Tailgrading:No, not the cheerleaders. (They were an A+ -- thanks for not cheering while we were on offense!) I'm talking about tailgating. I'd give this week's experience a B+, only because I didn't bring anything to grill thanks to a late lunch and early kickoff. So, yeah, I'm the cause of the lower grade, but it's my grade, and I give it a B+. Still, despite the strange Wednesday game time, two hours before kickoff the lot was full, the smells of grilled fare wafted through the air, the weather was postcard perfect, and plenty of new BroncoCountry posters made their debut. Was a good time overall. Our next home game against Portland State should be even better thanks to a traditional Saturday evening kickoff and the homecoming festivities.
Game Ball #1: Lee Marks. Not only did Marks rush the ball effectively, gaining 80 yards on only 12 carries, his 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown broke a 6-6 tie and sparked the Broncos into pulling away with 42 unanswered points.
Still Omarvelous: Yes, he had arguably his worst game as a college QB. And yes, he only hit 50% of his passes. And yes, there were times he looked as uncomfortable as Trev Alberts at a tea party. Still, Omar Jacobs showed flashes of why he's considered a top NFL draftee – strong arm, good decision maker, tough cookie. Hey, any team would love to have a QB whose, in his worst game ever, threw for 3 touchdowns, no interceptions, and only gave up one sack. And part of the reason he was held to only 220 yards was because he was only on the field for 23 minutes. He'll be back this year. Not so sure about next year; the NFL will be calling.
Game Ball #2: Coaching staff. What is it about this team playing against pass-happy offenses? With our reputation for a weak secondary, you'd think we'd get creamed like corn, crushed like orange, smeared like strained peas on a fussy baby's face. But the last two games on the Blue against highly-regarded quarterbacks (Hawaii last year, BGSU this year) resulted in sub-par performances by the opposing QBs and lopsided victories by a combined score of 117-23. Oh, and our offensive game plan wasn't bad, either. Speaking of which...
On Wisconsin: How did BSU beat BGSU? In part because they borrowed a page from Wisconsin's game plan against BGSU run the ball, control the clock and keep Omar Jacobs off the field. Worked to perfection, too – the Falcons had the ball for less than 23 minutes, compared to over 37 minutes for the Broncos. Now, where's that fan who thinks Wisconsin's "five yards and a cloud of tiny rubber pebbles" game is dull? Beer and potatoes for everyone!
Game Ball #3: Special teams. A 92-yard return for a TD, another solid performance on FGs by Montgomery, and aside from one kickoff that went out of bounds, the rest were booming right to the goal line and coverage was exceptional. They put the "special" in "special teams," and the "ugh" in "tough," and the "toga" in "way to gang-tackle" and, well, you get the idea.
Blue Streak: Last night's win extended the Broncos winning streak on the Blue to 26 games, or 27 if you include the Humanitarian Bowl victory over Iowa State. Or 210ish if you think we never lost a game at home, but merely ran out of time on occasion.
Negative Plus/Minus: Last year this team thrived on takeovers. Loved them. Collected them. Displayed them proudly on the bookcase in the living room next to the Lord of the Rings figurines purchased late at night on the Home Shopping Channel because it seemed like a cool idea at the time. But this year, we just can't seem to create any. We won the game, lost the turnover battle. That won't happen very often. Let's hope we start picking some pockets and turning the turnover margin in our favor.
Game Ball #4: Rabb. He caught the ball high. He caught it low. He caught it in between. And he made some nifty moves after the catch, finishing with 83 yards, and showed some fire and passion in the process. Love this guy.
Up next: Aloha, Warriors. Hawaii has played two tough games so far, losing to USC at home and Michigan State on the road. But prior to our match-up with Hawaii in 10 days, this weekend we'll continue to see how the post-Chang era is coming along when the Warriors visits the Kibbie Dome for the first time against an improved Idaho Vandal team. The game will be carried live on ESPNU at 8pm (mst), so check your local channels, (ESPNU is on Dish & Direct), and tune in to see 2 of the Bronco's future opponents duke it out.