CFN Take: Bowling Green Blasted In MAC Title

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 5, 2014


Bowling Green Falcons 2014 ... Head Coach: Dino Babers

Bowling Green Falcons

2014 Schedule
Record: 7-6

Aug. 28 at WKU L 59-31
Sep. 6 VMI W 48-7
Sep. 13 Indiana W 45-42
Sep. 20 at Wisconsin L 68-17
Sep. 27 at UMass W 47-42
Oct. 4 Buffalo W 36-35
Oct. 11 at Ohio W 31-13
Oct. 18 Western Mich L 26-14
Oct. 25 OPEN DATE
Nov. 4 at Akron W 27-10
Nov. 8 OPEN DATE
Nov. 12 Kent State W 30-20
Nov. 19 at Toledo L 27-20
Nov. 28 Ball State L 41-24
MAC CHAMPIONSHIP
12/6 Northern Illinois L 51-17
Dec. 5 MAC Championship
Northern Illinois 51, Bowling Green 17

And You Care Because … Northern Illinois made up for last year’s MAC championship loss with a dominant performance on both sides of the ball. The defense forced four turnovers – Dechane Durante came up with two interceptions - and the offense rolled at will, starting the scoring with a five-yard Drew Hare run and two Christian Hagan field goals – the Huskies never trailed. Cameron Stingily ran for two touchdowns in the second half, and Hare found Juwan Brescacin for a four-yard touchdown pass as part of a 31-7 second half run.
What Else? Northern Illinois RB Cameron Stingily ran 15 times for 116 yards and two scores
- Total yards: Northern Illinois 552 – Bowling Green 287
- Time of possession: Northern Illinois 37:59 – Bowling Green 22:01
- Bowling Green RB Travis Greene ran 18 times for 105 yards and a score
Game Rating: D

Nov. 28 Ball State 41, at Bowling Green 24
And You Care Because … Bowling Green had already wrapped up the MAC East, but it got up fast with a 21-7 lead on touchdown runs from 75 yards out from Travis Greene, two yards away from Fred Coppet, and a kickoff return for a score from Clint Stephens after Ball State got one the board with a 62-yard KeVonn Mabon scoring grab. It was all Ball State from then on as Jahwan Edwards ran for two short scores and Jordan Williams caught a 16-yard touchdown pass.
What Else? Ball State RB Jahwan Edwards caught 28 passes for 165 yards and two scores
- Bowling Green RB Travis Greene ran 14 times for 159 yards and a score, and Fred Coppet ran 16 times for 140 yards and a touchdown
- Time of possession: Ball State 36:47 – Bowling Green 23:13
- Ball State QB Ozzie Mann completed 20-of-29 passes for 286 yards and three scores, and ran five times for 19 yards
Game Rating: C+

Nov. 19 at Toledo 27, Bowling Green 20
And You Care Because … Dwight Macon ran for a seven-yard score to finally break a 20-20 tie, and the Toledo defense held on for the win. In a back-and-forth game, Kareem Hunt started off the scoring for the Rockets with a two-yard run, and took off for a 91-yard touchdown, but Bowling Green kept pace helped by Ronnie Moore touchdown catches from ten and 31 yards out. The last Falcon drive stalled on a sack from Junior Sylvestre.
What Else? Toledo RB Kareem Hunt ran 30 times for 265 yards and two scores
- Bowling Green QBs combined to completed 12-of-37 passes for 167 yards and a score
- Time of possession: Toledo 34:21 – Bowling Green 25:39
- Turnovers: Toledo 3 – Bowling Green 0
Game Rating: B

