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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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BGSU Football wins fifth game against UMass during Homecoming weekend

The BG football team struggled in the first half for the second week in a row.

The offense began to get going in the second quarter and the defense held its own, giving the Falcons a 28-7 Homecoming victory against the University of Massachusetts.

With the win, the Falcons completed a sweep of their three game home stand and are now 5-1 and 3-0 in Mid-American Conference play.

“It was a good win, it’s hard to win a football game,” head coach Dave Clawson said. “I think we are at a point in our program where that one felt hard.”

Neither offense started the game well, whereas both defenses looked prepared for the game. There were four first downs combined throughout the entire first half: two from UMass and two from the Falcons.

“One of our goals was to start fast,” quarterback Matt Johnson said. “We weren’t able to do that but like the rest of our games, we were able to find a rhythm in the second quarter or second half.”

In the second quarter, the Falcons were able to move the ball a little bit more easily, as they were able to earn a few first downs. After a 17 yard pass to Alex Bayer, a fake hand off to Jordan Hopgood left Ronnie Moore wide open on the sideline. Johnson made the pass and Moore made multiple UMass defenders miss as he ran 51 yards for the touchdown.

“I saw Ronnie out there for a check down, I only threw the ball. He made the rest of the defense miss,” Johnson said. “He has his own speed that we love to utilize; we like to get him the ball in space because he can make people miss.”

Later in the second quarter, the Falcons began their drive on their own 30 yard line. They converted a few first downs then Travis Greene broke a 53 yard run to put the Falcons in the red zone. Houston would convert the red zone chance with a 1 yard touchdown run to give the Falcons a 14-0 halftime lead.

“Travis is a good player now and he is doing it every week,” Clawson said. “He is tough, he has great vision he is making people miss. He really is becoming a complete back and I believe he is one of the best backs in the conference.”

The second half, similar to the second quarter, was all Falcons as they opened it with a 23 yard touchdown pass to tight end Tyler Beck to give the Falcons a 21-7 lead. They would score for the final time later in the third quarter with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Heath Jackson.

“We throw the ball better than we did a year ago, but we are still a run-based team,” Clawson said. “Sometimes that takes a while to get going.”

Travis Green finished the game with a career high 160 yards rushing as quarterback Matt Johnson finished the game 11-20 for 160 yards and three touchdowns.

“Travis isn’t scared of anything or anybody,” offensive lineman Dominic Flewellyn said. “He just took it from receiver to running back and now he gets to show what he can do at running back. We are just glad to have him.”

The three passing touchdowns were caught by players who normally do not make noise in the stat sheet — Beck and Jackson.

“All three of these guys deserve a ton of credit,” Johnson said. “When they were inserted into the game they knew exactly what to do.”

The defense kept the UMass offense to a total of 280 total yards. Although BG did give up a late touchdown pass from quarterback Mike Wegzyn, it did earn its first interception of the year when cornerback Ryland Ward took a Wegzyn pass out of the air near the endzone and returned it for 20 yards. The secondary has been struggling this year to force turnovers so this was a big play by a defense that had been playing well all day.

“They have really been harping on us about creating turnovers,” Ward said. “I was just thinking, ‘do not drop this ball on the way down.’”

The Falcons will begin preparing for their trip to Southeastern Conference opponent Mississippi State next Saturday.

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