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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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FALCONS 48, OWLS 35: Defense fuels Falcons

On the defensive end, BG’s game against Temple was not so much a tale of two halves, but a tale of two sets of determination.

Temple scored on its second possession in the first quarter on the strengths of great field position and the athletic duo of quarterback Adam DiMichele and running back Jason Harper. Their ability to move the ball put them in position to take the 7-0 lead.

The defense would tighten up after that score, as the Falcons would score three straight touchdowns to take a 21-7 second-quarter lead.

Temple’s kick-returning game was an area of concern, with the speedy Travis Shelton in the back field. But after taking an early lead, the Falcons bottled up Shelton twice in a row and pinned the Owls deep in their own territory. On the second of those returns, Shelton fumbled the ball and defensive lineman Darius Smith recovered, which eventually set up a BG score.

“[Shelton] is definitely a very good player,” said linebacker Erique Dozier. “That’s one thing we focused on this week, containing him, getting down field and making sure we didn’t allow him to beat us in the kicking game.

“We felt like that was a big part that we needed to work on was our special teams and being able to contain him.”

With everything clicking on both sides of the ball, BG was cruising into the second halftime with a two touchdown lead. Then Temple came right back and scored twice just before the half to tie the game up at 21.

According to BG head coach Gregg Brandon, there were mixed emotions in the locker room at halftime.

“I looked at my team at halftime, and I saw a look of determination and a look of frustration, so I didn’t know who was coming out in the second half,” Brandon said.

In the third quarter, a new level of defensive determination showed up, with the earlier frustration working as a motivator.

Early in the third quarter, the “D” would strike first. Defensive back Kenny Lewis made what Brandon called the play of the game, ripping the ball from fullback Josh Bundy and racing to the endzone for six. After the score, the Falcons wouldn’t look back.

“I think it just got the momentum going, and got everybody going,” said defensive end Diyrall Briggs.

“At first, our heads were down a little bit, and that just turned it around with him taking it into the endzone.”

On Temple’s next possession, BG would strike again. Constant pressure on DiMichele had the Owls pinned back on their own three-yard line. DiMichele dropped back to pass, but with no one open right away, had to try and scramble to buy some time.

Defensive end Jacob Hardwick sacked DiMichele for the safety, but he fumbled and fellow lineman Orlando Barrow fell on the ball for the recovery and touchdown.

The defense didn’t give up another score until the fourth quarter, when they had a 48-21 lead and backups in the game.

A number of players came up big in the game on defense. Linebackers John Haneline and Dozier again led the team in tackles with 10 and 12, respectively.

Briggs pressured DiMichele all day and had two sacks. As a team, they forced four fumbles, recovering three of them. Two of those recoveries were for touchdowns, and the determination was renewed.

“I’m going to remember this game,” Brandon said. “Kenny Lewis stole the ball. That’s what I’m going to remember about this game. That was the play of the game, in my opinion. Kenny made that play, and we didn’t look back.”

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