BiG TWITTER POST: Falcons put together dominating second half at Akron, rolling to 322 yards of TO while holding Zips to 36 yards in 24-10 win Saturday
BiG OVERVIEW: After a scoreless first quarter, Akron drew first blood with an 11-play, 70-yard drive that was capped by a 17-yard touchdown pass from Dalton Williams to Tyrell Goodman with 9:47 on the clock in the second quarter. Late in the first half BG quarterback Matt Schilz threw an interception to Josh Richmond that gave the Zips the ball on the Falcons’ 38, and Robert Stein kicked a 46-yard field goal on the final play of the first half to make the score 10-0. But Bowling Green opened the second half with a seven-play, 78-yard drive that included a four-yard TD run by Anthon Samuel. After a three-and-out by the defense, the Falcons drove 54 yards on 10 plays before Stephen Stein kicked a 26-yard field goal to tie the game with 6:17 left in the third quarter. The Zips were forced to punt again and BG got the ball on its nine-yard line, but that was no problem for a four-play drive that included a 60-yard TD toss from Schilz to Alex Bayer that made it 17-10 BG with 2:33 left in the third. That’s how the score stood until midway through the fourth quarter when the Falcons mounted an eight-play, 41-yard drive that saw Schilz and Bayer connect on a second scoring pass, this one covering 12 yards and sealing the win.
BiG PLAY: The Falcons struggled in the first half but the defense played well, especially when you consider Akron ran 50 plays in the first half (that’s a lot). The Zips scored a touchdown midway through the second quarter, then got the ball back and drove all the way from their 10 to BG’s 5 with roughly five minutes left in the first half. Akron’s on the verge of a score that would make it 14-0, and probably make it a very different game. But Ryland Ward forced a Zips running back to fumble and BooBoo Gates recovered it at the 3. That play kept things as they were in the first half, allowing the Falcons to put together the second-half rush that led to the win.
OFFENSIVE BiG MAN: There is no shortage of candidates for this award. Top prize goes to junior tight end Alex Bayer, who led the Falcons with five catches for a game-high 94 yards and scored twice on catches of 60 and 12 yards. … Among those receiving honorable mentions are sophomore running back Anthon Samuel, who carried the ball 15 times for a game-high 117 yards and a touchdown; senior running back John Pettigrew, who ran the ball 13 times for 81 yards; sophomore running back Jamel Martin, who carried the ball 11 times for 79 yards; and the offensive line – center David “Chief” Kekuewa, guards Dominic Flewellyn and Alex Huettel as well as tackles Fahn Cooper and Jordon Roussos – who helped the Falcons finish with 292 yards rushing and didn’t allow a sack.
DEFENSIVE BiG MAN: This is a tough one because there were a number of defensive players who fared well in the victory. Let’s give the nod to sophomore safety Ryland Ward, who finished with five tackles, including four solo stops, and forced the fumble that stopped Akron on a play in the red zone in the second quarter. ... Honorable mention goes to junior cornerback Cameron Truss, who led the Falcons with 10 tackles, all solo stops (and a number of them in space against Zips wide receivers) as well as one pass broken up; sophomore rover Gabe Martin, who had seven tackles, including six solo stops, and also had a quarterback “hurry”; and junior defensive tackle Ted Ouellet, who bounced back from an injury in practice this week to finish with five tackles, including one quarterback sack good for a nine-yard loss.
SPECIAL TEAMS BiG MAN: There were some solid contributions on special teams, but let’s give the nod to freshman punt returner Ryan Burbrink, who bounced back from injury to return four punts a total of 35 yards, including a 19-yard return. That average of nearly nine yards per return is very good, and it limited the Zips to 34.1 net yards per punt. … Freshman kickoff specialist Anthony Farinella is worthy of honorable mention after averaging 57.0 yards on five kickoffs. He also received solid help from the kickoff coverage team as Akron averaged just 17.0 yards per return, although Farinella also kicked one ball out of bounds. … Junior punter Brian Schmiedebusch averaged 38.7 yards on six punts, with a long of 44. He also is worthy of honorable mention because he had three punts downed inside the Zips’ 20, with two of those coming in the first half to help the defense keep the score down.
BiG NUMBERS: The BiG numbers from this game come in the second-half discrepancy between the Falcons and the Zips. So here we go again: BG had 226 yards rushing, gaining 7.1 yards per rush, while Akron had minus-23 yards rushing on eight attempts, meaning they lost roughly three yards every time they ran the ball. While the Falcons had just 96 yards passing, they threw the ball just seven times (completing four). Akron threw the ball 18 times, completing 10, but gained just 59 yards. That made the total yards for the second half 322 for BG and 36 for Akron. A couple more crazy numbers: The Falcons had 15 first-downs in the second half, the Zips had three (one on a penalty in the third quarter, the other two on their final drive against a “prevent” defense. Time of possession in the second half was 19:51 for the Falcons, meaning they held the ball for two-thirds of the half. But here’s the best indication of how dominant BG was in the fourth quarter: There were 33 plays run in that quarter, and ZERO of them were run on Bowling Green’s side of the field. There were 65 second-half plays, and 10 of them were on the Falcons’ side of the field.
BiG QUESTION: The obvious question after watching BG’s second half performance: Where was that in the first half? I would say the defense played well in the first half, but the offense didn’t do much in that period (it was able to turn bad field position a couple of times, but that’s it). This Saturday the Falcons will face another potent offense in Miami and quarterback Zac Dysert, so the offense is going to have to shoulder more of the load and play four solid quarters, not two.Click here to read The Blade game story from Saturday’s contest. Click here to read the notebook from Saturday’s contest, which featured the defense's fine performance against the MAC's top offense. Click here to read the in-game chat from Saturday’s game. Click here to read some post-game notes and quotes from the game.