Mahone, defense put together solid outing

For three straight games, the BG defense was gouged by tough in-conference running attacks from Miami, Kent State and Ohio.

Their record in that stretch? 1-2.

On Saturday, the defense needed to contain Akron’s running game as well as limit big plays. They were able to do both en route to a 44-20 win over the Zips in front of 12,766 at Doyt L. Perry Stadium.

Unlike the previous three games, where BG’s opponents used only a single feature running back to take the majority of the carries, Akron used four different rushers – Bryan Williams, Alex Allen, Dennis Kennedy and quarterback Carlton Jackson.

The defense was able to stop Williams, Allen and Kennedy who had a combined 18 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown. Jackson, however, was able to do some damage with his legs and had 133 yards on 24 carries.

BG head coach Gregg Brandon admitted that Jackson was a concern going into the game.

“[Jackson] was the only guy that really hurt us,” Brandon said.

The Falcons also held Akron’s passing game in check throughout the game. Jackson completed 14 passes for 192 yards and one score.

But the biggest reason for BG’s success on the defensive end was their ability to force four turnovers. Defensive back P.J. Mahone had two interceptions in the third quarter, fellow secondary back Kenny Lewis recovered a fumble and the entire unit was credited with a fumble recovery in the end zone. Mahone’s first pick went for a 51-yard touchdown.

According to Mahone, the defense was very well prepared for Akron’s passing game.

“We came in with a good package,” Mahone said. “Our coaches did a lot of film work and put us in good positions.”

On the pick-six, Mahone said he knew the moment when he had enough daylight to reach the end zone.

“Somebody hit my legs, I felt that and then after that I kind of knew I was going in,” he said.

As a unit, the defense was very productive. Along with the turnovers, they posted eight quarterback hurries. Linebacker Erique Dozier had a sack, two tackles for a loss and led the team in tackles with 11. Mahone finished with 10.

With the Falcons’ next game coming Friday night at Eastern Michigan, Brandon and the defense will try to string two solid efforts in a row for the first time in a while. Brandon admitted that the season was a bit of a roller coaster as far as consistency.

“I don’t know,” Brandon said with a laugh. “We’ll see who shows up Monday.”