Nov. 4 Bowling Green 27, at Akron 10
And You Care Because … Bowling Green took control of the MAC East race as Taylor Royster recovered a fumble for a score and Tyler Tate hit two field goals on the way to a 13-3 lead, and then the offense got into the act with a ten-yard Roger Lewis touchdown catch to get up 17 going into the fourth. Akron tried to make a charge with a 15-yard Jawon Chisolm touchdown run, but the Falcons put it away late on a 45-yard scoring dash against the normally-solid Zip run defense.
What Else? Turnovers: Akron 5 – Bowling Green 1
- Bowling Green RB Fred Coppet ran 18 times for 113 yards, and Andre Givens ran 14 times for 101 yards and a score
- Akron QB Kyle Pohl completed 31-of-62 passes for 304 yards and three interceptions
- Rushing yards: Bowling Green 219 – Akron 94
Game Rating: C-

Oct. 18 Western Michigan 26, at Bowling Green 14
And You Care Because … A supposed shootout turned into a shocking defensive fight as Western Michigan slowed down Bowling Green after getting down 7-0. WMU got two Andrew Haldeman field goals and a four-yard Corey Davis touchdown catch, and Darius Phillips gave the team the lead on a 63-yard touchdown catch in the third. Jarvion Franklin put it away for WMU with a 22-yard run in the fourth.
What Else? Western Michigan RB Jarvion Franklin ran 37 times for 149 yards and a score
- Bowling Green QB James Knapke completed 20-of-33 passes for 139 yards and a pick, and ran three times for 41 yards
- Time of possession: Western Michigan 39:26 – Bowling Green 20:34
- Western Michigan QB Zach Terrell completed 15-of-24 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns
Game Rating: C

Oct. 11 Bowling Green 31, Ohio 13
And You Care Because … James Knapke threw two touchdown passes and Travis Greene scored on a 27-yard touchdown catch and a 30-yard run as Bowling Green blew past Ohio. The Bobcats could only manage two Josiah Yazdani field goals early, and didn’t get into the end zone until it was too late on a two-yard Tim Edmond run in the fourth
What Else? Bowling Green QB James Knapke completed 20-of-39 passes for 260 yards and two touchdowns with an interception, and ran once for ten yards
- Ohio QB J.D. Sprague completed 27-of-56 passes for 325 yards, and led the team with 49 yards on 16 carries
- Penalties: Ohio 16 for 153 yards – Bowling Green 8 for 75 yards
- Third down conversions: Ohio 12-of-24 – Bowling Green 4-of-13
Game Rating: D+

Oct. 4 at Bowling Green 36, Buffalo 35
And You Care Because … In a nip-and-tuck game, Bowling Green overcame three touchdown runs from Buffalo’s Anthony Taylor with a four-yard Fred Coppet touchdown catch with just over two minutes to play for a one-point lead. The Falcon D came up with a stop, holding down the Bulls and then running out the clock. James Knapke ran for a one-yard score and threw a nine-yard touchdown pass for the Falcons, who overcame a 28-17 first half deficit with 13 straight points helped by two Tyler Tate field goals and Moore’s catch, but it was Coppet’s catch that came up with the lead for good.
What Else? Bowling Green WR Ronnie Moore caught nine passes for 178 yards and a score
- Buffalo RB Anthony Taylor ran 36 times for 219 yards and three touchdowns
- Bowling Green turned it over three times and was penalized 11 times for 82 yards
- Time of possession: Buffalo 38:08 – Bowling Green 21:52
Game Rating: B+

Sept. 27 Bowling Green 47, at Massachusetts 42
And You Care Because … In a wild and crazy game with over 1,300 yards of total offense, Bowling Green’s James Knapke threw three touchdown passes and Travis Greene ran for two scores including a 25-yarder in the fourth to take the lead and a 22-yard dash from Ronnie Moore to go up 12, but UMass wouldn’t go away. UMass QB Blake Frohnapfel threw for 589 yards and five touchdown passes including a five yard play to Tajae Sharpe with just over three minutes to play to pull within five. The Minutemen had one last shot, but fumbled it away and the Falcons ran out the clock.
What Else? Total yards: Bowling Green 668 – UMass 638
- Penalties: Bowling Green 13 for 112 yards – UMass 4 for 30 yards. Turnovers: UMass 4 – Bowling Green 3
- UMass QB Blake Frohnapfel completed 36-of-61 passes for 589 yards and five touchdowns with a pick, and BGSU QB James Knapke completed 38-of-59 passes for 443 yards and three touchdowns with three picks.
- Receivers: BGSU’s Ryan Burbrink caught 11 passes for 132 yards and a score, Roger LewIs caught nine passes for 148 yards and a score, Ronnie Moore caught nine passes for 109 yards and a score. UMass’s Tajae Sharpe caught 13 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns, and Jean Sifrin caught eight passes for 135 yards
Game Rating: A

