That game hit pretty much everything in our Five Keys on Friday. (Well, except the first one -- and if anyone can help me get a copy of this game for our library, send an e-mail to voodoo5blog at gmail dot com, please.) Let's go back and check:
1. Run, run, run, run. It wasn't quite as easy as maybe we expected, but the Bulls did rack up 136 yards rushing, a total that was skewed a bit by two sacks Bobby Eveld took in garbage time. FAU tackled pretty well and prevented any big running plays, and there were a couple big runs called back by penalties, but the Bulls steadily picked up 4-5 yards per carry and kept the chains moving.
Interesting what happens when you have one running back get a good amount of touches. Mo Plancher got what I think is a career-high 20 carries and turned it into 93 yards and two touchdowns. He was never stopped for a loss, and he got quite a few yards out of plays where it looked like he would be. The biggest of those was the 4th and 1 in the fourth quarter where he slipped through to get the first down, and then scored a touchdown on the next play to finish the scoring.
2. Take advantage of Tavious Polo's replacement. Not a complete success here, although I suspect FAU rolled a lot of coverage over to Dontavia Bogan's side to help out -- I'd have to watch the game again to be sure. But the Bulls did chump the Owls' secondary on a 38-yard flea-flicker touchdown after FAU had completely sold out to stop the run on a 1st and 10. Bogan was a good 10 yards behind the defense and waiting for the ball at the goal line. Overall B.J. Daniels was 14-for-20 for 155 yards and a score. They also drew two pass interference penalties downfield. And most importantly, the offense had no turnovers.
3. Shore up the passing defense, including the pass rush. The pass rush was fantastic tonight, tying a school record with seven sacks from seven different defenders, generating countless hurries, and knocking Jeff Van Camp out of the game with an injury. He completed 17-for-22 passes, but only for 136 yards, and he was flustered all night long. Actually the whole defense was terrific, racking up an impressive 12 TFLs and holding the Owls to only 208 total yards and forcing three turnovers. Jerrell Young also made a couple of good plays to break up deep passes, and picked off Van Camp in the first minute of the game to set up the Bulls' first score before leaving with a sprained ankle.
4.Start ramping it up for conference play. I was very concerned about the potential enthusiasm gap, but if anything the Bulls were the more fired-up team tonight. They were focused and under control all night, unlike the Owls, who started taking bad penalties when the game got away from them. And they made big plays -- the Young interception, the Quenton Washington blocked punt and recovery/touchdown by Armando Sanchez, the flea-flicker, an interception by Michael Lanaris to end a late FAU threat. The Owls were never really in this game, and the easy win gives the Bulls momentum heading into conference play against Syracuse next Saturday at noon.
So in closing...