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Defense looks to lead Falcons

An overlooked aspect of the surge in the Falcon football season (6-2, 4-1 in conference) has been the consistent play of the defense.

Week in and week out, the offense is given all the glory and hype with the big numbers they put up, but the BG defenders have done a solid job preventing opposing teams from staying in games.

After a rocky start to the season, the Falcons rank second in the Mid-American Conference in scoring defense, allowing 20.4 points per game. That number is especially impressive considering the offense is leading the conference in scoring with 41.4 points per game, resulting in opposing teams getting late scores when the game is out of reach.

Facing Western Michigan (1-7, 0-5) Saturday, the BG defense lines up against an offense that shows flashes of brilliance, but often self destructs.

They are second to last in the conference with 23 turnovers and last in turnover margin at -1.62 per game. Their troubles keeping the ball have resulted in several close losses, including last week against Central Michigan. CMU trailed by 14 points heading into the fourth quarter only to rally to tie the score and win in overtime, 24-21. A WMU fumble on their own 25-yard line led to the Chippewas tying the game at the end of regulation.

“Western Michigan is a talented team,” said BG head coach Gregg Brandon. “Offensively, they can light you up at the drop of a hat. Their problem is they can’t take care of the football.”

The Broncos feature an offense that thrives off the passing game. Quarterback Ryan Cubit has thrown for 1,739 passing yards and 14 touchdowns, but his 10 interceptions has shut down quality drives. Wide receiver Greg Jennings ranks third in the conference in receiving yards per game with 100.5 and has 55 receptions for 804 yards and eight touchdowns on the year.

“Jennings is probably the best guy we’ve seen at wide receiver since Mark Clayton at Oklahoma,” said BG secondary coach Vance Joseph. “(Western Michigan) is going to put the ball up in the air. Their running game is very average. We’ve got to keep them in long yardage and win those long yardage downs.”

The Falcon secondary has been prone to giving up the big play and must prevent Jennings from stretching the field.

“We just have to play better within the scheme,” Joseph said. “We blew two coverage’s last week (against Eastern Michigan). We’ve just got to play better and not blow any coverage’s and be more consistent on third and fourth downs.”

The game kicks off at 1 p.m. in Doyt L. Perry Stadium.

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