Bye Week: Nitpicking a 65-30 victory

"Beckmanface" via

NIU fans were excited to get up 28-0 after the first half against Toledo last Tuesday, because they knew how dangerous the Rockets could be on the offensive side of things.  It's an amazing type of shift from how the defense was dominant to how well the offense is doing things amazingly well this season.

It could have been 35-0.  The choice to go for it on 4th and 3 from the Toledo 33 yd line was certainly a ballsy one.  The playcall wasn't exactly what I expected. Jordan Lynch came in as our designated running QB and that's exactly what he did after faking a handoff.  I would have either let the running back run the ball or threw the ball for the short yardage that they needed.  Lynch eventually will throw, but let's just keep that under wraps until we travel to Detroit.

Toledo's special teams were excellentEric Page, as we knew, was one of the best kickoff return men in the league.  Toledo's game all season long has been field position and Page set them up to have success throughout the second half.


Animated Drive Chart brought to you by Gameday Depot.

Right off the bat, he returns a kick to the 35 yd line.  The offense stutters, but then punter John Penza kicks a sick coffin-corner punt to pin the Huskies at their own 4 yd line.  The end result?  A signature Toledo safety after Harnish took too long in the pocket.  Better than a touchdown for the other team, even though the Rockets would score on their ensuing drive.

Page then takes it from the goalline to the 33 on his next return and the Rockets scored on a big play.  The next time Page got his hands on the ball, he returned it all the way to midfield.  With such a short field to work with, the Rocket offense didn't have any trouble putting the ball in the endzone.

The safety depth is just not there.  Where is Tracy Wilson?  The stud strong safety barely played against WMU and didn't see the field vs. Toledo.  Groin injuries suck (I know from experience).  Our linebackers aren't complete studs yet and can't do it all.  FS Tommy Davis is one of our leading tacklers pretty much by default.  Mike Sobol and his knee just isn't going to have enough speed to run down ball carriers.  Demetrius Stone is still in his first year of playing time.  If this position doesn't improve then it's going to continue to be hard to stop all of the spread offenses out there.

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