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2019 MAC Football End-Of-Season Brief: Bowling Green Falcons

Scot Loeffler’s first season highlighted by win over rival Toledo.

Bowling Green v Miami Ohio Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The Schedule:

Date Opponent Result
Thur., Aug. 29 vs. Morgan State W 46-3
Sat., Sept. 7 at Kansas State L 52-0
Sat., Sept. 14 vs. Louisiana Tech L 35-7
Sat., Sept. 21 at Kent State* L 62-20
Sat., Sept. 28 at Notre Dame L 52-0
Sat., Oct. 12 vs. Toledo* W 20-7
Sat., Oct. 19 vs. Central Michigan* L 38-20
Sat., Oct. 26 at Western Michigan* L 49-10
Sat., Nov. 2 vs. Akron* W 35-6
Wed., Nov. 13 at Miami* L 44-3
Tues., Nov. 19 vs. Ohio* L 66-24
Fri., Nov. 29 at Buffalo* L 49-7

After a win in Scot Loeffler’s debut against FCS Morgan State, the Falcons would lose four straight to bowl bound teams in Kansas State, Louisiana Tech, Kent State and Notre Dame before a monumental upset over arch rival Toledo.

The Falcons would then lose to future MAC West champion Central Michigan 20-38 in a game which was closer than the score shows and would drop one on the road to Western Michigan before beating in-state foe Akron, 35-6.

The Falcons would close out the season with bad loses to Miami, Ohio, and Buffalo.

Despite the 3-9 mark, the Falcons broke even within the friendly confines of Doyt Perry Stadium and all nine of their loses came to bowl bound squads.

High Points

With only three wins, the high points were scare.

  • Victory over Toledo: To set the stage, Bowling Green had lost four straight games entering the October 12th match-up against their hated rivals, the Toledo Rockets. At this time Toledo looked to be the class of the MAC, and had not lost to BGSU since 2009. With Grant Loy making his first true start at quarterback, the Falcons found a spark to upset Toledo 20-7 in a game that was not all that close. The Falcons would tie the all-time series with UT at 40-40-4, but the loss seemed to torpedo that Rockets season, who lost starting QB Mitchell Guadagni in the defeat.
  • Victory over Morgan State: Doyt Perry Stadium saw a large crowd file in August 29th for the Falcon opener against Morgan State. In coach Scot Loeffler’s debut game, the Falcons unveiled Boston College transfer Darius Wade under center and the Falcons would roll 46-3 over the Bears. The Falcons defense limited the FCS Bears to just 70 total yards while Darius Wade added three passing touchdowns, including two to Quintin Morris, to win MAC East player of the week. It would be Wade’s best game as a Falcon.

Low Points:

  • The final three games of the season: Following the Falcons victory against the Akron Zips, BGSU looked lifeless in their final three games of the season. They lost 44-3 to eventual MAC champion Miami of Ohio, 66-24 to the Ohio Bobcats and 49-7 to a Jarret Patterson led Buffalo squad. The losses eroded some of the good will that the Falcons had built up from their upset of Toledo and caused coach Loeffler to question his team’s mindset.
  • Loss to Kent State: The Falcons observe a little-celebrated rivalry with in-state foe Kent State. The Falcons entered play at 1-2 with both losses to solid teams before opening MAC play against the Flashes. There was optimism that the Falcons could beat Kent State, but Sean Lewis’ club racked up 750 yards during a 62-20 drubbing of BGSU. The loss showed how large the gap is between the Bowling Green and the solid MAC schools.

Key Departures:

  • Darius Wade and Grant Loy: Wade was MAC East player of the Week to open 2019, but started only three games as a graduate transfer. The mobile Loy played in all 12 games and started seven, including the upset of UT, but announced his intent to transfer.
  • Brandon Perce: Led the team with two interceptions from his linebacker spot, started 11 games and had 100 total tackles.
  • Jerry McBride: Injuries limited McBride to five games, four starts.
  • David Konowalski: Redshirt senior captain started all 12 games and had three sacks.
  • RB Marlow III: Slot receiver/running back added 22 receptions and 15 carries while also returning kicks.
  • Jamari Bozeman: Ten game starter had 60 total tackles.
  • Antonyo Sotolongo: The stats won’t show it but Sotolongo was among the MAC’s best special teamers.
  • Davon Jones: Power back from Boston College dealt with injuries but had 527 yards in nine games with four starts. Scored three touchdowns.
  • Nico Lautanen: Big bodied defensive tackle had 3.5 sacks to go with 5.5 tackles for loss while starting every game.
  • Jack Kramer: Experienced captain was the anchor to the Falcon offensive line.

Key Returnees:

  • Andrew Clair: Two time all-MAC selection was limited to four games and three starts due to injuries. Scored 4 touchdowns in limited time.
  • Kholbe Coleman: All-MAC honoree led the team with 103 total tackles and 4.5 for a loss with two sacks.
  • Caleb Biggers: 10 games, 10 starts. 39 total tackles.
  • Matt McDonald: Boston College transfer who was forced to sit due to NCAA transfer waiver being denied.
  • Jerry Roberts: 11 games, ten starts. 60 total tackles with 6.5 for a loss.
  • Karl Brooks: Led team with 4.5 sacks.
  • Bryson Denley: 12 games played, 7 starts, led team with 573 yards rushing, four touchdowns.
  • Julian Ortega-Jones: 11 games, 10 starts. 20 receptions for 298 yards.
  • Quintin Morris: All-MAC honoree had 55 catches for 649 yards but just four touchdowns in 12 starts.

Looking Forward:

In a conference filled with turn around coaching artists, don’t be surprised if Loeffler brings the Falcons closer to respectability much like Sean Lewis, Chris Creighton, and Jim McElwain at their respective schools. The veteran coach struggled with depth in his first year as the Falcons had over 20 walk-ons on the roster. The Falcons could see more defections this off-season which Loeffler hinted at during late season press conferences.

Next season, expect transfer Matt McDonald to be the Falcons signal caller. The BC transfer has great familiarity with Loeffler and would have been the Falcons starter this past season if not for the NCAA’s eligibility ruling. Having McDonald for a full offseason will be key after the Falcons had to replace Jarret Doege (transferred to West Virginia) during the off-season a year ago.

Having halfback Andrew Clair return to health could be huge for the Falcons. The two-time all MAC selection was banged up for much of the season but when he is healthy, he has shown skills every bit deserving of mention among the MAC’s other top backs.

It is hard to find two players more underrated across the conference than that of Quintin Morris on offense and Kholbe Coleman on defense. Both players were all-MAC selections with Morris displaying a big body target, who in a better offense might have challenged for a first team selection. Coleman is instinctive and should be one of the better MAC defenders in 2020.

One thing is sure, the monkey is off of the Falcons back when it comes to rival Toledo. The gap between the two schools seems smaller than any time in the last decade.

As of press time the Falcons are projected to have the top incoming MAC recruiting class for 2020.

The Falcons project to have a tough non-conference schedule next year opening with a road game at the reigning Big Ten Champion Ohio State Buckeyes. They also play bowl bound Illinois in Champaign and the Liberty Flames, who won seven games in 2019.