The Bowling Green Falcons (4-8, 2-6 MAC) rebounded from a crushing 52-10 defeat last year at the hands of the Ohio Bobcats (3-9, 3-5 MAC), this time winning convincingly by a final score of 21-10, utilizing a stingy defense, gritty offense, and an largely mistake-free performance to get one over on the ‘Cats Friday afternoon.
The Falcons defense was the star of the show in this one, holding the Bobcats to just 223 total yards offense, with 51 yards of the total gained in the final 1:19 of the game.
Linebacker Darren Anders finished his 2021 All-MAC worthy campaign with 13 stops including three tackles-for-loss, while defensive linemen Karl Brooks continued his strong season with a dominant performance, including a sack and an assist on a safety.
The defense finished the day with three turnovers, led by cornerback Deshawn Jones Jr.’s two interceptions.
Offensively, the Falcons got enough done led by QB Matt McDonald, WR Austin Osborne, and Kicker Nate Needham.
McDonald managed the offense well, completing 24-of-37 passes for 255 yards and a touchdown. The Falcons’ signalcaller was clutch in picking up some key third downs and showed toughness shaking off multiple tough hits to keep the offense moving.
McDonald’s favorite target on the night was Osborne, who finished with eight grabs for 79 yards and a touchdown catch which had SportsCenter Top 10 potential, as the lone orange jersey in a sea of three white ones.
Needham was clutch in his final performance of his BG career, capping what was likely an All-MAC season in the process. Needham hit 4-of-5 field goal attempts on the day to complete the season with only one miss, hitting on 19-of-20 field goal attempts overall, a decided improvement from 2020’s campaign, which saw him struggle to top 60 percent.
A final key to the victory for the Falcons was that they eliminated the major mistakes that had plagued them throughout the season. The Falcons came into this one averaging 90 yards of penalties per contest, but were only flagged for 30 yards on Friday. The Falcons also played turnover-free football today.
The Bobcats offense was kept out of sync for most of the day by the BG defense, except for parts of the first half where option runs by Ohio QB Kurtis Rourke and runs by De’Montre Tuggle set up Ohio’s 10 points, with the only touchdown on a one-yard run by QB Armani Rogers. Rourke finished with 75 yards rushing on the day and 103 yards passing, while Tuggle’s 41 yards increased his total to 791 on the season.
Ohio’s defense played well enough to win, overcoming multiple tough situations to keep the ‘Cats in it until then end.
Ohio’s defense started possessions on its side of the field more than once in the second half but held the Falcons out of the end zone to give the Bobcats a chance to win until late in the game.
Ohio’s defense, led by linebackers Bryce Houston, Cannon Blauser, and Jack McCrory, were clutch time and time again, stopping BG on multiple third and fourth downs in short yardage situations, including one inside the Ohio’s five yard line.
Playing in the final game, Ohio senior safety Alex Wolff had a career best 13 tackles.
The Falcons head into the offseason on a high note and return almost all of its players for the 2022 campaign.
The ‘Cats will look to bounce back in 2022 after finishing 2021 with its first losing record since 2008.