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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Fleming, defense big in victory

Saturday was a time for some aspects of the Bowling Green football team that may have been overlooked in previous weeks to shine. The defense and punter Pat Fleming quietly paved the way for the Falcon offense to score five touchdowns in a 35-0 victory Saturday at Doyt Perry Stadium. It was BG’s first shutout since 1994.

Pat Fleming pinned Buffalo’s offense inside their own 10-yard line twice, once inside their one.

“Pat Fleming is a weapon,” BG head coach Urban Meyer said following the game.

“He is like a halfback or a receiver. He is a terrific player.”

Fleming continuously gave the BG defense a large cushion of field at their backs to work with, and the defense responded to it.

The majority of the first half was played on Buffalo’s half of the field.

Buffalo’s punts were allowing BG to start drives from within 10 yards of midfield. Chris Haline’s interception on the second play of the game, which set up the first BG touchdown, notwithstanding, the Falcon offense was driving on a short field almost the entire first half. They needed it, as Buffalo stopped numerous early plays for short gains. BG averaged 4.4 yards per play in the first half, but led 28-0 at halftime.

The good field position was a byproduct of the defense’s attempt to shut down the Buffalo offense for as long as possible. In the end, they did it for the full 60 minutes.

“The shutout is very important,” linebacker Khary Campbell said. “On first-team defense, we felt we could hold the shutout, give our offense an opportunity.”

Placekicker Sean Suisham, who missed a field goal in the first quarter, had a good day kicking off. With a storm wind at his back, he kicked the ball through the end zone several times.

“The conditions were the real reason we went for it [kept the ball on fourth down],” said Meyer, who did not give Suisham another field goal attempt the rest of the game, electing to play every time on fourth down. A storm saturated the field at halftime. “Our kicking game is a concern, but Suisham did a good job on kickoffs.”

Suisham had an extra point blocked last week at Missouri. By his performance, Suisham has appeared to, at least for the short term, secured the kickoff job that was in such limbo after last week, Meyer said he had talked to Fleming about performing it. Fleming had not kicked off before, and the idea was quickly turned down.

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