BG wins ugly against Eagles

YPSILANTI, Mich. — It was not the best game the Bowling Green football team has played this season, but in the end BG managed to come away with a 33-20 victory over Eastern Michigan Saturday night.

“We were flat. We came off a tough road win at Western [Michigan] and we saw a team on film that we felt we could dominate … the kids saw it, we all saw it, and we came in, and we were flat,” said BG head coach Gregg Brandon.

The Falcons were never able to put last-place EMU away, the Eagles — 27 point underdogs — never trailed by more than 16 points and held the Falcons to seven points in the second half.

“Everybody expected us to blow them out, win by 60,” Brandon said. “The kids are disappointed, they know they didn’t play good. We’ll learn from it and move on.”

The Eagles found most of their offensive success on the ground.

Tailback Anthony Sherrell gained 187 yards in 33 carries and scored a touchdown to lead the EMU offensive effort. “I knew that back [Sherrell] was a good back, and he got off on us. He did a nice job today and they created some problems for us in the running game,” Brandon said.

The Falcons started the game looking like they were ready to win by 60 points. They took the opening kickoff and drove 80 yards in 7 plays to go up 7-0 on a one-yard touchdown run by P.J. Pope at the 13:19 mark of the first quarter. The Falcons never faced a third down on their opening drive thanks to big runs by Pope and quarterback Josh Harris. Harris ran on back-to-back plays for gains of 11 and 20 yards respectively to move into EMU territory.

Two plays later Pope ran the ball 28 yards to the EMU one-yard line, setting up his touchdown run on the next play.

The Eagles reached into their bag of tricks on the ensuing drive. They caught the Falcons off guard with a fake punt that went for 21 yards to the BG 43-yard line when punter David Rysko connected with tight end Adam Jacobs. Two plays later quarterback Chinedu Okoro connected with Kevin Zureki for a 40-yard touchdown to tie the score at 7. The Eagles executed a number of trick plays against the Falcons, something Brandon expected to happen.

“What was disappointing is we were not able to stop those [trick plays]” Brandon said. “They ran the little flea-flicker thing and the reverses and all that and they had some success with that. They had a nice plan, they prepared well for us, did a good job and we didn’t tackle that back.”

The Falcons continued their success on the ground as backup tailback B.J. Lane carried the ball four times for 55 yards to set up a 20-yard touchdown run by Harris to put the Falcons ahead 14-7.

On their next drive, the Falcons drove to the EMU seven-yard line before stalling and having to settle for a 24-yard field goal by Shaun Suisham to extend their lead to 17-7.

The Eagles put the ball in Sherrell’s hands on the ensuing drive and he accounted for 55 of the 80 yards on the drive, including a three-yard touchdown run to bring the Eagles within three points at 17-14. The Eagles were also aided by Falcon penalties on the drive; gaining 15 yards on a pass interference call and 3 yards on a personal foul inside the 10-yard line.

The Falcons found success in their passing game for the first time on the ensuing drive. Harris completed four out of four passes for 48 yards on the drive and capped it off with a four-yard touchdown run to put the Falcons ahead 23-14 after a missed extra point. The Falcons added a 23-yard field goal with 22 seconds left in the second quarter to take a 26-14 lead into halftime.

The Eagles continued their success on the ground in the second half as Sherell gained 100 yards on 19. However, the Falcons kept the Eagles out of the endzone and added a third rushing touchdown from Harris to take home a 33-20 victory. Even though the score was closer than he would have liked it to be, Brandon was happy to get out of EMU with a win.

“We didn’t really put them away like maybe we anticipated we should,” Brandon said. “But, shoot, we won the darn game, and I’m happy as a pig in slop about that.”

The Falcons ran the ball at will against the Eagles, finishing with 305 yards rushing. The ground attack was led by P.J. Pope, who finished with 122 yards on 22 carries.

“I pretty much come in every week expecting to carry a load,” Pope said. “It just depends on how many carries I get. I just go out there and try to run hard.”