For more information, follow John Wagner on Twitter: @jwagnerblade
Or click here to check out the pages for BGSU athletics on The Blade web site.
For more information, follow John Wagner on Twitter: @jwagnerblade
Or click here to check out the pages for BGSU athletics on The Blade web site.
Steve Nitz covers Northern Illinois football for the DeKalb Daily Chronicle and online at HuskieWire. He was kind enough to answer six questions (well, actually 17, but who is counting?) about the Huskies heading into Friday's Mid-American Conference championship game. ...
They've seemed to handle it just fine. At the beginning of the year, there really wasn't a ton of talk about going to back-to-back BCS bowls, but once NIU got through its non-conference schedule unbeaten, with the BCS standings starting to be released, players started getting asked about it and there was more talk among the fan base. Players have said exactly what you would expect them to say. NIU has seemed to get better and better as the season has gone on. Rod Carey is not making players available for interviews this week, which I did find odd. He said he wants them to be focusing on Bowling Green.
I guess it does have to do with statistics, but he doesn't turn the ball over (only five interceptions), and he's efficient with his passes. It's rare to see him really make an ill-advised throw or throw into double coverage, stuff like that.
Carey said Tommylee Lewis will be back, and I think there's a good chance Da'Ron Brown and Angelo Sebastiano take the field as well. As far as other weapons, tailback Cameron Stingily has ran for over 1,000 yards, and sophomore wideout Juwan Brescacin has started to come on. The offensive line does not get enough credit, it's been great all season long. Even with the loss of left tackle Tyler Loos, who broke his leg against UMass in early November, the group has not missed a beat.
The defense is better than it looks on paper. All season long, the Huskies have been a much better second-half team. I think a lot of the reason for the difference with run/pass is the fact teams are always playing from behind, so they rack up the yards that way. NIU is actually No. 13 in the country in passing efficiency defense which to me is a much better stat. Ball State and Toledo ran the ball on the Huskies during the first half, but the run games slowed down after halftime, some of that obviously due to the fact Lynch and the Huskie offense were able to build a lead.
Besides Ward, one of the best defensive players in the MAC and an NFL prospect, defensive tackle Ken Bishop has been a force inside. The linebacking corps of Jamaal Bass, Boomer Mays and Michael Santacaterina has been solid, while safety Dechane Durante has been a nice compliment to Ward, who just makes plays. We may not be talking about a BCS bid if not for his fourth-quarter pick against Iowa which set up a game-winning field goal. He also plays nickelback when the Huskies bring in an extra DB, and leads the team with 77 tackles.
I definitely think Sims' play is a concern. He struggled against the Rockets - missing the three field goals, and he missed a 34-yarder last week against Western Michigan. NIU could be counting on him in a close game. Tyler Wedel averages 40.8 yards per punt, which ranks sixth in the MAC. Return duties have kind of been a revolving door. Sebastiano was the punt returner but was suspended for a week and then got hurt, so lately it's been redshirt freshman Matt Williams back there. Cornerback Paris Logan has been the Huskies' main kick returner.
The Falcons won the Mid-American Conference’s East Division title with a 24-7 win against Buffalo at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Friday, Nov. 29. Here’s a look back at the victory. ...
OPENING THOUGHTS: Friday’s victory over Buffalo accomplished two things. First, it pushed the Falcons into the MAC Championship game, which will be at Ford Field in Detroit on Friday, Dec. 6 starting at 8 p.m. Second, it guaranteed the Falcons would receive a bowl bid, since each division champ is guaranteed to be bowling. In short, another step forward for the BG program under coach Dave Clawson.
TRICK QUESTION: By now faithful readers know my fascination with “negative” plays -- for me, those are plays that gain less than three yards, because if you run four negative plays you can’t get a first down. Also, these “negative” plays get the offense off-schedule and turn into punts, and often lead to turnovers. So here's the question: in the Falcons game at Buffalo, which team ran a greater number of plays that gained less than three yards? For bonus points, which team ran more “negative” plays in the second half?
OFFENSE: It’s been overstated a bit that the Falcons offense did nothing in the first half, since BG did pile up 130 yards rushing (on 25 carries). That’s a pretty good half of work, thanks in large part to 105 yards by Travis Greene. But the other offensive numbers in the first half weren’t good: 3-of-12 passing for just 22 yards, and 1-for-8 on third downs. The offense had 10 “negative” plays (plays that gained less than three yards) and five plays that gained at least 10 yards (including rushes of 20 and 33 yards by Greene). But in the second half the Falcons came to life and more than doubled its first-half performance, gaining 342 yards (on 37 plays, the same number of plays as the first half, when BG had just 152 yards). The rushing game had the same 130 yards, so the difference was the passing attack, which saw Matt Johnson complete 8-of-14 for 212 yards and a TD. An amazing stat: for the game BG gained 20.9 yards per completion, which is ridiculously high. Bowling Green also had nine pass plays gain at least 10 yards, including four that gained at least 20 yards (again, all in the second half). The Falcons were just 6-of-17 on third down for the game (35.3 percent), but were 5-of-9 in the second half. BG dominated time of possession (34:31 for the game), but also was fortunate that an interception did not hurt them and that a fumble came too late in the game to matter.
