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2023 MAC Football Week 2 Game Recap: Bowling Green Falcons 38, Eastern Illinois Panthers 15

A near perfect day of redemption for Connor Bazelak propelled the Falcons to their first win of 2023

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 02 Reese’s Senior Bowl Practice Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Bowling Green wanted to get the bad taste of week one out of their mouth, and open the home portion of the schedule the right way. Here is the scoring summary:

  • Connor Bazelak looked astoundingly better to start the game going 6-of-6 on the opening drive with a passing TD to Odieu Hiliare to take the 7-0 lead.
  • The Panthers marched down the field in 10 plays to score a touchdown (Holley to Daniels) to make it 7-6 after the missed PAT.
  • After trading punts, Terion Stewart found his way into the end zone to give the Falcons a 14-6 lead in the beginning of the second quarter.
  • Bazelak would find Abdul Fatai-Ibrahim in the back of the end zone to go up 21-6 in the second quarter.
  • Just before the end of the first half, Eastern Illinois converted two fourth downs in one drive to march down in the end zone. Punter Jake Forvath escaped for a 28-yard fake punt conversion, then Pierce Holley found DeAirious Smith for a 31-yard conversion to score, A failed two-point attempt would leave the score at 21-12 at half.
  • After the Panthers marched down and scored 0 points to open the third quarter, Alan Anaya knocked in a field goal after a long BG drive to make the score 24-12 late in the 3rd quarter.
  • Bowling Green would cap off their next drive in three plays with a Harold Fannin, Jr. TD from Bazelak to go up 31-12.
  • The Panthers would make a field goal with just over 10:30 in the fourth, despite their special teams struggles, to make the score 31-15.
  • Camden Orth would take over QB duties from there, leading the Falcons down the field before running back Terion Stewart would find the end zone for the second time, making the score 38-15 after the PAT.
  • That score would hold for the first Falcon win of 2023.


The Falcons seemed to have everything click from the start of the second half. Let’s take a look at some takeaways for this game:


As mentioned in the preview for this game, quarterback play had to be better. Connor Bazelak was absolutely cooking the whole time he played, completing his first 12 passes before an incompletion. He only threw five incompletions, going 23-of-28 for 319 yards and three touchdowns. Camden Orth went 2-of-2 for 49 yards in the fourth quarter. Definitely a much better QB performance for the Falcons in Week 2, with no turnovers to report for the offense.

Run the ball

Running felt like it took a back seat after a good Week 1. While it was overshadowed by a great performance by Bazelak, the running backs still put up a quiet 141 rushing yards. The Falcons have 332 rushing yards through two games. The good news? They’re already 25 percnt of the way to last year’s total.

Oh, and welcome back, Terion Stewart. He found the end zone twice on short runs, a good sign for a deep running backs stable which already has three rushing touchdowns this year. Considering there were only four rushing touchdowns by running backs in all of 2022, that’s encouraging for growth.

While he did not have a huge rushing impact, Ta’Ron Keith still made plays. He had 123 receiving yards, most of those being after the catch. As we’ve seen his whole career, Keith is a playmaker. He had three game-winning touchdowns in 2022, and is proving to be a reliable option for any situation.

Harold Fannin, Jr.

If you still don’t know who Harold Fannin, Jr. is, you should start watching this guy. The sophomore tight end had seven catches for 109 yards and a touchdown. He’s really developing at a great pace to be another great tight end for Bowling Green. It might help that he’s being coached by Alex Bayer, one of the best Falcon tight ends in the early 2010’s. Scot Loeffler noted praise for Fannin in his postgame quotes:“We challenged Harold this week in practice. He’s a very good football player with a ton of talent. We are going to challenge him week in and week out to be a pro.”


The defense still had some issues getting off the field, giving up a third and fourth down conversion on the Panthers first quarter touchdown drive. They also gave up a fake punt conversion and a fourth-and-long for the Panther touchdown in the second quarter. After the first half, it seemed as if the defense settled down and locked in. Despite those struggles, giving up only 15 points was huge for Bowling Green. They ended the game with nine tackles-for-loss, and five sacks.

Play of the Game

The play of the game goes to Connor Bazelak and Abdul-Fatai Ibrahim for the back corner touchdown pass. Bazelak with a well placed ball, and Ibrahim with a catch that would count in the NFL. (Credit: BGSU Football/X)

Next Up

The Falcons travel to Ann Arbor to take on the #2 Michigan Wolverines. Game is scheduled for a 7:30 pm Eastern time kickoff on September 16th, with Big Ten Network broadcasting.

EIU will host rival Illinois State in the Mid-America Classic on Saturday afternoon. Kickoff for that contest is 2 p.m. Eastern time.