2009 Humanitarian Bowl - Idaho vs. Bo. Green
BGSU WR Freddie Barnes & Idaho S Shiloh Keo
BGSU WR Freddie Barnes & Idaho S Shiloh Keo
Posted Dec 23, 2009

The 2009 Humanitarian Bowl Preview - Idaho vs. Bowling Green

2009 Humanitarian Bowl

Idaho (7-5) vs. Bowling Green (7-5)

Boise, Idaho, Dec. 30, 4:30, ESPN

Scroll Down For Bowl Histories & Best Moments

- Free Expert Football Predictions For This Game
- Get Tickets For The Humanitarian Bowl

Team Pages and 2009 Season
IdahoBowling Green 

- 2008 CFN Humanitarian Bowl Preview
- 2007 CFN Humanitarian Bowl Preview
- 2006 CFN MPC Computers Bowl Preview
National Rankings
I   BG
10th Total Offense 52nd
105th Total Defense 83rd
25th Scoring Offense 62nd
112th Scoring Defense 65th
49th Rushing Offense 114th
77th Run Defense 103rd
11th Passing Offense 8th
114th Passing Defense 34th
105th Turnover Margin 31st
Position Ratings
relative to each other
I 5 highest
1 lowest
3 Quarterbacks 4
3 RBs 2
3 Receivers 5
3 O Line 2
2.5 D Line 2.5
2 Linebackers 2.5
1.5 Secondary 4
2.5 Spec Teams 3
3 Coaching 4
Humanitarian Bowl History
called the MPC Computers Bowl for a time
2008 Maryland 42, Georgia Tech 35
2007 Fresno St 40, Georgia Tech 28
2006 Miami 21, Nevada 20
2005 Boston Coll 27, Boise St 21
2004 Fresno St 37, Virginia 34 OT
2004 (Jan.) Georgia Tech 52, Tulsa 10
2002 Boise St 34, Iowa St 17
2001 Clemson 49, La Tech 24
2000 Boise St 38, UTEP 23
1999 Boise St 34, Louisville 31
1998 Idaho 42, So Miss 35
1997 Cincinnati 35, Utah St 19
Whenever you hear the cliché from the announcers like, "don't tell these players that bowls don't matter," that applies to this game as much as any this bowl season.

Idaho was awful. Dennis Erickson came in for a cup of coffee and left for Arizona State, and Nick Holt decided that being an assistant at USC was better than being the head man in Moscow. Robb Akey came in and showed the enthusiasm and fire needed, and his teams played hard and always gave effort. But there was nothing to show for it.

The Vandals haven't come up with a winning season since 1999, back when they were in the old Big West conference, and had won 23 games in the ensuing nine seasons with just one victory against a FBS team in 2007 and 2008. And then, out of the blue, the team got pretty good. Not great, but pretty good, showing the toughness to beat a good Northern Illinois team on the road, holding on to beat Colorado State, and winning six of the first seven games to have bowl eligibility wrapped up by October 17th. But the meat of the WAC schedule kicked in and Nevada, Fresno State, Boise State, and even Utah State, combined to hang up 216 points combined (averaging 54 points in each game) to end Akey's big year with a limp. Whatever.

Idaho is in its second bowl game in school history, the first being a 42-35 win over Southern Miss in the 1998 Humanitarian Bowl, and it has a chance to come up with a winning season, a home victory (or close to it) in a bowl, and a major turnaround under Akey for a program that deserves a little bit of good fortune.

It's a different story for Bowling Green, who wasn't bad under Gregg Brandon but fell a bit stale. Dave Clawson was brought in to make the program a MAC power, and not just have a little bit of success. His Falcons stumbled a bit too much to be in the conference title chase, but the offense was fun, the team found a way to get hot late, and now players like QB Tyler Sheehan and several other veterans get a chance to make amends for one of the ugliest bowl performances in the last several years losing to Tulsa 63-7 in the 2007 GMAC Bowl.

It's not like Bowling Green is Ohio State when it comes to being a regular in the bowl picture, but it hasn't been bad at getting an extra game with four post-season appearances in the decade and four wins in the last five going back to 1991. There will be a bit of a transition next year, with Sheehan and WR Freddie Barnes just two of the key veterans who'll be done, and a win for these two would be a good finish to nice careers.

The Falcons put themselves behind the eight-ball with four losses in the first five games, but those defeats came to Missouri, Marshall, and Ohio all be a touchdown, to go along with a blowout against Boise State. The other loss was to eventual MAC champion Central Michigan, meaning all five losses came against bowl teams while the only win over a bowl-bound team was against Troy.

The two teams play fun games. Bowing Green has a high-powered offense and little defense, while Idaho plays no defense whatsoever and has a high-end passing attack. The Vandals are 11th in the nation in passing and the Falcons are eighth. Get ready for two teams that will play their hearts out, get ready for tons of passing and lots of fun, and get ready for a minor bowl game worth watching between two teams that you haven't seen.

