First, I will start out by saying I think Danny Rocco is a first rate coach. We first encountered him in the 2015 Semi-finals. They did us the favor of dispatching Illinois State before we had to face superman again (Tre Roberson). This set aside the selection committee’s plans for the Herd to go on the road to Illinois and win if we wanted to go to Frisco to get number five. We dispatched Richmond in typical fashion, 33-7. We did this with our back up QB, Mr. Stick, who was waiting to give back the reigns to the number two pick in the NFL draft, Mr. Wentz. Typical Bison fashion? We out rushed Richmond 282 to 38. Held time of possession 36:38 to 23:22. We stymied their star QB, Kyle Lauletta (who got NFL invites), to 12 of 26 in passing for 171 yards with 2 interceptions and 3 sacks. Rocco experienced firsthand the Bison meat grinder.
Last year he got his first chance for revenge as the head coach of Delaware. It didn’t go so well. Before the first quarter horn sounded, they were down 28-0. Other than a field goal, their offense generated nothing (they scored their only TD by a 98-yard fumble return in the 4th QTR.). Our total offense was 527 to 152 (they only got 57 yards rushing). This game wasn’t close at all.
That was last year. What can we expect tomorrow? The Blue Hens lost a lot of starters off last year’s defense but return three stout line man. Their secondary has been porous in the first two games, giving up 330 YPG against mundane competition. They beat Delaware State, a team ranked around where Butler ranks, 31-17. Rhode Island, who ranks below South Dakota and Southern Illinois, took them to triple OT. This isn’t a stellar resume.
I think the game will be similar to the UND game. They will emphasize stopping the A & B gap power run game, with some success. This will leave them vulnerable on the perimeter and passing game. Just like The Fighting Hawks, their Line Backers aren’t going to be athletic enough to cover our tight ends and backs in space. Offensively, I don’t think they will be able to run the ball effectively against Code Green. Once this takes place, their QB will have a long day running for his life.
As stated in my season preview. The Bison have a very good developmental schedule. Butler was like a controlled scrimmage. We could break out new players without them being taxed beyond their ability. Trey and others were allowed to shine. It ramped up versus UND. The Fighting Hawks were at a higher emotional pitch than the Bison. A UND win would launch their season. To the Herd, it was just another game to progress in and they did. Now we get to be challenged by going on the road to a 20,000 seat stadium with some proud players seeking revenge.
Sagarin has the Bison a 20-22 point favorite with a 90% chance of winning. Vegas has the Herd a 28.5 point favorite. If the Bison play clean and fast, it should be a lot like last week in the score also.