Illinois 14, Minnesota 6 Postgame

#177      
I remember a LOT of pissing and moaning when Undie lost a school record number of games early on.
not to mention when a few recruits went to Mizzo
Back on topic, I'm pretty happy with 4 wins,
want 2 more, of course, then this is practically a near-miracle job of coaching season.
 
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#179      
Cincinnati, OH
The Good
1. The bye after the Wisconsin game is looking like manna from heaven. You could make an argument that Illinois has been playing really well since the Virginia game (minus Wisconsin).
2. Best two passing performances (via PFF) of the season in back-to-back games. Passing Efficiency Rating is even stronger in its conviction: The last two games have been Peters' two best appearances ever (PER of 192.4 and 189.1). Better than his MSU game, better than any appearance at UM. He's peaking down the stretch of his final year.
3. Barring the regular caveats of future injury, Vederian Lowe has sealed being picked in next year's NFL draft. Has 104 pass protection snaps since week 5 and has allowed zero pressures during that time. He's going to be one of the top college tackles based on pass protection at season's end. If he stays healthy he could sneak into the top four rounds.
4. The offensive line is really clicking and they've found the right mix (plus play calling adjustments). Kramer, Lowe, Palcho, and Badinovac were all really good.
5. Kerby Joseph might be the best defensive player on the roster. Who would have guessed that back in August?
6. Fleck evoking Polamalu when talking about Sydney Brown. He isn't Polamalu by pedigree but that is a fun comp. Similar Swiss-army knife fit for the defense and notorious as a run-stuffing secondary player. He can be really up-and-down (Virginia) but he's a lot of fun to watch when he's on.
7. Edge players (OLBs) really have turned it on since Penn State. Isaiah Gay might have had his most productive game and Carney (though PFF isn't impressed) has kicked it into high gear. Carney now has 11 sacks over his past two years.
8. SP+ ranked the Illinois defense at 100 after the Virginia game. Now? 49th. Let's compare YPG allowed to the 2020 team: 2020 team allowed 468 yards/game. 2021 version allows 390 (only 301 over the past three games). 2020 team allowed 6.4 yards per play. 2021 team is only allowing 5.4 (4.2 in last three). Maybe you're thinking the slower pace is giving this year's defense an unfair advantage when comparing it to Lovie's last team, so let's look at points per play. 2020 team allowed .475 points per play (98th in the country), the 2021 defense is allowing .300 (23rd in the country). That's a massive leap forward and at least one stat to hang your hat on this year's defense being a top-25 unit.
9. This isn't taking anything away from Walters. In fact, I commend the entire staff on addressing something that Lovie perceived as unimportant (or a contributing factor to the team's poor performance that he wan't able to correct): Opponents time of possession: 2019 - 128th (out of 130). 2020 - 111th (out of 128). 2021? 64th.
10. No major injuries, right?


The Bad
1. Wasn't a great game for Ford and Barker. Not sure what the issue is but the offense just hasn't been able to kickstart the tight ends and really cash in the talent at that position.
2. PFF continues to think the defensive line is sluggish and QB pressures are being created by good coverage and not by the line creating that pressure on their own. I think that is a fair complaint and it will be a tough task for the defensive line against Iowa in a couple of weeks. Hopefully a bye will freshen some of the legs.
3. Offense is still an overall negative even with Peters playing his best and Chase carrying this offense on his back. Gotta find a way to manufacture more points. SP+ has the offense at 100 (that's bad).
 
#180      
If you're a bit "older" than some on here, I believe you've already experienced one such 12-year streak where we were considerably better than Ohio State. Here's the Illini record vs. the Buckeyes during a slice of the Mike White, Mackovic and early Lou Tepper regimes:
1983 W Home 17-13
1984 L Away 38-45
1985 W Home 31-28
1986 L Away 0-14
1987 L Home 6-10
1988 W Away 31-12 (Kirk H.)
1989 W Home 34-14 (Kirk H.)
1990 W Away 31-20 (Kirk H.)
1991 W Home 10-7 (Kirk H.)
1992 W Away 18-16 (Kirk H.)
1993 L Home 12-20
1994 W Away 24-10

8 Wins
4 Losses

.667 winning %

The average score over that 12-year stretch was ILLINI 21 vs. osu 17. I also noted Kirk Herbstreit's 5 year record while playing for the Buckeyes. We're all now looking for a repeat under BB!!
No, we weren't better than them but in 2 or 3 seasons. Beating a team doesn't make you better other than that one game.

