October 13, 2007

Thoughts @ Northwestern

This is kind of live blogging, but it will be sparse....

1st Qtr

  • 2nd series for the gophers on defense. 3rd and 18 play was a killer but the offense going 3 and out put this D in a tough spot.
  • TD - NW set up by inexcusable 3rd and 18 screen for 45+ yards.
  • Offense with its 2nd consecutive 3 and out, this cannot happen!
  • Defense gets a stop, offense gets great field position. Ernie makes a nice play to get us to the 1. WE GET STUCK 4 STRAIGHT PLAYS? Yikes, this could be really bad if we can't run the ball.
  • End of the first qtr and only down 0-7. My problem with this team is they give up just a couple big plays and they are unable to make a couple big plays necessary to win. For example...
    • 3rd and 18 screen to the 2 is terrible, make that stop and NW is shutout through 1 qtr.
    • Sherels has a great kick return but steps out of bounds with nobody near him.
    • Can't score from the 1 on 4 straight plays.
Not going to win this game or any game if we can't make plays that winning teams make.

2nd Qtr

key stats...
* 1 first down by the offense
* 8 yards rushing on 7 attempts. I'd love nothing more than to see the ground game get on track but not with a 1.1 yd average.
  • OOOH, dodged a bullet. Missed FG. Another decent job by the defense with the exception of 1 big play. Dom Barber made a great play on 3rd and goal to force the FG attempt which was missed!
  • Make if 0-5 when we need just 1 yard to go. Is this a symptom of the spread coast offense? Are 3rd and 3 situations more manageable than 3rd and 1? I don't know but this is frustrating.
  • Great HIT by Cooley, but c'mon freshman it was a 15 yard pickup on 1st down. Let's get excited when you make a stop or pop the ball loose with a big hit.
  • It looks to me like NW recognizes and sniffs out most of our plays. The Dunbar factor has to be an issue here. What I'm anxious to see is the 2nd half. I have noticed in most of our games is that we run a lot of plays in the 1st half that set up plays in the 2nd half. Will Dunbar get his offense on track or will NW know what is coming and adjust before we do?
  • TD - MN! Well, I spoke too soon. After NW snuffed out a little bubble screen to put us at 2nd and 12, MN then went on a dominant drive and scored! Weber looked solid on this drive making a few nice reads to open receivers and made the right decision to fake to Pinnix and run for good yardage to the right. The drive was capped off by a good play call that was set up well by Weber's fake. Marcus Sherels with his first TD! 7-7!
  • OK, defense gets a stop, offense gets a chance to give us the lead before half. 4:45 left! How about a 4:30 drive for 7, then we get the ball to start the 2nd half!
  • TD - MN!! Great throw by Weber who is having a great game thus far. Then Pinnix pounds it in. Is the running game stronger cause Pinnix is that much better than Thomas? Is it play calling? Was the pass setting up the run and it took this long to pay off? I don't care at this point. Now the defense can't give up a quick drive to let NW tie the game. 1 more 1st half stop, PLEASE!
  • HOLY CRAP what a catch for Wheelright! The defense predictably gave up a quick TD drive to NW, but Minn comes back to take the 7 point lead with :02 left in the half. Baring a kickoff return for TD, 21-14 at half.
Halftime thoughts...

This is clearly the best the defense has played all year and for the most part the offense has been hitting on all cylinders as well.

Defensively we have given up a lot of yards passing. But the bright side is they only have 31 yards rushing and we have forced 4 punts. Stopping this offense 4 times is not exactly impressive but it is very important to winning the game.

2nd half it would be HUGE to score on the opening drive and then just don't turn the ball over.

It is nice to have the lead and it should be a fun 2nd half.

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