Yes, the flight back to Ohio was probably a long one for the Bowling Green Falcons after their 58-24 loss to the Oregon Ducks on Saturday night. But, there were some positives other than the seven-figure check they can cash for taking the game against the PAC 12 Conference opponent.
1. Andrew Clair is legit.
The sophomore running back for the Falcons gained 113 yards on 25 carries, with a long of 28 yards. He also caught two passes for 15 yards and a touchdown. He broke tackles and ran hard against a good Power 5 defense. He’ll give the Falcons a real weapon in the running game this season and beyond.
2. The stage wasn’t too big for Jarret Doege.
Yes, he threw a couple of interceptions, including a pick-six. But, he was cool and clam and did a nice job running the offense for the Falcons. The sophomore completed 58% of his passes in the game and threw three touchdown passes. If Doege can make it through a tough non-conference healthy, he should find Mid-American defenses more to his liking.
3. Can Scott Miller make it through the season?
The senior is really the only Falcon receiver that has proved he can catch the ball consistently. Suspensions, defections, injuries and graduation has left the Falcons receiving core in shambles. Too many unproven freshmen and redshirt freshmen make-up the Falcons’ two-deep at receiver. Miller had 13 catches for 166 yards and two touchdowns against Oregon. He was targeted an incredible 20 times in the game out of the 38 passes Doege threw. At 5’11” and 166 pounds, one has to wonder how long Miller can keep this pace up? The Falcons need to find some help for Miller soon.
4. Falcon Defense a work in process.
New defensive coordinator Carl Pelini has said it will take an entire season before his players totally “get” his scheme. The Falcons defense gave up way too many big plays against Oregon and put the offense in catch-up mode. Injuries and defections have also further thinned an already thin pool of talent Pelini has to work with on this defense. If the Falcon defense can limit the big plays and stay competitive, Doege, Miller, Clair and the rest of the Falcon offense might be able to win some games in MAC play.
5. Mike Jinks still fighting for his job.
Traveling all the way to the west coast to play a top 25 team in their building isn’t a great way to start a season. Factor in that you’re breaking in a new defensive scheme with some players that don’t have a lot experience and losing 58-24 might be as good as one could have expected. But, Jinks needs to start winning games if he stands any chance of seeing the final two years on his contract. Somehow, he and Pelini must find a way to play some semblance of defense. If they don’t it will be too bad because the offense seems to be ready to do their part.