We've had some remarkable games and wins against OSU teams that clearly were better than us.
 
#181      
The Good
1. The bye after the Wisconsin game is looking like manna from heaven. You could make an argument that Illinois has been playing really well since the Virginia game (minus Wisconsin).
2. Best two passing performances (via PFF) of the season in back-to-back games. Passing Efficiency Rating is even stronger in its conviction: The last two games have been Peters' two best appearances ever (PER of 192.4 and 189.1). Better than his MSU game, better than any appearance at UM. He's peaking down the stretch of his final year.
3. Barring the regular caveats of future injury, Vederian Lowe has sealed being picked in next year's NFL draft. Has 104 pass protection snaps since week 5 and has allowed zero pressures during that time. He's going to be one of the top college tackles based on pass protection at season's end. If he stays healthy he could sneak into the top four rounds.
4. The offensive line is really clicking and they've found the right mix (plus play calling adjustments). Kramer, Lowe, Palcho, and Badinovac were all really good.
5. Kerby Joseph might be the best defensive player on the roster. Who would have guessed that back in August?
6. Fleck evoking Polamalu when talking about Sydney Brown. He isn't Polamalu by pedigree but that is a fun comp. Similar Swiss-army knife fit for the defense and notorious as a run-stuffing secondary player. He can be really up-and-down (Virginia) but he's a lot of fun to watch when he's on.
7. Edge players (OLBs) really have turned it on since Penn State. Isaiah Gay might have had his most productive game and Carney (though PFF isn't impressed) has kicked it into high gear. Carney now has 11 sacks over his past two years.
8. SP+ ranked the Illinois defense at 100 after the Virginia game. Now? 49th. Let's compare YPG allowed to the 2020 team: 2020 team allowed 468 yards/game. 2021 version allows 390 (only 301 over the past three games). 2020 team allowed 6.4 yards per play. 2021 team is only allowing 5.4 (4.2 in last three). Maybe you're thinking the slower pace is giving this year's defense an unfair advantage when comparing it to Lovie's last team, so let's look at points per play. 2020 team allowed .475 points per play (98th in the country), the 2021 defense is allowing .300 (23rd in the country). That's a massive leap forward and at least one stat to hang your hat on this year's defense being a top-25 unit.
9. This isn't taking anything away from Walters. In fact, I commend the entire staff on addressing something that Lovie perceived as unimportant (or a contributing factor to the team's poor performance that he wan't able to correct): Opponents time of possession: 2019 - 128th (out of 130). 2020 - 111th (out of 128). 2021? 64th.
10. No major injuries, right?


The Bad
1. Wasn't a great game for Ford and Barker. Not sure what the issue is but the offense just hasn't been able to kickstart the tight ends and really cash in the talent at that position.
2. PFF continues to think the defensive line is sluggish and QB pressures are being created by good coverage and not by the line creating that pressure on their own. I think that is a fair complaint and it will be a tough task for the defensive line against Iowa in a couple of weeks. Hopefully a bye will freshen some of the legs.
3. Offense is still an overall negative even with Peters playing his best and Chase carrying this offense on his back. Gotta find a way to manufacture more points. SP+ has the offense at 100 (that's bad).
I was asking for some kind of tempo free stat on a different thread.

Do you have a place to find points per play rankings in conference play only?
 
