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CFN Take: Bowling Green Battles In Pizza Loss

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 26, 2013


Bowling Green Falcons 2013 ... Head Coach: Dave Clawson


Bowling Green Falcons

2013 Record: 10-4
8/29 Tulsa W 34-7
9/7 at Kent State W 41-22
9/14 at Indiana L 42-10
9/21 Murray State W 48-7
9/28 Akron W 31-14
10/5 UMass W 28-7
10/12 at Miss State L 21-20
10/19 OPEN DATE
10/26 Toledo L 28-25
11/5 at Miami Univ. W 45-3
11/12 Ohio W 49-0
11/16 OPEN DATE
11/23 at Eastern Mich W 58-7
11/29 at Buffalo W 24-7
MAC CHAMPIONSHIP
12/6 Northern Illinois W 47-27
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
12/26 Pitt L 30-27
Little Caesars Bowl
Pitt 30, Bowling Green 27
Basically … Pitt’s Chris Blewitt broke a tie with just over a minute to play on a 39-yard field goal, and Aaron Donald and the Panther defense did its job to hang on for the win. Down 17-3, Bowling Green fought back with a 29-yard Alex Bayer touchdown catch late in the first half, and opened the second on a 94-yard BooBoo Gates kickoff return for a score on the way to a tie. The Panthers grabbed the lead back on a 28-yard Blewitt field goal and a five-yard Chad Voytik run, but Bowling Green wouldn’t go away with Ryan Burbrink scoring on a 15-yard catch for a 27-27 tie before Pitt’s final scoring drive. The Panthers got a school bowl record 229 rushing yards from James Conner and a 15-yard touchdown and Tyler Boyd scored on a 54-yard punt return to put Pitt up big in the first half.

- Rushing yards: Pitt 255 – Bowling Green 10
- Pitt RB James Conner ran 26 times for 229 yards and a score
- Pitt DT Aaron Donald made five tackles with a sack and two tackles for loss
- Pitt LB Ray Vinopal made a game-leading 11 tackles with a sack.
- Bowling Green CB BooBoo Gates made eight tackles with half a sack and 1.5 tackles for loss and returned four kickoffs for 165 yards and a score. - Bowling Green P Brian Schmiedebusch averaged 54.6 yards with two put inside the 20 on his five kicks.
- Bowling Green QB Matt Johnson completed 20-of-32 passes for 272 yards and two scores

Bowling Green 47, Northern Illinois 27
Basically … Northern Illinois lost its BCS dream as Matt Johnson threw five touchdown passes and Travis Greene scored twice in a blowout. The Falcons took a 31-13 lead into halftime on a Alex Bayer 12-yard touchdown catch in the final seconds of the first half, and then they withstood NIU’s momentum, overcoming an eight-yard Jordan Lynch touchdown run with 16 straight points to pull away, helped by a six-yard Greene touchdown catch and closed out with a 16-yard scoring run. Lynch tacked on a garbage time two-yard scoring run in the final seconds.
- Bowling Green QB Matt Johnson completed 21-of-27 passes for 393 yards and five touchdowns, and he ran ten times for 33 yards.
- NIU QB Jordan Lynch completed 21-of-40 passes for 219 yards and a score with two picks, and he ran 26 times for 126 yards and two touchdowns.
- NIU was outgained 574 yards to 454.
- Bowling Green RB Travis Greene ran 26 times for 133 yards and a score, and he caught two passes for 23 yards and a score. Ronnie Moore caught four passes for 145 yards and a score.

Bowling Green 24, at Buffalo 7
Basically … Bowling Green won the MAC West scoring 21 unanswered points in the second half on a 23-yard Shaun Joplin touchdown catch and touchdown runs from Travis Greene and Matt Johnson. Buffalo took a 7-3 lead on a two-yard Branden Oliver touchdown run, but the offense fizzled the rest of the way.
- Bowling Green WR Shaun Joplin caught six passes for 149 yards and a score.
- Buffalo RB Branden Oliver ran 18 times for 46 yards and a score.
- Buffalo finished with 236 yards of total offense, finishing with 15 rushing yards on 24 carries.
- Bowling Green QB Matt Johnson completed 11-of-26 passes for 230 yards and a score with a pick, and he ran ten times for 72 yards and a touchdown.