Sept. 20 Wisconsin 68, Bowling Green 17
And You Care Because …Wisconsin rushed for a Big Ten-record 644 yards, including a career-high 253 yards and five touchdowns from Melvin Gordon, to coast past Bowling Green. The Falcons narrowed the gap to 14-10 at the end of the opening quarter, but the Badgers took control with 51 unanswered points before Bowling Green got back on the board in the fourth quarter. The Badgers wound up outgaining the Falcons, 756-271, in the blowout.
What Else? Gordon was one of three Badgers to rush for at least 100 yards. QB Tanner McEvoy and backup RB Corey Clement also crossed the century mark. Even third-stringer Dare Ogunbowale wound up going for 94 yards on 14 carries.
- The Falcon defenders were gassed throughout, explaining the spate of missed tackles and long Badger runs. Bowling Green had the ball for just 23:24, while punting 11 times.
- This is not the kind of game that’ll be good for the confidence of Falcon QB James Knapke, successor to injured Matt Johnson. Knapke was sacked three times, completing 13-of-28 for 163 yards, no touchdowns and an interception.
- Senior LB Derek Landisch was the defensive star for the Badgers. Playing a little more than a half, he tallied six tackles, 3.5 stops for loss, two sacks and a pass breakup.
Game Rating: C

Sept. 13 at Bowling Green 45, Indiana 42
And You Care Because … In a fantastic back-and-forth shootout, James Knapke found Roger Lewis for a two-yard touchdown pass with just nine seconds to play to give Bowling Green the wild win. Indiana took a 14-3 lead in the second quarter on a 22-yard touchdown catch from J-Shun Harris, but Bowling Green stayed alive on four Tyler Tate field goals before Knapke went to work in the second half, starting with a 40-yard Ronnie Moore touchdown catch. Tevin Coleman and the running game did the work for IU, with touchdown runs from 28, 36 and 31 yards out, but the Falcon offense always had an answer in the second half. Nate Sudfeld gave IU a 42-39 lead with just over two minutes to play on a one-yard run, but Bowling Green went on an 11-play, 88-yard drive leading to the game-winning score.
What Else? Bowling Green QB James Knapke completed 46-of-73 passes for 395 yards and three touchdowns with a pick, and Roger Lewis caught 16 passes for 149 yards and a game-winning score.
- Indiana RB Tevin Coleman ran 24 times for 190 yards and three scores.
- Bowling Green WR Roger Lewis caught 16 passes for 149 yards and a score.
- Total yard: Indiana 582 – Bowling Green 571, but IU committed 11 penalties for 143 yards. Bowling Green just four for 42.
Game Rating: A

Sept. 6 at Bowling Green 48, VMI 7
And You Care Because … The Falcons made up for their debacle against WKU by scoring the first 28 points of the day helped by one of Travis Greene’s two touchdown runs on the day and a 75-yard Ryan Burbrink punt return for a score. The special teams got into the act in the third on a 15-yard blocked punt for a touchdown. The Falcons only had the ball for just under 21 minutes, but they managed 526 yards with Travis Greene running 18times for 129 yards and two scores. After getting lit up by WKU’s passing game last week, Bowling Green allowed 321 yards.
Game Rating: D