#182      
Gurnee
The Good
1. The bye after the Wisconsin game is looking like manna from heaven. You could make an argument that Illinois has been playing really well since the Virginia game (minus Wisconsin).
2. Best two passing performances (via PFF) of the season in back-to-back games. Passing Efficiency Rating is even stronger in its conviction: The last two games have been Peters' two best appearances ever (PER of 192.4 and 189.1). Better than his MSU game, better than any appearance at UM. He's peaking down the stretch of his final year.
3. Barring the regular caveats of future injury, Vederian Lowe has sealed being picked in next year's NFL draft. Has 104 pass protection snaps since week 5 and has allowed zero pressures during that time. He's going to be one of the top college tackles based on pass protection at season's end. If he stays healthy he could sneak into the top four rounds.
4. The offensive line is really clicking and they've found the right mix (plus play calling adjustments). Kramer, Lowe, Palcho, and Badinovac were all really good.
5. Kerby Joseph might be the best defensive player on the roster. Who would have guessed that back in August?
6. Fleck evoking Polamalu when talking about Sydney Brown. He isn't Polamalu by pedigree but that is a fun comp. Similar Swiss-army knife fit for the defense and notorious as a run-stuffing secondary player. He can be really up-and-down (Virginia) but he's a lot of fun to watch when he's on.
7. Edge players (OLBs) really have turned it on since Penn State. Isaiah Gay might have had his most productive game and Carney (though PFF isn't impressed) has kicked it into high gear. Carney now has 11 sacks over his past two years.
8. SP+ ranked the Illinois defense at 100 after the Virginia game. Now? 49th. Let's compare YPG allowed to the 2020 team: 2020 team allowed 468 yards/game. 2021 version allows 390 (only 301 over the past three games). 2020 team allowed 6.4 yards per play. 2021 team is only allowing 5.4 (4.2 in last three). Maybe you're thinking the slower pace is giving this year's defense an unfair advantage when comparing it to Lovie's last team, so let's look at points per play. 2020 team allowed .475 points per play (98th in the country), the 2021 defense is allowing .300 (23rd in the country). That's a massive leap forward and at least one stat to hang your hat on this year's defense being a top-25 unit.
9. This isn't taking anything away from Walters. In fact, I commend the entire staff on addressing something that Lovie perceived as unimportant (or a contributing factor to the team's poor performance that he wan't able to correct): Opponents time of possession: 2019 - 128th (out of 130). 2020 - 111th (out of 128). 2021? 64th.
10. No major injuries, right?


The Bad
1. Wasn't a great game for Ford and Barker. Not sure what the issue is but the offense just hasn't been able to kickstart the tight ends and really cash in the talent at that position.
2. PFF continues to think the defensive line is sluggish and QB pressures are being created by good coverage and not by the line creating that pressure on their own. I think that is a fair complaint and it will be a tough task for the defensive line against Iowa in a couple of weeks. Hopefully a bye will freshen some of the legs.
3. Offense is still an overall negative even with Peters playing his best and Chase carrying this offense on his back. Gotta find a way to manufacture more points. SP+ has the offense at 100 (that's bad).
Thanks for this - great read.

How is Pearl playing and is he likely to be our LT next year, barring a transfer/Juco OL that is better suited than he is?
 
#183      
Agreed. We're probably just about where we should be.

We've won three close games - NEB, PSU, MINN (2 of the 3 currently ranked)
We've lost four close games - MD, PURD, UTSA, RUTG (2 of the 4 currently ranked)

WISC, UVA and CLT were not close.
To be fair that Nebraska game wasn't really close, they just scored a garbage time touchdown towards the end to make it look better than it was.
 
#184      
The Good
1. The bye after the Wisconsin game is looking like manna from heaven. You could make an argument that Illinois has been playing really well since the Virginia game (minus Wisconsin).
2. Best two passing performances (via PFF) of the season in back-to-back games. Passing Efficiency Rating is even stronger in its conviction: The last two games have been Peters' two best appearances ever (PER of 192.4 and 189.1). Better than his MSU game, better than any appearance at UM. He's peaking down the stretch of his final year.
3. Barring the regular caveats of future injury, Vederian Lowe has sealed being picked in next year's NFL draft. Has 104 pass protection snaps since week 5 and has allowed zero pressures during that time. He's going to be one of the top college tackles based on pass protection at season's end. If he stays healthy he could sneak into the top four rounds.
4. The offensive line is really clicking and they've found the right mix (plus play calling adjustments). Kramer, Lowe, Palcho, and Badinovac were all really good.
5. Kerby Joseph might be the best defensive player on the roster. Who would have guessed that back in August?
6. Fleck evoking Polamalu when talking about Sydney Brown. He isn't Polamalu by pedigree but that is a fun comp. Similar Swiss-army knife fit for the defense and notorious as a run-stuffing secondary player. He can be really up-and-down (Virginia) but he's a lot of fun to watch when he's on.
7. Edge players (OLBs) really have turned it on since Penn State. Isaiah Gay might have had his most productive game and Carney (though PFF isn't impressed) has kicked it into high gear. Carney now has 11 sacks over his past two years.
8. SP+ ranked the Illinois defense at 100 after the Virginia game. Now? 49th. Let's compare YPG allowed to the 2020 team: 2020 team allowed 468 yards/game. 2021 version allows 390 (only 301 over the past three games). 2020 team allowed 6.4 yards per play. 2021 team is only allowing 5.4 (4.2 in last three). Maybe you're thinking the slower pace is giving this year's defense an unfair advantage when comparing it to Lovie's last team, so let's look at points per play. 2020 team allowed .475 points per play (98th in the country), the 2021 defense is allowing .300 (23rd in the country). That's a massive leap forward and at least one stat to hang your hat on this year's defense being a top-25 unit.
9. This isn't taking anything away from Walters. In fact, I commend the entire staff on addressing something that Lovie perceived as unimportant (or a contributing factor to the team's poor performance that he wan't able to correct): Opponents time of possession: 2019 - 128th (out of 130). 2020 - 111th (out of 128). 2021? 64th.
10. No major injuries, right?


