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BG24 Newscast
September 21, 2023

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BG24 Newscast
September 21, 2023

Falcon football host Toledo Rockets in crucial Mid-American Conference game


Quarterback Matt Johnson prepares to throw a pass during the Falcons game against UMass.

The BG football team is hosting its arch-rivals, the University of Toledo Rockets, on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at the Doyt L. Perry Stadium.

“This is always a big week,” BG head coach Dave Clawson said. “There’s certainly games as you go through the season that you worry if your guys are going to be up for it and that’s never a concern for this week.”

The 5-2 (3-0 MAC) Falcons have lost the past three meetings with the Rockets, who currently boast a 4-3 (2-1 MAC) record.

BG is coming off a bye-week and Toledo lost to the United States Naval Academy 45-44 in double overtime. The Falcons’ last game came two weeks ago at Mississippi State University, where they nearly upset the Bulldogs but fell short 21-20.

Toledo started its season with back-to-back road games at Southeastern Conference opponents, including the then-ranked No. 10 University of Florida Gators and the then-unranked University of Missouri Tigers. The Rockets lost to Florida 24-6 and Missouri 38-23.

UT won its next two games against the Eastern Washington University Eagles 33-21 and the Central Michigan University Chippewas 38-17. The Ball State University Cardinals ended the Rockets’ two-game win streak by defeating them 31-24. UT won its two next games against Western Michigan 47-20 and Navy 45-44.

“Both teams want it just as bad as the other,” linebacker Gabe Martin said. “[There’s] a lot of emotion that goes into the game and just pour it out onto the field.”

There is not one Falcon on the team who was on the team in 2009, the last time BG defeated Toledo.

BG’s defense is currently ranked No. 9 in the nation in points against, averaging 17.1 points given up per game. Toledo on the on the other hand scores an average of 30.9 points per game, which puts them No. 57 in the nation.

Toledo’s defense ranks No. 73 in points against, giving up an average of 27.9 points, however, one of quarterback Matt Johnson’s favorite go-to receivers, Chris Gallon, will be out for the rest of the season with a knee injury he suffered in the game against Mississippi State.

“It’s nice to be able to have trust in everybody,” Johnson said. “Even the backups when they come in.”

BG currently sits on top of the Mid-American Conference’s East Division with the University of Buffalo Bulls with a 3-0 conference record. Toledo is currently ranked third in the West Division with its 2-1 MAC record. A loss will inevitably take Toledo out of MAC Championship contention.

“Certainly the impact [the game] has on the MAC makes it more important for us this year,” Clawson said.

The Falcons and Rockets will renew their heated rivalry Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

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