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February 22, 2024

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A look ahead: previewing BGSU Football’s 2023-24 schedule

Highlights of the schedule include trips to Michigan, Georgia Tech; team to host Toledo Nov. 14
Drake Harlett

Week 1: 9/2 @ Liberty 

Bowling Green kicks off their 2023 season with a road matchup against the Conference-USA’s newest member: the Liberty Flames 

After an 8-5 finish and a Boca Raton Bowl berth in 2022, Liberty Head Coach Hugh Freeze took off for greener pastures in the form of the SEC’s Auburn Tigers. In steps Jamey Chadwell, who was formerly the head coach of Coastal Carolina (2019-22). He did some very impressive things down in Conway, SC, winning just about every coach of the year award following the 2020 season, where he turned around a 5-7 (2-6 Sun Belt) Chanticleers team, leading them to an 11-1 (8-0 SBC) record and a Cure Bowl berth, where they ironically lost to Hugh Freeze’s Liberty team. Chadwell went 39-22 (24-16 SBC) in his four seasons at Coastal and took his team to the Sun Belt Championship twice, winning once.  

Last season, Liberty was right around the middle of college football in scoring offense. They put up 27.5 points per contest, ranking them 71st out of 131 FBS teams. Last season’s team relied more on the run game, ranking 88th in passing yards per game and 51st in rushing yards. Coach Chadwell will bring a more balanced offensive attack (60th in Rushing YPG, 53rd in Passing YPG).  

Defense was their strong suit in 2022, ranking just outside the top 50 in scoring defense at 24.6 ppg (53rd out of 131). Their specialty was shutting teams down through the air, ranking 25th in passing yards allowed/game at just under 200 passing yards per game.  

This Flames team has something to play for and will come out swinging Week 1, where they will likely honor freshman offensive lineman Tajh Boyd, who passed away over the summer. – Rhys Patrykus 

Flames to watch: 

  • Quarterback Jonathan Bennett – Like Bowling Green, Liberty hasn’t announced their starter for September 2nd’s game, but don’t be surprised if Bennett is the one who starts the game for the Flames. He’s been with the team the longest, led the team in passing last season, and is looked at as a leader by the team. Jon Manson of, a website dedicated to covering Liberty athletics, projects Bennett to be under center for the first snap of Week 1.  
  • Wide Receiver Noah Frith – With last year’s leading receiver, Demario Douglas, now in the NFL, look for Frith to be a key player for Liberty. He was second in receiving yards in 2022 with 444 yards on 25 receptions.  
  • The running back room – Expect Liberty to feature a RB by committee look for Week 1. It looked for a minute like 2022’s leading rusher, Dae Dae Hunter, would be back for 2023 after he pulled his name out of the transfer portal back in January. In April, just three months later, he was back in the portal, where he still sits now. Shedro Louis, who finished 2nd on the team, left for Tulane. The player with the most rushing yards last season that’s still rostered? That would be Senior Malik Caper, who ran 18 times for 32 yards and a touchdown. They did add some help through the portal in Wake Forest transfer Quinton Cooley, who ran for 246 yards and three touchdowns on 51 carries. The only other upperclassman in the running back room is Junior Russian Williams, who only has one career carry for three yards from 2021. 


Falcon History vs Liberty 

BGSU leads series 1-0 

Last meeting: 9/13/2003, BGSU won 62-3 


Week 2: 9/9 vs Eastern Illinois 

The home opener for the Falcons on Sept. 9, Eastern Illinois comes into this game as the only FCS school on BG’s schedule.  

Eastern Illinois enters this season after finishing last year with a 2-9 record. They got a taste of the Mid-American Conference a year ago as they started their season against Northern Illinois, losing a close battle, 34-27. 

They have proven that they can compete against MAC teams on the road. Quarterback Pierce Holley transferred to EIU this past off season. He was previously at Georgetown, where he put up great numbers. In 2022, Holley threw for 2,866 yards and 18 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. Holley is looking to turn this struggling offense around, and with his skills I’m sure he’ll be able to do so. 

