The Bulls won their first road game against Western Kentucky 35-1. It might not have been the performance fans were hoping for and there were some good things and some bad things, so let's get to the grades.
QUARTERBACK (B): Matt Grothe broke the BIG EAST total offense record, and finished the game with 269 total yards. Throwing for 214 yards on 14 of 23 passing (61%) with two scores and one interception, and also carried the ball 11 times for 55-yards. Except for one bad read that resulted in an interception and a few missed long passes Grothe had another efficient game. B.J. Daniels showed some flash in the Toro loco formation scoring on a 7-yard run.
RUNNING BACKS (A-): Once again Moise Plancher was the man, scoring two TD's and had 115 yards on 18 carries, with a 6.1 avg., becoming the first Bull to have 100-yard rushing game since November 2007. True freshman Lindsey Lamar showed his speed is no fluke with 60 yards on only 8 rushes (7.5 avg.), and had another big gain called back for a penalty as well. Aston Samuels had 1 carry for 13 yards. In all the backs carried the ball 27 times for 188 yards and a 6.96 avg.
RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS (B): Carlton Mitchell continues to have a strong season with 130 yards receiving on 4 receptions, and showed his big play potential by hauling in passes of 50 & 65 yards, with both leading to touchdowns. Theo Wilson had beautiful over the head catch for a 14-yard TD, and TE Ben Busbee found a soft spot in the coverage and scored a 17-yard TD, his first of the season. Besides that the rest of the unit had a quiet night, Bogan had no catches and Love had 3 for 33 yards. There were quite a few downfield plays, but the passes didn't connect. I didn't notice any drops and I thought the blocking by the receivers and especially the TE's was solid.
OFFENSIVE LINE (B-): The unit has played surprisingly well, and paved the way for 253 net yards rushing and 3 rushing scores with an impressive 6.0 average. The holding penalties and false starts have been reduced, but the two unsportsmanlike penalties by Hermann & Genus were a negative. The unit played a good game, only allowing one sack, but considering the competition, they didn't dominate.
DEFENSIVE LINE (C-/B): As a unit, the DL wasn't as dominating as was expected, and the grade could almost be split between the interior and the ends. The defensive ends applied pressure all night, and the rotation of George Selvie, Jason-Pierre-Paul, David Bedford, and Ryne Giddins is fierce. They chased the QB, made tackles for a loss and batted down passes, finishing with 8 tackles, 6 for a loss, a sack and 2 pass deflections. The DT's didn't fare as well. Terrell McClain and Craig Marshall combined for 6 tackles, 2 for a loss, a sack and a pass deflection, but that was about it, as they got gashed up the middle by Smith and Rainey. The unit played the pass well, but the run defense was something to be desired.
LINEBACKERS (C+): Chris Robinson was solid and led the team in tackles with 8 solo stops and two tackles for a loss, and made a big stop when WKU went for it on fourth-and-2 from its 42 late in the game. Kion Wilson was second in tackles with 7, and Sabbath Joseph had 4, but besides that the unit was very average. They took a few bad angles, missed tackles, and didn't stop the WKU vaulted rushing attack from getting into the secondary.
SECONDARY (A-): The secondary only allowed 84 yards passing on 13 completions and played strong against the pass. Nate Allen finished second on the team with 7 tackles, 5 being solo, 1 pass breakup, and was the best player in the secondary as he lit people up. Raymond Minstral, a walk-on who's filling in for Jerrel Young came up with the huge interception on a deep pass by Smith in the end zone and nullified the possible scoring drive, he also had 3 tackles. Jerome Murphy was quiet, but had a good hit and true freshman Kayvon Webster looked good, especially on his blitz. The unit is now second against the pass, but the Hilltoppers aren't a very efficient passing team.
SPECIAL TEAMS (D-): This wasn't a very good performance for the unit all around. Alvarado punted well, but missed both his two field goal attempts (40, 49) badly wide left. The punt return game was pretty much awful with no return yards and a muffed punt. The coverage team allowed 23 yards on the one punt return and 110 yards on 4 kick-offs. Dontavia Bogan had 2 kick-offs returned for 84 yards and was the lone bright spot.