Falcons struggle to close out games

Now 4-6 overall and 3-3 in Mid-American Conference play, the Falcons’ hopes for a MAC title are now no more. Still, the team has their eyes set on finishing out the season strong, and to do that, they’ll have to do a better job of finishing games strong.

BG has only outscored their opponent twice in the second half this season, while they’ve been outscored seven times. In the Falcons’ four wins, they were only outscored in the second half one time.

“We’ve just got to stick together and win these last two,” said BG coach Gregg Brandon. “We’ve just got to keep fighting and find a way to win, and that’s what we’ve got to do.”

On Saturday, the Falcons struggled once again to be the better team in the second half. After the halfway point, Akron scored three touchdowns on the Falcon defense, which proved to be too much for the offense to get back late in the game.

“Our offense was rolling pretty well the whole game,” said BG wide receiver Corey Partridge. “We’ve got a great offense and we just needed to put it all together in the last 10 minutes.”

The fourth quarter, when many games are decided, has been especially unkind to BG. This season, the Falcons are being outscored by opponents 70 to 38 in the fourth quarter. BG is yet to win a game this season in which they’ve been outscored in the final 15 minutes of play.

After last week’s 28-14 loss to Temple, Brandon cited numerous reasons for this season’s late game struggles.

“We’ve played nine straight weeks without a bye,” Brandon said. “No home games, playing two big time Big Ten teams. With all the freshmen and red-shirt freshmen, I have to think that my team is worn out.”

Ultimately, Brandon sees the inability to close out games as a result of the intangible mental toughness this young team has yet to develop.

“I don’t think we’re mentally tough right now,” Brandon said. “Until we develop that, it’ll be hard [to win games].”

BG will close out the season with the Miami (OH) and Toledo, each of which has only won one game in MAC play. Despite their recent slide, the team is optimistic that they can play to their full potential and finish the season strong.

“Everybody’s down – we’ve lost three in a row,” said BG defensive tackle Brad Williams. “We’ve just got to forget about this, move on and pick ourselves up.”