DEFENSE: The play of the defense for the past month has been nothing short of sensational, and the Falcons D was that good again Friday in Buffalo. Bowling Green allowed just 236 yards of total offense, including just 15 yards rushing. Branden Oliver, one of the best running backs in the MAC, gained just 46 yards on 18 carries (none longer than nine yards). While Buffalo threw for 157 yards in the second half (and 221 yards in the game), those numbers are skewed significantly by the two late “garbage time” drives in which UB completed 8-of-11 passes for 84 yards. If you take away the final four minutes, Buffalo’s passing numbers for the game were 13-of-34 (38.2 percent) for just 137 yards. And when you include the five BG sacks for 30 yards in losses, not to mention nine tackles for loss overall, you get a portrait in domination. Until the fourth quarter, the Bulls had just four plays that gained more than 10 yards -- and three of them came on UB’s lone touchdown drive. The Falcons also forced a turnover on an interception. Best of all, it was a solid performance by a “unit” that didn’t need one player to make a significantly greater number of tackles than did anyone else. In short, it was a “championship” performance.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Let’s start with the bad, shall we? The Falcons really struggled to cover UB’s rugby-style punting game. Ryan Burbrink had two fair-catches on eight punts and had two punt returns for no yardage. Buffalo averaged 41.7 yards per punt (net), and had four punts downed inside BG’s 20. Until early in the fourth quarter, when BooBoo Gates served as an “up” back and fair-caught a 32-yard punt, BG struggled with the rugby punt game. … For the second week in a row Anthony Farinella had a kickoff go out of bounds for a penalty. He averaged 58.2 yards on his five kickoffs, and Buffalo averaged 24.2 yards on five returns. Farinella did not have a touchback, and the Bulls had consistently good field position following BG kickoffs. Buffalo started on its 21 on the kickoff late in the third quarter, but the other four resulted in good field position for UB (the 29, 33, 41 and 36). … Tyler Tate again performed well, making a 40-yard field goal and connecting on all three PAT kicks. … Punter Brian Schmiedebusch averaged 36.9 yards on seven punts, with a long of 53. He had three punts downed inside Buffalo’s 20 and one touchback. BG’s net punting on the day was 34.0 yards per punt. Also the Falcons recovered a UB fumble on a punt (kudos to long snapper Greg Hohenstein on the recovery). … BooBoo Gates had kickoff returns of 28 and 27 yards. BG’s drives following kickoffs started on its own 35 and 37 yard lines, both of which are extremely good.
ANSWERS TO THE TRICK QUESTION: Above I asked which team in the Buffalo-BG game ran a greater number of plays that gained less than three yards? Based on the total offense, you would assume it was the Bulls, right? Well, Buffalo had 18 plays go for three yards or less (not including incompletions), while Bowling Green had 25. Even if you narrow it down to true “negative” plays -- plays that gained nothing or lost yardage (again, not including incompletions) -- Buffalo had nine and BG had 15. In the second half alone, BG ran 15 plays that gained three yards or less, while the Bulls ran just seven. So why are Bowling Green’s offensive numbers better? The Falcons ran 15 plays that gained at least 10 yards, eight that gained 20 or more and five that covered at least 30 yards. Buffalo had 12 plays gain 10 yards or more (eight were pass plays in the fourth quarter when BG played “prevent” defense), and only one play gain at least 20 yards. All those positives help BG overcome the negatives.
THE LAST WORD: Are the Falcons ready for Jordan Lynch and the West Division champs from Northern Illinois, who are looking to earn a BCS bowl bid for the second straight season? We will all find out Friday at Ford Field in Detroit starting at 8 p.m.
WANT MORE? Here you go … First, click here to read this Blade game story from Friday's victory and click here to read the Blade notebook from Friday's game, which includes a look at Shaun Joplin and his big second-half performance. Click here to read some extra notes and quotes from Friday’s game. Click here to read the BiG Look at the contest.
Technorati Tags: Anthony Farinella, BG, BGSU, BooBoo Gates, Bowling Green, Brian Schmiedebusch, Buffalo, Bulls, Dave Clawson, Falcons, football, Greg Hohenstein, Jordan Lynch, MAC, Mid-American Conference, NIU, Northern Illinois, Ryan Burbrink, Travis Greene, Tyler Tate
Here are a few BG football notes and quotes from the win at Buffalo, as well as a look ahead to the MAC Championship game against Northern Illinois Friday. ...
Click here for MAC Championship Central, which includes details on the championship game, including tickets and more.
“At halftime we talked about getting a pass rush,” coach Dave Clawson said. “It was the same people against the same blockers, but we won some match-ups that we didn’t win the first half.” The Falcons finished with five sacks, a season high. BG also has 15 sacks in the last four games.
Buffalo came into Friday's game having scored at least 30 points in eight straight games. The Falcons held them to seven points.
Greene currently has 1,422 rushing yards this season. He needs just 22 more yards to tie the school record of 1,444 set by Fred Durig in 1951. Greene also has 1,542 all-purpose yards (yards rushing, receiving, and returning punts and kickoffs). That's the fourth-best total in BG history.
The Bowling Green football claimed the Mid-American Conference’s East Division title with an impressive 24-7 victory over Buffalo at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Nov. 29. The Falcons are 9-3 overall this season and win the MAC East with a 7-1 mark. Here’s a look back at the contest. ...
