There wasn’t a lot for fans of the Bowling Green Falcons to get excited about last season. The Falcons suffered through a 2-11 season that included an 0-5 home record. Ugly stuff from a program that had won the Mid-American Conference Championship in two of the last five years.
One bright spot however, was true freshman running back, Andrew Clair. Coming in from St. Louis, Missouri, Clair was one of the top newcomers in a very good recruiting class that head coach Mike Jinks compiled last year.
Clair quickly made his presence felt in a Bowling Green backfield that included seniors Josh Cleveland and Donovon Wilson. Clair broke Bowling Green’s single-season yards per carry school record by averaging 6.8 yards per rush. His 107 carries for 745 yards were second on the team and he added four rushing touchdowns.
A third-team All-MAC selection, Clair had four consecutive 100-yard games at one point in the 2017 season, against Miami (121), Ohio (148), Northern Illinois (108), and Kent State (111). The Falcons won their only two games of the year during that stretch when they seemed to focus offensively on the ground game. When Clair had 10+ carries in a game (6 times) he averaged 103 yards per game. He averaged only 4.6 carries a game in the other six Falcon games, all loses.
Clair also showed some versatility in both the passing game and special teams. He caught 13 passes for 129 yards and was one of the Falcons’ primary kick returners, averaging 20.6 yards on 16 returns.
Expectations have gone up for Clair based on his highly successful freshman season. He was named to Athlon Sport’s Preseason All MAC Second Team. He has also been named to the Doak Walker Award Watch List, presented annually to the nation’s top college running back. As well as the Paul Hornung Award Watch List, given annually to the most versatile player in major college football.
Look for the Falcons to lean more heavily on Clair in 2018 as he and classmate, sophomore quarterback Jarret Dodge look to propel the Falcons back into the mix in the MAC East Division.