Grades for Rice game

September 22, 2012 by Doug Smock


What, you wanted more then 334 rushing yards, 593 total, with no turnovers? (Props to offensive linemen for 2 fumble recoveries)


Lifted out of the dead because it forced Rice to settle for 3 field goals. As I’ve said before, field goals are victories against some teams, and this was the case. The hit “O” made on Vance McDonald to rob a passing TD in the 2nd overtime is the defensive play of the day.


Rescued by Tyler Williams’ punting (gross 50.8, net 50.6, 3 inside the 20). Booker takes a knee at the 6 on funky onside/not onside formation, a penalty on a return, the botched fake PAT … ugh.


Cato didn’t miss much on the run-pass option, I thought. 28-of-39, 259 yards, nothing close to a pick, survived three sacks. Solid outing.


Yes, you read that right, an “A”. Are you vomiting on your keyboard yet?

Choose your goofy decision: The “pooch” kickoff, the fake PAT (I’m almost on board), the onside kick thing … a tough day for Herd tacticians, to be sure. Probably not a great day for Coach Rip on the D side, either.

But you know why I’m giving this grade? Consider the work of Joe Miday, strength and conditioning coach.

Being September in Houston, it was 90 degrees and somewhat humid. Summer has broken, for the most part, back home. You get where I’m going with this?

The O-line seemed fresh in the overtime, even. The defense mustered enough energy to come up with one big play in the 2nd OT. Runners were strong throughout.

Ladies and gents, I’ve covered a few Marshall teams who would have gotten gassed out of their minds in this game. Sort of like Rice’s defense. Those poor souls were beat into the ground, and couldn’t have begun to stop MU’s ground game in the overtime.

I think this win goes to the strength and conditioning program. Coach Miday gets an “A” on this game, wiping out all other negatives.


Much to work on. Defense is still frightening, and that may not change. But the Herd won a conference road game and finally won the state of Texas. Gotta take it.


10 Responses to “Grades for Rice game”

  1. Tony says:

    I’ll agree on taking the “W” and wiping the brow. Don’t know what to say about the defense. Why don’t MU players turn around when the receiver is going up for the ball? Tackling was worse than it was against WVU. I’m sure the players are trying hard, but to me, it all comes down to coaching. Playing not to lose in the final five minutes nearly cost them the game.

  2. Dana says:


    You know “Coaching” is the prep work leading up to the game. That part looked great on the offensive side of the ball. Not so much on the defensive side.
    Then there is “Decision Making” that is the game management. Last 5 minutes appeared we were playing not to lose with our decisions.

  3. Richard says:

    I dont get the botched 2 point conversion at all. We would not have been sweating the last 5 minutes if that poor coaching decision was not made. Boy, if Snyder had done that ………..

  4. herdfan says:

    Somebody needs to ask Holliday this week why 12 points is a better lead than 11. I think sometimes it should be mandatory, to coach a sport, to play its video game counterpart for at least a few years. Its amazing what you learn about things like clock management and….math….that could really help you in a game situation.

  5. thomgreen says:

    Good lord folks Fro made it clear on Twitter he mishandled the snap, not a coaches call.

  6. Doug Smock says:

    Looked at Fro’s tweets … he said he mishandled the snap, but he makes no clear reference on the play call (great humor in the conversation with Matt Lockhart, which is typical Blake). Doc referred to the play in his immediate postgame comments, telling how Rice would have needed 2 TDs if the play worked, instead of a TD (and conversion) and an FG.

    I probably wouldn’t have done it myself, but Rice does have a great FG kicker, someone who can boot it 50-plus.

    For point of reference, I was stuck in the pressbox making our early deadline after the game. Doc’s postgame was taped for me.

  7. BleedsGreen33 says:

    Rippon has to go. This defense has gotten worse each year he has been here. I have never seen so many players out of position, missing so many tackles, and just playing downright soft so much in all my life. We rank 121 out of 124 in terms of average points allowed. #121!!!! What does that tell you? If our defense was at least in the 60s-80s we would run the table. Instead we continue to make opposing QBs look like all-pros and can’t stop anyone from running the ball. That was the 4th straight game of allowing 150+ on the ground , 3rd time allowing 200+, and the 2nd time we have allowed over 300 yards on the ground. That is beyond pathetic.

    Personnel moves are mind boggeling to say at best. We have too many LBs who are converted safeties who appear to not know which gaps to fill. Then if they do fill the gap they are not big or strong enough to shed the block and make the tackle.

    It is alarming when for the second straight season a safety leads the team in tackles. That means the plays are getting too far down the field way too often.

    If Doc continues to hitch his wagon to Chris Rippon it will ultimately cost him his job. Think I am just acting like a crazy fan? Go ask Paul Pasquloloni about being loyal to Rippon. Defense was a big reason he was fired from Syracuse. Need a better example take Rich Rod for example. In his last two seasons he has one of the nation’s leading offenses but his defense was deplorable and coulnd’t stop anyone. He was warned that if he didn’t let his DC go and get the defense fixed he would be let go. Of course he chose to stay loyal to his DC and told the AD that he was only a year away from a good defense and that it would be fixed. Well another year went by and it continued to slide on that side of the ball. Sticking it out with that DC ultimately led to Rich Rod breaking down games of CBS College Sports.

    Go look at the stats this defense under Rippn has gotten worse each year he has been here. I am tired of the youth excuse. At some point that is no longer a valid reason. Are we supposed to wait until this team becomes juniors and seniors two year down the road to have a good defense. By that time Cato will be graduated and the offense will be rebuiling.

    This needs to get fixed now. This team had potential to win 8-10 games this year as this conference is pretty much terrible right now. Sadly the way this defense is playing we will be lucky to match next years win total.

  8. James says:

    Our Linebackers are undersized and/or young. It looks like less than half of the ones on the roster are over 210. Those that are over that are Sophomores or younger. Our experienced transfers from BC haven’t played with this group very long. This is a recipe for inconsistency that is frantic to watch at time.

    I may jump on the anti-Rippon bandwagon at some point, but we did stop Rice a couple of times for no gain and held at the end of regulation to force the OT. I think we’ll all see some improvement by season’s end as they grow up and grow together.

  9. Dale says:

    We have many new starters and several others who are different positions. I think that is part of the confusion I see. But some of the schemes leave a lot to be desired also. The lack of a pass rush was a concern of mine going into the year, but it is worse than I feared. I hope we can get better, but right now I just don’t see it.

  10. BleedsGreen33 says:

    If you don’t think this is squarely on Rippon go pull the numbers of the year before he took over the defense to now. Each year we have dropped lower and lower in the rankings. The year before he got here we finished in the 60s as a defensive unit giving about around 320 or yards a game. Each year under him we have dropped 7-10 spots in the final rankings each year to the point we are 117th and giving up over 400 yards a game. Under Rippon we have given up an average of 30-40 yards more each season than the previous season.

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