BiG TWITTER POST: Falcons dominate 2nd half, roll to 342 yards of TO while holding Buffalo to 236 yards (just 15 rushing), win MAC East with 24-7 win Friday
BiG OVERVIEW: Both defenses took command early, forcing several punts before BG scored the game’s first points. The Falcons drove 41 yards before settling for a 40-yard field goal by Tyler Tate at 4:52 of the opening period. Bowling Green covered a fumble on a potential Buffalo punt return, but failed to convert on a fourth-and-two play on UB’s 34. The Bulls then rolled 66 yards on nine plays -- 58 of those yards came on passes -- and scored a TD on a two-yard run by Branden Oliver with 7:13 left in the first half. Falcons quarterback Matt Johnson threw an interception to stop BG’s first drive of the second half, but the Falcons defense forced a punt and the Falcons offense drove 71 yards on just six plays. The biggest was a 48-yard pass from Johnson to Alex Bayer and a 23-yard scoring strike to Shaun Joplin with 8:07 left in the third period. The BG defense forced another three-and-out by Buffalo, and the Falcons drove 93 yards on seven plays for another TD, this coming on a 14-yard by Travis Greene with 2:05 left in the period. Bowling Green put the game on ice early in the fourth quarter by driving 81 yards on seven plays, the biggest being a 62-yard pass from Johnson to Joplin that set up a seven-yard scoring run by Johnson with 8:18 left to play. While a “prevent” type defense allowed Buffalo to gain some passing yards in the final eight minutes, the Bulls came no closer to scoring than BG’s 43-yard line.
BiG PLAY: The Falcons led 10-7 midway through the third quarter, but a 47-yard Buffalo punt was downed at BG’s 7, and a false start penalty pushed the ball to the 4. One the first play quarterback Matt Johnson didn’t hand the ball off to Travis Greene as the play called for, but kept it ran down the right sideline for 56 yards. Later in the drive Johnson connected on a 13-yard pass to Tyler Beck to set up a 14-yard touchdown run by Greene that seemed to put the game on ice.
OFFENSIVE BiG MAN: At halftime there was some question as to whether there would be any player to earn this honor, but obviously several strong candidates emerged in the second half. Let’s give this honor to senior wide receiver Shaun Joplin, who caught six passes for 149 yards and a touchdown. Joplin caught a 23-yard TD pass that gave the Falcons the lead for good, and Joplin had a big second half with five catches for 139 yards. … Among those receiving honorable mention, in no particular order, are sophomore quarterback Matt Johnson, who completed 11-of-26 passes for 230 yards and a touchdown. He also had 10 rushing attempts and finished with 72 yards rushing, including the 56-yard game-changing run in the third quarter. … Sophomore running back Travis Greene had another big day, running for 129 yards and a touchdown on 30 rushes. Greene also caught a pass for one yard. … While senior tight end Alex Bayer finished with just one catch on the day, he did gain 48 yards on the play thanks to a circus catch and a strong run.
DEFENSIVE BiG MAN: The defense put together another strong effort that resulted in just one touchdown for Buffalo, and the entire unit deserves credit for the performance. …If you made me pick one player, I’d pick senior defensive tackle Ted Ouellet. Ouellet finished with five tackles, including four solo stops (both big numbers for a defensive lineman). Among those five tackles were three tackles for loss and a pair of sacks; Ouellet also had a quarterback hurry. … Junior rover Brian Sutton started at rover because of injuries to Gabe Martin and Justin Ford and finished with a team-high six tackles. Sutton had a half-tackle for loss and also broke up a pass. … Among the other defensive standouts, in no particular order, are junior safety Ryland Ward, who finished with five tackles and also broke up a pass. … Senior cornerback Aaron Foster also had a strong effort at cornerback, tying Sutton for the team lead with six tackles while breaking up a pair of passes. … Senior linebacker Paul Swan also finished with five tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss and a half sack. … Senior cornerback Cameron Truss finished with four solo tackles and also had an interception in the fourth quarter.
SPECIAL TEAMS BiG MAN: We haven’t seen BooBoo Gates returning kickoffs much this season, but he certainly had an impact on his two kickoff returns in this contest. Gates had a 28-yard kickoff return and a 27-yard kickoff return, and both gave the Falcons starting position on its 35- and 37-yard line. … Sophomore placekicker Tyler Tate had another strong performance in the cold weather, making a 40-yard field goal and also connecting on three extra points. ….Senior punter Brian Schmiedebusch had a decent day, averaging 36.9 yards on seven punts. He had a long punt of 53 yards, and three of his punts were downed inside the Buffalo 20. One of the punts ended with a touchback, and UB’s lone return netted zero yards. Schmiedebusch helped the Falcons to a net punting mark of 34.0 yards. … Sophomore kickoff specialist Anthony Farinella struggled, averaging 58.2 yards on his five kickoffs, including one kick that went out of bounds (Buffalo forced a rekick, so that kick didn’t count on Farinella’s final numbers. BG averaged 34.0 yards per kickoff in the game.
