Does anyone find it odd that every single final score for the Mustangs this year has ended in 7? 27, 47, 7, 7, and 27 against Rice, Texas State, Texas Tech, TCU, and Tulane respectively. I was not really going anywhere with that, just thought it was interesting.
Other thing interesting things: the Mustangs were 2-12 on third down against Tulane last Thursday, but 2-2 on fourth down. Green Wave QB Kevin Moore had 2 fewer passing yards than Bo Levi Mitchell on 2 fewer completions with 20 fewer attempts.
The Run N Shoot is designed for short quick passes where the receiver makes plays after the catch (the unfortunately named statistic of YAC-Yards After Catch) and Mitchell's numbers seem to show what we have presumed all along and that commenters on Ponyfans need to remember: that June Jones is still installing his offense one game at a time. Mitchell seems to be getting into a rhythm. Remember that Hawaii QB Timmy Chang said that he did not fully get a grip on the offense until the end of his first season. Mitchell made strides in the second half against Tulane, leading the Mustangs on four scoring drives (2 FG in the 3rd quarter and 2 TD in the 4th quarter) to bring them to within one score while the defense finally showed flashes of brilliance and held the Green Wave offense to a single second half field goal.
Expect more from Mitchell this Saturday as the Mustangs travel to Orlando to play a seriously depleted (mostly by graduation) Central Florida team that gave up 58 points and 284 passing yards to a UTEP offense that has had problems getting off the ground and has lost to such luminaries as Buffalo and New Mexico State so far this season. If Mitchell and the receivers are finally on the same page, this could finally be the game where the offense breaks through and takes the pressure off of the defense.
June Jones teams are designed to rely on the offense to make quick scores throughout the game which allows the defense to play from ahead and be aggressive. When the offense is sputtering, the defense is on the field more and has to fall back to a cushion coverage defense instead of the aggressive, blitzing unit that Tom Mason has in mind. In other words, other than Texas State, the Mustangs have not been able to stick to their game plan this season. All rests on the offense performing well and if it fails to, this defense is simply not good enough to hold back the tide. We have seen this in the losses to Rice, Tech, and TCU.
But against a UCF offense that has not figured out its identity yet this season (24 points in an OT loss to South Florida is the high mark to this point), I would expect Tom Mason to finally unroll more blitz packages as the secondary should be able to defend against George O'Leary's offense. As has been the case almost every week so far, the Mustang linebackers will need to step up and help defend against the run this week or the quality of our secondary's defense will not be worth a Beta jersey at McCartney's (it's a greek joke...because Beta was, you know, kicked off campus...*cough*).
I do not usually do predictions (how's that 8-4 season prediction working out for you Ty?) because trying to foretell how this team will continue to develop is both frustrating and ultimately pointless since the first year of a rebuilding job is usually the diciest one. That being said, I'm going to predict that the Mustangs pull out win number 2 on the season: 38-21 over UCF.
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