It’s been a long time since Bowling Green football was favored to win a game against an FBS opponent. Now, the Falcons head into a game this weekend against Akron as 6.5 point favorites.
Two years ago, going into a midweek MAC conference game against Kent State, the Falcons were favored by 1.5 points on the road over the Golden Flashes. The Falcons would win that game, 44-16 and go on to not be favored in a game since then, including the very next season when they took on Kent State at home.
But why were the Falcons favored in that game on a Tuesday night two years ago? It probably has something to do with Kent State being 2-6 heading into the contest and falling to Ohio 48-3 the week before. On the other hand, Bowling Green put up 30 points on Ohio two weeks before and showed some promise in a 48-30 defeat at the hands of the Bobcats. All of those things led to the one-win Falcons being favored.
Two years later, the Falcons will welcome Akron to Doyt L. Perry stadium in the first game they have been favored in since that 44-16 win two years ago. This time, Bowling Green is favored by 6.5 points against an Akron team that has yet to win a game this season. To the credit of the Zips, they did not play an FCS opponent this season, unlike BGSU who played Morgan State to start their schedule. Unlike BGSU though, Akron hasn’t really been close in any of their conference games.
In fact, their last three games have been pretty lopsided. Against Kent State, Buffalo and Northern Illinois, the Zips have been outscored 96-3 and have been shutout in their previous two contests. While giving up 93 points over three games isn’t great, it’s the lonely three points that stand out. In comparison, BGSU has scored 50 points over their past three games. While that isn’t blowing the doors off of their opponents, it’s still much better than a measly three points. For the season, Akron is averaging 10.8 points per game, which ranks 129th out of 130 teams playing FBS college football.
When looking at their team, it’s pretty easy to see why the Akron offense has been so bad this season. They can’t run the ball as they are last in college football averaging 55 rushing yards per game. They can’t really pass the ball either as they average just over 200 yards per game – good for 79th in the country – and when they do pass the ball, the chances it will get intercepted are likely. They average just under three interceptions per game and between the four quarterbacks that have been under center this year, they have thrown eight interceptions and nine touchdowns.
BGSU will likely see Zach Gibson at quarterback on Saturday, who has two interceptions and one touchdown on the season. Gibson replaced former quarterback Kato Nelson in week five against UMass. Nelson was suspended two games for violating team rules before last week’s contest.
Even with a young secondary, the Falcons should have no problem keeping the Akron offense unstable in this one and honestly, I am a little surprised BGSU is only favored by a touchdown in this one. They proved in back-to-back weeks they have the ability to move the ball against MAC defenses.
Both in the historic defeat of Toledo and the loss to Central Michigan, quarterback Grant Loy proved he could keep opposing defenses guessing by being able to take off running at any moment. Over the past three games, Loy has rushed for 266 total yards over his past three games. Against an Akron team giving up over 200 rushing yards per game, the Falcons should have no problem moving the ball with Loy and the plethora of running backs they are sure to utilize in this one.
If anything, this game should serve as a measuring stick for the Falcons. This is where we find out if they can take the next step, and that is beating down a historically bad Akron team at home. With what Bowling Green has started to show on both sides of the ball, I would be surprised if the Falcons didn’t come out of this games with at least a two touchdown victory.
The Falcons will look to do that and secure their second MAC win of the season at home this Saturday at 2 p.m. ET.