BiG NUMBERS: It is trite to say the contest was a "tale of two halves," but it was. Offensively, the Falcons in the first half completed just 3-of-12 passes in the first half for 22 yards and had 152 yards of total offense. In the second half the passing game came alive as BG completed 8-of-14 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown. Since the rushing game had 130 yards in each half, that meant the Falcons total offense rose from 152 yards in the first half to 342 yards in the second half. ... Defensively, Bowling Green was strong in both halves. But it was amazing how much stronger the Falcons got in the second half. Buffalo had 29 yards rushing (on 15 attempts) in the first half and completed 6-of-16 passes for 64 yards, giving them 93 yards of total offense. In the second half? Buffalo's rushing offense fell to minus-14 yards on nine attempts. While the Bulls had 157 yards passing in the second half, 84 of those yards came at game's end when BG was in a "prevent" defense. While the game was in the balance in the second half, UB completed just 7-of-18 passes for 83 yards with an interception.
BiG QUESTION: After the Falcons “finished the deal” by beating Buffalo and winning the MAC East Division title, there are still some goals to be reached. Can BG knock off Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship game?
Technorati Tags: Aaron Foster, Alex Bayer, Anthony Farinella, BG, BGSU, BooBoo Gates, Bowling Green, Branden Oliver, Brian Schmiedebusch, Brian Sutton, Buffalo, Bulls, Cameron Truss, Falcons, football. MAC, Gabe Martin, Justin Ford, Matt Johnson, Mid-American Conference, Paul Swan, Ryland Ward, Shaun Joplin, Ted Ouellet, Travis Greene, Tyler Beck, Tyler Tate, UB
Here are a few notes and quotes for the Falcons as they continue preparations for Friday's game against Buffalo at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m. ...
Junior rover Justin Ford did not practice with the team today; he displayed concussive symptoms last week and has not been cleared for practice. The same goes for freshman running back Fred Coppet, who was injured in the game against EMU and has not been cleared for practice at this time.
"This is one of those games where, if I have to get them excited in the lockerroom and realize what we're playing for, we're in trouble. Last week was different; that was a week where you worried about it. But our lockerroom last week was so fired up, I didn't have to say a word. Our guys were nuts in there. It was really neat. I think Eastern Michigan looked at us before the game and said, 'What's wrong with those guys? It's 18 degrees out there.' It was a great lockerroom to be in."
Well, there isn’t much more left to determine before this year’s Mid-American Conference Power Rankings can be cast in stone.
The top spot is “dog”-gone set, and it isn’t in the “cards” for the second-place team to move up or down. It isn’t “rocket” science to figure out who is third, and it’s no “bull” that in less than a week we’ll find out if we’ve got fourth properly pegged.
Yes, apologies for not having a better “Huskie” phrase besides “dog-gone.” And obviously I’ve got nothing for “Falcon.” It’s Tuesday. What can I say?
For those of you new to the rankings, the premise is simple: If the MAC didn’t have divisions, how would the league’s 13 teams be ranked? This is now a late-season estimation, based primarily on what has taken place on the field this year.
So without further ado, here is a look at the league’s 13 teams heading into Friday’s season-ending set of games. The teams are presented in the order I would rank them at this point in the season, including each team’s bowl chances. Here we go. …
1. NORTHERN ILLINOIS (11-0, 7-0) (LW #1): This week the Huskies didn’t wait until the fourth quarter to claim their win, instead pounding UT in the second half to win their fourth straight MAC West title and secure a spot in the MAC Championship game in Detroit. And a strong effort by Jordan Lynch cemented his position as the MAC’s best player. Last Week: Beat Toledo, 35-17 (Wednesday, Nov. 20). This Week: Home v. Western Michigan (Tuesday, Nov. 26).
Bowl possibilities: Excellent. In fact, the only question that remains is whether this team will be a BCS buster for the second year in a row.
2. BALL STATE (9-2, 6-1) (LW #2): The Cards shot at a West Division title faded away with NIU’s win at UT, so now all that’s left is to figure out what bowl this bowl-worthy team earns. Oh, wait: There still is a home game against winless Miami on Nov. 29. Hopefully no one gets hurt in that romp, and bowl selectors get to see the Cards at their best as the bowl-selection process winds down. Last Week: Idle. This Week: Home v. Miami.
Bowl possibilities: Strong. The question is “where” BSU will play, not “if” the Cards will be bowling.
3. TOLEDO (7-4, 5-2) (LW #3): This remains the scariest team in the MAC – but that cuts both ways. It doesn’t help that David Fluellen is hurt, but freshman Kareem Hunt has been impressive as his replacement. Akron might be a challenge if this team doesn’t play well; if the Rockets play well, though, this will be little more than a tune-up heading into the bowl selection process. Last Week: Lost to Northern Illinois, 35-17 (Wednesday, Nov. 20). This Week: At Akron.
Bowl possibilities: Strong. My guess is that UT will be filling one of the “open” spots in the bowl galaxy, perhaps in San Diego (Poinsettia Bowl) or St. Petersburg, Fla. (Beef ‘O’ Brady Bowl).
