By: Ryan Strodtbeck
History tends to repeat itself, and today was no exception when the Bowling Green State University Falcons took on the Michigan State Spartans and came away with a 35-10 loss.
For the past three years the Falcons have opened up on the road versus a Power Five conference team, and the second straight year they did so against a Big Ten team. BGSU looked to come into today’s game with a different outcome than the two previous games.
Last year, the Falcons took on Ohio State down in Columbus. Ohio State came away with a thundering 77-10 victory over BGSU. If you don’t remember though, the Falcons had the lead for a brief moment there, when a pass was intercepted and taken for six. Then Ohio State went out to put up 77 against the team, so the fun didn’t last very long.
This year, the team held an advantage over the Spartans for one quarter of play. After a fumble was forced at the Bowling Green one-yard line, BGSU would then connect on a 45-yard pass from James Morgan to Datrin Guyton to set the Falcons up in field goal range.
The Falcons held that 3-0 lead heading into the second quarter before a seven-yard run by Madre London of Michigan State put the Spartans up, 7-3. It would stay that way until Michigan State had a tremendous two-minute drill operation to end the first half when Brian Lewerke would find Felton Davis for a four-yard touchdown reception.
If you are Bowling Green, you aren’t happy that you let up a touchdown that late in the quarter, but you are happy that it is still a close game.
Then the third quarter hit and it seemed as though Michigan State had a plan and executed it, time in and time out. The Spartans would open up the third quarter with three straight touchdown drives to take full advantage of the game and put it out of reach for the Falcons.
The game would stay 35-3 until LJ Scott of the Spartans fumbled for the second time, and this time it was scooped up and into the end zone by Cameron Jeffries. That would be BGSU’s only touchdown of the afternoon.
Michigan State would come away victorious with a 35-10 win. So, BGSU had the first points of the game and their only touchdown would be a defensive score, much like last year’s outing against Ohio State.
Two takeaways from today’s game are:
1. The offense needs to be much better. Morgan struggled to pass the ball consistently, the wide receivers had a plethora of drops, and the run game seemed nonexistent.
2. The Falcons defense seems to be much improved, especially in the secondary and in the run game today. Although the stats won’t show the whole story, because the Falcon defense was on the field for just under 40 minutes due to the struggling offense. One key component is that the Falcons held LJ Scott, the leading rusher for MSU last year, to 15 carries and just 39 yards. If the defense plays at this level against lesser opponents, and the Falcon offense picks up its play, then BGSU seems to be in a good place.
Saturday’s outcome may not be what the Falcons wanted, but it was a huge step up from last year’s opening week performance.
And just a reminder that it is only week one, and we cannot draw too many conclusions from today’s game. I fully expect the Falcons to come out much better on offense next week versus an FCS team, the South Dakota Coyotes. The game will start at 6 p.m. at Doyt Perry Stadium in Bowling Green, Ohio.
Ryan Strodtbeck is a junior at BGSU. He is the executive director of the Bowling Green Radio Sports Organization. Follow him on Twitter @RStro25.