On defense, the redshirt sophomore, Collin Tyson, made a name for himself in the spring game. Tyson picked off Holley twice and showed really good promise for this overall young team. – Sean Connelly 

Players to watch: 

  • Pierce Holley – As mentioned above, Holley saw something in this team and transferred here to try and build an explosive offense and it all starts with him. He had a fantastic 2022 season and he’s only ready to build on it even more 


Falcon History vs EIU 

Last meeting: No previous meeting 


Week 3: 9/16 @ Michigan 

For the second time in three years, Bowling Green has a Big Ten opponent in their non-conference schedule. Last time, back in 2021, it worked out pretty well in the Falcons’ favor, besting Minnesota in one of the biggest upsets (against the spread) in recent memory. 

This time may be a little different.  

Michigan is the reigning Big Ten champion and is coming off their second College Football Playoff berth in as many years, though they still haven’t won a playoff game yet. They’re ranked second in the country according to the Associated Press.  

What Bowling Green has going for them is Michigan’s head coach, Jim Harbaugh, won’t be on the sidelines due to a self-imposed three-game suspension due to a recruiting violation.  

In what will be a homecoming for Scot Loeffler, who played and spent the beginning of his coaching career as a graduate assistant for Michigan, how do these two teams match up?   

Last season, Michigan had the sixth best scoring offense in all of college football, scoring over 40 points per game. Most of those points came from the ground attack via the dynamic duo of Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards. How much of Corum will be seen in Week 3 is up in the air, as he still is recovering from a torn ACL suffered last season, but will also have two weeks of practice and games to get back up to speed.

Michigan’s rushing attack ranked fifth in the FBS, at just over 220 rushing yards/game. The passing attack, while not as good, can still be explosive. Junior quarterback JJ McCarthy had almost 3,000 yards last season, along with 22 touchdowns and just five interceptions. 

Defensively, it was about the same. The Wolverines ranked seventh in the country in scoring defense (16.1 ppg) and run defense (97.9 YPG), while placing 20th in defense against the pass (194.2 YPG).  

It remains to be seen how the Wolverines will handle the adversity of not having their head coach on the sidelines, and of any year this is the year for Bowling Green to get it done. – Rhys Patrykus 

Wolverines to watch: 

  • Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards – Arguably the best backfield in the country combined for almost 2,500 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns last year. With Corum still rehabbing from a torn ACL suffered last season vs Illinois, look for Michigan to use Edwards more in Week 3 as the Wolverines will want to save their bellcow for conference play. While Corum is the clear #1, Edwards is no slouch. He ran for 991 yards and seven touchdowns on 140 carries. He closed out the 2022-23 season with three straight 100-yard rushing performances, including a 216 yard, two touchdown performance against Ohio State.  
  • Linebacker Junior Colson – Colson led the team in tackles (101) as a sophomore and tied for fifth on the team in sacks (2). After losing some key defensive players to the transfer portal and draft, the Wolverines will be looking for the former four-star recruit to step up even more than he did last year.  

Falcon History vs Michigan 

Michigan leads series 2-0 

Last meeting: 9/25/2010, Michigan won 65-21 


Week 4: 9/23 vs Ohio 

Week 4 for the Falcons has them hosting the Ohio Bobcats for the homecoming game. And playing the Bobcats this early will be a bit of unfamiliar territory. This will be the earliest BG has played Ohio since 2006. The Falcons played Ohio in the final game of the season last year, where Ohio defeated Bowling Green 38-14.  

Tim Albin enters his 3rd year now as the head football coach in Athens. But he’s been on the staff since 2005. Marking this as his 19th year coaching the Bobcats in some form. In 2022, the Bobcats finished with a 10-4 record, marking it as the first 10 win season since 2011 and the second best turnaround in college football. 

Ohio reached the MAC championship a year ago. They also earned themselves a spot in the Arizona bowl, where they defeated Wyoming 30-27 in overtime.  