4. BUFFALO (8-3, 6-1) (LW #4): A game at winless Miami was just what the doctor ordered to get the Bulls healthy and ready for their MAC East Division title game v. BG on Black Friday. A loss shouldn’t ruin this team’s bowl dreams, but a victory would potentially make them and highly regarded LB Khalil Mack a darling of the ESPN set – and bowls looking for a “name” attraction. Last Week: Beat Miami, 44-7 (Tuesday, Nov. 19). This Week: Home v. Bowling Green.
Bowl possibilities: Solid. Winning the East Division title would cement them, though.
5. BOWLING GREEN (8-3, 6-1) (LW #5): The Falcons have won three in a row in dominating fashion, outscoring the opposition 152-10. Don’t expect things to be that easy when BG plays its winner-takes-East-Division contest against Buffalo at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Nov. 29. Winning that game isn’t essential for this team to get a bowl opportunity, but a victory would guarantee a bowl bid for the third time in five seasons. Last Week: Beat Eastern Michigan, 58-7. This Week: At Buffalo.
Bowl possibilities: Solid. Winning the East Division title would cement them, though.
6. CENTRAL MICHIGAN (5-6, 4-3) (LW #6): The Chippewas need only one more win to be bowl eligible, but I wouldn’t make travel plans just yet. In fact, with 70 teams already bowl eligible, I would suspect CMU will be squeezed out of the bowl picture even if it does beat Eastern Michigan Friday. But the winner wins the “Michigan MAC” title, so there is something still to play for. Last Week: Beat UMass, 37-0. This Week: Home v. Eastern Michigan.
Bowl possibilities: Weak. Must beat Eastern Michigan for starters, then get some help. Then again, I thought there was no chance last season. ....
7. AKRON (4-7, 3-4) (LW #8): The Zips have won three of their last four contests, and that would be plenty of positive momentum heading into the season-ending game at home against Toledo. And UA will catch a break by facing the Rockets on a downward spiral following a loss to NIU and the potential loss of two key running backs. Two weeks ago, I hinted at an upset special. Last week, I wasn’t as sure. This week? Sorry, Zips. Not feeling it. Last Week: Beat UMass, 14-13. This Week: Home v. Toledo.
Bowl possibilities: Not eligible.
8. KENT STATE (4-8, 3-5) (LW #9): Last week’s victory over Ohio may not seem like much, but I would disagree. First, it is a positive finish to a season that had plenty of negatives. Second, it showed that, had the Golden Flashes been healthier, this season might have gone better. This team will suffer some big losses in terms of personnel, but I think it has a chance to bounce back -- perhaps as quickly as next season. Last Week: Beat Ohio, 44-13 (Tuesday, Nov. 19). This Week: Season over.
Bowl possibilities: Not eligible.
9. OHIO (6-5, 3-4) (LW #7): Wow. Simply wow. To say the Bobcats have “limped” to the finish line doesn’t do justice to the dumpster fire that has ranged down in Athens in recent weeks. Listen, I’m not going to suggest that UMass will beat Ohio this week, but I will tell you this: I promise I won’t be surprised if it does happen. Last Week: Lost to Kent State, 44-13 (Tuesday, Nov. 19). This Week: Home v. UMass.
Bowl possibilities: Weak. Yes, they are eligible. But this crash-and-burn finish has them on a tightrope.
10. EASTERN MICHIGAN (2-9, 1-6) (LW #10): Well, so much for all those good feelings after the win over Western Michigan. The Eagles scored an early touchdown when the Falcons threw a pick-6 … then got run over and looked completely inept. I’m not going to predict EMU bounces back with a win at Central Michigan, because I never bet on true freshmen quarterbacks. But I will tell you this: A true freshman QBs would make me nervous if I were facing them, too. Last Week: Lost to Bowling Gtreen, 58-7. This Week: At Central Michigan.
Bowl possibilities: Not eligible.
11. WESTERN MICHIGAN (1-10, 1-6) (LW #11): One of my favorite lines from the Northern Illinois-Toledo game last week came when the ESPN announced said NIU’s next game came against the “Fighting Boat-Rowers” of WMU. Priceless. And a bad sign that this program, which went to a bowl game just two seasons ago, has quickly become nothing more than a punch line to a joke. Last Week: Lost to Central Michigan, 27-22. This Week: At Northern Illinois (Tuesday, Nov. 26).
Bowl possibilities: Not eligible.
12. MASSACHUSETTS (1-10, 1-6) (LW #12): Good news: The Minutemen have reached the Top 25 for the first time since Nov. 23, 1998, after winning the Charleston Classic title this past week. Oh, wait, that’s the men’s basketball team. Better news: Only one more game before the football season ends. Last Week: Lost at Central Michigan, 37-0. This Week: At Ohio.
Bowl possibilities: Not eligible.
13. MIAMI (0-11, 0-7) (LW #13): Only one more week to go, although a season-ending match-up against Ball State may be over soon after it begins. There have been a few mismatches this season, and this game between BSU and the RedHawks may be the worst. Serious question: Does a big-name college coach take on this dumpster fire unless he is given a LOT of job security? Last Week: Lost to Buffalo, 44-7 (Tuesday, Nov. 19). This Week: At Ball State.
Bowl possibilities: Not eligible.
