BGSU ends 2022 season with loss in Quick Lane Bowl


BGSU Quarterback Camden Orth looks for a target during the 2022 Quick Lane Bowl against New Mexico State. PHOTO: Mallory Hiser, BGSU Athletics

Steve Iwanek, Falcon Media Sports Network

BGSU Football ended the 2022 season with a 24-19 loss at the 2022 Quick Lane Bowl yesterday against the New Mexico State Aggies. 

The Aggies, out of the Western Athletic Conference and transitioning to the Conference USA beginning next season, jumped out to a 17-0 lead at the beginning of the third quarter, their largest lead of the game, behind two first-half touchdown tosses from quarterback Diego Pavia to receivers Star Thomas and Eric Marsh. 

BG got off to an extremely tough start, as after an opening drive interception, on the next drive, senior quarterback and captain Matt McDonald suffered a concussion after a late hit out of bounds, knocking him out of his final game of his collegiate career. 

This led to The Camden Orth Show.

After being blanked in the first half, the scoring got underway for the orange and brown. Responding to a 35-yard field goal by Aggie kicker Ethan Albertson to open the third quarter,  BG’s Ta’Ron Keith decided to help out his young quarterback, taking back the kickoff 75 yards to cut the deficit to 10 at 17-7. 

The Aggies responded however, as with three minutes left in the third, Ahmonte Watkins showed off his 100-meter dash speed, blazing through the teeth of the Falcon defense for a 45 yard touchdown run to put NMSU up 24-7 heading into the fourth. 

This is where Orth and the entire Falcon offense came alive. 

Mason Lawler began the fourth quarter with a confidence-boosting 49 yard field goal to cut the Aggie lead to 14 at 24-10. Lawler previously in the game had missed two field goals from 49 and 41.

Later, after a critical fumble by BG’s Odieu Hilaire at the Aggie four yard line, the special teams continued to step up, as after the Falcon defense forced a three and out, Davion Daniels snuck into the backfield on fourth down and blocked a punt, sending the ball out of the back of the endzone for a safety. 

With the score at 24-12, BG needed a score, and boy did they get one, as with just under six and half minutes to go, Orth ripped a pass over the middle to Tyrone Broden, whose second and third efforts carried his 6’7 frame into the endzone to make things interesting at 24-19. 

However, Pavia wreaked havoc for the BG third down defense all game long, and would do so one more time, as the Aggies went on a game-sealing drive thanks in large part to four third down conversions to ice the game and the season. 

A painful loss for the senior class, head coach Scot Loeffler wanted this win to send off his hard working leaders the right way. 

“Our objective in this game was to win this game for the seniors,” Loeffler said. “It’s very disappointing in terms of falling short because these guys have been through a lot. We – they helped us move the needle of our program. It’s the first time we’ve been to a bowl game in a while and obviously, we wanted to win this game to springboard into ’23.”

For New Mexico State, this was the first bowl win in his coaching career for head coach Jerry Kill, but the work for the Aggies remains his top priority. 

“Oh, we’re going to continue to improve, there’s no doubt about that,” Kill said. “We’ll continue to get better, but it’s a whole different team next year, and a whole different – can they have the same type of culture? Can they have the same – what this team had? You just don’t know, but I said it’d take three or four years to get where we want.”

Orth finished in his unexpected “start” 14 of 22 for 191 yards and a touchdown, a very impressive impromptu performance for a quarterback aiming to be the starter for the 2023-24 season. 

Keith ended his sophomore campaign with 152 scrimmage yards, including the kick return for the touchdown in the third quarter. Senior tight end Christian Sims ended his Falcon tenure with four catches for 56 yards. 

BGSU ends the season officially at 6-7, but made significant strides towards becoming a consistent winner once again in the Mid-American Conference, with wins over fellow bowl game qualifiers Marshall and Miami, and the memorable road win over arch-rival Toledo.

The Falcons open up next season on the road on Sept. 2 at Liberty.