Two games into the season, no one can be sure how good Bowling Green is, but after the Falcons won 48-7 Saturday evening, we have a better idea. Virginia Military Institute is definitely not the same caliber as Western Kentucky University, who punished BG in Week 1, but the questions looming throughout Doyt Perry Stadium Saturday were if James Knapke could produce as well as Matt Johnson, and if the defense would return to last years form. Both of those questions were answered in favor of the Falcons.
Knapke's first collegiate start was fast, Falcon Fast. His first drive ended with him sneaking between a couple of 300-pound lineman for a touchdown. The drive was sparked by a 33-yard run from Greene down to the goal line. From that point on it was all Falcon Fast offense.
The defense turned out to be left at home all along. After being shredded by the WKU offense a week ago, the Falcon D held their own against the Keydets. Ryland Ward and company halted VMI in the first half, only allowing one touchdown and 232 yards (56 of those on the ground | the defense did give up 418 yards in the game, total). Ward intercepted a pass, first forced turnover for the defense this season, and put the offense in VMI territory. The offense quickly took advantage of the field position and scored in forty seconds.
Senior linebacker Paul Senn, who replaced an injured D.J. Lynch, joined the turnover party in the third quarter forcing and recovering a fumble. Senn was a big surprise ending the game with 13 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss.
The Bowling Green offense was carried on by two Florida boys, Greene and Fred Coppet. Greene averaged over seven yards a carry on 18 carries for 132 yards and two touchdowns, eclipsing the century mark for the tenth time in his career. Coppet followed with nine carries for 73 yards and a score of his own. The two backs were explosive, hitting holes hard and easily shaking off tacklers. Knapke quietly gelled the offense together throughout the game and found Roger Lewis for a 51-yard touchdown bomb to cap off the victory. In his first career start, Knapke completed 22 of his 31 passes for 237 yards, one touchdown, and an interception.
Everything on the Falcon defense looks great, except the health. Lynch, as mentioned earlier, got hurt when he went down early with an apparent leg injury and was later seen on crutches. Senior corner Jude Adjei-Barimah also came out in the first half and returned to the sidelines on crutches. It started to look like a hospital on the sideline with those two mentioned, accompanied by Matt Johnson, all on crutches.
In all, VMI was exactly what Dino Babers' offense needed. Knapke was able to get his feet under him and the confidence going into next when the Falcons host Indiana. The defense gave up 300 yards less this week and will have to keep it down next week if they want to take down the Hoosiers.