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Technorati Tags: Akron, Ball State, BG, BGSU, Bobcats, Bowling Green, Broncos, Buffalo, Bulls, Cardinals, Central Michigan, Chippewas, Eagles, Eastern Michigan, Falcons, football, Golden Flashes, Huskies, Kent State, MAC, Miami, Mid-American Conference, Minutemen, Northern Illinois, Ohio, RedHawks, Rockets, Row the Boat, Toledo, UMass, Western Michigan, Zips
The Falcons take some momentum into their Mid-American Conference East Division title tilt with Buffalo thanks to a runaway 58-7 win over Eastern Michigan on Saturday, Nov. 23 at Rynearson Stadium in Ypsilanti, Mich. Here’s a look back at the victory. ...
OPENING THOUGHTS: This game had pretty much everything you’d like to see from the Falcons, didn’t it? The offense got rolling, thanks to some big plays by Ronnie Moore in the passing game and Travis Greene in the running game. And the defense simply overmatched the Eagles.
TRICK QUESTION: I consider any offensive play that gains less than three yards a “negative” play, because if you run four negative plays you can’t get a first down. In the Falcons game at Eastern Michigan, which team ran a greater number of plays in the first half that gained less than three yards?
OFFENSE: For the third game in a row the Falcons dominated a Mid-American Conference opponent. Bowling Green seemed to rely more on the pass than the run in the first quarter, but that was because of the two long touchdown plays from Matt Johnson to Ronnie Moore. Actually the first-quarter numbers were very even as BG had 92 yards rushing and 121 yards passing. In the second quarter the numbers were more unbalanced (23 yards rushing, 101 yards passing), but by game’s end the rushing attack (296 yards) had more than the passing attack (264 yards). The points and yardage totals were both good, but there were problems. First, the Falcons struggled on third down, converting just 3-of-10. Second, BG gave up five sacks that cost the Falcons 30 yards, continuing a year-long struggle by BG to protect the quarterback. And third, the pick-6 obviously was bad. But clearly there was more good than bad, as Bowling Green gained 7.8 yards per play, and kept scoring touchdowns even when the second team was on the field.
DEFENSE: As you probably noticed, I had some nit-picks for the offensive performance at Eastern Michigan. On defense? None. For the second week in a row, the Falcons dominated the opponent, allowing just 65 yards of total offense, including only 61 yards rushing (on 26 carries, for 2.3 yards per run) and just four (FOUR!) yards passing. Here are a few other notes underscoring how impressive the BG defense was. First, the passing: EMU completed its first pass, meaning the Eagles followed with 17 incompletions. Second, on the passing: EMU quarterbacks completed more passes to BG defenders (two) than Eagles receivers (one). Third, Eastern Michigan had 14 drives in the contest, and only two (TWO!) of those drives lasted more than three plays. Both of those “long” drives lasted four plays (FOUR!). It is interesting to note that both four-play drives were ended by BG interceptions. Fourth, EMU was just 1-of-12 on third downs, and had just four first downs all game (and only one in the first half). Fifth, The Eagles had just one play gain more than 10 yards. And sixth, Eastern Michigan ran exactly one play (ONE!) on BG’s side of the field, when quarterback Tyler Benz ran 15 yards to the Falcons’ 42. On the next play, Benz threw an interception. As I said last week, I’m sure the coaches saw some nit-picky problems, but I sure didn’t.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Let’s start with the fine work by Tyler Tate, who connected on seven PAT kicks and three field goals without incident. When you consider the strong winds during the contest, that was an impressive effort. … The first kickoff by Anthony Farinella went out of bounds for a penalty, but the remaining kicks were solid. Farinella averaged 60.6 yards per kick -- and was facing the same wind problems Tate did. He finished with a net kickoff average of 40 yards per kick. On the seven kickoffs with the wind, Farinella had six touchbacks and the seventh only returned to the EMU 23. On the four against the wind, EMU started on its 35 twice, its 28 once and its 13 after a muff on the kickoff. … Punter Brian Schmiedebusch finished with three punts for 96 yards, an average of 32 yards per punt. But this comes with an asterisk: Remember that EMU’s punter had a 59-yard punt to start the day? His average for the game was just 33.7 yards despite that long punt. With the wind, Schmiedebusch’s punts traveled 41 yards (and landed inside the 20) and 28 yards (not a good punt). His punt against the wind traveled 27 yards (and landed inside the 20). … Ryan Burbrink did not fair-catch the first punt he saw and paid for it, because the wind pushed it down to BG’s 1. He was able to fair-catch five punts (no mean feat with the wind) but did not have any punt return yardage. … Ronnie Moore had a pair of kickoff returns that covered 22 and 21 yards. BG’s drives following kickoffs started on its own 25 and 26 yard line, which is where they would have started on touchbacks. In short, not bad, but not great.
ANSWERS TO THE TRICK QUESTION: Above I asked which team in the EMU-BG game ran a greater number of first-half plays that gained less than three yards? Based on the total offense, you would assume it was the Eagles, right? Well, Eastern Michigan had 14 plays go for three yards or less (not including incompletions), while Bowling Green had 15. Even if you narrow it down to true “negative” plays -- plays that gained nothing or lost yardage -- both teams had seven, which again is counter-intuitive based on the total offense. For better perspective, though, consider this: BG’s 15 negative plays came out of the 72 total plays run, meaning 20.8 percent (or one in five) were negative. For comparison, EMU ran just 44 plays, meaning 14 negative plays constituted 31.8 percent of the plays it ran (or nearly one in three). Throw in EMU’s 17 pass incompletions, that means 31 of 44 plays (70.5 percent) resulted in “negative” yardage.
