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Falcons’ wings clipped

At the beginning of the season there was some big talk surrounding the Falcons. A MAC Championship, a Heisman candidate, even the possibility of going undefeated and being a BCS contender.

Now?

The team is coming off a loss to the Akron Zips, 24-14, their confidence is shaken to the core and the coach is talking about how hard they have to work to beat the 1-7 Kent State Golden Flashes.

To put it simply, it was not a pleasant Saturday at the Doyt.

“We’re not a very good football team right now,” coach Gregg Brandon said after the loss. “For whatever reason, we’re just not getting it done.”

The loss puts the MAC East up for grabs, with four teams tied for first with 3-2 conference records – Bowling Green, Akron, Miami and Ohio.

The Falcons opened the game promisingly, with a 65 yard drive down the field. However, Anthony Turner, playing for the injured Omar Jacobs, threw an interception at the Akron one.

“He played like a Freshman,” said Brandon when asked to assess his quarterback’s performance.

Turner passed for 173 yards, completing 22 of 30 passes. The coaching staff decided to scale back the offense severely to take pressure off of the redshirt freshman, and it showed with his longest pass being 20 yards to senior Steve Sanders.

The biggest moments of the game were two consecutive goal-line stands – one by the Falcons’ offense and one by the Falcons’ defense.

In the third quarter, with the Falcons down by three, Bowling Green was able to drive the ball 85 yards to the Akron one.

On fourth and goal coach Brandon decided to run the ball and go for the score instead of kicking what could have been a tying field-goal.

“I wasn’t interested in kicking there,” said Brandon after the game. “I thought we had momentum.”

Pope fought to get across the line on the second effort. However, it was ruled he fumbled the ball at the 1-yard-line and Akron jumped on it in the endzone for a touchback.

The play was reviewed and the call was upheld.

“I thought I reached the ball over the plane and then it got knocked out, Pope said. “But, that is not my decision to make. We’ve got to fight through that.”

On Akron’s ensuing drive they were able to reach Bowling Green’s one-yard-line and also went for the touchdown on fourth and one.

The Falcons weren’t able to keep their running back, Brett Biggs out of the endzone. The score stretched to 17-7 and whatever remaining confidence the Falcons had was destroyed.

“It killed us,” Brandon said. “That was the game.”

There were many phases of the game where the Falcons underperformed, especially the usual suspects, run defense and special teams.

Akron running back, Biggs, went into the game averaging only 78.1 yards-per-game and was able to run for 69 by the end of the first quarter. He ended with 159 yards on the ground.

“We still struggle to tackle,” Brandon said. “That’s been a problem for us defensively all year. We’re just not a very good fundamental football team right now.”

Brandon also didn’t pull any punches when talking about the special teams.

“The field position killed us in the second half,” he said. “Our kicking game is still not getting it done.”

With almost six minutes to go the Falcons were trailing by a field-goal and had a chance to drive down the field. However, their conservative play calling caught up to them and a series of short passes along the sideline weren’t successful and the Falcons were forced to punt.

The Zips then scored a touchdown on their ensuing drive.

“We’re just not a good football team and we’re going to have to work really really hard to have a chance to beat Kent,” said Brandon.

‘#160;

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