clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2022 MAC Football Week 5 Game Recap: Bowling Green Falcons 31, Akron Zips 28

It was a hard-earned victory in Akron, as the Falcons hold off a late rally by the Zips to start league play 1-0.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 10 Toledo at Bowling Green

There was a lot of intrigue coming into this game between two perennial bottom-dweller programs in the MAC East, as both the Bowling Green Falcons (2-3, 1-0 MAC East) and the Akron Zips (1-4, 0-1 MAC East) sought to prove to their fans they’re on the right track with a win in league play.

It was a back-and-forth affair between the two programs at InfoCision Stadium, but at the end of the proceedings, it was the Falcons who walked off the field with a 31-28 victory under their belt over the homestanding Zips.

The game started off in strange fashion, as the Falcons started from their own 49 on their first possession of the day, driving down the field in just over 2:30 of game clock on eight plays to get all the way down to the Akron two-yard line. On fourth-and-goal, Jeslord Boateng stuffed PaSean Wimberly to end the drive.

On the ensuing possession, Akron marched all the way to midfield, but a holding call forced them back to their own 40 on second-and-two, creating a second-and-12 situation. DJ Irons would fumble the ball while getting sacked, with JB Brown recovering the ball, ending the drive.

The Falcons ultimately turned the fumble into a field goal, with Mason Lawler converting from 29 yards out to put BGSU up 3-0. BGSU would expand on the lead to 10-0 just three plays later, as Jalen Burton intercepted an Irons pass for a pick-six touchdown from 18 yards out.

Pitt transfer Shocky Jacques-Louis would make a major impact on special teams on the kickoff, returning the ball 88 yards to set up Akron at the BGSU three-yard line. Clyde Price III would hit paydirt on the first play from scrimmage, giving Akron their first score of the day to trim the lead to 10-7.

The teams exchanged touchdowns later in the second quarter, with Matt McDonald finding Andrew Bench for a two-yard receiving touchdown, while DJ Irons found Price III for a 13-yard score to push the scoreboard up to 17-14 at the 3:58 mark.

Special teams became a factor again with 1:29 remaining, as Bobby Golden muffed a 41-yard Sami Sir punt, allowing BGSU to recover at the Akron four-yard line. McDonald would find Christian Sims for a three-yard score, giving BGSU a 24-14 lead at the half.

The Akron defense would make a positive play to start the third quarter, as defensive back KJ Martin caught a ball off the tip from a receiver drop to be the first defender to get the best of Matt McDonald, who had thrown for 12 touchdowns and no picks in three-plus games. The offense would find the endzone seven plays later, with Irons connecting with Alex Adams to once again pull within a possession at 24-17.

Both teams exchanged a handful of ineffective drives before Matt McDonald capped off a six-play drive with a touchdown pass to Odieu Hilare for 18 yards out which was set up by an earlier 59-yard reception by Hilare to push the lead to 31-17 BGSU with 12:12 remaining.

As they had all night, the Zips responded back immediately, as DJ Irons and Alex Adams connected on a 41-yard dart to bring the score to 31-24 in BGSU’s favor with 8:11 remaining.

Akron forced a three-and-out defensively to give the offense one last possession with 6:16 remaining, but it was nothing doing, as the offense would drive down to their own 42-yard line before stalling out, turning the ball over on downs with an incomplete pass from Irons to Adams with 1:33 remaining.

The Falcons would pick up the requisite first down to run the clock down and effectively end the game, taking home a 31-24 road victory when the clock struck triple zeroes.

Matt McDonald, who had questions surrounding his health coming into this week, looked quite healthy for BGSU, finishing 18-of-29 for 347 yards, three touchdowns and an interception through the air. Odieu Hilare led BGSU receivers with 95 yards on four receptions, scoring once, while Jamal Johnson (70 yards) and Jaison Patterson (66 yards) did the grunt work on the ground.

DJ Taylor led the Falcons in tackles (11), while Karl Brooks had 3.5 tackles-for-loss and 2.5 sacks on the day, one of three Falcons to notch a TFL. Jalen Burton had the team’s lone interception, returning it for a touchdown, while DeShawn Jones Jr. had a team-leading two pass break-ups.

For Akron, DJ Irons had one of his better games of the season, finishing as both the leading passer and leading rusher, compiling 224 yards, three touchdowns and an interception on 20-of-33 attempts through the air and an additional 105 yards on 23 carries on the ground. Alex Adams (four catches, 96 yards, two touchdowns) and Shocky Jacques-Louis (five catches, 60 yards) dominated the lion’s share of receptions.

Bubba Arslanian (12) and Nate Thompson (10) topped the Akron tables with double-digit stops, with the next-best Zip getting doubled up. Victor Jones and Curtis Harper shared a sack, while KJ Martin had the tipped interception. Four Zips had at least one tackle-for-loss each, with Arslanian’s 1.5 leading the pack.

Next week, BGSU returns home to face the Buffalo Bulls, while the Zips are on the road once again to take on the Ohio Bobcats.