Monday, October 22, 2007

What Beat Cincinnati

Two things led us to the big upset of Cincinnati; the combination of Shady/LSH in the running game and the performance of the defense. The way the game was called and played by the majority of the rest of the team was pretty similar to the rest of season. Bostick continued to put up similar numbers with perhaps a slightly better showing by the wide receiving group. I really like the fact that the wide receiving group has been completely shuffled, Cavanaugh appears to be holding them responsible for their spotty play.

Two hundred yard rushers against a team that hasn't allowed a hundred yard rusher all year is an amazing feat for us. Shady has provided a similar level of play for the entire year, if he gets his carries he gets his yards. On the other hand LaRod Stephens-Howlings brought a level of play we haven't seen since last year. Also the Coach Cavanaugh stopped using LSH on straight up runs up the middle like he had been doing. Using delays and misdirections gives LSH a chances to get holes in which he can run through. Having Shady, who can run in any situation, made our play calling in the running game look better than it was previous weeks. This week though I thought we got it right the entire game with both of the styles of running. I have been critical of the way the coaching staff has handled the splitting up of carries but this balance was perfect. I really hope this can continue in order to take even more pressure off the offensive line, an established running game makes it easier to pass block.

Defensively, after the first drive everything fell into place. Our defensive line is the best unit on the team and quite possibly the best in the conference. Now that we are throwing the occasional blitz in the mix we are getting favorable one on one matchups for our ends. Romeus and Clermond did an amazing job of getting to the quarterback and containing the running lanes, especially in the second half. We also finally caused turnovers. Getting two fumbles after not forcing a fumble shows that this team hasn't given up a belief in itself. I hope that we can continue to build off this game.

Try to enjoy this win and look at all the positives that have come out of the big upset. Don't forget about the three bad losses before this game though. This week will tell us if we finally turned the corner and can make a run at a winning season. I'm off to be old and send some more text messages, because thats what I do.

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