Last season the Bobcat offense ranked 41st in the country, while the defense ranked 81st out of 131 FBS teams. – Sean Connelly 

Bobcats to watch: 

  • Quarterback Kurtis Rourke – Rourke suffered a season ending ACL injury late in the year. Before the injury, he led them to a 8-4 record. If the season is slow for him to start with his injury, backup CJ Harris will take the throne. He started for the Bobcats in three games last season, one of which was the Arizona bowl, which resulted in a win. 
  • Running Back Sieh Bangura – Bangura was the starter last season and rushed for 1,078 with 13 TD’s. The Oline as a whole has veterans in place to make this run game one of the top in the MAC. 
  • Wide Receiver Sam Wiglusz – The standout receiver who originally committed to play for the Buckeyes had a stellar 2022 season. Played in all 14 games while leading the team in catches with 78 and yards with 877, all for 11 TD’s 

Falcon History vs Ohio 

BG leads the series 41-31-2 

Last meeting: 11/22/22, Ohio won 38-14 


Week 5: 9/30 @ Georgia Tech 

After a brief stop in the conference for homecoming, Bowling Green heads south to Atlanta to face the ACC’s Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. 

The Yellow Jackets had some improvement between last season and the season before. A 5-7 record won’t jump off the page, but it’s still an improvement.  

Jeff Sims, the dual-threat quarterback, who led GT in passing last year, took off for Matt Rhule’s team in Nebraska. So, they replaced him with a former four-star and Texas A&M transfer Haynes King, who was named the Yellow Jackets’ starter on Aug. 22. King completed 55% of his passes last season, totaling 1,220 yards to go with seven touchdowns and six interceptions.  

The big problem for Georgia Tech is that every leader in each major stat category left in some way, shape, or form. As previously mentioned, Jeff Sims is now at Nebraska. Hassan Hall, who led the team in rushing, left for the NFL. The team’s leading receiver, Nate McCollum, transferred to ACC rival North Carolina. The team leaders in tackles and sacks also went pro.  

Tech will have to rely on newcomers (GT added 16 transfers this offseason) and players who aren’t as experienced to lead the way in a scoring offense and defense that both placed in the bottom half of the FBS in points scored (17.2 PPG, 125th out of 131) and allowed (28.4 PPG, 84th out of 131) per game. – Rhys Patrykus 

Yellow Jackets to watch: 

  • Quarterback Haynes King – The TAMU transfer got the starting nod for week one against Georgia. Formerly the seventh best dual threat QB in the country last year, he’s in the right system to showcase his athleticism. Jeff Sims ran 87 times for over 300 yards last year.  
  • Running Back Dontae Smith – Smith ranked second on the team in rushing last year and is one of the few rollovers from last season. He ran for 420 yards on 87 carries and led the team with five rushing touchdowns. 4.8 yards per carry is a great starting point for him to build off of.  


Falcon History vs Georgia Tech 

Georgia Tech leads series 1-0 

Last meeting: 9/29/18, GT won 63-17 


Week 6: 10/7 @ Miami (OH) 

The Falcons head down to Oxford to begin official MAC play, with a date versus the Miami RedHawks. The RedHawks are coming off of a 6-7 2022 season with an appearance in the Bahamas Bowl, where they lost 24-20 to UAB.  

Head coach Chuck Martin is now entering his 10th year in Oxford, and has no signs of slowing down, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Quarterback Brett Gabbert is back after missing most of last season with an injury. Gabbert had a tremendous 2021 season and now is back ready to lead this offense to a big year. The RedHawk offense ranked 113th overall in total offense last season and Gabbert is ready to improve that this fall. 

The Redhawk defense however, is coming off of a great year where they ranked 35th in the country for total defense and #1 in scoring defense. Almost all parts of the front seven are returning this season. Brian Ugwu and Corey Suttle are amongst that group, eager to return to a group that should be one of the best in the MAC. 

