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February 22, 2024

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Falcons gear up for first road MACtion of 2023 against Miami

Drake Harlett
Wide Receiver Jaylon Tillman running the ball versus Michigan.

Bowling Green is coming off of a huge road win against ACC opponent Georgia Tech, and that win concludes the out-of-conference games for the year, putting the Falcons in full-on MACtion mode for the remainder of the season. 

Their second opponent in MAC play will be against in-state rival, the Miami RedHawks. 

For Scot Loeffler, he could not be more happy for the start of MAC play. 

“It doesn’t matter who you’re playing. If you’re playing a 1-7 team you better show up because your talent is just the same,” said Loeffler. “I think last year, how many games that came down to three points or less or seven points or less last year? It’s an awesome league, it’s a fun League. We got good people in the league, good coaches, good players, good kids and so I like it. I really do” 

Miami is entering this week’s matchup 4-1 on the year with their lone loss coming in week one against Miami [Florida].

They come into the game hot on a four-game win streak and 1-0 in MAC play. 

Chuck Martin is in his 10th year as Miami’s head coach. Scot Loeffler arrived here in 2019, so this will mark the fourth matchup between Loeffler and Martin as head coaches at each school.  

“I know BG’s good, they had a great chance against Liberty. They made a couple mistakes that I’m sure they’d like to have back and then losing by seven and there definitely was a great opportunities that would have been a great victory at Liberty and then they held Michigan, like look at the Michigan stats like Bowling Green’s pretty salty on defense they held Michigan to 104 yards. So I knew Bowling Green was good before they went down and beat Georgia Tech. They are one of many talented MAC football teams,” said Martin at Miami’s press conference this past Monday. 

Loeffler had much of the same to say about Miami’s team. 

“Yeah, they’re a good team. I think Chuck’s [Martin] done a great job. They’re a consistent football team and you know it’ll be a good matchup,” said Loeffler. “I think their talent is equivalent to our talent and it’s going to be all about which team takes care of the ball the best. That’s what they’re living on, they they live on playing great defense, they snap the ball extremely late in the snap count, they don’t get a ton of plays in and they really don’t beat themselves.” 

The RedHawk offense is at the helm of junior quarterback Brett Gabbert. Gabbert missed most of last season with an injury, but his return has made an immediate impact on the field. 

Gabbert on the season has 10 touchdowns for 1,062 yards which puts him second in the MAC in passing touchdowns and only 13 yards shy of the leader for passing yards.  

One thing Gabbert is leading in within the MAC is yards per attempt, with 10.6 per pass entering this weekend. 

Gabbert was a three-star prospect coming out of St Louis where he enrolled at Miami in 2019, however this past winter he put his name into the transfer portal after a season where he only appeared in four games.

But a change of heart had him return to Miami for the 2023 season and his impact does not go under the radar.  

Gabbert can’t all do it by himself though, his favorite receiver is at the top of the MAC leaderboards.  

Gage Larvadain is a junior from Donaldsonville Louisiana who has 18 receptions for 438 yards and four touchdowns and is leading the MAC in yards, yards per game, and all-purpose yards. 

He’s doing so with just one less game than everyone else. 

However, he is dealing with an upper-body injury and is questionable to play. He’s hoping he can play through it at some point. It is unsure if he will play tomorrow. 

Miami has the second-best ranked offense in the MAC just behind Toledo. 

On defense for Miami, they are in the middle of the pact in the MAC in terms of stats and average yards given up, but don’t let that fool you that they don’t have superstars on this defense. 

It’s led by defensive back Matthew Salopek, who leads the team in solo tackles, assisted tackles, and tackles for loss with 3.5 on the year. 

Also on the defensive side of the ball is linebacker Ty Wise. Wise is tied for the most sacks on the team with three and is tied for the third most sacks in the MAC. 

Bowling Green allows 217 yards per game on the defensive side of the ball. But BG is going into tomorrow ranked dead last in defense efficiency in the MAC. 

On the offensive side of the ball for the Falcons, they average just below 200 yards per game on offense. 

Flip side to the RedHawk side of things, we see Miami’s offense rank near the top of the MAC averaging 219.8 per game.  

On the defensive side of the ball, we see they rank near the middle of the pact, allowing 239.2 yards per game. 

So in terms of equality on both sides of the ball, these two teams match up perfectly. 

Loeffler needs his player’s minds to be set in the right position if they want to beat Miami.  

All it takes is just one more snap. 

“Our mindsets got to be we got to go in and do very similar to what we did at Georgia Tech, we got to protect the football, make our plays when they present themselves understand that Miami is gonna win on some plays, because they’re going to, and it’s going to be whoever makes the least amount of mistakes, plain and simple,” said Loeffler. “That’s their game and we’ve got to do better than we got to do one more snap better than them; one more snap.”  

As crazy as it sounds, this is one of if not the most crucial game in Scot Loeffler’s tenure here at Bowling Green. 

Loeffler has been piecing together his scheme for five years now and has had some very impressive wins over that period, but being able to piece together those types of performances for back-to-back weeks has been the biggest struggle for him and his teams. 

Can his team piece together a performance like they did last Saturday this weekend in Miami? We’ll have to see.

Kickoff is set to be at 3:30 p.m. Join Rhys Patrykus and Charles Costa on Falcon Radio beginning at 3:15 p.m.

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

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