Golden arms

Tonight’s game between Bowling Green and the Miami RedHawks will feature a matchup between two of the best college quarterbacks that not too many people know about.

Josh Harris for BG and Ben Roethlisberger for Miami.

Roethlisberger is in his third year as the RedHawks starting quarterback and owns numerous school and conference passing records.

“He has a cannon for an arm. He can zip it in there,” said BG head coach Gregg Brandon. “You think you’ve got a guy covered, and boom, the ball’s there.”

Harris is entering his second full season as the Falcons’ starting quarterback. He is currently ranked third in the country in total offense with 334.4 yards per game and is close to breaking numerous school passing records. His performance against Northern Illinois on Oct. 25 in front of a national television audience helped him gain some recognition from the national media.

Harris is not getting caught up in the quarterback matchup.

“I don’t really need to prepare to beat Ben Roethlisberger or the offense,” Harris said. “I’m focused on playing well against their defense and that’s what I’m going to take care of.”

While the quarterback matchup captures the majority of the attention, both teams have a number of other weapons that can make a difference. Brandon knows that he has to be prepared for more than just Roethlisberger.

“He [Roethlisberger] has some quality players, just like we do,” Brandon said. “They run good routes, and they run a good scheme and they know how to get open.”

The Falcons were hoping the extra three days between games would help in getting some of their injured players back on the field. One player in particular Brandon is hoping to get back is defensive back Michael Malone, who sustained an ankle injury against Ohio State on Sept. 20.

One surprise return for the Falcons was defensive lineman Rick Mauer. Mauer broke his ankle in the season opener against Eastern Kentucky and was believed to be lost for the season. He returned to action last week against Northern Illinois.

The Falcons head into tonight’s game in a similar situation to what they were in one year ago.

Last year they went into their ninth game of the season with an 8-0 record ranked 16th and 20th in the two major college football polls. This year they take a 7-1 record and rankings of 15th and 20th down to Oxford to take on the RedHawks.

The Falcons and RedHawks are the last two teams in the Mid-American Conference that are undefeated in conference play. Both teams are holding onto slim leads in their respective divisions.

The Falcons are coming off a win in front of a national television audience and the second-largest crowd in Doyt Perry Stadium history. Tonight’s game will once again be seen across the nation on ESPN2. However, this time the crowd will not be on the Falcon’s side. Brandon does not believe the Miami crowd will have an adverse effect on his team.

“I think our kids have experienced just about everything there is to experience in college football,” Brandon said. “We’ve been on the road in a hostile environment and won. We’ve played in front of over 110,000 and barely lost. We played at home [against Northern Illinois] and I couldn’t hear. I don’t think there’s much that will surprise our guys right now. We are a poised, veteran football team that’s shown up week after week, and I credit our seniors and our captains for getting that done.”

Kickoff for the game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.