Bowling Green shut out Mississippi State over the final 30 minutes and gave the Bulldogs plenty of reasons to sweat, but in the end, the MSU held off the Falcon charge for a 21-20 win on Saturday night.
Down 21-10 at the beginning of the second half, Bowling Green took the half's opening kickoff and drove 48 yards in six minutes. On 4th-and-1 from the MSU 27, Falcon head coach Dave Clawson chose to attempt a 45-yard field goal rather than try for the first down. Tate missed the kick, but BGSU held the Bulldogs to a 3-and-out immediately after. Once they got the ball back, the Falcons drove the ball 76 yards in seven plays over the next 3:15 of the game for a touchdown. Johnson ran into the end zone on a two-yard keeper to make the score 21-19. Clawson chose to not chase more points by going for the tie; instead, Tate kicked the extra point to cut the MSU lead to 21-20.
Bowling Green got the ball back early in the fourth quarter after MSU's Devon Bell missed a 44-yard field goal attempt. The Falcons drove to the 40, but Matt Johnson threw incomplete to Travis Greene on 4th-and-2 to stop the drive. It appeared that there might have been pass interference on the play, but it was not called. MSU again drove downfield and reached the BGSU 8-yard line, where they faced a 4th-and-2. Instead of trying a field goal that would have given them a four-point lead (and forced BGSU to score a touchdown to win), Bulldogs' head coach Dan Mullen went for the first down. Quarterback Dak Prescott ran up the middle but managed only two yards, and Bowling Green took over.
On what would be their final drive of the game, BGSU took the ball 40 yards from their own 6 to the 46, but three plays netted -1 yards. On 4th-and-11, Johnson scrambled right and threw to Ryan Burbrink, who could not catch the ball. On this play, replay clearly showed that an MSU defender contacted Burbrink helmet-to-helmet, but nothing was called. The Bulldogs were then able to run the clock down to :03 before turning the ball back over to the Falcons. BGSU was not able to score on the final play.
BGSU was outgained 422-383 and gave up 245 yards on the ground; however, they committed only four penalties and had no turnovers. Greene had a very good game with 15 carries for 99 yards, while Johnson was 20-for-34 with 224 yards. Johnson also had a touchdown and 28 yards on five rushes. Eight different players had catches for BGSU; Jared Cohen led that group with five, while Burbrink led Falcon receivers with 66 yards.
The Falcons fall to 5-2 but are still 3-0 in the MAC. They have no game next weekend, which gives the team two weeks to prepare for their Oct. 26th game at home against arch-rival Toledo.