Bowling Green will head to its arch-rival Toledo, 25 miles away

Football

Football

Sports Editor and Sports Editor

Rivalry is in the blood of every football player and the Falcons are educated from day one on what this game against Toledo means.

Head coach Dave Clawson said there is no denying the importance of the Battle of I-75 and because both Bowling Green and the University of Toledo are so close geographically, there is little that they don’t share.

“We fight over everything,” Clawson said. “We’re in the same media market, we recruit the same areas, there is very little that we do as a program that doesn’t have a cross over with them competitively.”

Competition is something a football player thrives on and wide receiver Shaun Jopin said this rivalry is important to everyone on the team, especially for him.

“This rivalry is big to me, I’ve been around it since I’ve been a little kid,” Joplin said. “We don’t like Toledo — we plan on beating them and keep on going with the season.”

With Joplin’s family history with Toledo, he said that the blue and gold could have been part of his future when deciding on a college, but BG had the greater interest in him, and now he wears the orange proudly.

He’s grown and bought into the Falcons’ football tradition and has first hand accounts of the rivalry that stands undecided until Saturday.

“What makes me not like Toledo is because it’s a rivalry,” Joplin said. “I’m Bowling Green’s player now and we don’t like Toledo here and that’s just how it has to be.”

This game is not only the game of the season, and for every season for the Falcons, but it also has an added bonus this year since it is the Mid-American Conference opener for both teams.

“There is certainly a lot at stake,” Clawson said.

Neither of these teams have played each other under these circumstances before, but Clawson said it doesn’t matter when you play the game, it’s pivotal.

“If they wanted to play in July, then we would play in July,” Clawson said.

Ideally, Clawson said he would like to see this game played in mid-October, but he said it’s all about getting students to the game.

“It’s not a rivalry game unless you can involve the students,” Clawson said. “That is the key to rivals and our student turnout this past week was great.”

This will be defensive tackle Chris Jones’ fourth year competing in the rivalry against Toledo.

“I know the emotion that goes into this game and how it is compared to others,” Jones said. “Emotionally it’s just raised to another level.”

Jones and the entire team have been focusing on one goal this week and it is to beat Toledo.

It’s the end of every sentence and the momentum on every play and then finally they will get the chance to go head-to-head with UT, he said.

“The best thing is each team is going to give their best effort so each play you’re just going harder and harder, trying to win the game,” Jones said.

The Falcons haven’t seen a win against UT since Jones’ freshman year and he said that there is nothing that compares to that feeling of beating a rival.

“I remember that game, going up real fast 21-0 in the first quarter,” Jones said. “You just knew what it meant to the seniors who won that game and I know how that’s going to feel to me this Saturday.”