The Bowling Green Falcons lost on Saturday to number 9 Notre Dame, 52-0. Here are as many things learned as Ian Book had touchdowns.
Back to square one at the QB spot
The depth chart this week now features an “or” at the quarterback position.
Boston College transfer Darius Wade started the Falcons first five games, earning MAC East player of the week honors for his efforts in week one against Morgan State.
On Saturday, head coach Scot Loeffler issued a quick hook on Wade, pulling him in favor of backup Grant Loy. At the time of the hook, Wade was 2 for 2 for four yards as the Falcon offense struggled.
Loy came in and seemed to spark the offense, even without leading them to the end zone. The junior was 13 of 25 for 106 yards with an interception (which came on an end of the half Hail Mary). His presence led to some of the better drives of the game for Bowling Green as they seemed more in sync and able to stay on the field to give their defense a breather. It seemed to be the Falcon's best offensive performance in weeks.
Loy has completed 55.8 percent of his passes in limited duty this year, with two touchdowns and one interception. Wade has completed 58.6 percent of his passes with three touchdowns and three picks. However, all three of those touchdowns came in week one against Morgan State, which is certainly the outlier on the Falcons season.
It’s fair to wonder who will start Saturday against Toledo. Matt McDonald, who won the job out of camp has not been able to play and will not play this season due to the NCAA. Wade is a veteran, but with the Falcons season spiraling out of control, you know what he brings. Why not give Loy a chance to show what he can do and to improve in advance of next season when he could compete with McDonald to start?
Changing starting quarterbacks may not be ideal for Scot Loeffler with arch-rival Toledo in town, but being faced with a stagnant offense won’t be ideal either.
Clair out once again is discouraging
Andrew Clair is the Falcons best player. For a team that struggles to find big plays, Clair is a home run hitter.
Unfortaunately, he has been slowed by a foot injury this season. The injury reportedly flared up this week in practice and sidelined the third-team all-MAC selection from a year ago against Notre Dame.
He previously missed the Falcons massacre at the hands of Kansas State.
Clair seemed to be rounding into form two weeks ago at Kent State with 61 yards on 14 carries.
In his postgame comments, Loeffler mentioned he wasn’t sure on Clair’s status moving forward. This has led some to believe that Clair could redshirt this season as he has only played in three games. He would have one more game before surpassing the four-game threshold to redshirt.
There has been nothing concrete as to if Clair will go that route and nothing credible to date on Clair pursuing going to another institution.
In the meantime, BGSU seems in good hands with Bryson Denley and Davon Jones. Denley is a shifty type of back with good hands while Jones is a bruising back. They both topped the 50 yard mark with Jones averaging 3.7 yards per carry and Denley averaging 4.4 per carry. Solid marks against one of the top defenses in the nation.
Quintin Morris has himself a day
Quintin Morris has been the Falcons go-to receiver this season.
The hybrid tight end/receiver ("move" tight end) has been one of the best kept secrets in the MAC, due to his team's current situation on offense.
On Saturday, Morris had arguably his best performance yet, like much of the Falcon offense. He showed chemistry with Loy much the way he has with Wade this season.
On national television from historic Notre Dame Stadium against a great defense, Morris had ten catches for 92 yards. He had a long of 24 in the game.
Morris has 26 catches for 310 yards and two touchdowns on the season now, and is currently third in the MAC in receptions, 10th in receiving yards and tied for ninth in touchdowns.
Without Andrew Clair healthy, having a player of consistency is big for the Falcons who has also seen RB Marlow grow into a suitable receiving option in recent weeks.
Close the book
While there is excitement around the improvements on the offensive end for Bowling Green, the defense had a rough week.
All week long, Irish fans were calling for blood from Falcon coordinator Brian VanGorder, and the game itself went about as well as to be expected.
The Irish jumped all over the Falcons defense as 52 points would suggest. That is with them calling off the dogs in the second half.
Irish quarterback Ian Book had a historic day, which is saying something for a program as historic as Notre Dame. His five first-half touchdowns was as good of a performance that we have seen against a MAC school since Jonathan Taylor scored five touchdowns against Kent State… also on Saturday.
Big plays were abound as the Irish seemed to move the ball at will in the first half against the Falcons. It was much of the same as the Falcons haven’t held a team under 35 since week one against FCS Morgan State.
The Falcons previously strong pass rush was non-existent for much of the game against the Irish.
Obviously, all this is cause for concern especially preparing for Toledo but its not likely that the Falcons defense will look this bad again. Most any MAC school would struggle to this extent against a strong Irish program.
Expect the Falcons pass rush to return.
The best thing for members of the Falcon defense may be to put this one behind them and focus on improving for MAC play.
A trophy on the line this week
Perhaps the MAC’s best rivalry this week takes center stage as the Falcons host the Toledo Rockets.
The game will serve as the 100th iteration of the rivalry.
Countless fans of Toledo will travel down the interstate for which the rivalry is named and they will see the Falcons wear special throw-back jerseys for the game.
The two programs are faced with different trajectories with Toledo looking like the class of the conference while BGSU is on the build and hoping to play Toledo close.
In a game like this, you throw the records out the window. The hatred will be palpable in Doyt Perry Stadium on Saturday.
At this point, a win would make the Falcons season and Scot Loeffler will be revered by the Falcon faithful if he can win against Toledo.
After Toledo, the Falcons schedule gets easier. With a loss, it'll be another long conference season with no hope of post season aspirations.