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February 16, 2024

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It’s a different game’

It’s been nearly 20 years since both BG and Toledo have finished the season with losing records, but that streak has come to an end. The rivals, both 4-7 overall, meet tonight at the Glass Bowl in Toledo.

The Falcons enter their final game of the season on a four-game slide in which they’ve lost to Central Michigan, Temple, Akron and Miami [OH] in succession. Toledo has struggled this season, losing five of its last seven games and ensuring the Rockets their first losing season since 1993.

Coming off a tough loss to Miami last Wednesday on national television, the Falcons are focused on a single objective – beating Toledo.

“We need to let go of Miami and go play Toledo,” said BG’s Sean O’Drobinak. “Records don’t matter, the season doesn’t matter, and Toledo is a different mindset. It’s a different game.”

Last season when the teams faced off, BG’s chances of a Mid-American Conference title were squashed in a 44-41 2 OT loss at Doyt Perry Stadium. The Falcons remember that game well and hope this season does not end as the last one did.

“I just keep telling myself that we do not want to experience that again,” said BG’s Ruben Ruiz. “I don’t want to go through that again. Things happen the way they happen and you can’t complain about things, we just have to go out there and make this season different.

“They came down here and beat us at our house, so that makes me want to go show them what it feels like to lose at your own house,” Ruiz added.

The Falcons will appear on national television for the second time in as many games as they go for their first win at the Glass Bowl in six attempts. To be successful, BG coach Gregg Brandon will need to have the top-ranked rushing offense in the conference running on all cylinders against a usually stingy Toledo defense.

“They can cover man-to-man and they bring pressure,” Brandon said. “They have very active linebackers and it will be a challenge for us offensively. It always is when you play these guys, they do a good job.”

To the winner of the game goes the coveted Peace Pipe Award, one that UT has claimed three of the past four years, but never by more than eight points.

In the 87-year history of the two teams, BG holds the series edge with a mark of 36-30-4.

“It’s a great rival game and you always want to beat UT,” Brandon said. “Again, it’s like I told the team before Miami, you always want to beat the team down south and beat the team up north.”

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