Aug. 29 at WKU 59, Bowling Green 31
And You Care Because …Brandon Doughty threw six touchdown passes including two in the first 27 minutes on the way to a 21-0 lead, and WKU wasn’t stopped the rest of the way going up 31-10 in the first half. Bowling Green made it a little bit interesting in the second half pulling within 14, but Doughty put the game away with two more scoring passes on to close out two 77-yard drives.
What Else? From WKU head coach Jeff Brohm, “everything went extremely well.” You think? With 702 yards of total offense against a team that prided itself on decent defense last season, the Hilltoppers showed that there’s life after Bobby Petrino. Now the expectations suddenly change, and WKU looks like a dangerous threat to be a player in the Conference USA race. It was one game, but it was a flawless performance on both sides of the ball.
- Bowling Green quarterback Matt Johnson completed 25-of-36 passes for 314 yards and a score, and Travis Greene ran for 91 yards and a touchdown, but don’t be fooled by the numbers – WKU stuffed the Falcon attack early when it mattered.
- WKU QB Brandon Doughty was throwing darts, completing 46-of-56 passes for 569 yards and six touchdowns. Taywan Taylor caught 12 passes for 185 yards and a score. Against Illinois – a team with a potentially dangerous passing game and no secondary - expect even more fireworks.
- This loss is devastating for the MAC. NIU might still be the star – even if it didn’t win the conference title – but Bowling Green is the defending champion and it didn’t even show up defensively. New head coach Dino Babers has to figure something out defensively with Indiana coming up in a few weeks.
Game Rating: B

2014 Preview 

Is Bowling Green going to be a Central Michigan or an Akron?

Is this going to be the type of program like CMU was from 2006 to 2009, going on a big run and showing sustained success – at least for a few years – or will it be like 2005 Akron and 2008 Buffalo with a everything-came-together-at-once one-off MAC title year?

The program has been far stronger than Akron or UB, and even with the loss of head coach Dave Clawson to Wake Forest, the potential for sustained excellence is there under new head man Dino Babers. But first, the reloading has to begin.

Everything built towards last year with a defense that came together to at the right time to destroy the mediocre MAC offenses and slow down NIU in the MAC title game. Seven starters are gone, so what will Babers do? Ramp up the offense.

His Eastern Illinois team had pro prospect Jimmy Garroppolo winging the ball around on the way to two FCS playoff appearances, and now he has a ton to work with led by QB Matt Johnson and seven starters returning to an attack that finished ninth in the nation in passing efficiency and averaged close to 460 yards per game.

But overall, the key for Babers is to improve upon what Clawson was able to do to balance things out. Bowling Green was always a program that couldn’t quite put it all together with a great offense one year to offset a bad defense, and the reverse the year after. It took a while, but it all clicked last season. To keep it all going the Falcons have to keep beating up on the league’s weak and the sad, and it needs that refurbished D to hold its own in the one or two big games it’s going to face against a soft slate.

The schedule is good, the offense is better, and the expectations are in the right spot. It’s repeat or bust this year, and it’s Babers’ job not to improve on the foundation, not just maintain. This team, with a little time, could do just that.


What to watch for on offense: Is the passing game going to be ramped up a few notches? Babers did wonders with Jimmy Garoppolo at Eastern Illinois – the offense bombed away for over 5,000 passing yards with Garoppolo pitching 53 touchdown passes – and as a student of Art Briles and the Baylor system, get ready for the offense to open things up even more, even with the loss of several key parts. Considering the Falcons were ninth in the nation in passing efficiency and threw for 266 yards per game, a little more production could make BGSU absolutely devastating. The key will be to do it against the better teams after stalling a bit too much against Indiana, Mississippi State and Pitt, and Babers and offensive coordinator Matt Mattox should be able to do that.

What to watch for on defense: The pressure is on defensive coordinator Kim McCloud to keep the Bowling Green D strong, but he’ll have to do it with seven new starters. Eastern Illinois was known for its offense last year, but the defense did its part, especially when it came to limiting the deep ball and forcing mistakes. However, it got lit up by Northern Illinois and was ripped apart by Towson in the playoffs. McCloud wasn’t really in the hunt for the head coaching gig once Babers left, so he took the same job with BGSU, and now he has to rebuild a defense that finished sixth in the nation against the pass and tenth overall. While it might take a little while to find the right combination up front and in the secondary, McCloud’s defense is going to be aggressive and go after lots and lots of takeaways.