The Bad
1. Wasn't a great game for Ford and Barker. Not sure what the issue is but the offense just hasn't been able to kickstart the tight ends and really cash in the talent at that position.
2. PFF continues to think the defensive line is sluggish and QB pressures are being created by good coverage and not by the line creating that pressure on their own. I think that is a fair complaint and it will be a tough task for the defensive line against Iowa in a couple of weeks. Hopefully a bye will freshen some of the legs.
3. Offense is still an overall negative even with Peters playing his best and Chase carrying this offense on his back. Gotta find a way to manufacture more points. SP+ has the offense at 100 (that's bad).
While Ford wasn't productive in receiving, his blocking was tremendous at times. He helped open a lot of those holes for Chase. Great points throughout this.
 
#185      
No, we weren't better than them but in 2 or 3 seasons. Beating a team doesn't make you better other than that one game.

We've had some remarkable games and wins against OSU teams that clearly were better than us.
Curious......which of those 8 wins were "remarkable" in your mind?

I admit the 2007 victory in the "Juice Williams game" was remarkable, but those 1983-1994 wins were totally legit. For 12-15 years we looked every bit like we belonged on the field with Michigan, OSU and every team we faced. After Mike White arrived, we were the emerging 3rd power team in the Big 10 --- before Iowa and Wisconsin because "that team".

As for that 12-year stretch vs. Ohio St:
* We each played in 1 Rose Bowl (we each lost)
* OSU averaged just under 4 losses per year
* Illinois averaged 4.5 losses per year
* Overall, yeah, OSU was admittedly a little better nationally
 
#186      
I finally got to watch the Illini recap versus Minnesota on the Big Ten Network at 5 a.m. I had to record it. With 14 minutes and 50 seconds left in the 4th quarter at Minnesota's 45-yard line three consecutive plays we ran the ball instead of trying to gain an additional 10 yards especially on third down and 4. We could have kicked a field goal to extend the lead to 17. I quite frankly don't understand those play calls on the down, distance and yard line? So I still don't like the offensive coordinator. And one last point and I know a lot of you will hate this. I'm sick of seeing the Illinois football Twitter page with Josh Whitman hugging everybody after an Illinois Win, we know you love football Josh get the hell out of the videos with the coaches and players celebrating. Its their time in those moments. šŸ¤£šŸ¤£šŸ¤£šŸ¤£
 
#187      
Bethesda, Maryland
No, we weren't better than them but in 2 or 3 seasons. Beating a team doesn't make you better other than that one game.

We've had some remarkable games and wins against OSU teams that clearly were better than us.
This particular opponent has special meaning for me, as I have reminded my childhood friends consistently over the years that in the '80s we did indeed best the Buckeyes in football, barely. From '83 through '91 we finished ahead of them in the BT 5 of nine seasons, and beat them six of those nine meetings, including twice in Columbus. I'll grant you that our subsequent wins have been few but they've been notable: '07, of course, but also '99 and '01 come to mind, and all three of those in Columbus.

BTW, the 45-38 loss in Columbus in '84 was one of the great conference games of the past 50 years. We had a 24-0 lead 15 secs into the 2nd quarter on national TV. OSU's Keith Byars racked up 275 yards; he ran 70 yards for a TD having lost a shoe at the line of scrimmage. We ended up finishing one game behind them that season, in second place in the BT. That still smarts 37 years later.

