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Bowling Green dominates time of possession en route to upset win in Atlanta

Drake Harlett
Bazelak dropping back to throw the ball

Bowling Green held the ball for 42 minutes and 45 seconds in Saturday’s matchup with Georgia Tech, coming out on top 38-27, despite trailing 14-0 early in the contest.  

The victory was Bowling Green’s first over a Power Five opponent since their upset win over Minnesota in 2021, and their first over an active member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.  

It was also Scot Loeffler’s second win over a Power Five opponent, bringing his record to 2-6 (.250) since taking over the helm of BGSU, both coming on the road. 

“Super proud of our team. That’s who we are,” Loeffler said with a grin following Saturday’s game. “I’ve said it a thousand times, we’re a team that can go out and do what we did last week and we’re a team that can beat a power five team. I said it to them in there, we’ve been here before, we went and beat Minnesota and then the next week came out and completely laid an egg. Our challenge now is to see if we can put it back-to-back.”  

Georgia Tech got off to a fast start in this one, returning the opening kick 43 yards to set up their offense in prime field position at their own 47-yard line. 

It only took one play for the Yellow Jackets to get on the board – Haynes King found Eric Singleton Jr. wide open at the seven-yard line, who walked into the end zone to put his guys up seven.  

After forcing Bowling Green to punt, Georgia Tech drove down the field and scored again: King found Christian Leary in the flat, who scampered into the end zone from 11-yards out to put the Yellow Jackets up two scores. 

“We’re good at falling behind 14 and then coming back,” said Loeffler. “You look at all the big games we’ve won, and it’s been that way.”  

After that, it was all Bowling Green in the first half.  

“I thought we did a really good job of mixing in pressure,” said Loeffler. “We haven’t really been a pressure organization around here, and I think we need to be. A critical one at the end of the half was a max pressure, and they weren’t ready for it.”  

The defense held Georgia Tech to 41 yards and zero points the rest of the first half, while the Falcons put up 17 points and over 190 yards.  

Connor Bazelak drove his guys down the field, getting into the redzone before Camden Orth came in to finish the job, using a second wind to turn a loss of one into a one-yard score to cut Tech’s lead in half.  

After a Georgia Tech punt, BG had to settle for three, and Alan Anaya delivered from 40 yards out to cut the lead to four.  

Bowling Green’s defense forced Georgia Tech to punt on the ensuing drive, but the snap hit the Yellow Jackets’ up man, causing a fumble and giving the Falcons the ball at the GT 40-yard line.  

On that drive, Bowling Green took their first lead of the game: with pressure in his face, Bazelak tossed up a prayer into the end zone, and Finn Hogan answered it – reeling in the ball one-handed through blanket coverage to put the Falcons up 17-14 going into halftime. 

“Obviously the catch was cool, but there’s a lot of parts that go into it,” Hogan said postgame. “O-Line gave Connor just enough time, Connor made an incredible throw with pressure in his face, fading away. Gave me an opportunity, and that’s my job to go make a play. Just super blessed that he trusted me enough throw it up there for me.”  

Out of the break, Hogan continued his breakout performance, taking a screen pass on the first play from scrimmage from BG’s 25-yard line to Tech’s 25-yard line, a 50-yard play.  

Bazelak finished off the drive on an option play, scoring from one yard out to put Bowling Green up 10.  

After forcing a turnover on downs, Bowling Green drove down the field again, capping off an 86-yard drive on a six-yard touchdown run by Terion Stewart to go up 17 points in Atlanta.  

“He’s a pain in the ass to tackle, he’s a steroid gerbil,” Loeffler said. “He’s this big dude that’s 5’4, and you can’t tackle him. He’s a bowling ball.”  

Stewart finished the day over 150 total yards with the lone touchdown, and several broken tackles.  

“I just sacrifice my body. I tell them every week, ‘I promise you I go in there thinking like I’m about to die,” Stewart said. “I go into that every weekend, fight for my life, and help my team out,” said Stewart postgame.

On Georgia Tech’s very next drive, King was forced into a bad throw and Deshawn Jones was there, high-pointing the ball and taking it 45 yards to the house – 38-14 ballgame in favor of Bowling Green.  

“I just knew that we needed a play, to keep momentum. At that point, I’m looking at the quarterback, he’s looking at me, we made eye contact,” Jones said after the game. “He threw the ball, I don’t know if he thought I wasn’t going to get it, but I just had to make a play for the defense. 

With good short-term memory, Georgia Tech drove down the field, keeping their drive alive with a fourth down conversion in BG territory, and snapping a streak of 38 unanswered points from Bowling Green on a 15-yard catch and run by Malik Rutherford. A dropped two-point conversion left the score at 38-20.  

After a quick three-and-out by Bowling Green, Georgia Tech picked up at their own 22, and immediately drew a targeting penalty from Darius Lorfils to push them close to enemy territory.  

They drove down the field thanks to some easy throws into soft coverage but were stopped deep inside BG territory; Darren Anders tipped a pass up in the air and Jordan Oladokun came down with it, King’s second interception of the day.  

Bowling Green tried their best to run the clock out as much as they could, taking eight minutes off the clock, but turned the ball over on downs inside Georgia Tech’s 40-yard line.  

Tech drove down the field, and King found Abdul Janneh who went up to haul down a 16-yard score, but it was too little too late. After a failed onside kick from Tech, Bowling Green kneeled out the clock  

Connor Bazelak finished the game 21-for-32 passing for 263 yards and two total touchdowns, one rushing and one passing, rebounding well from a poor performance on Homecoming.  

Hogan was the star of the show, hauling in six balls for 102 yards and the one-handed touchdown snag.  

“He (Hogan) came here and was gracious to come here. Earned a scholarship here, was a walk-on at Central Michigan. He’s exactly what we’re looking for – he’s a team dude. He’s smart, he’s tough, we’ll eventually get him up to 245 pounds, and he’ll play in the NFL someday. He exemplifies everything we want in our program,” said Loeffler. “Normally when you’re like that, you play really well. And he played really well.”  

Bowling Green improves to 2-3 (0-1 MAC) and will continue their road trip down in Oxford against Miami on October 7 as they resume conference play.  

For more stories related to BGSU Athletics, follow Falcon Media Sports Network on X (@bg_fmsn).

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