The Bowling Green State University Falcons enter Week 3 looking to find the good vibes that they lost a week prior vs Kansas State.
So far in the Scot Loeffler era, it has been the best of times and the worst of times for the. After beating Morgan State 46 to 3 in their opener, the Falcons were grounded on the road vs the Wildcats.
Week 3 presents a new test for BGSU as they prepare for a homecoming tilt against the 1-1 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.
Spirits, both in the figurative and liquid version, are expected to be high around Bowling Green on Saturday, but the Bulldogs will look to crash the party. A bowl team a year ago, Louisiana Tech went 8-5, including a Hawai’i Bowl victory vs. Hawai'i.
The Bulldogs, out of Conference USA, lost to then tenth-ranked Texas Longhorns 45-14, before beating FCS Grambling State 20-14 last week.
Louisiana Tech head coach Skip Holtz is the son of Lou Holtz, the legendary coach turned television analyst. Across head coaching stops at UConn, East Carolina, South Florida and now Tech, Holtz is 47-34 all time. Former UConn head coach Bob Diaco is their defensive coordinator.
Louisiana Tech has been on an upswing in the last five years with the eighth-most wins among Group of Five schools. Their recent successes are reminiscent as to where BGSU was as a program following Dave Clawson and Dino Babers.
Louisiana Tech must also replace high NFL draft pick Jaylon Ferguson, who was drafted to the Baltimore Ravens.
The Bulldogs are experienced with J’Mar Smith at quarterback. Smith, a four year starter, will be starting his 28th straight game this weekend. He has thrown for over 7,000 yards in his career, ranking him behind such greats like Luke McCown, Tim Rattay and Jason Martin, all former NFLers. Behind him on the passing list is some guy named Terry Bradshaw.
Running hasn’t been Tech’s strong suit, as Israel Tucker has averaged just 41.5 yards per game. Jaqwis Dancy had 116 yards last year vs Florida Atlantic and three touchdowns vs Rice.
Receiver Adrian Hardy led Conference USA and was 20th with 1,145 yards receiving last season enroute to being named second team all CUSA. Transfers Isaiah Graham (TCU) and Malik Stanley (South Alabama) will provide depth while reserve Cee Jay Powell is their leading receiver so far this season.
Per Tech’s game notes, lineman Ethan Reed leads the nation with 42 straight starts. Left tackle Willie Allen started his career at LSU as a four star recruit.
Corner Amik Robertson is on the watch list for the Bednarik, Thorpe, and Nagurski Awards.
Defensively, Collin Scott and James Jackson will deserve attention from the Falcons offense.
For Bowling Green, there has been no word if star running back Andrew Clair will play. The twice-reigning third-team all-MAC selection missed last week’s action with a lower body injury. If Clair cannot go, expect to see more of Boston College transfer Davon Jones, who has rushed for 123 yards across the first two games.
Another Boston College transfer Darius Wade will try to match Ja’Mar Smith play for play as the two mobile quarterbacks do battle. Wade was the MAC East Offensive Player of the week in Week 1 but was largely neuterized against K-State.
If Bowling Green was an Eminem song, they would be "The Real Slim Shady"; no one knows who the real Falcons are and if they will stand up on Saturday.
Against Morgan State, they dominated but against Kansas State, they were dominated. The Falcons probably are not as good as what they showed against an FCS school Week one, nor are they as bad as they showed last week against a Power Five school.
Louisiana Tech will represent a good barometer towards the rest of the Falcons season. As a solid Group of Five school, they would probably be the front runner in the Mid-American Conference if they were a member.
BGSU has never beat Tech, they are 0-2 all time. The Falcons will visit the Bulldogs in Ruston, Louisiana, in 2023.
A strong performance or victory against Tech, places BGSU as a MAC contender and a threat to Toledo just up the road.
A lopsided loss would reinforce the struggles this young team is set to face throughout the season as they grow under Loeffler.
Expect the Falcons to feed off of their homecoming crowd to challenge early but the Bulldogs are just too deep and too talented to keep down for long.
Expect Louisiana Tech to win but it would be a moral victory for BG to keep it close.