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April 18, 2024

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In ‘do or die’ game, Falcons claim victory

You could forgive the Falcon defense if there was a sense of, “here we go again.”

Two weeks ago star quarterback Omar Jacobs was tackled on a play, injuring his shoulder which forced him out of the Western Michigan game.

Saturday Anthony Turner was forced out of the game with the score tied 7-7 after taking a series of hard hits. But, instead of falling apart, like they did against WMU, they banded together and defeated the Kent State Golden Flashes 24-14 at Dix Stadium.

“Once we saw AT go down we got around as a defense and told each other, ‘We got to win the game on this side of the ball,'” said Terrel White, who had seven tackles and one-and-a-half sacks. “We wouldn’t count on the offense to win … That just made us want to play harder.”

They not only played harder, they hit harder.

“I thought our DBs were hitting like torpedoes today,” said coach Gregg Brandon after the game.

The Falcons played like their season depended on it.

“The mindset was do or die,” senior Mike Thaler said.

Coming in for Turner was Van Johnson, who was a reserve quarterback prior to this season, where he has played as a defensive back. He kept the drive alive and it culminated in a go ahead field goal by Joe Timchenko, his first of the season.

The Falcons did not trail the rest of the game

However, if Johnson was to get hurt Brandon wasn’t sure what he would do.

“I was wondering if I was going to have to put Stud [offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa] in to play quarterback.”

Johnson played five plays under center until Turner was ready to return and Brandon praised his young quarterback for having the guts to come back in the game.

“Anthony is a really tough guy,” Brandon said. “I asked him ‘What can you do?’ and he said ‘Anything you want coach.'”

“He’s a heck of a young man and he deserves everything he gets right now.”

Turner led the Falcons to two more scores – a rollout one-yard touchdown pass to receiver Ruben Ruiz and a three yard quarterback sneak.

With the win, coupled with Akron, who held a tiebreaker over BG, losing to Ball State the Falcons once again control their own destiny going into their next game against the Miami RedHawks.

“I said all along, at the beginning of the season, if we’re going to win a championship we have to beat Miami,” Brandon said. “A lot of preseason hype, we haven’t lived up to expectations for whatever reasons. But you know what, our guys are focused and got it done to the point where we are still, hype or no hype, we’re still playing for a championship.”

Bowling Green, known the last few years for their offensive prowess, only had 282 yards of total offense, including 113 passing yards.

Thirty-six of those passing yards came on one trick play, when Turner threw a backwards pass to receiver Corey Partridge, who then heaved the ball down the field to a wide open PJ Pope.

Although the offense didn’t deliver big numbers they put up just enough because the Falcon defense played fast, hard and smart.

BG only gave up only 25 rushing yards, forced two fumbles and had an interception.

“We really did a nice job putting pressure on the quarterback,” said Brandon.

That pressure on KSU’s Michael Machen not only led to an interception, but also five sacks and many hurried throws that fell incomplete.

“You see a quarterback there, he gets quick feet … once you see that you get an extra little taste in your stomach and you want to go get him,” Thaler said.

However, Kent State coach Doug Martin doesn’t lay blame on his quarterback’s feet. He sees a young resilient team trying to get better, but dealing with an unprecedented number of injuries.

“He threw for 222 yards and had two TDs. That’s not bad for having no offensive line, receivers or a running back,” Martin said.

The Falcons were again without the services of quarterback Omar Jacobs, but no one knew if he would start until the opening kick. In pre-game warm ups Jacobs was in pads and participated in throwing drills. When the game started however, he was still in uniform but had taken the pads off.

When asked if Jacobs could have played today Brandon’s answer was a firm no. When asked if he could play in the Falcon’s next game against Miami (OH) his answer was less committal.

“He’s getting better everyday,” said Brandon. “We’ll continue to evaluate his progress and we’ve got a little longer week of prep this week so I think that will help him, too.”

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