The Sioux escaped Greeley with a hard earned 27-25 victory on Saturday afternoon in a matchup of future Big Sky rivals. The Sioux took a commanding 21-7 lead in the 2nd quarter but the Bears fought back to eventually take the lead for the first time late in the 4th quarter. However, K Zeb Miller atoned for his first two misses of the year by booming a 54 yard game winning field goal with a little over a minute left in the game. The Sioux held defensively on the next possession to secure the win.
There were some glaring statistics from the game and we will touch on a few of them:
- The Sioux D held Northern Colorado to negative 16 yards rushing. Not a huge surprise considering they didn’t average much coming in but still pretty good.
- The Sioux D gave up 430 yards passing. 315 of them were to one guy, Patrick Walker.
- The Sioux offense held a 43-17 time of possession edge. Almost unbelievable.
- QB Brent Goska had a decent day again, throwing for 206 yards and a TD. He also ran for one TD. He seemed to really settle down as the game went on after a slow start.
- True freshman Jer Garman had a nice game filling in for an injured Jake Miller. Garman ended the day with 65 yards rushing.
- The Sioux offense was 8-21 on third down, would like to see that number above 60%.
- The Sioux D had 5 sacks and forced 4 turnovers (3 fumbles and an INT). The Sioux only had 1 turnover. +3 on the day.
- For the first time in a while, we can say that the Sioux may have gotten beat in the special teams department. UNC blocked a punt and a FG in the game. They also got a finger on the game winning 54 yard FG by Zeb Miller.
Now that we are done boring you with statistics, we need to address something that is obviously wrong and was apparent to everyone who watched on BigSkyTV or was in attendance. The Sioux pass defense had another poor outing.
The bright side of the game defensively was that the pass rush was the best it has been in years. UNC QB Lobato was hit early and often on Saturday. UNC seemed to not care that he was getting hit because they didn’t change much throughout the game. We would guess that he was hit 15-20 times, besides the 5 sacks.
As far as the pass coverage, earlier in the year the DB’s were giving up passes/yards but would tackle the receiver immediately. On Saturday it was different with the big plays.
First, they gave up a 48 yard TD pass with 11 seconds left in the half. That is absolutely unacceptable at any level. The receiver got behind the Sioux safety which should not happen in that situation, especially when the team had used their timeouts previously and were just trying for a FG.
Then, three minutes into the second half they gave up an 80 yard TD to Walker. That one appeared to be a mismatch as OLB Damon Andrews was on Walker down the field. The Sioux hit Lobato as he threw it but he was able to spot the mismatch and exploit it. In that case their must have been a blitz on for Andrews to be in that situation. Can’t fault Andrews at all.
Walker later added an 88 yard TD catch that gave them the lead. This one really hurt as the Sioux were in the right position but the two defenders tackled each other leaving Walker all alone to run down the field for the long TD. That is 216 passing yards on 3 TD passes.
If the Sioux had contained the big plays and made UNC snap it again and again, they would have ran away with the game. The long TD pass has been a problem since the beginning of the transition and was never a bigger problem than on Saturday.