That was a fantastic game yesterday. The Bears played well enough in crappy conditions to win the game, mainly on the back of the special teams and defense. The offense actually played well also, except for the turnovers. Which of course is like saying are good looking except for the 17 pound goiter on the side of your face.
The weather, to me anyway, made the game that much more enjoyable. That is what football should be about. We had a bunch of kids with us shivering with blue lips, but no whining. There were so many big plays and turnovers, that even though the offense for both teams was poor, it was entertaining.
The best thing from this game was that the defense played well, and got off the field. There were a heck of a lot of three and outs. If the defense plays like this against SC, we have a good shot at winning that game.
Also, the offensive line played OK. I had big concerns about the line play because of the injuries. Also, I think that the passing game was OK - the receivers dropped fewer balls than they have in prior games.
Kevin Riley getting knocked silly was scary. He was playing well in the first quarter and I think the game would have been a blowout if he could have stayed in. Nate came in and did a serviceable job, but threw a few that could have been picked, and may have if the weather was better. Of course, if the weather was better, the balls may not have sailed like they did. There were a lot of overthrows and under-throws by all three QBs playing yesterday.
I also think that the fans did a good job in keeping the noise level up. The crowd was probably closer to 50,000 than the 61,000 they said. But I think it was just as loud as any of the previous games this year. The ones who were there did a good job.
Javid Best two fumbles in years past would have sat him on the bench for the rest of the game. But JT needed him on the field. Here is what was interesting: the first fumble, he had his arm brace on. For the second fumble, it was not on. He must have made that as the excuse. But he was hit with a helmet in that elbow, and the ball came flying out. So, for the rest of the game, he had the brace on.
Riley's first drive interception that led to their first score was terrible. Beyond that, they did not have a lot of positive offense except for the three play rushing drive in the third quarter. After the game, Starkey was interviewing Follett, and he had two interesting comments. First, he said that they generally are not ready for the first drive since the scout team can not replicate the speed of the opponents, so it take the defense generally the first drive to get used to the game. Second, he said that after they came out in the second half, Oregon made some adjustments, and went to the option more, which was effective. But after the TD drive, the Bears changed their keys from the guards to the tackles, and were able to stop the option at that level. In other words, the guards were playing misdirection but the tackles were showing the true play direction.
As regards to the first comments, it seems to me that SC does it better. They go full speed at least one day per week first team offense vs defense. That gives them game day situations which help them to play a high level all four quarters. I think that they have depth to do that, but so do we at this point in our evolution.
Secondly, I think not only having the 3-4, but having Gregory on the sideline for the games this year is better for the defense. He is showing them on the side what to do, and adjustments are getting made faster. I think that is a big deal. Even two weeks ago, at Arizona, the defense made adjustments quicker in the third quarter (granted, 28 points were scored and by then it was too late). The defense played well in the 4th at Arizona.
In any event, that was a heck of a game. And now, for the 7th year in a row, the Bears are Bowl Eligible.