Travis Greene crossed the 1,000-yard barrier for the second time in three years and helped the Bowling Green Falcons rush for 337 yards as the Falcons cruised to a 48-10 victory over the Ball State Cardinals in Muncie, Ind. on Tuesday night.
Greene, BGSU's all-time leading rusher, led a ground attack that averaged 9.1 yards per carry, scored five touchdowns and came within three yards of having three players with 100 yards in the game. The player who came up three yards shy of the century mark was Greene, who carried 17 times for 97 yards. He also scored two touchdowns, including a juking, spinning effort in the fourth quarter.
Fred Coppet earned 109 yards and a touchdown on just 12 carries, one of which went for 62 yards. Newcomer Matt Domer reached triple digits in just three carries in the final few minutes of the game. The Falcons' final play of the night was a 95-yard touchdown rumble by Domer. Ronnie Moore added a 34-yard run, while Matt Johnson had a four-yard keeper for a score.
Ball State opened the game with an impressive stand on defense, as they did not allow the Falcons to get a first down. From their own 5-yard line, they went on a 10-play drive that went to the BGSU 49, but on 3rd-and-7, Riley Neal threw an interception to Dernard Turner.
The Falcons scored touchdowns on their next two possessions with a three-yard pass from Johnson to Hunter Folkertsma and a one-yard run by Coppet. The BGSU defense shut down Ball State on the Cardinals' next two times with the ball, and five minutes into the second quarter, the Falcons found the end zone again on a four-yard run by Greene.
Three players later, Eilar Hardy intercepted Neal, but BSU held the Falcons on downs in the red zone. The Cardinals drove into BGSU territory, but Neal was picked for a third time in the first half, this time by Alfonso Mack. Neal came into the game with three interceptions in the entire season.
Johnson ran for a touchdown five plays later, with just 36 seconds left in the first half, for a 27-0 lead. They increased the lead to 34-0 on their first drive of the second half, when Johnson found Gehrig Dieter on another corner fade from one yard out.
Ball State scored 10 points on a Neal pass to Chris Shillings and a Morgan Hagee 32-yard field goal, but the Falcons added two fourth-quarter touchdowns by Greene and Domer for the final 48-10 margin.
BGSU finished the game with 576 yards of total offense, including 239 yards through the air. Johnson completed 24 of 31 passes, but his 236 yards passing are a season-low. He did have two more touchdown passes and no interceptions. Dieter put together another big game with 11 catches, 81 yards and a touchdown, while Roger Lewis caught four balls for 59 yards.
The Falcons' defense held Ball State to just 264 yards of offense. The Cardinals had 154 yards passing on 40 attempts (3.9/attempt) and 110 rushing yards on 38 carries (2.9/carry). BGSU also won the turnover battle, 3-0, to improve their MAC-leading turnover margin. James Gilbert earned 66 yards on 16 carries, and KeVonn Mabon caught seven passes for 54 yards.
Bowling Green (9-3, 7-1 MAC) will now move on to the MAC Championship game in Detroit, Mich. on Friday, Dec. 4th. Their opponent will be determined by Friday's game between the Western Michigan Broncos and Toledo Rockets. If Toledo wins, BGSU will get a rematch of their 44-28 loss to the Rockets. If Toledo loses, the Falcons will face the Northern Illinois Huskies in Detroit for the third consecutive year.
Ball State (3-9, 2-6 MAC) has completed their 2015 season.