Here's an update on the Falcons as they begin this week's preparations for their contest Saturday at Virginia Tech ...
- First, in what is starting to feel like a weekly report, BG's Chris Jones has been named Mid-American Conference East Division defensive player of the week. Click here to read about Jones and the award; this also includes some numbers regarding his early play this season, as well as the details on his four other MAC weekly awards.
- Second, let's take a look at the two-deep for Saturday's game against the Hokies. The most noticeable change is at nose tackle, where senior Ted Ouellet is listed as the starter and freshman Mike Minns is the back-up.
The bad news is that this change means Jairus Campbell, who injured his foot in the Toledo contest. Campbell will not play against the Hokies, and his status for future games is uncertain at this time. Campbell had four tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss, in BG's first three games.
Ouellet has 10 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss, in those three contests. Minns is a true freshman from West Palm Beach, Fla., who the coaching staff is very high on. But remember, this position already was thin after Hunter Maynard was injured during fall drills and lost for the season.
“[This injury] is not good for us," coach Dave Clawson said. "Jairus is having a great year. He’s a great kid that’s worked very hard and he’s overcome injuries in the past. We’re going to have to have somebody step up. He’s one of our best players, so it’s tough losing him.”
- While the first half of the Toledo game set the tenor for the contest, there were key moments in the second half that allowed the Rockets to claim the 27-15 victory.
One such moment was the first drive of the second half. Toledo took the opening kickoff and scored in decisive fashion, covering 75 yards in just four plays: A six-yard run by David Fluellen, a 13-yard run by Fluellen, a 34-yard pass from Terrance Owens to Alonzo Russell and a 22-yard TD run by Fluellen that made the score 24-3.
"On defense for the most part we lined up and played hard, but there were 7-to-10 plays where we had defensive breakdowns -- and three of them were on that drive," Clawson said. "Toledo came out with a great plan in the second half and got some momentum going. When they made it 24-3 that made our climb back up that much harder."
The other moment came in the fourth quarter after BG's touchdown made the score 24-15 with 13:29 left to play. There was enough time for the Falcons to score twice ... until the Rockets put together a 14-play, 57-yard drive that consumed 7:46 of the clock.
When Toledo kicked a field goal to make it 27-15, it became a two-touchdown game instead of a two-score game, and Bowling Green had just 5:42 to get those two scores.
"Up until that drive we had done a pretty good job of getting them off the field in their previous few drives, and we had forced a fumble on the last possession," Clawson said. "But that 14-play drive put it on ice.
"They converted a bunch of third downs, but what made it frustrating is that we had them second-and-longs two or three times and they were able to make it third-and-short. We lost that drive on second down as much as third down."
The Rockets were very effective on second down in that drive. They turned a second-and-six into a first down by gaining 11 yards; they turned a second-and-eight into a first down with a nine-yard gain; they turned a second-and-16 into third-and-one (and converted on third down); then they turned a second-and-10 into third-and-one (that they again converted).
Curiously, Toledo's final second-down play on that drive was a second-and-one where they got stuffed for a one-yard loss; The Falcons also stuffed a third-and-one play, but by then the damage had been done.
- Clawson was asked about the Falcons needing to regain their focus after losing to their arch-rivals -- and now facing a team that was nationally ranked before it was upset at Pittsburgh last Saturday.
"That's the nature of every season," Clawson said. "That obviously was a very emotional game for our guys. It was their rival, and we had a great week of practice and a great week of preparation. The meetings and walk-through on Friday, we were very locked in. Our players put a lot into that game and they were very disappointed.
"But that's football. If we had won that game, we would have had to find a way to re-focus them. Playing a team of the caliber of Virginia Tech, if we don't get our kids refocused we're going to be in a world of hurt. ... It's easier said than done. The coaches and the leaders of this team is going to have to do a great job of rallying the troops and getting them ready to go."