When you play one of the country's best offenses, your defense is not supposed to help them out. But that's just what the Kent State Golden Flashes did Saturday afternoon at Dix Stadium in a 48-0 loss to the Bowling Green Falcons in Mid-American Conference action.
A roughing the kicker penalty by the Flashes on a missed field goal attempt gave the Falcons new life on their opening drive. On the very next play, quarterback Matt Johnson would run it in from four yards out to give Bowling Green the early 7-0 lead.
On the next Falcon drive, a pass interference penalty by the Flashes on fourth and one kept things going and Johnson hit Ronnie Moore three plays later with a 24 yard touchdown pass. It was 14-0 Falcons.
On the next Bowling Green drive, Kent State was hit with an unsportmanlike conduct penalty that moved the ball all the way to the Falcon 11-yard line. On the very next play, Johnson hit Ryan Burbrink with the touchdown pass and it was 21-0.
The Flashes had six penalties for just 59 yards in the first half but they always seemed to come at a crucial point in play. The Falcons would score on every possession they had in the first half except for the last one when a Tyler Tate 49-yard field goal attempt was blocked. But, still BG had a 31-0 lead at the break and it was basically over from there.
"It was a great team win," said head coach Dino Babers. "This was a trap game and it was the coach's job to make sure they didn't get trapped."
The Falcon offense actually looked disinterested for the early part of the second half and were forced to punt on three separate occasions. But, they eventually rallied and got a couple of highlight reel worthy touchdowns catches from Roger Lewis to remove any doubt in this one.
The Bowling Green defense had their second straight solid performance. They recorded their first shut out in nearly two years. They held Kent State to 166 yards of total offense and just 10 first downs. The Flashes were a woeful 1 of 11 on third down. The Falcons sacked Kent State freshman quarterback George Bollas twice and intercepted him two times.
The numbers for the Falcon offense were off the charts again in this one and it was the usual suspects. Johnson finished 27 of 40 for 430 yards and five touchdown passes. He also ran for another. Moore led the Falcon receivers with 151 yards on seven catches and two touchdowns. Lewis finished with 102 yards on four catches and the two touchdowns. Burbrink finished with 89 yards on eight catches and a score. Bowling Green finished with 602 yards of total offense on 91 plays, and had 31 first downs.
"When they put their best defensive back on Roger Lewis, we know it's next man up," said Moore. "So, it was my turn to step up today."
Consequently, the offensive numbers for Kent State weren't good. Bollas finished just 12 of 25 for 111 yards and those two interceptions in just his second start. P.J. Simmons led the Flashes on the ground with 48 yards on five carries.
The Falcons have now won 16 straight against MAC east division opponents and are now bowl eligible. They are 6-2 overall, and 4-0 in MAC play and will have 10 days off before they return home to Doyt Perry Stadium to face the Ohio Bobcats in a Wednesday night nationally televised game on November 4. The Flashes drop to 3-5 overall and 2-2 in the MAC and will remain at home to take on Buffalo on November 5.
"We'll start next week off like normal and then give them a couple days off," said Babers of his team's plans for next week. "We can use the extra time off to get healthy."