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November 30, 2023

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Week 13 breakdown: Falcons look to regain footing in regular season finale

Drake Harlett
The Battle of I-75

The Bowling Green Falcons lost an absolute heartbreaker on Tuesday night against their rival Toledo; a game that was in their hands that just slipped away in the final minutes.

But despite the loss, this has still played good football, as entering Tuesday, they had won their four straight games and are eligible for a bowl game this December.

Every year since 2020, head coach Scot Loeffler has increased the win total in every year. He went from winless in 2020 to four wins in 2021 to six wins a year ago to now six wins currently with two games left to play.

So despite the result of a game that I’m sure would have felt joyous to win, there is still a lot to play for over the next month and Loeffler knows that.

“I don’t see us acting any different. We’ve got the opportunity to have the first winning team and winning record here since 2015. We got a chance to win eight ball games with the toughest schedule in the MAC, and we’re a good football team. We’ve found who we are and I think our program just keeps on getting better and that’s what I want and that’s what we, our whole goal is every year we’ve gotten better and we need to finish now we gotta finish against Western Michigan who’s a damn good team.”

Junior  Levi Gazarek preaches the same thing his coach does about still being able to play for something these remaining two games.

“I’d say finishing is a big part of it and you know, for the team to try to respond positively. There’s still obviously a lot to play for and like a winning season, obviously a bowl game coming up. You know, it’s the final regular season game, but we have a chance to still accomplish something special.”

Junior defensive lineman Ali Saad agrees with his teammate and coach and is just ready to move on to Western Michigan next Tuesday.

“Moving forward from the Toledo game into the Western Michigan game, honestly it’s just the small mistakes that we have to fix and then basically we just gotta take practice day by day and just accomplish what we gotta do.”

Tuesday’s game will sting just a little more than usual because that’s just how a rivalry game goes.

“We had three opportunities to put the game away. One of which was down here in the red zone. The other one was our turnover, which they made a terrific play. That’s game goes though. I mean those great rivalry games, it’s up and down, you do great, you stutter and at the end of the day, you’re trying to find a way to make one more play than they did. And unfortunately, they made one more play than what we did. That’s a fact of the matter. And as much as that hurts, as painful as that is, we got to experience the the other end last year and this year we didn’t.”

It was basically a mirror image of what the Battle Of I-75 was like last year. Bowling Green went up big early, but Toledo kept chipping away at the lead come the second half and this year the big play happened on our end.

As tough as that loss hurts, Loeffler is thankful that this rivalry game can well, be a rivalry game again.

“That’s why rivalry games are so awesome. You never forget them and you’re constantly battling 365 days a year to make those plays and that’s why those cool rivalry games, I’m excited about the rivalry game now because it’s a game,” Said Loeffler “Heck, when we first started here, we were terrible and just found a way to win and then we got our tails beat two years in a row ’cause we still weren’t ready to play and now it’s a game now and that’s the way it is in my opinion, I think they would probably feel the same.”

This one will sting for the players, coaches, and community of Bowling Green for 365 days until they face off again back up in Toledo.

For Loeffler, he loved the atmosphere and believes what he is building is coming.

“It’s been a battle, but we’re making headway. You know we’re getting in a position to be a consistent, consistent team. But you know if everything works out the way it should be, we’ll have a damn good team.”

Saad believes in the same thing that this can be and is a really good football team and that consistency is the main goal for the year.

“Honestly being consistent was honestly our main key this year. We wanted to stay with a winning streak and developing us was the main thing as well. I just feel like after this game we just gotta get back, we just gotta get back on track and everything like that and I feel like we just gonna lock in and do what we gotta do.”

It appears like the joy and fierceness is still in the locker room despite such a heartbreaking loss and these boys are ready to continue to pound opponents and they have that opportunity for the final time in the regular season this upcoming Tuesday when they face off in Kalamazoo with the Broncos.

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

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