at Bowling Green 49, Ohio 0
Basically … Bowling Green dominated the game from the start with Travis Greene scoring the first of his two rushing touchdowns on an 11-yard dash less than three minutes in the game. William Houston scored twice from one-yard out and Matt Johnson threw touchdown passes from 32 yards out to Heath Jackson and 57 yards away to Alex Bayer. Ohio managed just nine first downs.
- Bowling Green RB Travis Greene ran 22 times for 149 yards and two scores
- Ohio was held to 56 rushing yards on 29 carries
- Ohio QB Tyler Tettleton completed 15-of-27 passes for 93 yards with a pick and was held to -6 yards rushing
- The Falcons outgained Ohio 460 yards to 172.

at Bowling Green 45, Miami University 3
Basically … Bowling Green held Miami to 228 yards of total offense and only gave up a 51-yard Kaleb Patterson field goal in the first quarter. Matt Johnson threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score, and BooBoo Gates returned a fumble 11 yards for a touchdown. The Falcons scored 38 unanswered points.
- Bowling Green QB Matt Johnson completed 20-of-26 passes for 252 yards and three scores with a pick, and he ran for a score.
- Miami turned it over three times and managed just 97 rushing yards on 37 carries.
- Miami QB Drew Kummer completed 9-of-19 passes for 199 yards, while Austin Gearing hit all six of his throws for 31 yards
- Bowling Green RB Travis Greene ran 14 times for 112 yards

at Mississippi State 21, Bowling Green 20
Basically … Dak Prescott took off on a 75-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and scored on a ten-yard run in the second to help Mississippi State get up 21-10, but it was all Bowling Green in the second half. Matt Johnson pulled the Falcons to within two on a two-yard touchdown run in the third, but they kicked the extra point and couldn’t get back over the hump. They had one more shot in the final few minutes, but they couldn’t get within field goal range.
- Mississippi State survived the disaster. Tyler Russell completed 12-of-14 passes for 102 yards, and Dak Prescott was terrific completing 7-of-11 passes for 75 yards while running for 139 yards and two scores, but the offense failed in the second half. The defense held, and it was a rough home win over a good MAC team, but it was shaky.
- Matt Johnson completed 20-of-34 passes for 224 yards, and he ran for a score, but the Falcons couldn’t establish the running game even though Travis Greene ran for 99 yards on 15 carries. There were chances, but they couldn’t convert.
- Bowling Green couldn’t generate pressure on the quarterbacks and they got picked apart. Paul Swan made 11 tackles and he made his share of plays after the Bulldogs got past the line, but there needed to be more sacks. The Falcons came up with two, but it wasn’t enough.
- The Bulldogs completed passes, but they failed to go anywhere. There were enough midrange throws to keep the chains moving, but there weren’t any backbreakers. MSU’s longest pass play was 17 yards, but there were a few of them. With Kentucky up next, there’s time to find more pop before going on the road to face South Carolina and Texas A&M.

at Bowling Green 28, Massachusetts 7
Basically … Bowling Green was in control throughout with 28 straight points on three Matt Johnson field goals including a 51-yarder to Ronnie Moore to kick off the scoring in the second quarter and with two more scoring passes to Tyler Beck and Heath Jackson in the third. UMass didn’t get on the board until late on a 24-yard Tajae Sharpe run, but the offense only managed 280 yards.
- Bowling Green didn’t exactly extend itself, having no problems with offensive balance on 160 yards from Travis Green and an effective day from Matt Johnson. He spread the ball around to seven different receivers to complete his 11 passes. The defense never allowed UMass to make it a game, keeping every pass play short.
- Once again, UMass couldn’t move the offense. A.J. Doyle tried to give it a shot, but he only completed 4-of-17 passes for 20 yards in a disastrous performance. Mike Wegzyn came in and completed 7-of-8 passes for 76 yards and a score with a pick, but it was too late. None of the passes seemed to go anywhere – there’s just no pop to the attack, but that’s been a constant issue.

