Football 8/29 (2)

Defensive back Jamari Bozeman high fives a coach on the sideline.

Player of the game: Darius Wade, 22-32, 253 yards, 3 TD

Key stat: Morgan State held to 70 total offensive yards 

BGSU slashed and dashed their way through Morgan State on Thursday night for a 46-3 victory. In the victorious effort, the Falcons were able to start to answer some questions some may have had about their roster. 

The first being, were fans going to witness a team incapable of dominating a Division I-AA FCS opponent? Last season saw the Falcons in a nail-biter with Eastern Kentucky that needed the last play of the game to decide BGSU’s first home win in a year. This year brings the non-stop authoritative win that is expected to be carried out when FCS teams are on the road against an FBS opponent. 

There is some building to be done because of that. Not everything was perfect in this game according to head coach Scot Loeffler. 

“Are we anywhere where we need to be? No, we’re not,” said Loeffler. “We’ve got a long way to go, but I thought tonight (the team) made a step in the right direction. There’s a ton of mistakes out there, but there was a lot of positive, too.”

The Falcons put up 30 points in the first half, thanks in large part to the Bears giving the Falcons a gracious amount of space to work with in the middle of the field. Teams under former head coach Mike Jinks only managed to reach a first half high of 28 points. 

There were also questions behind the starting quarterback position. Particularly, who was going to start and how were they going to handle it. During warm-ups returning junior Grant Loy and Boston College transfer Darius Wade took a similar load of snaps carrying the speculation right to kickoff. Alas, it was Wade that jogged his way into the huddle on the Falcons first drive. 

“I felt like I could still play football and really wanted to, so being back out there and throughout the whole game I was just looking around like ‘I’m really out here. A month ago I was at home, but now I’m playing in a Division I football game,’” said Wade, the former Boston College Eagle that knows Loeffler and his system quite well.

Falcon fans were introduced to Wade almost immediately. In the first drive of the game, Wade elected to make some high percentage throws while relying on the running game to bring them past the goal line for the game first score. Of course, he wasn’t perfect either, and those mistakes will prove costly against better teams.  

“There were times that he looked on rhythm, there were times he did not … When you start playing super, super great defenses and your body is not in perfect body position on delivery, you’re not going to make that throw,” said Loeffler.  

Still, for a quarterback that has not been in a football game in two years, Wade’s performance deserves respect. The 620 yards of offense he helped contribute to were the most BGSU has seen since 2015. Do not think that Wade was ever fazed, though.

“It should never come as a surprise. I’m a quarterback. I’m supposed to be able to throw the ball. I’m supposed to be able to make every throw, so I’m just trying to make sure I do my job well,” Wade said.

And a question that was begging for an answer was whether or not the Falcons’ defense could turn themselves around after a poor season last year, particularly when it came to stopping the run. Thursday’s performance from the defense may have turned the tables, but the theme remains the same. There can’t be complacency when beating a Division I-AA team.

“I didn’t play complementary football at all right before half. We should’ve had a shutout tonight and that was because of my error, period, end … I heard Steve (Addazio) in the back of my head. I heard 'protect the damn defense,'” Loeffler said, thinking back to his former boss, BC head coach Steve Addazio.

Morgan State’s Josh Chase and Lavelton Williams struggled to find room to run, collecting only 61 combined yards on 21 attempts. Quarterback Dion Golatt Jr was also brought down in the backfield three times and was forced into taking an intentional grounding penalty in the endzone for a safety. As a unit, the Bears were only able to claim four first downs.

BGSU travels to Manhattan, Kansas next to take on the Kansas State Wildcats Sept. 7.

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