Falcon offense struggles against Broncos

Coming into the season, all of the talk about the Bowling Green offense was about scoring “60 points a game.”

When Matt Johnson said that in the opening press conference there was excitement, but there was never a thought that this offense would be held scoreless in an entire half.

As the season progressed there were signs of inconsistency by the offense, particularly in the second half against Buffalo and against Ohio University this past week.

The Falcons were able to find ways to win those games despite the offense going through dry periods.

This time it all caught up with the Falcons, as their 26-14 loss to Western Michigan Saturday was head coach Dino Babers’ first home regular season loss of his head coaching career.

“We just didn’t execute today, we just didn’t get the job done like we know we have to,” said quarterback James Knapke. “You have to give them [WMU] credit they played a heck of a game and took us out of our game.”

The Falcons entered halftime with a 14-13 lead after a late one-yard touchdown run by Andre Givens. That would prove to be the Falcons last score of the game and one of their last chances in the red zone.

“I don’t remember what we did in the second half I’m not sure we did much of anything,” Babers said. “We weren’t good today, we were off. We were missing on all cylinders and it was the reason why we lost it had a big effect on the game.”

The Broncos received the ball first after halftime and put together a four play 80-yard scoring drive to take the lead 19-14.

That drive was extended after what seemed to be an 11-yard sack by defensive lineman Bryan Thomas a play that instead resulted in a 15-yard facemask penalty and first down for the Broncos.

Three plays later Broncos QB Zach Terrell connected with Darius Phillips for a 63-yard

touchdown pass.

“It’s football, stuff like that is going to happen,” senior linebacker D.J. Lynch said. “You just have to line it up and play the next down. They executed what they were supposed to do.”

The offense responded with a drive of their own, as they converted two straight fourth down conversions to move the ball to the WMU two-yard line.

After five handoffs in a row to Fred Coppet the Falcons were faced with another fourth down play but this time on the two.

The play called for a fade route to Heath Jackson in the left side of the end zone. Knapke and Jackson were unable to connect on the play and the Falcons failed to put points on the board.

“I knew in my gut it wasn’t going to be a field goal game, it was going to be a two touchdown type game,” Babers said. “It was the same play that beat Indiana; I think it’s a good play. There was some stuff that went on and we didn’t make the play.”

That drive was the last time the Falcons would enter Broncos’ territory.

Three of the Falcons second half drives ended in three-and-outs and one in the fourth quarter resulted in a first play fumble.

When the Falcons did get a first down they could not consistently tie them together. Their offense and tempo relies on getting those first downs wide receiver Ryan Burbrink said.

“It was frustrating. You feel like you aren’t doing your job like you need to be doing,” he said. “We have to be consistent.”

Although this is a loss and it drops their record to 5-3 (3-1) this does not hurt the Falcons in the grand scheme of things. They are still undefeated and in first place in the Mid-American Conference East Division.

As long as the Falcons continue to win their MAC East games they will be in a position to go back to Detroit for the MAC Championship game.

“It gives us one loss,” Babers said. “If we take care of our business coming out of the break we will have an opportunity to win the East and that’s what we want to do.”

The Falcons now have a 16 day break before they go on the road Nov. 4 to play The University of Akron. The Zips after their loss to Ohio University Saturday are second in the MAC East division behind BG.