BGSU football got a huge win in their last contest against Akron on Nov. 2, keeping their hopes to stay bowl eligible alive heading into a midweek contest with Miami.
It was an absolute drubbing of the Zips that said much more about where the Akron program is compared to the program of Bowling Green. They looked helpless on both sides of the ball for pretty much the entirety of the game, giving the Falcons a multitude of short field opportunities.
The Falcons capitalized on most of these opportunities as Andrew Clair returned to the lineup and was able to punch it in the endzone twice in his first game back since the 62-20 loss to Kent State on Sept. 21. Grant Loy also was a crucial part of the Falcon’s success as he totaled two touchdowns on the day. One on his feet, and the other off a jump pass to Quintin Morris.
Other than that it was a relatively quiet day for the Falcons on offense, as Akron just was unable to move the ball on the Falcon defense and only managed 100 yards total in the game. They also turned the ball over four times in the game with Ty Redding, Davin Wilson, and Karl Brooks all getting big interceptions.
Now the Falcons move on to the Miami Redhawks, who they will play on Wednesday in Oxford on national television. The Redhawks are currently one of the better defensive teams in the MAC, and BGSU head coach Scot Loeffler knows this going into the matchup.
“They play great defense. Any time that you play great defense you’ve got a chance to win and that’s what they do. I like how they built that program and I like how defense is a major emphasis with them. There’s not too many places out there that still do it that way but they do and that’s why they are winning at home and that’s why their a good football program,” Loeffler said.
The Redhawks are especially solid in pass defense as they rank 27th in the country in passing yards allowed per game. Their run defense however, has been more susceptible. They have allowed 205 rushing yards per game this season, good for 106th in the country coming into the contest with the Falcons.
With the Falcons getting Clair back and coming off a bye week where they hope to also return Davon Jones to the backfield, the Falcons shouldn’t have any problem developing a run game on Wednesday night. Not to mention the added threat of Grant Loy rushing the ball too, as he has proven time and time again to be dangerous with his feet.
What might be most important for the Falcons tomorrow though, is figuring out how to both win games on the road — especially in the second half.
“We’ve generally handled it quite well in the first half and in the second half we have not. So to be able to play a full 60 minutes on the road would be outstanding and hopefully get some guys, other new bloods on the field, I’m hoping that our depth problems won’t be as horrific as they have been in the past which keeps you in the game longer,” Loeffler said.
As mentioned before, the depth should be much better than it has been in previous weeks coming off a bye week, so there won’t be any excuses for finishing games this time around.
Even with the added depth, it still won’t be easy. While the Falcons are 0-4 in road games this season, Miami is a perfect 3-0 at home with victories over Tennessee Tech, Buffalo, and Northern Illinois. To top it off, the Redhawks have won three MAC contests in a row and currently sit at the top of the MAC East with a 4-1 record. Their last win was a big one too, as they defeated an Ohio team that was the preseason favorite to win the MAC on the road.
This is a Miami team that went 0-12 back in 2013. They hired their current head coach, Chuck Martin, a year later and it might have taken a while, but they are now knocking on the door of a MAC Championship berth for the first time since 2010 when they last won the conference. For Loeffler, this is exactly what he wants this BGSU program to become.
“I think Chuck’s done a great job of building the program, I think he’s done it right. He hasn’t went the junior college route, he hasn’t went too much of the transfer route, he tried to build it with high school kids and it’s taken a little bit of time but I think he’s done it the right way and I think their football program will continue to improve and grow and build,” he said.
So to put it in short, a win against a hot Redhawks team probably isn’t very likely as evidenced by the Falcons being 18.5 point underdogs going into the game. Still, the Falcons will head to Oxford with the motivation of keeping a bowl berth alive.
You can watch the Falcons try to pull off the upset on ESPNU Nov. 13 at 8 p.m.