BiG TWITTER POST: Falcons allow SJSU QB Fales to throw for Military Bowl-record 395 yards, give up 19 points in final 20 minutes of 29-20 loss to Spartans
BiG OVERVIEW: After each time saw a short drive sputter, San Jose State quickly covered 79 yards on just four plays, the last a 33-yard touchdown pass by David Fales to Kyle Nunn at the 10:05 mark of the first quarter. Bowling Green responded with a 12-play, 62-yard drive but was forced to settle for a 28-yard Tyler Tate field goal with 3:57 left in the period. The Falcons forced a three-and-out, and Gabe Martin blocked a Spartans punt to give BG the ball on San Jose State’s 24, but again the offense struggled and Tate kicked a 33-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter. Late in the quarter the Spartans drove 54 yards on five plays and got a 36-yard field goal by Austin Lopez with 1:40 left in the half to make the score 10-6 San Jose State. Early in the third quarter Charlie Walker sacked Fales and forced a fumble that Chris Jones picked up and returned to the SJSU 8, and Anthon Samuel scored on the next play. Later in the quarter the Spartans Bene Benwikere blocked a Brian Schmiedebusch punt out of the end zone for a safety. After a free kick SJSU drove 68 yards for a touchdown, which came on an 18-yard scoring strike from Fales to Chandler Jones with 2:16 left in the third quarter. Early in the fourth quarter the Falcons drove 68 yards on eight plays and took a 20-19 lead on a 1-yard TD run by John Pettigrew. But San Jose State responded with a 13-play, 68-yard drive that was capped by a 27-yard field goal by Lopez that made the score 22-20 SJSU. On the next series the Spartans Travis Johnson sacked BG QB Matt Schilz and forced a fumble that Keith Smith recovered on the Falcons’ 24, and five plays later De’Leon Eskridge scored on a 1-yard run with 2:34 left in the game.
BiG PLAY: Bowling Green led 13-10 when Brian Schmiedebusch lined up for a punt with the ball spotted on the Falcons’ 24. San Jose State’s Bene Benwikere blocked that punt, with the ball traveling to the end zone. While the Falcons gave up only a safety on that play – and still led 13-12 – momentum shifted from that point forward. San Jose State took the ensuing free kick and scored, with those nine points the start of a 19-7 finish in the Spartans’ favor.
OFFENSIVE BiG MAN: Freshman wide receiver Chris Gallon had a strong first half, catching five passes for 71 yards, including four catches of 10 yards or more. He finished the game with seven catches for 73 yards, including a long of 28 yards. The unsportsmanlike conduct call he received on the Falcons’ final drive certainly was hurtful, though. … Receiving honorable mention is senior running back John Pettigrew, who ran for a game-high 59 yards on just seven rushes (8.4 yards per carry). He had a 34-yard run that set up his 1-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter. … Freshman wide receiver Ryan Burbrink caught three passes for 46 yards, including a 22-yard catch. Two of his three receptions resulted in first downs.
DEFENSIVE BiG MAN: Sophomore defensive end Charlie Walker had a big game for the Falcons. He finished with five tackles, tied for second-best on the team, and two of those tackles resulted in 16 yards in losses. He had the only BG sack in the contest, and on that nine-yard loss he forced a fumble that Chris Jones picked up and returned to the eight to set up the Falcons’ first touchdown. … Receiving honorable mention is senior linebacker Dwayne Woods, who played well in his final college game. Woods posted a team-high eight tackles, including one tackle for loss. … Junior defensive tackle Ted Ouellet posted five tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss that resulted in four yards lost.
SPECIAL TEAMS BiG MAN: Let’s give this honor to senior John Pettigrew, who had two kickoff returns for 71 yards, including a 52-yard return that was the second-longest in Military Bowl history. … The entire kickoff return crew deserves mention as BG averaged 26.8 yards per return. BooBoo Gates had 65 yards on three returns, including a long of 32 and another that went 24 (and would have been longer except for a Falcon penalty), while Jordan Hopgood had one return for 25 yards. … Gabe Martin blocked a punt late in the first quarter to set up the Falcons’ second field goal.
BiG NUMBERS: The Falcons allowed San Jose State to throw for 395 yards, the most passing yardage BG has allowed all season. In fact, that marked just the third time in 13 games Bowling Green had allowed more than 300 yards passing to an opponent (Idaho threw for 352 yards and Toledo threw for 322 yards). But the more surprising number was the Spartans’ completion percentage, as SJSU completed 33-of-43 passes (76.7 percent). That impressive completion percentage allowed the Spartans to gain almost 10 yards per pass ATTEMPT (9.2 yards) and 12.0 yards per completion.
BiG QUESTION: Can the Falcons take that final step and claim a Mid-American Conference title? There will be a lot of pressure on BG entering next season since so many players return from a bowl qualifier. This spring and this summer will set the tone for Bowling Green’s football chances in 2013.
Click here to read The Blade game story from the Military Bowl. Click here to read the notebook from the Military Bowl. Click here to read the in-game chat from the game. Click here to view a photo gallery from the contest.