[EDIT: Ah, the era of gigantic shoulder pads...]

 
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#188      
the Front Range
I finally got to watch the Illini recap versus Minnesota on the Big Ten Network at 5 a.m. I had to record it. With 14 minutes and 50 seconds left in the 4th quarter at Minnesota's 45-yard line three consecutive plays we ran the ball instead of trying to gain an additional 10 yards especially on third down and 4. We could have kicked a field goal to extend the lead to 17. I quite frankly don't understand those play calls on the down, distance and yard line? So I still don't like the offensive coordinator. And one last point and I know a lot of you will hate this. I'm sick of seeing the Illinois football Twitter page with Josh Whitman hugging everybody after an Illinois Win, we know you love football Josh get the hell out of the videos with the coaches and players celebrating. Its their time in those moments. šŸ¤£šŸ¤£šŸ¤£šŸ¤£
lawn get GIF
 
#189      
I finally got to watch the Illini recap versus Minnesota on the Big Ten Network at 5 a.m. I had to record it. With 14 minutes and 50 seconds left in the 4th quarter at Minnesota's 45-yard line three consecutive plays we ran the ball instead of trying to gain an additional 10 yards especially on third down and 4. We could have kicked a field goal to extend the lead to 17. I quite frankly don't understand those play calls on the down, distance and yard line? So I still don't like the offensive coordinator. And one last point and I know a lot of you will hate this. I'm sick of seeing the Illinois football Twitter page with Josh Whitman hugging everybody after an Illinois Win, we know you love football Josh get the hell out of the videos with the coaches and players celebrating. Its their time in those moments. šŸ¤£šŸ¤£šŸ¤£šŸ¤£
I'm sure recruits hate seeing a young, highly engaged AD and prefer suit and tie administrators who haven't seen the inside of a gym in 30 years. :rolleyes:
 
#190      
Cincinnati, OH
I was asking for some kind of tempo free stat on a different thread.

Do you have a place to find points per play rankings in conference play only?

Unfortunately I don't have the number for conference games only. I would be hesitant to lean too much into that stat because the Big Ten, especially the West, has a number of lower scoring teams that are preferring that playing style for a number of reasons.

I can say that Illinois is 23rd in opponents points per play in the nation and 8th in Big Ten (behind Penn State, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Purdue, and Nebraska), which may further emphasize my point.
 
#191      
Cincinnati, OH
Thanks for this - great read.

How is Pearl playing and is he likely to be our LT next year, barring a transfer/Juco OL that is better suited than he is?

Pearl did fine, wasn't good and wasn't bad. He was a notch below the rest of the offensive line but that is more of a nod to the play of everyone else. That said, no disappointment for how he played considering he was playing a ranked team on the road. I think he's doing enough that I would be pretty surprised if he isn't a starter to start next year.
 
#192      
Cincinnati, OH
While Ford wasn't productive in receiving, his blocking was tremendous at times. He helped open a lot of those holes for Chase. Great points throughout this.

This isn't to counter your point, because Ford did have some opportune moments for blocking during the game and throughout the season. His blocking has been passable. He's not a star by any means but also not a liability. Him taking a leap forward next year to solid blocker will help his potential draft stock but it would be great if the passing attack could find him and Barker a little more often. We are reaching the point in the season where the stats provide a better picture of who is good and who isn't but I refuse to believe that Barker and Ford aren't a solid TE duo and Peters/Stikowski have just struggled to get them the ball more often (while also seeing some drops from Ford and some down games from Barker mixed in).
 
#193      
This particular opponent has special meaning for me, as I have reminded my childhood friends consistently over the years that in the '80s we did indeed best the Buckeyes in football, barely. From '83 through '91 we finished ahead of them in the BT 5 of nine seasons, and beat them six of those nine meetings, including twice in Columbus. I'll grant you that our subsequent wins have been few but they've been notable: '07, of course, but also '99 and '01 come to mind, and all three of those in Columbus.

BTW, the 45-38 loss in Columbus in '84 was one of the great conference games of the past 50 years. We had a 24-0 lead 15 secs into the 2nd quarter on national TV. OSU's Keith Byars racked up 275 yards; he ran 70 yards for a TD having lost a shoe at the line of scrimmage. We ended up finishing one game behind them that season, in second place in the BT. That still smarts 37 years later.

