives me the impression that I saw more than enough from this game, though, to get an accurate idea of what was going on.
[On to the breakdown after THE JUMP.]
Whatcha gonna do when Mark Weisman runs wild on you? Lose. Definitely lose.
Minnesota kicked off the 2013 season with four straight wins, providing hope to a program that hasn't had much of that lately. Those wins, however, came against UNLV, New Mexico State, Western Illinois, and San Jose State. Faced with something vaguely resembling a real opponent last week, the Gophers fell back to earth, and not gently—a 23-7 home loss to Iowa that looks even worse on the stat sheet. For the third straight Michigan game, I'm here to tell you that the Wolverines should have a decided edge on both sides of the ball, and of course that means Saturday's game will be a harrowing experience.
Because something out there has mercy for me, the game torrent began at around the nine minute mark of the first quarter, and some plays were randomly excised. I stopped charting after Minnesota threw an interception with four minutes left in the game.
Before I get into the breakdown, I have to note this moment worthy of Awful Announcing. The Aflac trivia question asked for the only Hawkeye in the history of the Iowa-Minnesota rivalry to score touchdowns in four different ways against the Gophers in his career. Without skipping a beat, ESPN analyst Ed Cunningham said... Dallas Clark. A very good player, sure, but also a tight end.
As a Michigan fan still spooked by the near-loss to Iowa in 1997, I had a pretty good idea of the answer: Tim Dwight, a WR/PR/KR whom the Hawkeyes used for a variety of trick plays. Mike Patrick—Mike Patrick!—immediately mocked Cunningham for being so remarkably wrong.
[Hit THE JUMP for the breakdown, in which Minnesota is not so good at defense and even worse at offense.]
Oh man, not again. Last week in this space, Akron's offense was represented by a tire fire, their defense a dumpster fire. Assumptions were made about the past having some bearing on the future, the Zips were dismissed as cannon fodder, and ... well, you saw how that turned out.
This week's opponent is UConn, which lost to Towson at home by 15 points in their first game, outgained by over 100 yards by an FCS opponent. After an oddly-timed bye week, the Huskies hosted Maryland last Saturday; once again, they lost the yardage battle by over 100 yards, and only a meaningless 75-yard TD pass with 22 seconds to play kept the score semi-respectable at 32-21. It could've been much, much worse:
- Maryland went for it on fourth-and-short twice in first quarter. Instead of spreading the field and either running to the outside or hitting a quick pass—both of which worked very well all game—they tried to attack the strength of UConn's defense and were stuffed on interior runs, failing both conversion attempts.
- The Terps drove all the way from their 17 down to UConn's 22 in the first quarter, only for an open screen pass to bounce off the hands of their running back and get intercepted by UConn's Taylor Mack. Maryland's three previous plays had gone for 26, 21, and 14 yards.
- By the end of the third quarter, Maryland would lose two fumbles by their running backs, one of which came after an easy ten-yard gain. The second led directly to a UConn field goal that would bring the Huskies within seven points.
When not shooting themselves in the foot, Maryland completely controlled the game, averaging 5.2 yards per rush and 9.9 yards per pass attempt. Take out the irrelevant late touchdown pass and UConn averaged 2.7 YPC (with five sacks removed!) and 6.1 YPA.
I promise to mock the Huskies as little as possible, however, after what went down last week. That said, I can only work with what I'm given, and for the second straight week what I'm given is, by all appearances, a really bad football team that lost to a I-AA squad.
Quarterback Chandler Whitmer (via The UConn Blog)
Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid? Spread, mostly. UConn operated either from the gun or an ace set; no fullback got a snap that I saw (I charted until Maryland took a 19-point lead midway through the fourth quarter). They had one snap from what Madden/NCAA deem the "pro" set—the QB under center with two backs split behind him.
Basketball on Grass or MANBALL? Basketball on grass. UConn ran a lot of inside zone and showed some zone read looks; none of this was very effective.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown.]
Akron has played one FBS opponent this season: UCF, a decent AAC (aka remnants of the Big East) team. They lost 38-7 and did not score until 42 seconds remained in the game, when Akron's backups were playing. The above happened in an actual Division I football game. Last week the Zips had to come back from a 13-0 hole to beat FCS James Madison, which was a two-point conversion away from tying the game late in the fourth.
Yeah, let's get this over with.
Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid? Spread. In the plays I charted, Akron didn't go under center once.
Basketball on Grass or MANBALL? Basketball on grass. Lots of inside zone, especially on first down.
Stephon Tuitt, All-American defensive end and all-around terrifying human
Notre Dame opened the season with a 28-6 victory over Temple that could've either been much worse or much better, as both sides missed plenty of opportunities to put points on the board. To wit:
- The Irish scored 14 points on a pair of Davaris Daniels TD receptions in the first five minutes of the game, the failed to score a single point on their next three drives, all of which ended in Temple territory.
- Temple, meanwhile, mounted an impressive ten-play drive in the first quarter that ended with a missed 32-yard field goal. Their next drive covered 54 yards in 13 plays, with the final play being—you guessed it—another missed field goal, this one from 43 yards out.
- After finally breaking through and scoring a touchdown to cut ND's lead to 14-6, Temple's extra point was blocked.
- Notre Dame looked to have an easy touchdown when Daniels got behind the defense (again) on a third down play early in the second quarter; Rees put the throw right on the money, but Daniels pulled up lame with poorly-timed groin injury. He sat out the rest of the game, robbing ND of their best receiver; he'll be back this weekend, though, and could've returned to the game if needed.
- On the opening drive of the second half (score: 21-6 ND), Temple had a first down at the Irish six-yard line. That started this sequence: overthrow on wide-open corner route, dropped TD pass over the middle, high snap that ruined the third-down play, desperation chuck falls incomplete when ND brought huge pressure on fourth down.
That last drive effectively ended any chance of Temple making the game competitive, as Notre Dame drove 94 yards in seven plays to give the game its final margin. In the end, the Irish scored "just" 28 points on 543 yards of total offense—Kyle Brindza added another missed field goal in the fourth quarter—while the Owls managed just six points on 362 yards. This one could've been very competitive had Temple not attempted to play man coverage on Davaris Daniels for both of Notre Dame's early touchdowns; at the same time, this could've been even more of a blowout if the Irish could've converted on a few more of their long drives—each of their kickers missed a field goal, and Kelly called for one hell of a Zookian punt in the first half.
Anyway, on to the breakdown. If you're curious to see what's changed from last year, here's the Notre Dame FFFF, 2012 version.
TOMMY REES BACK
Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid? Spread. While ND was almost exclusively a shotgun team in years past under Brian Kelly, however, they're now running a whole bunch of pistol; it's the new hotness, apparently.
Basketball on Grass or MANBALL? Basketball on grass. Almost all of Notre Dame's runs feature some form of zone blocking.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown.]