at Bowling Green 48, Murray State 7
Basically … Matt Johnson ran for a score and threw two touchdown passes as part of a 27-point first half on the way to an easy win. The Falcons got up 34-0 before Murray State finally got on the board with a two-yard Jaamal Berry run. Bowling Green closed out with 14 unanswered points.
- This was a perfect tune-up game. Matt Johnson was almost perfect, completing 19-of-22 passes for 244 yards and two scores, but he gave away a pick. Travis Green ran at will with 17 carries for 133 yards and a score.
- Outside of the pick, overall, it was an almost flawless offensive performance. The Falcons connected on 8-of-10 third down chances and rolled up 660 yards. Murray State didn’t stop anything the Bowling Green attack wanted to do, but the Falcon defense wasn’t a brick wall, allowing 312 yards. Most of the yards were meaningless, though.

at Indiana 42, Bowling Green 10, Sept. 14
Basically … Indiana’s offense roared for 601 yards with Nate Sudfeld throwing two touchdown passes with a touchdown run, and Tevin Coleman running for two scores. The Indiana defense allowed one Tyler Tate field goal, with the Bowling Green touchdown coming on blocked punt in the first quarter. Down 10-7, the Hoosiers scored 35 unanswered points.
- The Indiana defense? The offense has been terrific in the early part of the season, but the D came up big against Bowling Green with Greg Heban coming up with 12 tackles and the team allowing just 136 yards on the ground. The Falcon offense didn’t get into the end zone.
- Matt Schilz didn’t move things for the Falcons. Matt Johnson threw 44 times, and he moved the chains, but the drives didn’t go anywhere. The running game was stuffed from the start.
- The IU passing game has been great, and the ground attack was fantastic against, probably, the MAC’s best run defense. Stephen Houston came up with 155 yards on 13 carries, and Tevin Coleman ran 19 times for 129 yards.
- The Falcon defensive front was active, getting behind the line for four sacks and 13 tackles for loss. But it wasn’t disruptive enough.

Bowling Green 41, at Kent State 22, Sept. 7
Basically … Bowling Green broke open a tight game with 24 unanswered points highlighted by a 92-yard touchdown pass from Matt Johnson to Ryan Burbrink. Travis Greene paced the Falcon attack with 145 yards on 24 carries with a score. Before the scoring barrage, Kent State held a 22-17 first half lead helped by two touchdown passes from Colin Reardon including a 42-yarder to Chris Humphrey, but the Falcon defense bogged down in the second half.
- Matt Johnson was absolutely brilliant. Taking over the Bowling Green starting job from Matt Schilz, Johnson completed 19-of-25 passes for 357 yards and two touchdowns.
- The Kent State running game couldn’t find any room against the Falcon defensive front. QB Colin Reardon led the way with 58 yards, but the running backs went nowhere.
- Safety Gabe Martin was all over the field for Bowling Green making nine tackles with a sack and two tackles for loss. When a drive was halted, he seemed to be the reason.
- Bowling Green owned time of possession in the second half keeping the ball for almost 20 minutes. Kent State had the ball for just 23:28 on the game.

at Bowling Green 34, Tulsa 7, Aug. 29
Basically … It took a little while to get rolling, up just 6-0 at halftime, but Bowling Green roared in the second half on the way to a 34-0 lead with William Houston running for three short scores and Ryan Burbrink taking a punt 67 yards for a touchdown. Tulsa managed to finally get on the board with a 27-yard Derek Patterson touchdown catch late in the fourth.
- Lost in the blowout win was a problem at quarterback for Bowling Green. Matt Schilz stunk out of the gate, giving way to Matt Johnson, who only completed 11-of-23 passes for 151 yards with a pick.
- The Falcon defense was stifling allowing just 51 yards of Tulsa rushing. The defensive backs did a great job against the run, while there was constant pressure behind the line.
- Tulsa’s defense didn’t get any help from the offense. Michael Mudoh came up with 17 tackles, but the D was on the field way too often. Bowling Green had the ball for 38:47.
- How was life without Anthon Samuel? Bowling Green ran for 233 yards and spread the work around, while Tulsa couldn’t overcome its woeful ground game through the air. Cody Green completed just 17-of-34 passes for 172 yards.

Spring Analysis

Why To Be Excited ... Everything is in place to go on a run for the MAC title and a good bowl game – the expectations are rightfully high. After a nice eight-win season and a bowl appearance, the Falcons should be among the league’s favorites with ten starters returning on offense – only losing right tackle Jordon Roussos – and with nine coming back on the league’s best defense. If quarterback Matt Schilz can come up with a decent season, and if running back Anthon Samuel can build on his great 2012 to make the offense improve, this upside for 2013 is through the roof.

