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BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

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BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

BG quarterback adapts to new offense

The Mid-American Conference Championship game was BG quarterback Matt Johnson’s “breakout game,” but he’s not done yet.

As Johnson’s 2014 season gets closer, his coach and Sports Information Director Scott Swegan look back on his time at BG.

When head coach Dino Babers and co-offensive coordinator’s Sterlin Gilbert and Matt Mattox first came to BG, it was a “culture shock” for Johnson.

“The offense is completely different,” Johnson said.

Although it is a new coaching staff, they have complete confidence in Johnson.

“I think week in and week out Matt puts us in the best situation to win,” Gilbert said. “We need guys that want to work hard, and want to win. Matt is a hard working leader, and has shown his high level of character while leading.”

While Johnson did not get to play much during his freshman season, he still took his time being the backup very seriously, and stayed ready for his opportunity.

Coming into the 2011 season, Johnson was third on the depth chart and redshirting his true freshman season.

“It was really hard, I was a three year starter in high school but I knew I had some learning and maturing to do, and I took it well,” Johnson said.

It was not until the 2012 season when Johnson got his first collegiate action against the University of Florida.

“I was so nervous, it was so cool and I completed my first pass in the Swamp, and it gave me a small taste of what Division One football was really like,” Johnson said.

Before Johnson’s days started in Bowling Green, he was a three year starter at Bishop McDevitt in Pennsylvania.

“We had college coaches coming in all the time, and I threw for a lot of coaches, but many coaches said I couldn’t play because of my height,” he said.

The 6’0”, 222 pound quarterback talked with coach Warren Ruggiero and coach Dave Clawson, who later offered Johnson a scholarship to Bowling Green.

“The two things that sold me at Bowling Green were Coach Ruggiero and the players here, they treated me like a brother,” Johnson said.

Entering the 2013 season, Johnson was second on the depth chart to three-year starting senior Matt Schilz. After two offensive series in the season opener against Tulsa, the switch was made. After a 34-7 victory against Tulsa, Johnson never looked back.

Throughout Johnson’s journey his main support cast and leadership traits have come from his mother and his father. They’ve always cheered for Johnson no matter where he has played. “They have been to every game, even when I redshirted,” said Johnson. “They don’t really 100 percent understand the X’s and O’s, but it’s good to get leadership ideas from people you look up to.”

Johnson, who has been known to extend plays and make things happen, says he models his game after Super Bowl champion quarterback Russell Wilson.

“Guys trust him, and he makes plays … he’s always doing crazy stuff, and I like to be a play maker,” Johnson said.

Johnson showed his ability at the Mid-American Conference Championship game when Bowling Green defeated Northern Illinois 47-27 at Ford Field.

Up 20 and with the clock ticking down, Johnson’s emotions really started to sink in.

“I could do nothing but smile, it was like a dream come true,” Johnson said. “It is something you talk about for so long, and there was nothing Northern Illinois could do to win the game.”

In the MAC Championship game Johnson threw for a MAC record of five touchdowns passes and 393 passing yards.

Now, with two years of eligibility remaining with the Falcons, Johnson said one of his main goals at Bowling Green is to beat a BCS school.

“We have been close, and we have had schools where we wanted them and felt we could have won,” Johnson said.

Johnson and the Falcons will have the opportunity this fall to play against two BIG 10 schools: Indiana and Wisconsin.

During his three year stay at Bowling Green, Johnson said, “It’s been a great experience so far, and I’m glad I still have two years left.”

The season starts August 29th on the road against Western Kentucky.

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