Most Bowling Green fans likely expected to be 1-1 to open the Mike Jenks era, given an Ohio State opener and a FCS encore. But like most things in life, the devil is in the details, and after last week’s demolition against the Buckeyes, a one point victory over FCS North Dakota this week can’t have left Falcons fans in a good spot regarding the rest of 2016.
There were bright spots to be sure for the Falcons, including jumping out to a 14-3 lead with 5 minutes to go in the first half. James Knapke finished with 315 yards and 3 TDs through the air, all to Scott Miller who finished with 161 yards with two additional grabs besides his 3 TDs. It was a welcome offensive attack given the stymied BG rushing attack, which went for only 90 yard on a 2.7 yards per carry average.
That was in stark contrast to the North Dakota rushing attack, good for 164 yards. North Dakota also kept a clean sheet, committing no turnovers, compared to three for the Falcons which led to 13 points. As we’ve seen throughout this young season, turnovers have kept teams in games they had no business being in. In this example, it let the Fighting Hawks hang around and have a two-point conversion for the win with 13 seconds remaining.
Kudos to North Dakota head coach Kyle Schweigert for going for the win. After a 65-yard drive in the final two minutes, momentum was on their side. On the road, against an FBS squad, and going for the win was the only way to go, regardless of the outcome.
For BG, there is reason to worry. Despite the MAC East being a relative dumpster fire compared to the West, this was supposed to be another journey to Detroit for BG fans to enjoy. After a .500 start, no matter how expected the end result may be, the details give no reason to be confident going forward.
Bowling Green is back in action next weekend at noon against Middle Tennessee State. Barring a major comeback for the Blue Raiders against Vandy tonight, they’ll be coming in at 1-1 as well.