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Spring Housing Guide

Week 13 preview: The finale of the regular season

Jack Walsh

Week 13 in college football, more known as “rivalry week,  is regarded as one of the best sports weekends/

Or, should I say weeks in the whole calendar year.

For this week, Bowling Green faces its final test for the regular season- the Western Michigan Broncos.

What feels like an eternity from last week’s game, Bowling Green is heading into this game 6-5 with a winning record for the season on the line.

As for Western Michigan, they are 4-7 heading into Tuesday night trying to end their season on the right note as a bowl game is out of reach.

But don’t let the record by any means fool you with how they come to the game mentally and physically.

“Our coaches and players care. We can’t cry over spilled milk, we have to learn from it, make the corrections, and move on and I think they did an excellent job at that. They looked at the tape and what could we do in our preparation to come with the right mentality and mindset. They want to send these seniors out the right way but also for the selves to set up the future for what we have building here,” said head coach Lance Taylor on Friday.

Taylor, who is at the helm for this Western Michigan team, was previously the offensive coordinator for Louisville a year ago.

Many knew this would be a rebuilding year in Kalamazoo. However, people have high praise for what Taylor has done this season, one of which being Scot Loeffler.

“We’re playing a team that, in my opinion, they played the second toughest con schedule in this conference. We played the toughest without a doubt, not even close, but these guys have played some really good football teams and we’re gonna have to go up and we’re gonna have to play extremely well just like we have been,” said Loeffler last Thursday at the press conference.

“We got to finish against Western Michigan who’s a damn good team. Just like I said, their schedule, if you look at who they played, wow. I mean for a brand new program and, and having that schedule come on now, they’ve been through the wringer so we’ve gotta go out and find a way to play our best football and we’re beat up. So we got guys to step up and I don’t see a letdown, so I’d be very disappointed.”

Loeffler cannot stress enough these final few weeks when playing some of these MAC opponents with losing records about how when playing a team like Western Michigan, their record means absolutely nothing.

“We’ve got a team that, I don’t even know their record, won what two games, three games, doesn’t matter. You better show up, you better prepare, you better play your tail off. Because anyone in this conference and anyone in football right now could beat anyone.”

As for Taylor, he has nothing but good things to say about Loeffler and this Bowling Green team.

“We have another opportunity against a really good bowling green team, really well coached. They’re 6-5 right now, they beat a power five opponent in Georgia Tech and played some really good games and they’re just playing winning football,” said Taylor.

Taylor has a lot of praise for this nation-leading defense that Bowling Green has put together.

“Bowling Green leads the country in takeaways which is really impressive. This is a really good defensive unit, they take the ball away at a high rate, so we have to do a great job at protecting the ball.”

A defense that heading into week 13 is still leading the nation in takeaways. They’ve held that position atop the nation since October 14.

As for Western Michigan’s defense, the Broncos rank 89th nationally and 11th in the Mid-American Conference.

The defense hasn’t been the strong suit for this Broncos team as they give up 31.5 points per game and they’ve given up 44 touchdowns this year which is second worst in the conference.

The offense however has shown tremendous amounts of life for the Broncos as they rank fourth in the conference in total offense and 73rd nationally.

This is an offense that sits near the top of the MAC in most offensive categories which has helped them win games this season as they average 24.9 points per game.

A huge help for their offensive success has been freshman running back Jalen Buckley who has amounted to over 900 yards and nine touchdowns scored and an average of 5.4 yards per carry which sits him on the podium for all MAC running backs as he ranks third.

Another key element in this offense has been at the quarterback position. Hayden Wolff sits at fourth overall in the MAC as he has passed for over 1380 yards for eight touchdowns.

But Wolff wasn’t the week one starter. Wolff saw playing time early in the season but didn’t receive the starting position until week eight with their matchup against Ohio, where the Broncos almost pulled off the upset as they fell to the Bobcats 20-17.

His main receiver to throw to?

Kenneth Womack who leads the MAC in receiving yards with 647 but has only found the end zone once in his 11 games. For the red zone threat you have to keep an eye on Anthony Sambucci as he’s found the endzone five times in only eight games which leads all of Western Michigan receivers.

So there is absolutely no doubt that this offense will perform especially as they’ve found their groove with Wolff this late in the season.

Again something that Loeffler tells us week in and week out is that these MAC teams cannot be taken lightly and Western Michigan is a prime example of that when you see the explosiveness of their offense.

As for questions on the Bowling Green side of things?

Well like any other team after an emotional game, they banged up with injuries that will have to be assessed come game time.

“Both backs [Terion Stewart & Ta’ron Keith] will be game-time decisions. You know, we still have a chance to get Stewart back but we’ll make all those decisions. I mean just everyone is beat up,” said Loeffler when asked about both the running backs as Stewart has missed the past two games with injury and Ta’ron Keith has been banged up for also two weeks now.

We also saw quarterback Connor Bazelak leave the game late in the fourth quarter last week but appears like he will be okay. And Loeffler appreciates the wear and tear of these guys.

“I mean the wear and tear, I mean Connor, you could go through Cam [Orth] even. I mean they, there’s not a position group that I could sit here and say that they’re a hundred percent right now. I mean we’re, it’s that time of year, you know, so you gotta dig down deep and find a way and really be mentally tough.”

Mental things will push you through a full season and that’s what we’re upon going into Western Michigan in the final week of the season

And here we are in week 13 and you still have a lot to play for. Being the first team in 8 years to achieve a winning season at Bowling Green? Winning five of the last six? Momentum heading into the bowl game?

See, there are still many things still on the table for the Falcon team, and Loeffler and his squad know just that and are just trying to end the regular season in the most dominating fashion possible.

Kickoff is set in Kalamazoo for 7:00 p.m.

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

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