In the on and off rainy weather, Bowling Green was washed away by Kent State 62-24 in their Tuesday night home opener at the Doyt.
The Falcons were tied at 10-10 with the Golden Flashes after the first quarter, despite being without two key players on both sides of the ball. Andrew Clair and Karl Brooks did not play in this game due to injury. While there were some slight improvements from last week, the Falcons still have a long way to go.
“We got a ton to work on obviously, it’s beyond evident. We need to clean up the penalties. We need to control the things that we can control,” BGSU Football Head Coach Scot Loeffler said.
After opening the game with a false start, Kent State got the offense going with a 50-yard reception by Dante Cephas. After a few runs to make it 4th and 2 on the BGSU 10-yard line, Dustin Crum found Isaiah McKoy for a 10-yard score to put the Golden Flashes up 7-0.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Falcons responded as running back Bryson Denely returned the ball to the Kent State 12-yard line. The Falcons could not capitalize on the field position though, as they had a chop block penalty that moved them back 15 yards on the first play. BGSU quarterback Matt McDonald almost had a touchdown in his tight end Quintin Morris, but Morris could not stay inbounds. The Falcons settled for a 29-yard field goal from kicker Nate Needham to make the game 7-3.
Kent State’s second drive had six total penalties called with three from each team. The Golden Flashes went 53 yards in 16 plays to settle for a 39-yard field goal to go up 10-3. Caleb Biggers stepped up huge on the drive by blowing up a screen play on 3rd and 1 to force the field goal.
After holding Kent State to a field goal, Bowling Green came out firing. McDonald found Noah Massey for a 22-yard strike to get the drive starting. Bryson Denley and Jhaylin Embry each had big runs to get the BGSU offense within five yards of the end zone. McDonald scrambled to his right for the 2-yard rushing touchdown and the Falcons tied the game at 10.
Kent State responded to the score with a ten play drive. The Golden Flashes started at their own 25-yard line and got down to Bowling Green’s 16-yard line. From there, Crum threw a screen pass to Ja’Shaun Poke for the 16-yard touchdown and Kent State took the lead 17-10.
The Falcons failed to convert on fourth down from the Kent State 34-yard line. McDonald faced pressure coming from the middle and had to recover his own fumble. Kent State took possession at the Kent 44-yard line. The drive resulted in McKoy’s second touchdown in the game, a short pass from Crum he took for 32 yards to make it 24-10.
Bowling Green only got a first down on the next drive thanks to a defensive pass interference, and were eventually forced to punt. After a shanked punt and a penalty on the punting team, Kent State started at the BGSU 45-yard line. A couple screen plays to running back Marquez Cooper and wide receiver Isaac Vance during the drive helped Kent State reach the 2-yard line. From there, Cooper punched it in for the 31-10 lead.
Just like the rain, the points kept pouring for the Kent State offense. After the Falcons could not move the ball, Crum found Poke on the slant. Poke took the ball 55 yards for the touchdown. It was a two-play drive for the Golden Flashes to take a 38-10 lead.
At half, Kent State had 366 yards of total offense. Crum was 16 of 21 with 254 yards and four touchdowns. Kent State outscored Bowling Green 28-0 in the second quarter. Bowling Green only managed 147 total yards of offense with only 64 yards passing from McDonald. They also converted one third down in the half. Bowling Green could not keep up with the tempo of Kent State.
“Tempo is a great advantage, it did help a lot for them. I felt like we had a great game plan against that. At times, it just got away from us,” BGSU linebacker Kholbe Coleman said.
The defenses forced each offense to punt for the first half of the third quarter. On Kent State’s third drive of the half, they started at their own 9-yard line. Outside of a pass to McKoy for a first down, Crum and running back Bryan Bradford took turns running the ball down the field. A roughing the passer call on Bowling Green in the red zone helped Kent State get to the 3-yard line. From there, Cooper scored to make it 45-10.
Similar to the last drive Kent State had, Bradford and backup quarterback Collin Schlee took turns running the ball from the Kent State 26-yard line all the way to the Bowling Green 5-yard line. Kent State started the fourth quarter with a fourth and goal from the 5-yard line. They settled for a field goal to make it 48-10.
Bowling Green didn’t lie down. Running back Terion Stewart started to run the ball and moved the chains for the Falcons. On a fourth down play from the Kent State 29-yard line, McDonald threw a 23-yard strike to Massey while under pressure. A defensive pass interference moved the ball to the two yard where Stewart would finish the drive off. Bowling Green chipped into Kent State’s lead, 48-17.
Schlee took over the next drive after Bowling Green scored. He threw for 51 yards on the drive and capped it off with a 15-yard touchdown run. That extended Kent State’s lead to 55-17.
On their last drive of the game, Kent State continued to dominate the Bowling Green defense. The Golden Flashes started at their own 41 yard line after the Falcons turned it over on downs. Schlee found wide receiver Isaiah Wooden on the screen pass. Wooden eventually ran it 25 yards for the touchdown, giving the Golden Flashes a 62-17 lead.
To continue his impressive quarter, Stewart ran the ball for a 69-yard touchdown, making the score 62-24. Stewart was a bright spot for the Falcons during this game.
“We know he’s going to be a really good back. We’re really excited about him. We knew he was going to get some playing time today. There’s a lot he needs to learn, but he’s got some really good instincts,” Loeffler said.
The Falcons will now look to get their first win of the season next Tuesday at home against Buffalo. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST.