Friday, October 19, 2018

Leopard-Bison pregame: 2 steps back

Was I a bit hasty in my decision to give the Lafayette Leopards a midterm grade based on the short half of an 11-game schedule?

It sure looks like it.

After they dazzled me with a 31-point performance in a victory over Central Connecticut State, I rushed to judgment and handed out an overall grade of C.

The grade caused one long-time follower of the program to message me: “You are a more generous grader than I am … no group is better than a C from me. A win against Georgetown gets the team to C+. A loss drops them to D.”

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Lafayette mid-season grade: one win saves it

I can remember more than once during my high school and college days that the score on a single test brought my overall course grade up considerably. It then became a matter of whether I could hold on to the higher average the rest of the term.

Well, the score I’m thinking about today was 31-24. It was anything but knocking it out of the park, but for the Lafayette football team, a victory over favored Central Connecticut State, which was earned with a drive that was completed with only 33 seconds left in the game, boosted the Leopards’ mid-term grade (at least in the mind of this one “professor”) from a probable best of D- or a worst of F to a C and the possibility of even better before the end of the term at something around 4 p.m. on Nov. 17 in Fisher Stadium.

The first four games of the season, including three in which Lafayette didn’t score a touchdown, looked eerily like the 2017 season. John Garrett’s team scored only 26 points and gave up 142. Coach Garrett had told us that his team was “miles” ahead of last year, his first on College Hill, but the results didn’t back up that assessment.

The four-game rushing yards average was up from 15.8 ypg to 46.8, but point production was down from 53 to 26 because passing average was down 57 yards per game. Rushing touchdowns were up (from 0 to 1), but passing TDs were down (from 7 to 2). Fumbles lost were zero last year, four this year. Ball security must improve.

Defensively, the Leopards intercepted six passes in the first four games of 2017, just one in this year’s first four. The second and third quarters continued to be the biggest problem. Opponents outscored the Leopards 116-9 last year and 90-10 this year in the middle periods.

The bottom line was that the Lafayette teams of last year and this year were both winless entering Game 5, and into all that negativity came a CCSU team that was the preseason favorite to win the Northeast Conference.