The key to this season for the RedHawks is the run game. Miami only averaged 3.8 yards per carry last year and didn’t surpass the 2,000 yard mark for the season. However, when it worked, it showed, as Miami was 5-1 last season when running the ball for more than 120 yards and 1-6 when they didn’t. – Sean Connelly 

RedHawks to watch:  

  • Linebacker Matthew Solapek – Solapek is a part of that stellar defense and he does a little bit of everything. He finished second last season in tackles with 124.  
  • Quarterback Brett Gabbert – After missing most of last season, Gabbert is eager to get back on the field. In 2021 Gabbert threw for 2,648 yards for 26 TD’s and only six interceptions. He started last season right where he left off throwing for four touchdowns and no interceptions before his injury. Now, he’s back at full strength and ready to compete for a MAC title. 

Falcon History vs Miami (OH) 

Miami leads series 46-25-5 

Last meeting: 10/15/22, BGSU won 17-13 


Week 7: 10/14 @ Buffalo 

Last time the Falcons played at Buffalo, there were fireworks all over the field. Bowling Green hung 50 on the Bulls’ defense, Loeffler was ejected from the game, Matt McDonald, Terion Stewart, Christian Sims, and Jordan Anderson were all over the field. Stewart, who was a true freshman at the time, is now the only one that remains. 

Last year didn’t go the way BG wanted, with Buffalo coming into the Doyt and leaving with a 31-point victory.  

Five Bulls last season placed in the top five in the conference for a specific statistic, those being Cole Snyder (second in passing yards), Justin Marshall (fifth in receiving yards), Shaun Dolac and James Patterson (first and fifth in tackles), and Marcus Fuqua (first in interceptions).  

Scoring wise, Buffalo ranked in the middle of the pack in both offense and defense. The blue and white were 64th out of 131 in scoring offense, coming in at about 28.5 points per game, while defensively, they placed 66th out of 131, allowing around 26.7 points per game.  

The passing game was Buffalo’s bread and butter, placing 62nd in the nation in passing yards per game. But with two young and talented running backs in Ron Cook Jr. and Mike Washington, the rushing attack shouldn’t be discounted either.  – Rhys Patrykus 

Bulls to watch: 

  • Safety Marcus Fuqua – Fuqua went off in coverage last season, pacing the conference with seven interceptions. He was also fourth on the team in tackles in 2022, showing his versatility in the secondary. He’ll be someone to keep an eye on in Week 7, especially if BG attacks through the air.  
  • Linebacker Shaun Dolac – Dolac led the MAC in tackles last season with 148. He’s now back for his senior year and is looking to improve upon that number, and will be doing so without last year’s running mate James Patterson.  

Falcon History vs Buffalo 

BGSU leads series 12-8 

Last meeting: 10/8/22, Buffalo won 38-7 


Week 8: 10/21 vs Akron 

Joe Moorhead is entering his second season at the helm for the Zips. After a rough first season, Moorhead is eager to push the tide in his direction. The Falcons host Akron on the final Saturday game of the year before midweek MACtion begins for both teams. 

While the Zips did end 2022 2-10, they were very competitive, losing five games by one score, one of them being to the Falcons. 

The offense did have their struggles last season though, ranking 107th in total offense, but Moorhead is confident in the quarterback room as he has five guys that are competing for the starting job, three of which are upperclassmen. 

The defense this season should be much improved with a lot of returning parts. The defense ranked 118th last year on defense. But, there was towards the end of the season, as the defense allowed 28 points or fewer in four out of the last six games. Tyson Durant return is huge, as he led the team in picks last season with three. Also keep an eye on KJ Martin and Darrion Lewis, who both also return at the safety position. – Sean Connelly 

Zips to watch: 

  • Safety Darrian Lewis – Lewis is a very young returning safety for this defense. He had a single interception last season and 30 tackles. Him and KJ Martin are two of the most explosive backs in the MAC and they’re ready to make some noise. 
  • Cornerback Tyson Durant – Durant comes back off of a season where he led the team in interceptions with three. He brings with him experience too, as this is his third year starting for the Zips. 