THE LAST WORD: Are the Falcons ready to take the next step and claim the program’s first division title since winning the West Division in 2003?
WANT MORE? Here you go … First, click here to read this Blade game story and click here to read the Blade notebook from the contest. Click here to read some extra notes and quotes from Saturday’s game. Click here to read the BiG Look at the contest. Click here to read about Ronnie Moore earning MAC East Division offensive player of the week honors. Finally, click here to view a photo gallery from the contest.
The Bowling Green football dominated a Mid-American Conference opponent for the third game in a row with a 58-7 thrashing of Eastern Michigan at Rynearson Stadium on Nov. 23. The Falcons are 8-3 overall this season and are tied with Buffalo for first place in the MAC East Division with a 6-1 mark. Here’s a look back at the contest. ...
BiG TWITTER POST: Falcons score 17 points in 1st 3 quarters, roll to 560 yards total offense while limiting EMU to 65 yards TO in 58-7 shutout Saturday
BiG OVERVIEW: Bowling Green took the opening kickoff and covered 63 yards on eight plays, but had to settle for a 30-yard field goal by Tyler Tate at 10:44 of the opening period. After a three-and-out by Eastern Michigan, Falcons quarterback Matt Johnson threw a pass that was intercepted by Sean Kurtz and returned 10 yards for a touchdown. But BG responded with a quick score when Johnson connected with Ronnie Moore on a 74-yard scoring strike just 26 seconds later. After another three-and-out by EMU, the Falcons drove 61 yards on nine plays for another TD, this coming on a 22-yard pass from Johnson to Moore with seven seconds left in the first quarter. When BG got the ball back the Falcons drove 38 yards in six plays with Tate kicking a 34-yard field goal to end the drive. Midway through the second quarter Ryland Ward intercepted an EMU pass to set up a 28-yard touchdown run by Travis Greene, and near the end of the half Johnson hooked up with Moore once more, this time on a 22-yard TD toss with 1:34 left. The third quarter scoring started with a 56-yard drive capped by a two-yard touchdown run by Greene, and on its next drive BG saw Tate kick a 29-yard field goal, his third of the day. Then the Falcons defense got into the act as Izaah Lunsford forced a fumble that Will Watson picked up and ran back 37 yards for a touchdown with 3:21 left in the quarter. The only points in the fourth quarter came midway through the period on a 44-yard TD run by William Houston with 5:59 left in the game.
BiG PLAY: Even though there were a lot of points and very little suspense, there was one key play in the victory. The Falcons found themselves trailing 7-3 after quarterback Matt Johnson had thrown a pick-6 interception. Also, the offense had bogged down in the Red Zone and had been forced to kick a field goal. So that was the situation on a second-and-10 play from BG’s 26 as Johnson checked down to Ronnie Moore. Moore caught the pass, tip-toed down the right sideline, got a block from Shaun Joplin … and was gone. It was a 74-yard TD pass, and soon after that the rout was on for the Falcons.
OFFENSIVE BiG MAN: There are plenty of good candidates here, but let’s give this honor to freshman wide receiver Ronnie Moore, who caught seven passes for 161 yards and three touchdowns. He had TD passes of 74 and 22 yards in the first quarter and added a 34-yard scoring strike in the second. Moore, who also had two rushing attempts for 18 yards and two kickoff returns for 43 yards, finished with 222 all-purpose yards. … Among those receiving honorable mention, in no particular order, are sophomore quarterback Matt Johnson, who completed 13-of-23 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns. He also had seven rushing attempts but, because of four sacks, finished with minus-15 yards rushing. … Sophomore running back Travis Greene had another big day, running for 126 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 15 rushes. Greene also caught two passes for five yards. … Freshman running back William Houston made the most of his seven carries, gaining 84 yards and scoring on a 44-yard run. … While sophomore wide receiver Ryan Burbrink finished with just one catch on the day, he did gain 58 yards on the play.
DEFENSIVE BiG MAN: I would love to give this award to one player, and there are plenty of deserving candidates. But it took an entire defensive unit to pitch a shutout (the EMU TD came on an interception) and allow just 65 yards of total offense, so the entire defense should be honored here. …If you made me pick one player, I’d pick junior Brian Sutton. Sutton started at rover because of injuries to Gabe Martin and Justin Ford and finished with a team-high five tackles. … Among the other defensive standouts, in no particular order, are junior safety Ryland Ward, who finished with four tackles and also had an interception he returned 14 yards. … Redshirt freshman Izaah Lunsford had a big day in a reserve role. He finished with four tackles, including three tackles for loss and one sack. He also forced a fumble that led to a defensive touchdown. … Speaking of that fumble, sophomore cornerback Will Watson did not have a tackle, but he did pick up the loose ball on Lunsford's forced fumble and return it 37 yards for a touchdown and also broke up a pass. … Freshman safety Isaiah Gourdine finished with one tackle, but he also had his first collegiate interception.
