This is the most precarious the Herd has marched into the playoffs since 2010. There is a huge question of this team is of championship quality. The SDSU game looked a lot like the 2016 semis against JMU; a tie game heading into the 4th quarter at 17-17. It was all Jacks in the 4th as they put 10 on the board and made Code Green look more like Code Yellow. Can the Herd rebound for a playoff run?
We get Eastern Washington at home. In 2010 they beat us in a heart breaker (on a shady call) in the quarter finals. That was the first year the Herd was playoff eligible in the FCS. It was the foundation for what was to come over the next nine years. We knew we belonged, but nobody was predicting we would dominate the way we have winning 8 of 9 National Championships.
Here we are in the playoffs in a non-seeded capacity. Nothing has really changed with the Eagles; they are a high powered offense first and foremost with a senior mobile QB (Eric Barriere). Back in my preseason article I had them as a sleeper because of their schedule and they were getting some key defensive players back from injury. Where do I rank them now?
They killed an average N. Arizona team 45-13 and decimated a bad Cal-Poly squad 62-10 (Poly gave up an average of 56.3 PPG in its three losses, no wins). E Wash. Gave up 28 points in an opening loss to Idaho and 31 in a win in the last spring game pre-playoffs. They held Davis to 22 points and won a shoot out against Idaho State 46-42. That’s 31 points per game. But can we depend on a Code Green that looked bad against SIU or the Jacks?
If we get in a shootout, they win! We have to make them one dimensional. They have given up 6 sacks and generated 13. We have to win time of possession, period. We should be able to do this considering EWU couldn’t stop bad run teams. Other than Davis, the Eagles four opponents only averaged less than 105 YPG versus all other teams, but 146.2 against EWU. If we don’t rush for +250 yards, the Rams need to turn in their big boy pants.
Vegas have the Herd favored by 4-6 points in the various prognosticators call sheets. I am not sure on the character of this team. Do I feel we have a better roster? Yes, but it hasn’t shined yet. This is not me dissing a down team. The program suffered most of any team by Covid. We were taken out of cycle and only got one season from a first round NFL QB (which has happened to no other team, including the FBS), we lost Radunz senior season as well. This is a very young team and it is showing.
Also the coaches need to take it up a level. I see opposing teams play selections getting receivers free and I watch Gindorff, Babicz and even Watson covered. Also, shelve Zeb. Good kid, but he has no “it factor”. Our offense is built around a dual-threat QB. We only have one ready to play. USE HIM!!
Go Bison!! Once a Bison, Always a Bison!