Where to start.
It was a roller coaster day for fans of BG and UT.There were three distinct phases to the game.The first 27 minutes, then next 27 minutes and then the last 6 minutes.
The first phase was not kind to BG.The Falcons got off to one of their patented slow starts and for a while it looked like this game could be a total rout.
BG did get the ball to start the game and drove to the Toledo 23.Facing a 4th and 10 and heading into the wind, BG decided to go for it and failed to connect on a pass play to Ryan Burbrink.
UT ripped off a 47 run by David Fluellen and was in business.(Fluellen left a couple plays later with an injury, but the Rocket running game did not slow up very much).A couple plays later they were in the end zone and up 7-0.
When the Falcons got the ball back, one of UT's six sacks on the day (perhaps the key factor in the game) derailed the Falcon drive and it was 3 and out.
UT's next drive featured BG mistakes that might have cost the team the game.UT was gashing the BG run defense--Hunt's first two runs were 16 and 14 yards on the drive--and they were on the BG 18.The BG defense got the stop they needed and Detmer came in and made a FG.Except that BG roughed the kicker.UT snapped the points off the board and went back to work.
On 3rd down and goal from the 13, BG again stopped UT short of the first down and had a FG opportunity...except Cam Truss was called for unsportsmanlike conduct after the play and it was another bad penalty for first down.And the Rockets scored.
With a PI penalty BG drove to about midfield but Schmiedebusch only kicked the ball 20 yards and UT started on their own 33 and 8 plays later the game was 21-0.
At this point, the game was completely one sided.There was 4 minutes left in the half and BG was in really deep trouble, mostly because it was difficult to see our defense ever getting stops.
BG came up with what they had to have, which was a scoring drive.The drive was a monster--12 plays, 81 yards.It did not feature a 3rd down play until BG was on the 1 yard line.Matt Johnson had two key scrambles on the drive for good yardage and Travis Greene added a 21 yard run and BG finally scored on a Matt Johnson QB sneak.
So, 21-7 at half.At least BG has some momentum...at 21-0, it might have been over.
UT got the ball to start the half.BG's defense is typically very tough in the 3rd Q and it was this time as well.On the first drive they got to Owens, forced a fumble and BG recovered on the UT 29.
BG drove to the 3 yard line and Matt Johnson scrambled toward the end zone.He dove for the goal line, was called in but then the play was reversed on replay.With a 4-1, BG was going for it....except they were called for an incredibly costly false start (and it was our all-MAC guard, Flewellyn who was called) and had to settle for a FG.
UT got 2 first downs on their next drive but BG eventually held and got the ball on its 23.Despite a drive in which Matt Johnson was sacked twice, BG was able to score a TD.Greene had 20 and 16 yard runs on the drive.It was early 4th by now and BG went for 2 and made it, cutting the lead to 21-18.
BG's defense is playing better by now, the place is rocking.UT gets offensive pass interference and has to punt.BG starts on the 16 with about 12 minutes left.BG runs a great drive...10 plays, 64 yards.BG has a sack, but Johnson has a big scramble for a first down, BG hits Joplin for 30 yards and then Greene had a 19 run on 3rd and 7 and then a 7 yd TD run and BG had the 25-21 lead with 5:54 left.
This is all we would have asked for...our defense on the field with one stop needed to win the game.On the drive's 2nd play Owens hit Reedy for 32 yards down to the BG 38.Owens essentially took over the game with his feet here, gaining 11 yards on 2nd and 15 and 5 yards on another play.
It was 3 and 11 from the BG 13.UT completed a pass to the BG 11, setting up a 4th down play for the game.However, UT got an offensive pass interference penalty and BG chose to take the penalty.UT was 3rd and 26 from the BG 28.
Freeze those words in your mind.Because you have to win a game where you have your opponent 3rd and 26.
Owens went back to pass, got out of the pocket and scrambled for 17 yards setting UT up with a closer 4th down play than before the penalty.From there, they ran a pass play.Owens released the ball just in time and Russell was open at the goal line (despite, according to Coach), being double covered and UT had the lead again.
BG only needed a FG, but was heading into the wind.The game's final heartbreaking moment came when BG threw a bomb, had Shaun Joplin open and he dropped a perfect pass.He easily could have scored on the play or at least gotten deep into UT territory and BG only needed a FG, but that did not happen because he dropped the pass.
And that was that.A heartbreaking way to lose.It wasn't all lost on the last drive.BG played an uneven game, especially on defense, and made critical errors at critical times.It reminded me of the 2011 OU game...a team taking a long, clock killing drive when behind to put us away.We did not close the deal.
Give credit to UT.More on this later today, but Owens and their WRs were the difference in the game.UT deserved to win the game and BG did not.If you had told me our defense would give up a 3rd and 26, I would not have believed it, but that is what happened.
The Falcons can still win the East.Last year's team was 8-4 in the regular season and BG would have to win 3 out of 4 now to equal that record.If you want to look ahead, picture Terrance Owens dashing around there today and put Tyler Tettleton in that place.And, Gabe Martin was injured and it looked very serious.
We will see what BG is made of.They have a couple weeks to make adjustments before the big OU game...a similar performance in that game will yield a similar result and leave BG with a very disappointing season.