Falcon History vs Akron 

BGSU leads series 19-10 

Last meeting: 10/1/22, BG won 31-28 


Week 9: 11/1 vs Ball State 

For the first time in eight years, Bowling Green and Ball State will match up during conference play.  

After losing many key players to the transfer portal or graduation, Ball State is in line for regression.  

The MAC’s leading rusher, Carson Strong, moved out west and will be playing under Chip Kelly at UCLA. John Paddock, who led the team in passing, moved up as well, joining Bret Bielema’s squad at Illinois. Three of Ball State’s top five receivers graduated. The only two from that list that remain are sophomore tight ends Brady Hunt and Tanner Koziol.

Ranked just inside the top 100 scoring offenses in 2022, Ball State averaged 23.3 points per game, yet still failed to put up more than 20 points five times (10 @ Tennessee, 17 @ CMU, 16 vs EMU, 18 vs Ohio, 17 vs Miami OH).  

Defensively, they are better off. Scoring-wise, the Cardinals ranked near the middle of the FBS, allowing around 26 points per game. Their biggest weakness was stopping the run, where they ranked in the bottom-30 in rushing yards allowed. The secondary was lockdown, ranking inside the top 50 in passing yards allowed at around 216 YPG  

The Cardinals return their top four in sacks last year as well as two of their three top tacklers from 2022. This defensive unit will have plenty of experience all around. – Rhys Patrykus 


Cardinals to watch: 

  • Linebacker Clayton Coll– Coll last season registered 49 tackles, two forced fumbles, and two sacks. His veteran leadership as one of the seniors of the defense will be vital for a Cardinal squad looking to maintain relevancy come November.  

Falcon History vs Ball State 

BGSU leads series 21-9-1 

Last meeting: 11/24/15, BGSU won 48-10 


Week 10: 11/8 @ Kent State 

Kent State will have a new face leading them out of the tunnel this season as Kenni Burns is the head coach now at Kent State, replacing Sean Lewis, who left for the offensive coordinator job with Deion Sanders at Colorado. His departure sure didn’t help, as Kent State has almost no one returning on either side of the ball. 

With a new offensive coordinator at helm, the former BG quarterback is ready to make this Kent State offense explosive. Matt Johnson served as a running backs coach for the Golden Flashes over the past few years and knows the offense and is ready to piece together the assets to make Kent State’s offense better. The offense ranked right in the middle of the pack for total offense, ranking 65th. The OC will have some help to build around with veteran wide receiver Trell Harris being target one. 

On defense, the line will definitely be the most important with transfer Khalil Saunders, who should make an immediate impact when on the field. Another transfer is Devon Nicholson from Missouri, who should have immediate playing time and impact when on the field. Rocco Nicholl has been there long enough for him to understand the system at Kent State. Those three guys should be the key on defense, as a year ago, the defense just cracked the top 100, ranking 90th. 

This Kent State team will look a lot different than a year ago come August 31st. But that doesn’t mean they wont be competitive. The key to their season is running the ball. Ky Thomas is another transfer who ran for 800 plus yards in 2021. Kent State was 5-1 when running the ball for over 4.5 yards per carry. – Sean Connelly 

Golden Flashes to watch: 

  • Running back Ky Thomas – Thomas rushed for 163 yards and ran for two touchdowns at Kansas a year ago. He’s ready to come into this new offense and make an immediate impact. 
  • Cornerback DJ Miller – Miller comes in as one of the older guys on this team. Miller originally played for Iowa State for three years before transferring to Kent State after 2021. Miller played in all 12 games last season. He will be a big help for this defense to find an identity. 

Falcon History vs Kent State 

BGSU leads series 60-24-6 

Last meeting: 11/9/22, KSU won 40-6 


Week 11: 11/14 vs Toledo 

In what is always the biggest game of the year for BG, the Battle of I-75 comes back to Doyt Perry Stadium. 

After last year’s thriller, what should be expected from this one?  

