College Football Preview: The 2014 Bowling Green Falcons
The Bowling Green Falcons have their sights set on another MAC title.
2014 College Football Preview
The Bowling Green Falcons have the pieces in place to garner anoth MAC championship in 2014.
Overview: Success in the MAC generally means the head coach will be off to greener pastures and after winning ten games and the conference crown in 2013 Dave Clawson was off to Wake Forest. Enter Dino Babers who likes speed on both sides of the ball so expect aggressive play from both units that already have experience and a MAC title under their belts.
USA TODAY Sports
Offense: Matt Johnson was is a solid dual threat under center with nearly 3,500 passing yards and 456 rushing yards (5.9 ypg) but was sacked 40 times which tends to negate some of those numbers. He his a junior with a year of experience under his belt so with the help Babers I would expect far less sacks and even more passing yards. Depth and experience at RB will help Johnson with the top four runners back (Johnson was 2nd on team) led by workhorse Travis Greene who rambled for nearly 1,600 yards on 277 totes. As solid as the backfield situation is the wide receiver spot does have concerns with Shaun Joplin and TE Alex Bayer gone after leading the receiving corp with 908 and 587 yards respectively. However the next five receivers are back and were productive pieces a season ago. Three offensive lineman return as well so the offense as a whole has the potential to be even better.
Defense: The defensive line loses DT Ted Ouellet who was tops in sacks and second in tackles and more important gave the Falcons an inside threat versus the run. Even though the line returns eight players that saw action in ten games or more the run D is a huge question mark because this isn't a big group and can be manhandled. All but Paul Swan (51.5 T) are back at linebacker while three of the top tacklers are gone in the secondary including Booboo Gates who did everything and doubled as a kick returner. Eight players with at least ten starts are back so again the cupboard is not completely bare but some key contributors are missing throughout so we need to see how things pan out when oppenents put the ball in the air.
Special Teams: Punter Brian Schmiedebush is gone and his 21 punts downed inside the 20 is an overlooked but vastly important accomplishment that won the battle for field position more often then not. Tyler Tate was 18-22 on field goals with a solid leg so place kicking is in good hands. Ronnie Moore will bring back kicks and Ryan Burbrink will handle punt return duties.
Outlook: The schedule looks favorable and if Bowling Green wins all the early games the team will be in great position to contend for another conference crown. If they do emerge as one of the best squads in the East then the questions about their run defense and Babers uptempo offense probably will be answered.