Good, Bad and Ugly (Cats Don’t Like Water Edition)

These types of games are hard. Not physically, necessarily. But more mentally and emotionally. Mentally¬†, it’s hard to really analyze them much. Everything that wasn’t 100% dominating is considered very bad. Everything that was as dominating as expected can’t necessarily be judged as you’d like it to be. Emotionally, well, nobody cares. It’s just cannon fodder; a paid paluka for your team to beat up on and get a home game. It’s just not worth the effort to care about these games.

So, what does that leave us with for afterthought for a pre-determined beating of a team that, while good on their own level of play (top 20 in FCS), really didn’t ever stand a chance of running with a top 10 team. Bethune-Cookman, who had easily beaten a hapless FBS opponent in Florida International earlier in the year showed up and gave it their all. They proved to be good practice in the style of offense that we are sure to see later when we visit Clemson. As Nevada before them, they ran a spread, run-based offense that was built on quickness and deception. And while they had flashes of success, the reality was that Florida State was always going to be too much. That’s not to say Florida State played some amazing football. Certainly there were issues that need addressing. But on a weekend where patsies were in number across the major program landscape, Florida State disposed of theirs easily and added to their win total for the year.

Good

No Injuries: Look, it’s negative I know. But in the grand scheme of things that’s probably the most positive thing that can come out of these games. Especially with the wet track of last night and sloppiness that goes into games like this.

Devonta Freeman: Again, I just love this kid. I think he averaged about 25 yards a carry last night. Exaggerating, obviously, but he did go for about 11 per rush and got yet another 100 yard game. He is one of my favorites on this team.

Los: Glad you made the move, big fella? We sure are. 9.2 per rush and he does it with an astonishing burst and speed. Who wants to get in front of that? The answer is nobody. Ask that kid on the Kickoff later on.

Young Linebackers: You got a little giddy when Matthew Thomas and Elegwe were doing their thing, weren’t you? I was. Thomas needs weight on him, but gracious. Elegwe’s quickness was on display. Combine them with the other young defensive guys and our future looks bright.

Aguayo: Finally got to get into a kick and did it like he’s been there forever. 45 yards was a chip shot. On that wet track with poor footing, it looked even better.

Crowd: That was a really, really impressive crowd given the circumstances. Seriously, that was a good 65-70K in there at its peak. Given the storms and the opponent, and even if it was “townies” with cheap tickets, it’s still something to give a shout out on. If you were in on that, good on you.

Single-play-only: Jameis for his scramble and fall-down TD strike to Benjamin. That, somehow, was not an ESPN Top Ten play, but it was incredible nonetheless.

Yards per play: Offensively, we remain efficient. 9 yards per pass, 7.4 per rush. I like that and we seem to be pretty consistent.

Penalties: Only 3 last night. Don’t you like how this isn’t an issue much anymore? For all our confidence and dominance of yesteryear, it was frustrating to keep getting 100 yards of penalties a game. 3 for 25 ain’t bad.

Bad

ESPN3/WatchESPN: While I’ve never had the greatest coverage with them (I’m on DSL and so everything sucks), last night was as bad as it has ever been. Betwen the choppiness of the feed and the “I Love the 80′s” jerseys that BCU had on, it was like watching football through the eyes of Max Headroom. Gotta love the random VMI vs. UVA cut-in, too. Ah well, at least I got to watch.

Focus (Part 1: Receivers): Look, you can’t expect anyone to be up 100% of the time. Even the good ones have off days. And last night, our receivers decided to do that. Which is great, btw, against BCU. Not so much in any other game. Greene drops a perfectly thrown TD ball; Shaw fumbles a TD; and while I’m drawing a blank right now, I think it was Benjamin that dropped one, too? The focus was obviously not there. Gotta get that straight.

Focus (Part Deux: Tackling): We couldn’t tackle a dang thing last night. Was it the weather? Was it their elusiveness? I don’t know, but it seemed like a pinball game out there. We just couldn’t get them down.

Discipline on the Defensive Line: We continue to struggle there. Or at least it seems to on the surface. You look at the YPP (3.3 for rushing and 3.5 for pass) and you go “Wow, they really crushed them.” But as you’re watching the game you just keep seeing them get yards, moving the chains and keeping the ball. While it’s incredibly insane to say we can do better, I really do believe we can. We are currently 46th in the country against the rush (yards per game) and obviously that has to do with the teams we played and the style of offense they use (rare passes from Nevada and BCU), but still, something is “off” that better teams will take advantage of. The good thing is, we seem to get it under control once we score.

Third Down Percentage: 9-18 for a team like that isn’t gonna cut it. I don’t care what the reason is, 50% conversion rate is too much for a team of FCS level. Our defense must be better in those situations. It’s easy when a team like this controls clock and you can simply score on them when you like. We’re about to start playing teams that will take advantage of that with better athletes.

Ugly

Storms: Man, what a deluge. The radar alone scared me and it was 65 and sunny here in Chicago. Again, good on all of you that stuck that out.

The entirety of the rest of the day of college football: Ugh. That was just a stinker of a day. I watched anyway, because I’m an addict, but gracious. We gotsta stop that. That Ten/UF game was a virtual gouging of our eyeballs. Michigan State/Notre Dame was like watching a slow motion animal skinning. Michigan and UConn was OK, but nothing to write home about. Eesh.

So, that’s it. Not a whole lot to speak of. A whippin that was expected. No major injuries. Got alot of guys playing time. Now we get back to conference play and take the show on the road. Boston College isn’t going to scare anyone, but certainly a game on the road in-conference will still bring its challenges. 3:30EST on ABC/ESPN2. Be there or hate yourself.

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