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. ...
- First, to set the stage on the next step. Bowling Green will face Northern Illinois in the Mid-American Conference Championship game on Friday, Dec. 6. The game will be played at Ford Field in Detroit and will kick off at 8 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN2.
Click here for MAC Championship Central, which includes details on the championship game, including tickets and more.
- Let's look back for a little bit at BG's win over Buffalo Friday. One of the key ingredients to the victory from the defensive side was an impressive pass rush that put UB quarterback Joe Licata under constant pressure. “We had to set the edge and get off blocks,” Ted Ouellet said of the game plan for the defensive line. “Once we got into a passing game, we knew we could take advantage of that.”
“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.
- The Bowling Green passing game simply wasn't good in the first half, connecting on 3-of-12 passes for 22 yards, but the Falcons said they weren't worries as they made halftime adjustments. “There was no panic, because we knew we were shooting ourselves in the foot with penalties, dropped passes, me missing throws, missing some blocks,” quarterback Matt Johnson said. “We didn’t execute to our full potential in the first half. The fact that we were only down 7-3 was kind of uplifting. We knew that, if we played to our potential in the second half, we could put some points on the board.”
- Clawson said he had confidence in Johnson at halftime. “His numbers at halftime were awful, but he had a bunch of drops,” Clawson said of Johnson. “At halftime I couldn’t believe how much we had run the ball for. But we had drives get shut down, and we didn’t convert two third downs.”
- While wide receiver Shaun Joplin had one catch (and two drops) in the first half, Johnson said he still had confidence in the senior. “Jop’s long catch [to start the second half] before the interception kind of lifted us,” Johnson said. “It kind of showed that, if we blocked, protected and caught, we could move the ball. Even though I threw the interception on the next play, we knew that the defense was holding them all game and, if we executed the way we could, we could move the ball.”
- During the post-game discussion Clawson talked about the play of senior cornerback Aaron Foster, who finished with a team-high six solo tackles. “For a guy who didn’t play cornerback until this year, Aaron Foster has become a really good cornerback,” Clawson said.
- Next, a look at what the Falcons' 9-3 record and 7-1 mark in MAC play mean. First, it marks the fourth consecutive year of improvement for Bowling Green, and it marks the first nine-win season for BG since the 2004 team went 9-3, a mark that included a win in the GMAC Bowl. If BG can win in the MAC Championship, those 10 wins will mark the program's first double-digit win total since 2003.
- If the Falcons can beat Northern Illinois, Bowling Green will claim its first Mid-American Conference championship since 1992.
- Bowling Green is gunning to claim a victory over a nationally ranked opponent for the first time since 2003. That opponent? Northern Illinois was ranked No. 12 nationally when it visited Bowling Green -- as did ESPN's College GameDay crew -- on Oct. 25, 2003. The Falcons claimed a 34-18 victory at Doyt Perry Stadium that day.
- The Falcons enter the MAC Championship game on a roll. Bowling Green has outscored its last four opponents 176-17; during the last 18 quarters, BG has outscored the opposition 194-24. And here's a stat for you: Bowling Green has allowed ZERO second-half points in its last four games. In the last six games, BG has allowed just seven second-half points.
Buffalo came into Friday's game having scored at least 30 points in eight straight games. The Falcons held them to seven points.
- For a guy who entered the season as the back-up quarterback, sophomore Matt Johnson is having one of the best seasons in BG history. Johnson has thrown for 2,802 yards this season, the eighth-best single-season total in school history. He is just 149 passing yards shy of moving into seventh on the all-time list.
- Running backs Travis Greene and William Houston have turned into a one-two rushing punch for the Falcons. Greene's touchdown against Buffalo gives him 10 this season, two behind Houston for the team lead. The Falcons have two players with at least 10 rushing TDs for the first time since 2003, when P.J. Pope and Josh Harris turned that trick.
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.
- Sophomore kicker Tyler Tate has been getting stronger each week and has put together a solid season. Tate has made 51-of-52 extra points this season, including the last 41 in a row. He also is 14-of-17 on field-goal attempts this season (82.4 percent).
- In recent weeks Bowling Green has done a magnificent job of both running the ball and stopping the other team's running game. BG allowed Buffalo just 15 yards rushing, the lowest rushing total for an opponent this season and the sixth time the Falcons have held an opponent under 100 yards this season. In four of those games, the opposition has managed no more than 61 yards. Meanwhile, BG's ground game racked up 260 yards against Buffalo, the third-best single-game total this season and the seventh time Bowling Green has gained at least 200 yards on the ground this year. In the last two weeks, BG has run the ball 104 times for 554 yards (46-296 at EMU, 48-260 at Buffalo).