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2023 MAC Football Week 13 Preview: Bowling Green Falcons at Western Michigan Broncos

Bowling Green looks for their first winning season since 2015, while Western Michigan looks to end their season on a positive note.

Syndication: Akron Beacon Journal Nicholas McLaughlin / USA TODAY NETWORK

Tuesday night serves as the last regular season game day for the Bowling Green Falcons (6-5, 4-3 MAC East) and Western Michigan Broncos (4-7, 3-4 MAC West). Western Michigan lost to Northern Illinois last week, eliminating them from bowl eligibility— though there’s always the potential to get in at 5-7. Bowling Green is recovering from a heartbreaking loss to Toledo, but can secure their first winning season since 2015 if they can win on the road.

Game notes

  • Time and date: Tuesday, November 21st at 7:00 p.m. ET
  • Network: ESPNU (A valid cable subscription is required.)
  • Location: Waldo Stadium in Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • Gambling Considerations: Bowling Green favored by -2, with an over/under of 54.5, per DraftKings
  • All-time series: Bowling Green leads 33-20-3 all-time, with both teams splitting the last four matchups
  • Last Meeting: Bowling Green put on a defensive clinic, defeating the Broncos 13-9 in 2022.

What Happened Last Time?

Bowling Green hosted Western Michigan at the Doyt. After no scoring took place in the first quarter, the Falcons would kick two field goals to take the halftime lead of 6-0. Matt McDonald found Harold Fannin, Jr. for the Falcons only touchdown to make it 13-0. Treyson Bourguet and the Broncos would score the last nine points, but the Falcon defense would hold strong for the 13-9 win.

Bowling Green Falcons outlook

The Falcons are looking for their first guaranteed winning season since 2015. They had a chance for it last week, but Toledo said not so fast and won the Battle of I-75 by a final score of 32-31. Despite that unfortunate result, the Falcons finished with a winning record at home (3-2). It’s their first time with a winning record at the Doyt since 2015, and with a win on Tuesday, the Falcons can also finish their first winning record on the road since 2015.

The big storyline, as noted by head coach Scot Loeffler, is that both Terion Stewart and Ta’ron Keith will be game-time decisions. Stewart hs missed the last two games after going down late against Ball State, while Keith was injured late in his breakout performance against Kent State, but still put in good time against Toledo. The Falcons are at their best when their running backs are healthy, and it was noted that they have a chance to get Stewart back, but we won’t know.

The quarterback room started off really well against Toledo, but the game was a tale of two halves. Bazelak was banged up, and they relied on Camden Orth to finish the game. Ultimately, the Falcons had a chance to close at the end of the game, but just couldn’t get it done. Despite that second half, they’ve looked way better over the past two games. They’ve thrown for 594 yards in that span. The QBs have been trending in the right direction, despite the inconsistencies.

Cashius Howell sits at 9.5 sacks, a half-sack shy of tying Karl Brooks from a season ago. The sophomore has really made his presence known at the linebacker position, a position the Falcons look to remain strong in for future seasons.

Western Michigan Broncos outlook

Western Michigan looked to stay alive for bowl eligibility last week, but a 24-0 loss to Northern Illinois dashed any hopes of that. Despite the losing season, first-year head coach Lance Taylor has made plenty of strides with this team. No matter the result of this game, Western Michigan will have a winning record at Waldo Stadium, their first since 2021.

Hayden Wolff has seen the most action as of late. The Old Dominion transfer has gone 131-of-199 for 1,382 yards, eight touchdowns, and three interceptions. He led the Broncos to the Michigan MAC trophy with wins over both Central and Eastern Michigan. Kenneth Womack is the leading target with 68 receptions for 647 yards and one touchdown.

The Broncos also have a very good rushing attack. They’ve run for 1,711 yards and 20 touchdowns. They’re led by Jalen Buckley, who has 918 yards (third in MAC) and nine touchdowns (tied for third in the MAC).

The Bronco defense has accumulated eight interceptions, and recovered eight fumbles as well. Marshawn Kneeland leads the defense with 4.5 sacks, and three players lead with two interceptions.

Game Outlook

What does each team need to do?

For the Falcons, focus on what is ahead. Sure they lost a heartbreaker, but they can’t harp on that. They have a chance to do something that Bowling Green hasn’t seen in eight years, finish with a winning record. The Falcons are indeed banged up, but they have enough depth to make plays happen. Defense will need to step up like it always does.

For the Broncos: attack, attack, attack. Their offense can move down the field. They average 374.4 yards per game and 219.2 passing yards per game, both good for second in the MAC. Their defense, on the other hand, ranks in the bottom half of many categories and sits at 11th in the league with an average of 347 yards per game allowed. If the offense gets hot, they’ll need to make it a shootout for a chance to win.