The Bowling Green Falcons were defeated by the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 35-7 on Saturday. Here are five things learned from their efforts.
1. The Falcons had their moments
It would be all too easy to look at the 35-7 score and write off the Falcons as a bad football team.
That would be a very lazy take.
The Falcons scored quickly on their first drive and while Louisiana Tech answered back just as swiftly, that score only tied it at seven.
It was a Darius Wade pick-six which did the damage of putting Tech into the lead and costing the Falcons their momentum.
The Falcons had another brief shot in the second quarter after a short tech punt but was denied on downs.
BGSU would hold the Bulldogs from scoring in the third quarter before allowing two scores in the game’s final frame.
It is easy to play the “what if” game but really, what if Wade doesn’t throw that interception to Louisiana Tech’s Amik Robertson?
What if the Falcons pick up the first down or score from inside the ten yard line opposed to turning the ball over?
Those swings in momentum are the kind of breaks which you see in most every game. Those are also the breaks you would expect to see go against a young team who is playing a yearly bowl contender in one of the better group of five schools.
But the game was closer than the score appeared and with one or two breaks we could have been looking at a much different game.
2. Andrew Clair was ineffective in return from injury
One of our Top 25 Player selections and two-time all-MAC half back Andrew Clair returned to the Falcon lineup after a one-game absence, but largely struggled.
He rejoined Davon Jones and Bryson Denley to form a strong trio in the Falcon backfield.
The result was a very un-Clair like performance.
Clair didn’t look himself, rushing 11 times for 22 yards and only a one yard average, with 11 yards lost.
He added three receptions but only for seven yards.
His 11 carries was second to Davon Jones’ 13 among Falcon backs, while Jones had tough sledding to 48 yards.
The question becomes how much of Clair’s struggles were related to his injury or to an experienced Tech defense, who is usually among the nation's better units.
Davon Jones is a solid back with a tough physical style, but would be better served with Clair at full strength as a different look.
It cant be easy to be a young team going against a strong team while one of your stars in banged up.
3. 50 percent of punts downed inside 20 deserves respect
Punters are people too, okay?
Admittedly, Matt Naranjo has been over used while BGSU struggles to find their offense but Naranjo had quite the day against Louisiana Tech.
He punted a robust eight times. Of those eight times, four were downed within the opponents twenty yard line.
Anytime half of your punts are pinned deep, then you are having a pretty day.
His efforts were a major reason why the Falcons were able to hold the Bulldogs scoreless in the third.
If he can continue his strong efforts, look at him to challenge for first team all-MAC honors.
4. Quintin Morris is making a push to be all-MAC
Quintin Morris has a connection with Darius Wade.
After having five catches (two touchdowns) against Morgan State (who fell to 0-2 after being routed by FCS power James Madison), and just one against Kansas State, Morris broke out for six receptions for 90 yards.
59 of those 90 yards came on one play.
The six-foot-four, 228 lb. hybrid tight end/receiver is a matchup nightmare for some teams and is proving to be a reliable target for Wade.
With Clair banged up, the offense is looking for consistent bright spos moving forward and Morris is one of those.
While he won't win any forty yard dash races, Morris is 12th in the conference in yards, tied for ninth in receptions and second in touchdown catches.
5. Team will likely (hopefully?) will be better in MAC play
Bowling Green gets Kent State (1-2) next week for a rivalry matchup.
Kent State is likely better than their record shows as their two loses came to now ranked power five schools in Arizona State and Auburn.
However, the Falcons are showing positives for such a young team.
Their defense, long a sore spot on the plains, forced two turnovers and sacked Tech’s J’Mar Smith five times.
The defense kept the game close for as long as they could, but were ultimately done in by the big play.
Wade has been inconsistent passing since winning MAC east player of the week honors in week one, but continues to show excellent mobility and the ability to run.
Andrew Clair is back and should continue rounding into form.
Quintin Morris, Julian Ortega-Jones and company are settling into their roles.
Losing 35-7 is nothing to be proud of but let's be real here.
Louisiana Tech would likely be the favorite in the conference if they called our beloved MAC home.
The have one of the better group of five head coaches in Skip Holtz, a four-year starter at quarterback, an experienced roster filled with power five skill players, a draftable NFL canidate at defensive back and they come from a fertile recruiting ground.
In a word, they are who BG used to be and who they hope to be again.
They may not be a Power Five school but they likely could give a few P5 schools a run for their money.
Bowling Green won’t see another team as good as the Bulldogs, other than their matchup at Notre Dame.
But entering conference play, the Falcons should see a step down in competition and the experiences of lumps from loses to K-State and Louisiana Tech should help young players grow quickly.
It will take a lot of good fortune for the Falcons to compete for a MAC title this season but there are signs of growth. Enough where a few in conference upsets would not surprise me.