The Bowling Green Falcons host the Ohio Bobcats on Tuesday night (Nov. 12th) in a key Mid-American Conference Eastern Division battle. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET at Doyt L. Perry Stadium in Bowling Green, Ohio.
This will be the 65th game in a rivalry that dates back to 1945, and the two teams have played in every season since 1951 with only one exception (2003). Bowling Green leads the all-time series 37-25-2 and is 16-14-1 when the games are played in Bowling Green. The Falcons won the most recent meeting, last November in Athens, Ohio, by the count of 26-14. However, Ohio had previously won their first three games against BGSU head coach Dave Clawson and has also won three consecutive games in Bowling Green. The Bobcats won a thriller, 29-28, in their last trip to the Doyt. BGSU has not defeated Ohio at home since 2005.
Dating back to the 1970s, this series has been one of streaks. Ohio won seven of the nine games from 1973 to 1981, then Bowling Green went 13-0-1 from 1982 to 1995. The Bobcats won four of five from 1996 to 2000 before the Falcons won another five in a row. Including last year, Ohio has won four of the last six meetings.
By The Numbers
Ohio makes the cross-state trip in what could be described as desperation mode. The Bobcats enter tonight's game with a 6-3 overall record and a 3-2 mark in the MAC. The Bobcats trail Buffalo in the MAC East by two games and Bowling Green by one.
BGSU is in slightly better position but is in no less of a must-win situation. Like Ohio, the Falcons are 6-3 coming into tonight, but they carry a 4-1 record in the MAC. They are sandwiched between Buffalo and Ohio, one game behind the Bulls and one game ahead of the Bobcats.
This game carries huge implications both in the race for a berth in the MAC Championship Game and for a poissible bowl invitation.
Ohio must win tonight or it will be eliminated from the race for the division championship, no matter what Buffalo does in their game. The loss would leave Ohio two games behind both other foes in the division race with two to play. Since BGSU and Buffalo have yet to lay each other, Ohio would not be able to make up the deficit.
For Bowling Green, a loss would not eliminate the Falcons, but they would lose control over their n destiny. If they lose, then Buffalo would also have to lose either tonight or next week in order to give BGSU a chance to steal the division on Black Friday. If BGSU wins tonight, they would only need to win their final two games in order to win the division crown.
Both teams would get double the hurt with a loss, because (unlike last season) the MAC is unlikely to be able to place all of its bowl eligible teams in bowl games. Both Ohio and Bowling Green are already behind Buffalo, Northern Illinois, Toledo and Ball State. Whomever loses tonight's game will be behind the winner for consideration to fill "at-large" spots in bowl games not filled by other conferences.
Tonight's game pits two of the MAC's better passing offenses against two of the league's better defenses. BGSU and Ohio are ranked first and second, respectively, in scoring defense and are first and third in the MAC for total yards allowed. The Falcons lead the MAC in passing defense, while Ohio ranks fourth. Both teams also have wonderful red-zone defenses and rank in the top ten nationally in that category.
On the other side of the ball, Ohio's passing game is second in the MAC for yards per game, while Bowling Green is ranked third. The teams are both in the top four in the MAC in total yards of offense per game and are ranked in the top half for scoring offense. Individually, Tyler Tettleton and Matt Johnson are ranked second and third, respectively, in the MAC for passing yards per game, while Travis Greene and Beau Blankenship are each in the top ten for rushing yards per game.
Four Names To Know:
Beau Blankenship: Blankenship is not carrying the ball as much as he did in the past, but when he does get the ball, he's generally been just as effective. He currently has 618 yards on 138 carries for an average of 4.5 yards per rush. He also has four touchdowns. His game high this year is 172 yards versus Miami. Otherwise, he's averaged 15 to 20 carries and 60 to 70 yards per game for the last month. His performance will be key to help open the Ohio passing attack and to control the game clock.
Tarell Basham: Basham has made an immediate impact as a freshman on the Bobcat defense. He leads the team with both six sacks and seven tackles for loss, and both of those numbers have occurred as Basham has accumulated just 20 total tackles. At one of the defensive end spots, he will be going up against Bowling Green's young tackles, and that could be one of the key battles of the game. If Basham can win that matchup, or if the Falcons have to commit an extra blocker to Basham, it could be a long night for the Bowling Green offense.
Matt Johnson: Johnson has been as efficient a passer in 2013 as you could expect any first-year starter to be. He's not called on to throw the ball as much as others, in BGSU's ball-control offense, but his 25 to 30 passes per game are usually very effective. Johnson has thrown multiple touchdown passes in five of his eight starts and has completed 65 percent (or more) of his passes in that same number of games. He averages 8.5 yards per attempt, and that's an excellent number. Johnson is at his best when BGSU's running game is working and he can use play-action fakes, but he can also make plays with his feet while under pressure.
D.J. Lynch: Lynch's importance in the BGSU defense took off skyward when Gabe Martin was lost for the season in Bowling Green's loss to Toledo. The linebacker leads the Falcons with 58 tackles, and that number includes two sacks and six tackles for loss. He also has a fumble recovery. Lynch is very active on the second level and can be effective both against the pass and the run.
How To Watch:
Tonight's game was selected by ESPN as an online-exclusive. For this reason, tonight's game will not be televised.
Tonight's game will be broadcast by ESPN3, with Michael Reghi (play-by-play) and Rocky Boiman (analyst) calling the game. You can access the web stream by visiting either ESPN3.com, MAC-Sports.com or BGSUFalcons.com.
You can also follow along with live stats HERE.
How To Listen:
If you prefer (or have to) listen by radio, here's how:
Ohio: The Ohio IMG Radio Sports Network will carry the game with Russ Eisenstein, Rob Cornelius and Grant Burkhardt bringing you the action. The game can be heard in Athens on WXTQ-FM (105.5) or WATH-AM (970), as well as 16 other stations across the network. The broadcast can also be accessed online HERE.
Bowling Green: The Falcon Radio Network will have the game, with Todd Walker (play-by-play) and John Gibson (analyst) on the call. You can access the live stream online HERE or tune to WFRO (99.1 FM, Fremont). There are also affiliates in Lima (93.1 FM, 940 AM), Toledo (100.7 FM), Defiance (1280 AM), Mansfield (102.3 FM), Ashland (107.7 FM) and Cleveland (1220 AM).
Our game preview for tonight's game can be found HERE. You're also encouraged to follow along with our Week 12 StoryStream for updates and news about this game and the others around the MAC this week.