Toledo’s Dequan Finn, who missed last year’s game due to injury, is back for what should be his final year. He paced the Rockets with over 2,200 yards passing, 23 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. He was also second on the team in rushing, racking up 631 yards and nine touchdowns on 130 carries. 

He and Tucker Gleason, who started three games in relief of Finn, paced a Toledo offense that finished 46th in college football in scoring at just over 31 points per game. Toledo also finished top 75 in passing yards and top 50 in rushing yards per game.  

The Rockets return their top two rushers from last season, including Finn, as well as their top two receivers.  

Linebacker and Ohio State transfer Dallas Gant also returns for his senior season. Gant led the team in tackles with 115, which landed him just outside the top five in the conference. Junior defensive back Quinyon Mitchell is also back. Mitchell was one of the top coverage DBs in the nation last year, leading all of FBS in passes defended with 19. Thanks in part to Mitchell, Toledo had the 12th ranked unit against the pass in 2022 and a scoring defense just outside the top-50. 

They hit the transfer portal hard this offseason as well. Toledo added four players through the portal, two of them being four-star prospects. Rhys Patrykus: 

Rockets to watch: 

  • Cornerback Quinyon Mitchell – As previously mentioned, Mitchell was lockdown in 2022. Leading the league in pass breakups/passes defended as only a sophomore in a conference that prefers the ground game is impressive by itself. You add in his five interceptions and it looks even better.  
  • EDGE Travion Ford – Ford is one of those guys picked up by Toledo in the transfer portal. A four-star prospect out of high school, Ford chose to take his talents to the University of Missouri where he saw minimal action. His only stats recorded were two tackles back in 2021 according to ESPN.  
  • Quarterback Dequan Finn – Toledo’s leading passer missed three games last year, including the matchup against Bowling Green. It showed during those games, as Toledo only scored over 30 points in just one of those games, which happened to be the 35 points scored against Bowling Green. Prior to Finn’s injury, Toledo’s offense averaged 37 points per game, and that includes 21 and 14-point performances against Ohio State and San Diego State, two of the top scoring defenses in the country last season. In the following six games, which were started by Gleason or a less-than-hundred percent Finn, the offense only put up 23.7 points per game.  

Falcon History vs Toledo 

Toledo leads series 42-41-4 

Last meeting: 11/15/22, BGSU won 42-35 


Week 12: 11/21 @ Western Michigan 

Western Michigan is another MAC school with a first year head coach. Lance Taylor takes over for Tim Lester, who finished the season 5-7 last year. This season, it’s tough to say what’s going on in Kalamazoo. Not much came in from the transfer portal, but a lot did leave for it too. 

On offense there’s a signal-caller battle between Treyson Bourguet, who can use his feet and Jack Salopek, who led the team in passing a year ago. It will be interesting to see how much transformation this offense will have. Last year, the offense was ranked 119th in the country, so they have a lot to work with. 

On defense, defensive coordinator Lou Esposito has a lot to work with from what he built. Defensive lineman Marshawn Kneeland can really stop the ball on the run. Other than that, the line position will need to be filled as three starters were lost for the portal. However last year, the Broncos were at the top of the MAC when it came to third down stops. A huge part for that is thanks to cornerback Kani-H Lovely, who led the team with four picks and is the best returnee for this defense.

Similar to Kent State, this team is going to look a lot different, but with new head coach Lance Taylor, the Broncos are confident this team can make some noise in the MAC this season.    – Sean Connelly 

Broncos to watch: 

  • Defensive lineman Marshawn Kneeland – As mentioned, Kneeland is one of the best returnees for the Broncos defense and will be a huge asset to stopping the run. Kneeland had 23 solo tackles and 1.5 sacks 
  • Cornerback Kani-H Lovely – Similar to Kneeland, Lovely will be a big return for this squad. He led the team in interceptions with four and had 37 solo tackles, while also recording a forced fumble. 

Falcon History vs Western Michigan 

BGSU leads series 33-20-3 

Last meeting: 11/2/22, BG won 13-9 


All team stats gathered from  

All individual stats gathered from 

Matchup history via 

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