[EDIT: Ah, the era of gigantic shoulder pads...]

I was at that game. It was so great...and then so brutal!
 
#194      
Pearl did fine, wasn't good and wasn't bad. He was a notch below the rest of the offensive line but that is more of a nod to the play of everyone else. That said, no disappointment for how he played considering he was playing a ranked team on the road. I think he's doing enough that I would be pretty surprised if he isn't a starter to start next year.
What is the best "tempo free" stat to look at then?

Something like basketball's points per possession where it doesn't matter how fast or slow you play, just efficiency.
 
#196      
This particular opponent has special meaning for me, as I have reminded my childhood friends consistently over the years that in the '80s we did indeed best the Buckeyes in football, barely. From '83 through '91 we finished ahead of them in the BT 5 of nine seasons, and beat them six of those nine meetings, including twice in Columbus. I'll grant you that our subsequent wins have been few but they've been notable: '07, of course, but also '99 and '01 come to mind, and all three of those in Columbus.

BTW, the 45-38 loss in Columbus in '84 was one of the great conference games of the past 50 years. We had a 24-0 lead 15 secs into the 2nd quarter on national TV. OSU's Keith Byars racked up 275 yards; he ran 70 yards for a TD having lost a shoe at the line of scrimmage. We ended up finishing one game behind them that season, in second place in the BT. That still smarts 37 years later.

[EDIT: Ah, the era of gigantic shoulder pads...]

Just watched - wow, was that fun! Mike White sure knew how to coach the offensive side of the ball. WR David Williams -- 1st Team All American.
 
#197      
It would be an interesting find. How many games in the Big Ten were lost by one score? Either by a field goal or one td. Look at Neb this year. We had three games by lost by one score in the BT. Beat IA. I still go back to the IA game where BP was roughed after he released the pass and the refs did not call it and should have been a personal foul.
 
#198      
Gurnee
It would be an interesting find. How many games in the Big Ten were lost by one score? Either by a field goal or one td. Look at Neb this year. We had three games by lost by one score in the BT. Beat IA. I still go back to the IA game where BP was roughed after he released the pass and the refs did not call it and should have been a personal foul and ejection.
FIFY
 
#199      

Deleted member 747867

D
Guest
Compare the results to the betting lines and you'd say yeah, this is a wildly inconsistent team.

But I feel like that's not really the case on a play-to-play, drive-to-drive basis.

We do what we do, we play Big Ten football, shrink the game as small as we can, and have played a ton of small-margins type games.

All I know is it is a sight for sore eyes to see us just lining up and playing and matching our opponents at the line of scrimmage. There's no gimmickry here, we are just playing the football we intend to play, in Year 1 of a new era, very different from what we're used to at Illinois.
Totally agree. This team has talented players, but (respectfully) fewer of them. And several key players have been injured and missed time on both sides of the ball. Yet, the OL and DL have "manned up" in the trenches this year (for the most part - only truly getting out-muscled by Wisconsin), and that has kept them competitive in all of their games.

The coaches clearly know what they're doing. They are instilling a discipline and hard-nosed football culture that is generating growing confidence at both the individual, unit and team levels. And they are learning to win. They need more consistency, but they are clearly headed in the right direction.
 
#200      

Deleted member 747867

D
Guest
This team had a lot of changes to get used to. Defensively they have done well. Offensively they have a way to go. Needs a QB, line and receivers in my opinion. And maybe a better OC. Overall they are beating my expectations.
Respectfully, disagree regarding the OL. The OL has been solid this year. Kramer (C) and Lowe (LT) will likely both get a crack at the NFL.

When you consider Illinois has not had an effective passing game this year (which falls largely on the QBs and WRs, although the TE have made their errors too), teams have loaded up the box with 7 and 8 defenders. That's a challenge for any OL. The TEs and RBs must be able to contribute blocking.

Add to that the FACT that this OL has not been penalized too often. While there has been the occasional in-play penalty (e.g., hold), the OL has NOT been flagged for a single false start or dead ball penalty all season! Think about that . . . that reflects incredible individual and unit discipline . . . instilled by good coaching.