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Injuries hurting BGSU

Falcons are used to flying and so is the football team’s offense.

Throwing passes majestically through the air, putting together big plays and putting up big points.

But if the Falcons execute their game plan successfully, they may resemble something more like a hog – getting down and dirty in the mud and grinding it out on the ground.

The offense hasn’t been able to do the things they were used to in previous seasons, largely because of injured receivers, said coach Gregg Brandon.

“That is who we are,” Brandon said.

Redshirt freshman Marques Parks is out for the year after suffering a broken leg in the Western Michigan game. Another redshirt freshman, Corey Partridge, has been bothered by injuries to both shoulders since his breakout game in Wisconsin that opened the season. In that game, Partridge had eight catches for 160 yards and scored a touchdown. In the six games he has played since Wisconsin, he has only had an additional 99 yards.

Without receivers to take pressure off senior mainstays Charles Sharon and Steve Sanders, the passing game was suffering, and then All-MAC quarterback Omar Jacobs separated his shoulder.

“We’re not a juggernaut scoring machine right now because we don’t have the weapons we’re used to,” Brandon said. “We have to find ways to get it done.”

The way the coaching staff has decided to get it done, it seems, is by utilizing their improving ground game.

“We’ve tried to do the things we do well. We feel we can run the football,” he said.

And with the combination of a healthier P.J. Pope, a still effective B.J. Lane and the athleticism of Anthony Turner, the running game is going to be vital to the Falcons’ success Saturday against Kent State and in the future.

Against Akron, Lane, Pope and Turner all ran for 60 yards or more, and together they totaled 193 yards, the team’s second best rushing output of the season behind their 200- yard performance in Buffalo.

A key ingredient to the running game is the continued and improved health of senior running back P.J. Pope. It has been a frustrating senior season for Pope who has been hampered by ankle injuries for much of the year.

His 63 rushing yards against Akron, to go with 39 receiving yards, was his best performance of the season.

“It definitely felt good to finally get back in and contribute,” Pope said after the game. “But, I would trade that for a win.”

Brandon said that having Pope back was a big reason the Falcons, who played a conservative offensive passing game, were in the game in the fourth quarter.

“You saw what it did,” he said of having Pope back in the lineup. “We had a chance in the fourth quarter to win the game.”

Indeed, before the season began, and before Pope was hampered with injuries Brandon said that Pope, not quarterback Omar Jacobs, was probably the best player on offense.

And now that Brandon has two healthy backs and the young Turner at quarterback, he can utilize some plays that have been neglected in his offensive scheme. And with a mobile quarterback like Turner the team can use plays that haven’t been used much since Josh Harris was in brown and orange.

“I think AT [Anthony Turner] reminds a lot of people of Josh with his running style,” said Pope. “So, I think the running game is definitely clicking right now.”

However, he warned that there is still a lot of work to be done.

“We just have to put it all back together and get some victories,” he said.

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