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September 29, 2023

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Lack of rushing hurts BG’s pass game

OXFORD, Ohio – A few weeks ago you could consider the Falcons’ offense to be dangerous. Now the best word to describe it is “predictable.”

The lack of a running game has allowed opposing defenses to make certain adjustments to completely stall the BG offense.

Probably the most glaring disadvantage is that of the offensive line. Miami’s linemen had no other task than to get into the backfield. They didn’t have to worry about clogging gaps or containing. Just get to the quarterback. That was pretty evident by the RedHawks’ six sacks for 64 yards. That knocked the Falcons’ rushing total down to 25 yards and 26 carries.

“It has to help a little bit since they can drop into pass coverage quicker,” said wide receiver Corey Partridge.

Another reason Tyler Sheehan was sacked six times was that the RedHawks dropped back into coverage on every play. The middle was clogged and the sidelines were pinched downfield. There were often six or seven men in coverage. Sheehan completed just 16 passes for 140 yards. He had time to throw on most plays, but just couldn’t find an open man.

Last week, Sheehan forced the football to his receivers in similar situations. This week, he was less inclined to do so. But instead of throwing interceptions, he took sacks.

Say what you want about the Falcon defense, they got stampeded Saturday by eight guys who combined for 262 yards. But the offense didn’t help them. The unit was on the field for just 23:23 in the game – that’s more than 13 minutes less than the RedHawks had the ball. Playing run defense nearly every play for two-thirds of a game is rough.

The offense converted just 14 first downs. It rushed nine times in the first half, much like last week when they ran eight times before the break. And much like last week, the team was in a deficit at the half against a team that knew its game plan.

“At the beginning of the year it seemed like we could go down the field at will, but these last two weeks have been frustrating,” Partridge said.

I realize that Gregg Brandon and Mick McCall are both very savvy with the air attack. They can take game film and figure out where a team is weak and exploit it. They know how to rack up yards through the air. But you could watch every game tape from the past two seasons of a defense and it isn’t going to matter, because any defensive coordinator with a pulse knows he’s got to game plan around the pass when he faces BG.

“If you didn’t know after the first game we were going to throw the ball every play, something is wrong with you,” Partridge said.

The Falcons are averaging more than 25 rushes a game and more than 48 pass attempts per game. In its first two games, BG averaged 15 rushes in the first half. In the past four, they’ve averaged just eight.

When the Falcons do run, it is often with backup quarterback Anthony Turner. When Turner is under center, he’s sure to run – he’s only thrown one pass this year.

Brandon has continually emphasized that BG is a passing team and that won’t change. But they’re supporting the fact that they can’t rush the ball by not even trying to do it.

The Falcons started the year as an unknown. Now they’re known – as a team that only passes. And until they change that, teams are going to take advantage.

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