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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Week two takeaways: Falcons showed improvement in home opener, but there’s still work to be done

Drake Harlett

Bowling Green finally got their first win of the young season, taking down Eastern Illinois 38-15. What made this even better? The team looked leaps and bounds better than last week.  

The biggest stat: zero turnovers on offense.  

A week after handing over the ball five times, Bowling Green played turnover-free football.  

“That was gross last week, with the turnovers. There’s nothing worse than watching the ball be turned over unless the defense is on the field. The way that we’re going to win this year is all three units have to play really well together…and we’ve got to protect the football,” said Scot Loeffler at Saturday’s post-game press conference. “I thought that was a big deal last year, when we took care of the football and when we won the explosion battle, we were like 87% win. We’ve got to continue taking care of the ball and getting the ball back.” 

Bowling Green did take care of the ball and get it back, winning the turnover battle by one (1-0).  

Quarterback Connor Bazelak looked sharp, throwing only six incompletions all day, five coming in the second half. He also took care of the football, not turning it over once. 

Though there’s still room for improvement. There were a couple of errant throws, with two almost being picked. 

But Loeffler says the Bazelak we saw in week two is more like the one he saw in camp. 

“If you would’ve told me that they would’ve had five interceptions, I would’ve laughed,” said Loeffler. “Connor [Bazelak] during training camp had three with over 700 throws. Cam [Orth] was right around 630 and he had three interceptions, so they played at a high level, we’ve just got to make sure we’re making the right decision. But the protection is everything.”  

On defense, there were lapses, as a few big plays kept Eastern Illinois in the game. But it’s only week two, so the normal fan can still expect some rust, right? 

Wide open big plays were few but still there. A fourth-and-11 in the second quarter was converted via a 23-yard gain on a fake punt, which led to a 31-yard touchdown pass for EIU. 

“We did not have a good practice week this week,” said Loeffler. “No one’s good enough to just show up on gameday and expect to win. We need to make sure we have the toughness, the grit, and the discipline to have a great Tuesday practice.”  

The bad practices certainly showed at times.  

With the bad there is always good. An interception off EIU’s Pierce Holley from defensive back Jalen Huskey was the only turnover of the game, made possible by constant pressure from the Falcon front four. 

“We’ve got good guys; we might have to tweak some things of how we put pressure on the quarterback,” said Loeffler. “We’re still finding our way; we need to find a way to protect our secondary and put pressure on the quarterback.”  

With conference play creeping closer and closer, the Falcons will need to find their way quickly. Busted coverages and missed opportunities on offense will not prove to be a winning formula in a very tough Mid-American Conference. 

Like Loeffler said, no one’s good enough to just show up on gameday and expect to win. 

But hey, the monkey is off your back now. Now it’s time to start stacking the wins.

For more information about the team and BGSU Athletics, follow Falcon Media Sports Network on X (@bg_fmsn).

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