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2023 MAC Football Week 3 Game Preview: Bowling Green Falcons at Michigan Wolverines

The Falcons begin a tough three-game stretch in Ann Arbor against the second-ranked team in the country.

UNLV v Michigan

Bowling Green got their first win of the season over Eastern Illinois 38-15. They were able to get on the right track, and not suffer an FCS loss for a second season in a row.

Bowling Green starts their upcoming 3 game schedule gauntlet with a trip to Ann Arbor to face off against the #2 Michigan Wolverines.

Game notes

  • Time and date: Saturday, September 16th at 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Network: Big Ten Network (A valid cable subscription is required for viewing.)
  • Location: Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Gambling considerations: Michigan is a 40.5-point favorite, with an over/under of 53.5, per DraftKings.
  • All-time series: Michigan leads 2-0
  • Last Meeting: Michigan 65, Bowling Green 21 - September 25, 2010
  • Current Streak: Michigan, 2

Bowling Green Falcons outlook

The Falcons haven’t played the Wolverines since 2010. Michigan’s head coach was Rich Rodriguez, and that team had the likes of Denard Robinson, Roy Roundtree, Junior Hemingway, Fitzgerald Toussaint (a great football name) and notable NFL veteran Taylor Lewan.

What can Bowling Green hope to get out of this game? More toughness, and another chance to get more reps. With the upcoming gauntlet (Michigan, Ohio, Georgia Tech), it’s important for the Falcons to just try and keep a good pace to set them up for Ohio on homecoming.

Connor Bazelak had a really good game last week, going 23-of-28 for 319 yards and three touchdowns. Camden Orth added 49 yards on two attempts. The Falcons now average 252.5 passing yards per game, which is respectable considering the abysmal week 1 performance (they currently sit at second in the MAC). Both Bazelak and Orth will need to keep focusing on making the right throws, that’s what the Falcons need these next few weeks.

Terion Stewart found the end zone twice against Eastern Illinois, a promising sign for the running game. The Falcons have averaged 166 yards per game on the ground, which is good for 4th in the MAC after 2 weeks. They’ve been trending in the right direction since the Quick Lane Bowl, and they look to keep running the ball.

The receiving corps of Hiliare, Ibrahim, and Fannin have been crucial in the first two games. They combine for 4 receiving touchdowns (Hiliare with 2, Ibrahim and Fannin with one each), and will be put to the test by some of the upcoming secondaries on the schedule.

The Falcons defense has given up an average of 357 yards per game. Having struggled to get off the field in certain situations, we may see more of the same considering the opponents in front of them. The Falcons have seven sacks on the year. It could be difficult to get past Michigan’s offensive line, it just seems like Michigan continues to beef up the offensive front. Joseph Sipp, the leading tackler, has emerged as an early leader for the defense. Look for him to continue to keep getting better.

Michigan Wolverines outlook

The Michigan Wolverines are stacked. Having made the College Football Playoff two seasons in a row, they look to get back for a third straight time.

A big story for Michigan is that it’s the last game of head coach Jim Harbaugh’s suspension. It hasn’t seemed to be a problem because of Michigan’s highly criticized “cupcake” non-conference schedule, dominating East Carolina and UNLV. They look to continue their success against the Falcons this weekend.

JJ McCarthy. That’s all you need to know for quarterbacks. McCarthy has been very accurate with an 87.3 percent completion rate and five passing touchdowns. Is this a product of getting another full season under his belt, or the quality of non-conference opponents? Either way, McCarthy can throw the ball and move the offense.

The Wolverines have a two-headed rushing attack that’s one of the best in the country. Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards have torched defenses for the past two years. While they are off to a slower start (199 yards combined), it won’t take long for them to really get going. Considering how Bowling Green has struggled to stop the run in games over the past couple of years, this may be the game for Michigan’s backs to get right going into Big Ten play.

Receiving-wise, Roman Wilson and Cornelius Johnson are the top two receivers in yards. Roman Wilson has all 5 receiving touchdowns for the Wolverines. The Falcons will need to be careful about leaving Johnson wide open (just watch last years’ Ohio State game).

This offense has averaged 447 yards a game over two weeks of action. Bowling Green will have a tough day if Michigan’s offense moves like they have been.

Michigan’s defense has 121 total tackles, 5 sacks, and one interception in two games. Led by Mike Sainristil (a converted receiver), they only give up an average of 232 yards per game, 150 yards passing and 82 yards rushing. Bowling Green’s offense will look to try and move the ball, but Michigan’s defense will be a big test.