Falcons start new QB, lose MAC opener


The Falcons lost their MAC conference opener to the Eastern Michigan Eagles in a close 28-25 loss.

By Aaron Parker and By Aaron Parker

The Bowling Green football team lost their opening Mid-American Conference game to the Eastern Michigan Eagles on Saturday 28-25 in front of their homecoming crowd. The game also marked the 50th anniversary of the inaugural game played at the Doyt Perry Stadium.

Prior to the game, Head Coach Mike Jinks alluded to the importance of this contest and what it means for his Falcons moving forward.

“No doubt it’s the most important game of the season, and not just because it’s the next one,” Jinks said. “Our goals are ahead of us, but we have to have this win to stay on that path.”

Jinks also announced earlier in the week that he would be making a critical change to the offense. Redshirt freshman quarterback James Morgan started against the Eagles over the more experienced senior James Knapke.

Knapke took over this season after the departure of Matt Johnson and has played relatively well for the Falcons considering the defenses he has been up against. In four games, he has completed 59 of 118 passes for 636 yards. He has three passing touchdowns and nine interceptions.

While those numbers don’t seem glorious, half of those games have been against some of the best defenses in the country. The Ohio State defense is ranked first in the nation and Memphis is ranked 26th, which are the two biggest blowout games the team has had this year.

Despite the change against Eastern, Jinks has stayed confident in his senior quarterback.

“James Knapke is not the reason this team is where it is,” he said. “Knapke has played well enough to win. The team has not played well enough around him to win.”

Although Morgan is not as experienced as Knapke, he entered this contest with an efficiency higher than Knapke, even though he had fewer than 50 attempts. Morgan completed 27 of his 46 passes for a 58.7 percent completion rate, along with no touchdowns and three interceptions.

After a 27-minute weather delay, Morgan and the rest of his offense stepped on to the field. The Falcons were the first to score with Morgan hitting redshirt junior running back Donovan Wilson in the end-zone on a fourth and goal situation from the two-yard line. It was the first career touchdown reception for Wilson and the first career touchdown pass for Morgan. That would be the only touchdown for the two in the game.

The Falcons led at just one more point after that score when kicker Jake Suder hit a 32-yard field goal. Eastern Michigan went on to lead the rest of the game.

Morgan finished the game completing 23 of his 46 attempts for 250 yards and one touchdown, all of which were career highs.

“There were some things that I thought we did as an offense that we did really well, and there were some things that we could improve upon, me specifically, in some of those throws,” Morgan said. “I can’t say enough about the heart of our guys today. Hats off to Eastern Michigan. They’re a good team and they played well.”

Senior running back Fred Coppet was the only other Falcon to score a touchdown in the game, crossing into the end-zone twice on two -yard rushes.

The Falcons, whom fans were hoping to see make another title run this season, are now 1-4 and winless in their conference. They are currently tied with Kent State for the second worst team in the conference behind only 0-5 Miami. They now look forward to next week to play the top team in the East Division, Ohio University.

“I’ve got an idea that this is the way it is going to be the rest of the year. I think we’re going to be in dog fights week in and week out,” Jinks said. “You’re always looking for things to grow on.”