Okay, whew, so we won. We are officially never going to lose against an FCS school, as we can never play one again (suck it IU). 45-24, not too shabby, but it wasn’t pretty either. I am here to grade the offense, defense and special teams for your reading pleasure. As Juan said, “You are a teacher so I assume you can do it well”, grading that is. Welp, hate it or love it, here I go.
Offense - B
I mean, we jumped out to a 21-0 lead, with a touchdown from the defense. I really liked the spread offense that Malone is using, it really gives Markell Jones running lanes (24 carries, 145 yards 1 TD). What worries me is, does David Blough have the arm to throw it all over the field? He ended the game 25-43 for 245 1 TD and 1 INT, he does a nice job throwing to the middle of the field but to the sidelines... well it is a little shaky. 2nd and 3rd quarter did not go very well, but with a strong 1st and 4th quarter we managed to score a plethora of points. As long as Markell nears 30 touches every single game we will compete. But, Domo Young has a case of the drops that needs fixed & I personally want the tight end involved more. The offensive line did their job, other than not firing out on an FCS school on 4th and 1. Barron is a beast.
Defense - B-
Ehhh, uhhh, I mean they were average. The pick 6 by Gelen Robinson was huge. We forced 4 turnovers, which is big time, but our defense sometimes looked like swiss cheese in the first half. At halftime, we had allowed 300 yards already. Let me reiterate, 300 yards to EKU, at halftime. Good news is, we have a defensive coordinator(s) this year. Ross Els and Marcus Freeman made some adjustments at halftime and only allowed 98 yards in the 2nd half and only 6 points. The Defensive Line was underwhelming in the first half, but played well after the break. Bentley and Danny E lead the team with 9 tackles a piece, and we kept Mauk and Coney in check. But the first half issues still bother me. Especially with Cincinnati on the horizon, as they have the potential to put up a lot of yards.
Special Teams - A-
When is the last time our Kicker made all of the PATS? Dellinger was solid and I think hos 44 yard attempt might have gotten tipped. He drilled a 30 yarder, which gives me some confidence in the kicking game for the first time in years. Schopper was greta, pinning EKU inside the 5 twice. Malik Kimbrough will be fun to watch on Kick Off Return, but on Punt Return he was shaky. The Kick Off coverage was solid as well.
Coaching - B+
The adjustments the defense made at halftime were a welcome site, as with Hudson the previous years we saw little to none with adjustments mid game. Hazell seemed to have the team prepared, and we did what we should do to FCS schools. Overall, Malone and Els/Freeman were solid, Hazell worked the clock well and we came out on top.
Next week we play Cincinnati, they are 1-0 and beat University Tennessee Martin 28-7. Kick off next week is at noon at Ross Ade Stadium once again, keep the train rolling!