Why To Be Grouchy ... The defense that led the MAC in total defense, rush defense and pass defense might be loaded with experienced veterans, but the two losses are massive. Dwayne Woods was a guided missile of a linebacker who dominated over the last three years, while defensive tackle Chris Jones was one of the nation’s best interior playmakers who was the tone-setter for the D. There might be several good players returning to pick up the slack, but those two were special. The kicking game has to be better after Brian Schmiedebusch had an off year punting and the placekicking was mediocre.

What Needs Working On ... The passing game has to be more efficient and effective. Matt Schilz regressed after a terrific sophomore season throwing for almost 500 fewer yards and 14 touchdown passes after bombing for 28 in 2011. With three years of starting time under his belt, he knows what he’s doing and is one of the team’s leaders. With the Falcon defense so strong, Schilz doesn’t have to take any unnecessary chances and doesn’t have to bomb away, but he needs to be able to hit on his downfield passes on a regular basis and has to cut down on his interceptions with 39 for his career and 12 last season including six in the final two MAC games.

Non-Conference Games: Tulsa, at Indiana, Murray State, at Mississippi State
Games Against The West: Toledo, at Eastern Michigan
Realistic Best Case Record: 9-3
Worst Case Record: 5-7
Likely Finish: 8-4

Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: at Kent State, Murray State, Akron, UMass, Toledo, at Miami Univ., at Eastern Michigan, at Buffalo

Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: Tulsa, at Indiana, at Mississippi State, Ohio

Schedule Analysis: This should be a good Falcon team, but it’ll be tested right away with a potential battle against Tulsa and followed up by a road trip against Kent State in the conference opener and a fight at Indiana. Home games against Murray State, Akron and UMass should provide a nice base of wins before having to deal with a trip to Mississippi State. November finishes up with three road games in the final four and the home game against Ohio could decide the East.

Team Concerns For 2013: The passing game has to become efficient again. Matt Schilz is a veteran who knows what he's doing, but he needs more downfield weapons to play around with. The defense should be fantastic, but it'll still hurt to lose tackling machine Dwayne Woods, and the punting game will be better than it was in 2012 - Brian Schmiedebusch is better than 40.9 yards per kick. As long as the offense starts to find a groove again like it had a few seasons ago. the Falcons will be among the MAC favorites.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Running back. Safety Isaiah Gourdine might be the star of the class, and linebackers Nathan Locks and Paul Senn will make a huge impact, but the skill spots should be the strength in time once receivers Teo Redding and Mike Rogers - two big targets - mature. Helping the passing game will be tight ends Hunter Fokertsma and Logan Larson. Fred Coppet is a nice running back out of Fort Lauderdale who fits the offensive mold, while Marcus Levy and Patric Hannon are good recruits who'll find playing time.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 78. That Class Was Heavy On ... Offensive tackle. Apparently, it’s time to start blocking someone with most of the emphasis on offensive tackle with a strong MAC class being put together. Defensively, the linebacking corps is loading up for the second time in three years, especially for the inside, with some terrific athletes coming in. After a few years in the weight room, there’s a lot to be excited about. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 82. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. Getting a smallish, talented playmaking quarterback in Matt Johnson should give the team an interesting player to work around over the next few years, but the most immediate help comes to the offensive line, mostly helped by JUCO transfers Scott Hodges and Dominique Wharton. The most overall talent, though, is on the defensive front led by ends Bryan Baird and Zach Colvin.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 92. That Class Was Heavy On ... Linebackers. Head coach Dave Clawson had an eye towards the future last year by trying hardest to bring in good quarterbacks. Even so, he brought aboard two more this year led by Caleb Watkins, a strong all-around playmaker who could get an honest shot at the job right away. Don't be stunned if RB Jamel Martin and WR Marcus Beaurem aren't a part of the mix right away. While the offense will keep rolling, the Falcons beefed up the defense with a slew of small, athletic, safety-sized linebackers.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 82. That Class Was Heavy On ... Quarterbacks. New head coach Dave Clawson needs quarterbacks to work with for the near future, and he brought in three of them with Matthew Schilz the best of the lot, Austin Collier a more mobile option, and Alex Thomas a dark-horse bomber who could be in the mix a few years from now.
 

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