Get to know an opponent: Bowling Green
The Bulls host the Falcons on Black Friday
Coming off a 49-30 win over Toledo (6-5, 3-4 MAC), the Bulls return home to take on Bowling Green State University Friday.
The Falcons are 3-8 following a 66-24 loss to Ohio Tuesday.
Bowling Green went 1-3 in non-conference play, with losses to Kansas State, Louisiana Tech and now No. 16 Notre Dame, and a win over Morgan State. The 2019 Mid-American Conference Media Preseason Poll projected the Falcons to finish last in the MAC East.
Running back Jaret Patterson amassed 192 yards and tied a MAC single-game record with 5 total touchdowns during Friday’s contest. Linebacker Matt Otwinowski snagged an interception and had a team-leading 10 total tackles.
Buffalo is 6-5 entering the Bowling Green game. The Bulls defeated Robert Morris, Temple, Akron, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Toledo. They lost to Penn State, Liberty, Miami (OH), Ohio and Kent State so far this season.
The Bulls’ bowl hopes hang in the balance ahead of the BGSU matchup.
Here’s what to expect when the Bulls take on the Falcons Friday:
COACH: Scot Loeffler, 3-8, first season at Bowling Green
The 2018 Falcons went 3-9 and finished in fifth place in the MAC East standings.
Coach Mike Jinks was fired on Oct. 14 after a 1-6 record. He finished his BGSU tenure with a 7-24 record.
Quarterback Jarret Doege completed 62.2% of his passes for 2,660 yards, 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He transferred to West Virginia University, where he is currently the starting quarterback for the Mountaineers.
Wide receiver Scott Miller was named second-team All-MAC after garnering 1,148 yards and 9 touchdowns on 71 receptions. He was a sixth-round pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Running back Andrew Clair was named third-team All-MAC after gaining 702 rushing yards and 7 total touchdowns on the season.
The Falcons averaged 354.0 yards per game, ranking at No. 105 in Division I-A.
Bowling Green had four All-MAC selections, including offensive lineman Jack Kramer and defensive back Marcus Milton.
Milton had 3 interceptions and 46 total tackles. Defensive end Brandon Harris ranked at No. 12 in Division I-A with 131 total tackles, and added a sack and a forced fumble.
The Falcons ranked at No. 115 in penalties per game and No. 106 in turnover margin in 2018 — both worrying figures.
On Nov. 23, 2018, the Bulls defeated the Falcons 44-14 at Doyt Perry Stadium. Buffalo running backs Jaret Patterson and Kevin Marks combined for 4 rushing touchdowns, while wide receiver George Rushing added one of his own. Cornerback Tatum Slack contributed an interception.
Bowling Green has three wins, including one over highly-favored Toledo.
Quarterback Darius Wade emerged as the starter during training camp, but his tenure was short-lived. He completed 59% of his passes for 675 yards, 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions before he was replaced by Grant Loy.
Through 10 games, Loy has completed 57.1% of his passes for 1,132 yards, 6 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The Falcons continue to look for a long-term solution at quarterback, and are unsure if Loy is the answer.
Bowling Green had five players named to the Athlon Sports MAC Football 2019 All-Conference Team, including offensive lineman Lorenzo Taborn, defensive lineman David Konowalski and safety Jerry McBride.
The offense has been even less effective this season, averaging just 302.4 yards per game. Bowling Green hasn’t had a single player break 700 yards rushing or receiving. Wide receiver Quintin Morris has been the highest-used target, hauling in 54 passes for 614 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Linebacker Brandon Perce ranks at No. 12 in Division 1-A with 100 total tackles.
The Falcons have allowed 37.6 points per game, ranking at No. 124 in Division 1-A.
The Bulls became bowl-eligible with a win over Toledo last Wednesday. But with 64 teams already qualified for bowl games and another 30 or so nearing the six-win mark, the Bulls will likely need to beat Bowling Green to get into postseason play. With Patterson and Marks coming out of the backfield, the Bulls should give the Falcons fits all night. Expect the Bulls to come out on top.
Justin Weiss is an asst. sports editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.