The team will be far better if … the run defense works each and every game. It’ll be able to get into the backfield, and McCloud will make sure the pressure is coming from all sides, but holding up against the craftier running teams is a must after having way too many issues with the good offenses. The Falcons gave up 200 rushing yards or more five times last season and lost four of those games. The lone exception was the MAC title win over Northern Illinois, but on the year, they were 8-0 when allowing under 200 yards and only gave up four rushing scores in those eight. They allowed 12 touchdowns in the other five.

The schedule: It’s manageable, and if all goes according to plan, it should be smooth sailing in the MAC until the end with a road game at Toledo and a home battle with Ball State to finish things up. Road games at Akron and UMass? Please. There’s a week off before dealing with the Zips, and there’s another unnecessary bye week to get ready for the finishing kick starting with Kent State. However, it should and could all come down to a road game against Ohio. Win that, and it's smooth sailing until the end. Getting Toledo and Ball State from the West is rough, but the Falcons have to take those two games down if they really believe they should be MAC champions again. And if they’re that good, can they handle Indiana at home after getting pasted in Bloomington last year? Forget about winning at Wisconsin, but getting by WKU and VMI shouldn’t be a problem.

Best offensive player: Senior RB Travis Greene. The big question mark going into last year was Anthon Samuel. The star back of 2012 was leaving the program, making running back the one big question mark for an offense that had a ton of upside. Andre Givens was the star in-state recruit, and Jamel Martin was thought to be an option despite coming off a knee injury, but it was Greene who turned out to be the workhorse to take the heat and pressure off of QB Matt Johnson. Givens was good when he got his chances, and he’ll need to do more, but Greene is going to be the workhorse, even if he’s not quite built to be one.

Best defensive player: Senior LB D.J. Lynch. Bowling Green linebackers have been excellent over the years and they should be a major plus this this year with the return of Gabe Martin from a torn ACL and the bigger emergence of Paul Senn, but it’s Lynch who’ll be the team’s top tackler again no matter where he works in the corps. Bowling Green needed him to stop up and shine, and he did just that. Considering the work needing to be done on the defensive interior, the 244-pounder should be the stout stopper against the run again.

Key player to a successful season: Senior S Ryland Ward. The Falcons should be fine in the secondary with a little bit of tweaking and work, and while the corner situation is the biggest question mark after losing Cameron Truss and Aaron Foster, not having all-star BooBoo Gates to clean up the messes anymore at the Stud position will be the biggest issue. Ward is the best returning defensive back with big-hitting ability and excellent open-field tackling skills. He has decent enough size to get by, and while he’s not going to be Gates, he’ll make the All-MAC team.

The season will be a success if … the Falcons do it again. There are big losses on defense, and the offense needs some reworking on the line, but even with a new coaching staff they should be the class of the MAC. The schedule works out perfectly with Toledo the only difficult road game and Buffalo, Ohio and Ball State at home. A double-digit win season is there for the taking if they can get by Indiana and roll through the MAC, but in the end, all that matters is another conference title, and they should at least get back to Detroit.

Key game: Oct. 11 at Ohio. Battling with Buffalo should be one of the big keys to the early part of the MAC season, and the West games against Toledo and Ball State should be a big deal, but the East will come down to the date in Athens against Ohio. The Bobcats didn’t show up last year in a 49-0 pasting, and they should be better, but Bowling Green is still the class of the division. This is the game it has to show it.

2013 Fun Stats:
- Third Quarter Scoring: Bowling Green 138 - Opponents 24
- Time of Possession: Bowling Green 34:03 - Opponents 25:57
- Sacks: Opponents 41 for 232 yards - Bowling Green 30 for 191 yards

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2014 Bowling Green Preview - What You Need To Know & Top Players


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