2012 MAC Football Conference Preview: Bowling Green Falcons
2011 Record: (5-7, 3-5 in Mid-American)
Head Coach: Dave Clawson
Offensive Coordinator: Warren Ruggiero
Defensive Coordinator: Mike Elko
Last Bowl Game: 2009 Humanitarian Bowl: Lost to Idaho 43-42
Toughest Conference Games: 9/15 at Toledo, 11/7 at Ohio
Returning Starters: (Offense: 7; Defense: 10)
Key Offensive Returnees: Key Offensive Returnees: QB Matt Schilz (28 TD, 13 INT), RB Anthon Samuel (844 yards rushing, 5 TD)
Key Defensive Returnees: Key Defensive Returnees: LB Dwayne Woods (111 tackles), DL Chris Jones (8.5 sacks)
Offense: Bowling Green has experience at quarterback with Matt Schilz, who threw for 3,024 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2011. Schilz is entering his third year as a starter, but for the first time, he may have a solid rushing attack to help keep the defense away from playing the pass often. Last season, the Falcons finished last in rushing. With Anthon Samuel, the offense has something to look forward to. Samuel rushed for 844 yards with 144 carries, and scored 5 touchdowns. He could break the 1,000 yard barrier if he stays healthy.
The weakness of the offense is the loss of five of the top six wideouts, including Kamar Jorden and Eugene Cooper. Shaun Joplin, the lone returning wideout, finished with 21 receptions for 292 yards and one touchdown. He will have to step up and be a playmaker. Other receivers that will have opportunities to contribute will be Michigan transfer Je’Ron Stokes and junior college transfers Michael Allen and Jared Cohen. Tight end Alex Bayer is expected to provide as well. The offensive line should be better than they have the past two seasons. The Falcons return five linemen with starting experience (76 combined starts).
Experience is the strength of this offensive unit. The Falcons have as many as nine or 10 junior or senior starters returning. If Joplin and Stokes can imitate Jordan and Cooper, Bowling Green’s air attack will be scary.
Defense: The defense is also experienced. Eight starters will be back but the unit as a whole will need to defend against the run much better. Star linebacker Dwayne Woods, who had 14 tackles for loss among 84 tackles last year, returns. Defensive tackle Chris Jones who also logged 14 tackles for loss, forced three fumbles and sacked the quarterback 8.5 times. Second on the team in tackles was safety Boo Boo Gates who finished with 59 tackles, defending five passes and netting 2 picks. Cornerback Cameron Truss defended nine passes and had one interception.
The Falcons return mostly everyone and will have great depth with some help from juco transfer Josh Pettus and incoming three-star freshmen – tackle Mike Minns, linebacker Jhalil Croley, defensive backs James Sanford and William Watson.
The defense must improve on stopping the run, a problem that they had in 2010 and 2011. BGSU ranked 99th in rushing. Undersized defensive ends Charlie Walker (6’2”, 228 pounds) and Ronnie Goble (6’2”, 240) got pushed around like piñatas. Three-star sophomore end Zach Colvin, who weighs 271 pounds could help incredibly.
Schedule: 2012 Bowling Green Falcons
2012 Prediction: 7-5