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National spotlight shines on Falcons

Going into tonight’s primetime matchup between two of the top mid-major football programs in the country, Bowling Green and Boise State, there seems to be a few things the opposing coaches can agree on. Their defensive coordinators want a low scoring game and both teams need to play better than they have in their respective games this season.

The Falcons have given up 87 points in the first two games this season and had five turnovers in their victory at Ball State.

“We really stress ball security and that is probably the most disappointing thing,” said coach Gregg Brandon after the game against the Cardinals.

The Falcons, however, have had a lot to be proud of offensively. They have posted 42 and 40 points respectively against Wisconsin and Ball State. Jacobs threw for a career-high 458 passing yards against the Cardinals.

Boise State has struggled a little more offensively this season, but they are one of the most prolific scoring teams in college football. That is thanks in large part to the two men lining up under center – Omar Jacobs at BG and Jared Zabransky at Boise State.

Zabransky struggled in the opening game against Georgia, throwing four interceptions and fumbling twice before being benched in the second quarter. However, he rebounded with a 19-of-36 performance for 233 yards and three TDs in the loss against Oregon State.

“We’re a long ways away on offense,” said Boise coach Dan Hawkins.

Hawkins said he wouldn’t mind seeing an offensive showdown, because he knows that the Falcons can light up the scoreboard and he wants to see his team follow suit.

Boise State is 87th in the country in scoring offense this year.

“We feel confident about moving our offense on a lot of the defenses we play,” said Zabransky. “We need to establish ourselves … for us to put a lot of points on the board.”

Coach Gregg Brandon said he has a lot of respect for Hawkins team and especially their talented quarterback.

“They’ve got a veteran quarterback, Zabransky, who is a very good player,” he said. “He runs their offense very well at a high level.”

After being practically run over by the size and speed of Wisconsin coach Brandon said he looks forward to playing an extremely skilled team that is comparable to Bowling Green in the areas of size, speed and athleticism.

“I think they are very similar to us. You look at their two-deep, size-wise and what they’re playing with is very comparable to what we’re playing with, so I think it will be a good matchup.”

However, for Bowling Green to be successful they will need their defense to step up to a level they have yet to reach yet. They need to put pressure on Zabransky and the secondary needs to keep from giving up the kind of big plays that they surrendered to an inferior Ball State club.

Nose guard and team captain Mike Thaler, senior, thinks that the defense will be ready for an offensive minded team like Boise because they will look somewhat familiar.

“We play against a great offense everyday in practice,” said Thaler. “I think we have to use that experience to our advantage.”

Coach Hawkins looks forward to the daunting task of trying to solve the puzzle that is containing Omar Jacobs.

The variety of options in the system is part of the reason that Jacobs, with his career passer rating of 170.22, is on pace to eclipse the all-time NCAA mark of 168.79, held by former Boise State QB Ryan Dinwiddie.

“He finds the guy that is most open and then he gives the guy an opportunity to catch it and run with it,” said Hawkins. “He doesn’t throw a bad ball. He never throws a ball that isn’t catchable. He’s very well oiled and very well schooled and very well coached.”

Jacobs, as flattered as he may be with the praise and attention he will be getting on the nationally televised game doesn’t bother himself with what kind of offensive pace he is on.”I don’t set TD goals. They call the plays and I run them. I just want to win games.”

Not Again: Coach Brandon didn’t want to hear that the Broncos have the longest home winning streak in the country, although he didn’t mind the result the last time he got similar news. “Before we played Ball State somebody told me that Bowling Green had not won a MAC road opener since 1996, and I said, ‘Oh, great. That’s just what I need to hear before the start of the game.’ The Falcons won that game 40-31.

Another standout freshman: Freshman Calvin Wiley has entered the two-deep depth chart as the primary backup at strong safety behind Deaudre Perry. Although the Falcons have some injury concerns he wasn’t elevated because of injuries.

“No, (it isn’t because of injuries). He’s another good young freshman,” Brandon said.

To the kicker goes the spoils: Coach Brandon has been giving Nate Fry reps at PATs and field goals, but he hasn’t won the job outright.

“Whomever does the best job in the next eight days will kick,” he said on Sept. 13.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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