Bowling Green's season has been an enigma.
The Falcons knocked off a top-25 team on the road (Pitt, who recently beat No. 10 South Florida). On the other end of the spectrum, they lost to perennial MAC loser Eastern Michigan.
Bowling Green beat Pitt 27-17 at Heinz Field mostly thanks to four Panther turnovers, as compared to one from the Falcons. In Bowling Green's defense, the Falcons held Pitt running back LeSean McCoy to only 3.1 yards per carry.
Compare that to Saturday's loss at home to Eastern Michigan, where neither team committed a turnover. It appears the Falcons took the Eagles lightly. Rest assured, however, Bowling Green is better than that. And they will be mad on Saturday.
As you might expect from a Bowling Green team, the Falcons pass more than they run. Quarterback Tyler Sheehan has been efficient, completing 66 percent of his passes and throwing six touchdowns opposed to three interceptions. He has spread the ball well, with only one receiver averaging more than four catches per game. Five-foot-11 Corey Partridge has averaged 50.8 yards per game with only one touchdown all season.
Bowling Green's rushing game is similar to Akron's before the injuries to Alex Allen and Andrew Johnson. The Falcons rely most heavily on Chris Bullock, a power rusher. BG coach Gregg Brandon also calls on Anthony Turner and Willie Geter about five times a game each. They serve as a change of pace from the bruising Bullock.
Linebacker Erique Dozier from Garfield High School leads Bowling Green in tackles with 43. Defensive end Diyral Briggs, a first-team All-MAC selection, has five sacks as a pass-rushing defensive end. Defensive back P.J. Mahone was a second-team All-MAC selection last year after leading the conference with seven interceptions.
One weakness is Bowling Green's redzone defense, on which offenses have scored 14 touchdowns and two field goals in 16 trips inside the 20-yard line.
Another weakness is field goal kicking. The Falcons have made two of seven attempts, although they have converted 15 of 16 extra-point attempts. However, Bowling Green's punter is third in the MAC with an average of 41.3 yards. (Akron's John Stec is seventh with an average of 39 yards.)
The spread has fallen to one point. Bowling Green is favored to win.
Tom Gaffney reports that Akron and Penn State are still negotiating to open the 2009 season at Beaver Stadium. It would come two weeks before Akron's home opener versus Indiana.
J.D. Brookhart says Ball State's top-25 ranking is huge for the conference.
The weather looks great for Saturday.
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