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BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

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BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

Quarterback battle more apparent in Tulsa victory

Now that the aftermath of the Tulsa victory has calmed down, BG Head Coach Dave Clawson finds himself in a quarterback conundrum.

The three-year starting quarterback in Matt Schilz found himself anxiously pacing the sidelines this past Thursday following the coaching staff donning a flat billed hat, instead of dodging linebackers and finding receivers.

This was all part of a designed rotation that ended with unexpected results.

Going into the game, redshirted sophomore quarterback Matt Johnson and Schilz shared reps during practice as both fought for the starting job. The job was expected to be handed to Schilz regardless of preseason performance, based on experience alone.

Going into the Tulsa game, Johnson had seen little playing time, zero starts and absolutely nothing consistent outside of practice. Whereas Schilz had ridden the waves of success and failure for the past three seasons.

The design was to let both quarterbacks see some playing time against Tulsa. Schilz got the expected start and Johnson was to come in a few drives into the game. The two were likely expected to rotate throughout the game, keeping the defense on its heels.

This was a brilliant decision for Clawson to make, as both quarterbacks have their strengths and weaknesses and Johnson needed to be ready during the post-Schilz era rapidly approaching.

Schilz did nothing wrong in his first two drives against Tulsa. He looked shockingly poised in the pocket and didn’t make any forced throws I am so frequently used to seeing. He made smart plays, read the defense well and he helped first year running back Travis Greene get acclimated to the position.

In the past few seasons covering Schilz’s highs and lows, I was impressed to see him play so calm and not be rushed by the defenses. It looked like he was ready to have a good game.

As stated before, I felt that the switch was a good move and against a team that USA Today ranked 26th in the nation and a way to never let the Golden Hurricane defense get comfortable.

Johnson statistically didn’t have the greatest game but the result stood strong with a decisive 34-7 victory. He threw for 151 yards an interception, and no touchdowns but he facilitated a consistent offense that nickel and dimed its way down the field. He allowed the running game to find holes, and he wasn’t scared to make a sprint either. He ended the game with 50 yards rushing on the ground, including a clever juke move, ducking under a linebacker’s tackle.

Statistically it wasn’t a great game for anyone on the field aside from the defense. Kicker Tyler Tate connected on two field goals, showing his naysayers from last season, that he could kick, and running back William Houston had three touchdowns on just 29 yards rushing.

Johnson proved that he could rally his team and win under gritty circumstances without needing an immaculate quarterback rating. The result was the blowout win— an almost shutout.

The aftermath leaves Clawson with a decision. He alluded to Johnson getting the start against Kent State this Saturday, but was adamant that both quarterbacks would see playing time this season.

With Kent State being such an important game, I would expect to see Johnson start the game but Schilz to come in for a few drives until either commands the game.

As far as Johnson goes, he showed some promise but he will need to be consistent as a loss or victory against Kent State could have MAC East title implications. But it is reassuring knowing the veteran Schilz can come in to make some plays in need be; no matter how inconsistent he has been in the past.

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