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Former BGSU quarterback Matt Johnson announces retirement, will join Syracuse coaching staff

Johnson will serve under Dino Babers, who was his coach at BGSU.

NCAA Football: MAC Championship-Bowling Green vs Northern Illinois Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Former Bowling Green State University quarterback Matt Johnson has announced the end of his playing career and will accept the position of Offensive Quality Control Coach at Syracuse University for the 2017 season.

Johnson, who is originally from Harrisburg, Pa., is arguably the most successful quarterback in Falcons’ history.

He joined the BGSU program in 2011 and redshirted in his first year on campus. As a redshirt freshman, he served as backup to Matt Schilz and played in eight games.

He took over as starter midway through the first half of the 2013 season opener against Tulsa and led BGSU to a 34-7 victory. He started the next 13 games and ultimately led the Falcons to a 47-27 upset over undefeated Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship for the team’s first league title in 21 years.

Johnson lost his junior season when he suffered a severe hip injury in the 2014 opener at Western Kentucky. However, he successfully rehabilitated and reclaimed the starting quarterback role for his senior season in 2015.

In his final campaign, Johnson threw for 4,946 yards and 46 touchdowns in 14 games. He also led BGSU to another MAC Championship win over NIU, which gave him two MAC titles in his two seasons as full-time starter. That’s a 100% success rate for those of us who have trouble with math.

The pursuit of a professional career began for Johnson in 2016 when he signed a free agent contract with the Cincinnati Bengals following the 2016 NFL Draft. In the fall, he served as a coach for his high school alma mater, Bishop McDevitt. Johnson signed a contract with the Hamilton Tiger Cats of the Canadian Football League this spring and played in Hamilton preseason games before ultimately being cut.

Johnson now joins the staff of Syracuse Orange head coach Dino Babers, who was Johnson’s head coach in 2014 and 2015 at BGSU. He will also work with former BGSU assistants Kim McCloud (assistant head coach/wide receivers) and Sean Lewis (co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks). Johnson’s deep familiarity and on-field success as the director of Babers’ offensive scheme should be a huge benefit to Syracuse.

For the 2017 season, Syracuse returns quarterbacks Eric Dungey and Zack Mahoney, who combined for 490 of the 522 passing attempts in 2016 by the Orange. In nine games, Dungey threw for 2,679 yards and 15 touchdowns. Syracuse had a 4-4 start in 2016 before tailing off for a 4-8 finish.

Syracuse will host Central Michigan from the MAC on Sept. 16 in their third game. Their non-conference slate also includes games against Middle Tennessee and at LSU.

On Nov. 11, Johnson will get to test his coaching acumen against the man who recruited him and coached him to the 2013 MAC title, when the Orange host Dave Clawson-led Wake Forest.