Players to Watch: Be very, very disappointed if the Bowling Green passing combination of Tyler Sheehan to Freddie Barnes doesn't combine for at least five pitches-and-catches. Barnes caught a whopping 138 passes for 1,551 yards and 16 touchdowns, but he lost out to Notre Dame's Golden Tate for the Biletnikoff and will now be extremely well motivated. He caught 22 passes for 278 yards and three scores against Kent State to spark a run of 14 touchdown grabs in the final seven games of the year. The speedy and shifty 6-0, 210-pounder started off his career as a running quarterback, and with one game to play has 281 catches for 3,080 yards and 27 scores, three passing touchdowns, and 11 rushing scores.

While Barnes was an effective quarterback for what the Falcons were trying to do a few years ago, Sheehan turned into the franchise for the last four years piling up 10,053 yards of total offense with 66 touchdown passes, 14 rushing scores, and he even caught three touchdown passes. He has the skills and he has the experience, but the big knock is his inability to come up with big performances in the big games. He has upped his came several notches this year with eight 300-yard games and a 505-yard effort against Kent State, and he has limited the turnovers and mistakes throwing a mere two picks over the final six games.

As good as Barnes and Sheehan are, the one guy all the pro scouts will have their eyes on will be Idaho guard Mike Iupati a 6-6, 330-pound road-grader who might be the first interior offensive lineman taken in the 2010 NFL Draft. If you don't know who he is, don't worry, most of the voters for the Outland Trophy have never seen him play, either, instead going off a few draft lists and setting the dial to pretentious to make him a finalist. He's a blaster of a run blocker who'll pound away on the Falcon line whenever Idaho needs a hard yard, but mostly he's a pass blocker for an offense that relies on bombing away.

Nathan Enderle has had a shaky career throwing 35 interceptions and 30 touchdown passes in his first two years, but it all came together this season with a strong 18-score, nine-pick season with three of those interceptions coming in the win over San Jose State. He's not afraid to take the big shots down the field, but he's at his best when he gets time to hit his targets in stride and let them come up with yards after the catch. He'll have to match Sheehan and the Bowling Green passing game yard for yard, but he'll also have to stay healthy with a banged up shoulder giving him problems late this year.

Bowling Green will win if ... Sheenan and Barnes go ballistic. The Falcons don't have a running game and might not even try. Idaho doesn't have any semblance of a pass rush and isn't going to get to Sheehan on a regular basis, so the timing of the quick short-to-midrange passing game shouldn't have any problems operating. This is going to be a shootout and the Falcon defense isn't likely to keep the balance of the Vandal attack under wraps, so the team has to play to its strength. Keep the chains moving, get into an early rhythm, and enjoy the firefight. The Falcons have the better secondary and should come up with more stops than the Vandals are, so Sheehan has to take advantage of every opportunity.

Idaho will win if ... the defense can stiffen up in the red zone. While Sheehan will get his passing yards, he always does, he and the offense will bog down occasionally when it's money time. In the five losses this year, Sheehan threw six touchdown passes and throwing more than one in just one of the defeats (Ohio). In the seven wins, Sheehan threw 17 touchdown passes and only threw for fewer than two scores in one game (Buffalo). Idaho is 112th in the nation in sacks and 117th in tackles for loss; it has to manufacture some semblance of a pass rush by selling out and taking some chances. Good quarterbacks have picked apart the Vandal secondary, and Sheehan will do the same unless Akey and his staff can come up with something quirky.

What will happen: The team with the ball last might get the win. If there are fewer than 800 passing yards, be disappointed. Idaho will have a bit more offensive balance while the defense will stop everyone other than Barnes. The Falcon receiving star will catch 15 passes, but no one else will do enough to overcome the inspired play of Idaho in front of a home crowd. The Vandals might not have been pretty over the second half of the season, but they'll cap off a tremendous turnaround season with a thrilling bowl win.

CFN Prediction: Idaho 45 … Bowling Green 41 ... Line: Bowling Green -1

- Free Expert Football Predictions For This Game
- Get Tickets For The Humanitarian Bowl

Best Falcon Bowl Moment: In the inaugural 1992 Las Vegas Bowl, the Falcons withstood a furious second-half rally from Nevada, pulling the game out 35-34 on a fourth down touchdown pass from Erik White to Dave Hankins with 22 seconds left. It was the second win of what became a four-game postseason winning streak for the program.

Best Vandal Bowl Moment: Idaho has never lost a bowl game at the FBS level. Of course, the Vandals have made just one appearance, a 42-35 victory over Southern Miss in the 1998 Humanitarian Bowl. The Big West champs overcame a productive day from RB Derrick Nix, getting 291 yards and four touchdown passes from QB John Welsh.

Bowling Green Bowl History (4-3)
2007 GMAC Tulsa 63, BGSU 7
2004 GMAC BGSU 52, Memphis 35
2003 Motor City BGSU 28, NWestern 24
1992 Las Vegas BGSU 35, Nevada 34
1991 Cal. Raisin BGSU 28, Fresno St 21
1985 California Fresno State 51, BGSU 7
1982 California Fresno St 29, BGSU 28
1961 Mercy Fresno State 36, BGSU 6
Idaho Bowl History (1-0)
1998 Humanitairan Idaho 42, So Miss 35