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February 16, 2024

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Falcons continue to dominate ground game

Quarterback controversies are difficult to handle, mainly because finding playing time for two talented quarterbacks is a challenge for any team. Fortunately for the BG football team, they’ve found the solution.

Just play both at once.

Freddie Barnes and Anthony Turner, although quarterbacks, have been the reason behind BG’s standing of fifth in the country in rush yards. The Falcons made a jump on the list following a 356-yard rushing performance Saturday in a 48-40 triple overtime win over Buffalo.

Barnes also ranks eighth in the country individually in rush yards with 257.

In the game against Buffalo, Barnes took snaps under center, set up in the backfield and even lined up as a receiver. Although he’s still the backup quarterback, the redshirt freshman doesn’t mind moving around on the field, so long as he’s out there.

“I’m just happy that I’m able to help the team,” Barnes said. “Normally a backup quarterback wouldn’t be able to do anything for a team except sit there and wait for number one to go down.”

Turner played in his first game of the season, looking much improved after completing 16 of 23 passes and rushing for 127 yards on 23 carries. Turner also passed for three touchdowns and rushed for another.

“It was just a great job by those two quarterbacks,” said coach Gregg Brandon. “We knew we could rush the ball, and ultimately that helped us win the game.”

While a Falcon quarterback has led both games in rushing, Dan Macon and Pete Winovich contributed steady production while receiving only 14 carries between the two of them. Barnes and Turner ran the ball 20 and 23 times, respectively.

Macon rushed for 97 yards and a touchdown, averaging 8.1 yards per carry. Winovich rushed for 37 on two carries.

After only one game, Turner sees the potential of a backfield fully stocked with talent.

“It’s like a dual threat in the backfield – they don’t know who’s going to get the ball, and whoever does is going to make something happen because there are three play makers in the backfield,” Turner said.

The Falcons were fortunate their offense was running on all cylinders, because the special teams simply forgot to turn the ignition. Although the special teams struggled, players on offense knew it was their job to pick up the slack.

“Everytime something happened I just turned around and got ready for the next thing,” Barnes said. “My biggest focus was we’ve got to pick it up for the team – we can’t lose.”

While the offense rushed the ball to force an overtime, the pass game is what earned BG the win. In the third and final overtime, Turner found Ruben Ruiz on third and seven in the back of the endzone for the go ahead score.

“That play I was like the last read,” Ruiz said. “I saw AT moving with the ball, I just waved my hand so he could throw me the ball. It was great, once he threw the ball I had to catch. It was just me and the ball.”

In the second overtime, Turner hit Brandon Jones down the right sideline on the first play, evening up the game once again, 40-40.

“He made some big throws there,” Brandon said. “AT I thought stepped up there in the overtime to give us a chance to win the game.”

While the offense continues to evolve with its younger players, there’s no doubt that the run game will continue to be the backbone.

“Right now no one’s going to stop this offense, but whatever we have to do to win games, that’s what we have to do,” Turner said.

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