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2023 MAC Football Week 13 Game Recap: Bowling Green Falcons 34, Western Michigan Broncos 10

Bowling Green crushed the Broncos with big plays in the first half, eventually cruising to a big victory.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 21 Bowling Green at Western Michigan Photo by Joseph Weiser/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Bowling Green Falcons (7-5, 5-3 MAC East) beat the Western Michigan Broncos (4-8, 3-5 MAC West) in convincing fashion on Tuesday night, besting the hosting side with a fast and physical 34-10 performance. With the victory, the Falcons are bowl-eligible for the second season in a row, and have secured a guaranteed winning season— both for the first time since 2015.

Bowling Green’s offensive drives were punctuated by chunk plays and missed tackles by the Bronco defense. Ta’ron Keith avoided contact and made Bronco defenders miss all night and Harold Fannin Jr. slipped tackle after tackle on his eight receptions. Camden Orth’s interception in the first quarter was the only major mistake the Falcons made in a time of consequence, playing a relatively clean game otherwise.

Bowling Green received the opening kick and was in field goal range after three plays. A false start penalty on third-and-three effectively ended the drive, and the Falcons settled for a field goal from Alan Anaya— which bounced off the left goal post and through the uprights.

The Broncos took the ball on their first possession of the game, but didn’t get very far, with quarterback Hayden Wolff throwing an interception on third down to BGSU safety Darius Lorfils, who jumped the route at the line to gain and took the ball the other way.

One play later, Connor Bazelak found wide receiver Jaylon Tillman running behind the defense for a 35-yard touchdown pass, and the rout was on.

The Bronco defense briefly injected life into the game when Anthony Romphf intercepted his first pass as a Bronco on a Camden Orth overthrow, gifting the offense the ball at their own 17-yard line.

Five plays later, Western Michigan was at mid-field with a new series of downs. Their offense to that point had been primarily quick connections in the flats and they called for it again. This thime, the pass was late to the sideline, and BGSU defensive back Jordan Oladokun took advantage, returning the errant pass 53 yards the other direction for a score.

This play broke the will of the Broncos, who missed out on a bowl a week earlier.

Bowling Green played the hits on their next two drives, both resulting in first-half touchdowns. Connor Bazelak had a 17-yard scramble, Ta’ron Keith had six carries for 32 yards and a touchdown, Harold Fannin Jr. had three catches for 28 yards and Odieu Hiliare caught two passes for 26 yards including a diving catch for a score.

Palmer Domschke kicked a field goal from 46 yards out to end the first half, putting the score at 31-3 BGSU at the halftime whistle.

The only meaningful play in the second half came from the Bronco offense when Jalen Buckley scored from 16 yards away from the endzone and crossed the 1,000-yard mark for the season.

Bowling Green solidified their place as the third-best team in the MAC East, finishing 5-3 in conference. The Falcons have hit that mark in back-to-back seasons, which is a huge improvement over anything the previous coach Mike Jinks achieved. They will take their smothering, ball-hawking defense into bowl season looking for their first bowl win since 2014. Dino Babers, most recently let go from Syracuse, was the coach for that game.

The Falcons defense sacked Hayden Wolff five times and did it with support from the secondary. Bronco receivers were not open and Jordan Porter got to Wolff twice by himself. With five sacks, eight tackles for loss and two interceptions, Western Michigan didn’t stand a chance. The Falcon's next thing to do is await their bowl game selection on December 3.

The Broncos have a long offseason to diagnose what happened to their offense in the last two weeks. They scored ten points total in their final two games, with a rushing attack that all but disappeared. Tonight, they looked like a team that lost some of their fight in a game purely for pride that wasn’t going their way. Jalen Buckley breaking the 1,000-yard threshold is a major achievement this season for a 4-8 team with a lot of improving to do. Lance Taylor had a good first season at the helm for the Broncos, but it still feels like there is meat on the bone.