Man, what a long, painful day ... problems connecting my computer in the press box; long drive home; then lost the key to my van and spent 90 minutes trying to find it while searching in a dark, rainy parking lot! And as bad as my day was, things for the Falcons on Saturday were worse. Bowling Green struggled in all three phases of the game and lost to an inferior team, suffering a 27-15 setback at Kent State. Here is a BiG Look at the contest ...
BiG TWITTER POST: Falcons give up 319 yards to worst offense in FBS, turn ball over 4X & get just 2 FG in 4 red-zone trips in 27-15 loss at Kent State Sat
BiG OVERVIEW: The Falcons had a misleading 445 yards of total offense, because only 45 yards came on the ground. What's more, the offense struggled when it got close to the end zone, collecting just two field goals on four drives into the red zone. The BG defense allowed Kent State to gain 140 yards rushing, a season-high 179 yards passing for 319 yards of total offense, also a season high. And Bowling Green's special teams missed two field goals, twice booted kickoffs out of bounds (giving KSU the ball on its 40), fumbled a punt that led directly to a Kent State score, and misplayed a kickoff to force the offense to start a drive on the five. Did I miss anything?
BiG PLAY: I thought there were two, with the first coming as Bowling Green was driving late in the third quarter, with Kent State leading 10-6. The Falcons had a third-and-3 on the KSU 5 when Matt Schilz threw a pass that was intercepted by Luke Wollet in the end zone. Still, BG trailed just 10-6 when, on the first play of the fourth quarter, Eugene Cooper allowed a punt to bounce off his shoe directly to the Golden Flashes' Andre Parker at the BG 15. Kent State scored two plays later to make it 17-6, and the Falcons came no closer than five points the rest of the way.
OFFENSIVE BiG MAN: Senior wide receiver Kamar Jorden had a fruitful day, catching a season-high 12 passes for a career-high 203 yards and one touchdown, which came on a 52-yard strike from junior quarterback Matt Schilz. Jorden had eight catches for 14 yards or more and four that gained at least 21 yards. Honorable mention goes to Schilz, who finished with 400 yards passing, and senior wide receiver Eugene Cooper, who finished with nine catches for 82 yards.
DEFENSIVE BiG MAN: Let's give the honor to redshirt freshman defensive lineman Charlie Walker, who was tied for the team lead in tackles with six. He also had one tackle for loss and recovered the Kent State fumble that led to the first BG field goal. Honorable mention goes to junior Dwayne Woods, who finished with six tackles, including two that were for negative yardage; freshman safety Ryland Ward, who had six tackles; sophomore BooBoo Gates, who had six tackles and also broke up one pass; and senior safety Jovan Leacock, who had six tackles.
SPECIAL TEAMS BiG MAN: I am loathe to hand out this award because there were plenty of negative plays to go around. For example, senior punt returner Eugene Cooper finished with 31 yards on three returns, including a 27 yarder, which is pretty good. But he also fumbled a punt at a critical time that set up a KSU score. Another example is sophomore BooBoo Gates, who had 87 yards on four kickoff returns, including a 39 yarder, but fumbled one kickoff into the end zone and forced the Falcons to begin a drive on their own five. A third example is sophomore placekicker Stephen Stein, who connected on field goals of 39, 23 and 25 yards but missed from 41 and 38 yards. Even sophomore punter Brian Schmiedebusch has an asterisk attached to his 49-yard punt, because it went into the end zone for a touchback, giving him a net punt of just 29 yards.
BiG NUMBERS: The number that made the biggest contribution to the Bowling Green loss Saturday was four. The Falcons turned the ball over four times, and three played a big role in the setback. Eugene Cooper fumbled a punt that led directly to a Kent State touchdown; Matt Schilz was sacked and fumbled on the game's final play from scrimmage, and KSU picked up that ball and scored; and one of the two interceptions Schilz threw was caught in the end zone, denying the Falcons a scoring opportunity when they trailed by just four points.
BiG QUESTION: Where do the Falcons go from here? After seizing some momentum with a big home win over Temple, Bowling Green gave it all away with a poor performance at Kent State. Can BG turn things around at home against a tough Northern Illinois squad? An inexperienced team will have to play well for more than one game to get another chance at developing some positive mojo for this season.