SPECIAL TEAMS BiG MAN: Sophomore placekicker Tyler Tate had no trouble with the strong winds at Rynearson Stadium Saturday. Tate made a 30-yard field goal into the wind, then added field goals of 34 and 29 yards with the wind. He also made all seven of his PAT attempts, three of them into the wind. ….Senior punter Brian Schmiedebusch had a mixed day dealing with the winds, averaging 32.0 yards on three punts. But two of the punts fit inside EMU’s 20, and Schmiedebusch had a long punt of 41. … Sophomore kickoff specialist Anthony Farinella averaged 60.6 yards on his 11 kickoffs, four of which were into the wind, and had six touchbacks. He did kick one out of bounds.
BiG NUMBERS: The numbers on the offensive side weren’t big; they were HUGE. The Falcons ran for 296 yards, averaging 6.4 yards per carry, and scored three touchdowns on the ground. Meanwhile BG completed 13-of-26 passes in the strong wind condition, posting 264 more yards and adding three more TDs. … But the “big” numbers were the small numbers allowed by the defense, which gave up just four yards passing and only 61 yards rushing (on 26 attempts, meaning just 2.3 yards per carry). In short, both sides were dominating.
BiG QUESTION: This is the easiest part of my job, because this is obvious: Can the Falcons “finish the deal” and beat Buffalo on Friday to win the MAC East Division title?
WANT MORE? Click here to read The Blade game story from Saturday’s game. Click here to read the notebook from the contest, which features Ronnie Moore’s first career start. Click here to view a photo gallery from Saturday’s contest. And click here to read a post-game notebook from the game.
I'm still smokin' mad after getting kicked out of the Rynearson Stadium press box following the Falcons' 58-7 win over Eastern Michigan on Saturday, Nov. 23 (and it was four hours ago). Still, because I'm a good guy, post-game quotes and lots of notes from the win. ...
BG saw a string of 90 straight points score snapped with EMU's touchdown in the first quarter, but started a new string by scoring 55 straight. In the last 14 quarters, the Falcons have outscored the opposition 170-17.
A little more love for the defense, which caught more EMU passes (two interceptions) than did Eagles receivers (one). The Eagles have averaged 164.2 yards rushing per game and 4.3 yards per carry, so their 61 yards rushing and 2.3 yards per rush were an impressive effort by the BG defense.
“Their offense is better than they showed,” safety Ryland Ward said. “We came out and executed our game plan. I think some of it was wanting [the win] more than they did. We threw in a couple of things, but it was a pretty basic game plan. It was good to see a lot of [younger] players having success.”
Moore's three touchdown game marked the first time a BG receiver had at least three scores since Eugene Cooper caught four TD passes against Morgan State on Sept. 10, 2011. It's worth noting that the victory over Morgan State was the last time Bowling Green scored 58 points in a contest.
When asked if the interception Johnson threw changed the game plan, Clawson said, “We came right back and kept throwing into the wind. We have confidence in Matt Johnson. That’s going to happen. Its part of playing quarterback – you’re not always going to be perfect. It was a bad decision in his part; I thought he tried to put it into a tight space, and backed up [in your end zone] you can’t do that. He’s gotten away with some of those throws this year. But the one today he didn’t get away with.”
Tate has made eight of his last nine field-goal attempts, and he has made 13-of-16 field goals this season.
Houston scored on a 44-yard touchdown run, his 11th rushing touchdown of the season. That 44-yard run nearly QUADRUPLED the yardage of his 10 previous TDs. Those 10 scores covered a combined 12 yards (he had eight one-yard runs and a couple of two-yard runs).
“If you played wide receiver for us, you would have gotten reps today,” Clawson said. “We are really thin there. I think Heath could have played in an emergency. But we wanted to rest him up and get him ready for next week.”
Here are a few notes and quotes from the Bowling Green hockey team's win over Minnesota State at the BG Ice Arena Friday, Nov. 22. ...
Cooper's hat trick was the first for a Bowling Green player since Dan DeSalvo turned the trick at Ferris State on March 11, 2012, in the Falcons' 4-3 overtime win as part of the CCHA playoffs.
“The last few games I’ve been getting changes, but I haven’t been finding the back of the net,” Cooper said. “This was kind of a monkey off my back. It’s a relief; now I can get back to playing my game and not worry as much about scoring.”
“It went off the glass, and it was in the air out front,” Cooper said. “Luckily I got my stick on it -– and [luckily] it wasn’t a high stick.”
“I can honestly tell you I didn’t say one word,” Bergeron said. “[Cam] Wojtala said, ‘I’ve got it,’ and that’s what you expect from your senior captain. It wasn’t his voice only. Our upperclassmen made sure everyone knew that wasn’t acceptable, and that we could all go up a level.”
“I think we got a good bounce on that first goal on our first shift of the second [period],” Bergeron said. “We’ll take the bounce. It gave us some momentum.”
“I’ve never seen one before,” Bergeron said, who quickly added that he didn’t dispute the call. “But at that time, in a 2-2 game, it was a really gritty penalty kill – and I think we had two pretty good [scoring] chances.”
“We can’t afford bad goals,” Bergeron said. “We’re fighting for every inch. … That’s not a puck that normally goes in from the corner. How does that not deflate you? How does it not deflate you for the next three or four minutes? We hung in there, but that’s all we did.”
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