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September 21, 2023

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Bowling Green Football team focus on improving every week, defense staying aggressive despite multiple key injuries

It’s all about improvement for the 3-2 Bowling Green Falcons as they enter their homecoming matchup against The University at Buffalo.

The Falcons are looking for more collective improvement than in any area specifically.

Although the offense had a good afternoon this past Saturday, numbers-wise, quarterback James Knapke believes that there is still improvement needed.

“We are putting up numbers, but we aren’t where we need to be,” he said. “We are just trying to get better every week.”

In fact, the offense failed to run the clock down twice against The University of Massachusetts. That is something that Knapke has said they need to do better.

“We need to get those first downs and do better than that. It’s on our [offense’s] shoulders,” he said, referring to the last two offensive possessions against UMass.

Despite that, the offense seemed to have one of its better weekends with three receivers and running back Travis Greene gaining more than 100 yards.

“We have a lot of receivers and playmakers,” Knapke said. “It’s what this offense is built on: not really focusing on one guy because everyone can make plays.”

The offense is not the only part of the team making plays though, as the defense has had success recently forcing turnovers.

“That’s something we stress in practice,” said senior defensive lineman Bryan Thomas.

Through all of the tangible number struggles and the injuries, head coach Dino Babers is staying optimistic about the way his defense is playing.

“I’m not frustrated with the defense at all,” he said. “I think once we start to get healthier throughout the season and start to get some of those injured players back that we will be just fine.”

Those injured defensive players like Zach Colvin, D.J. Lynch and Ryland Ward have been replaced by younger and less experienced players. Despite the youth on the defense right now, Babers has not stopped from continuing his aggressive defensive play style.

“We always said our defense would be as aggressive as our offense,” Babers said. “Based off of some of the opponents we have played it has hurt us and it’s helped us.”

Nothing has changed in the past and nothing will be changed for their game against Buffalo this Saturday.

Buffalo has a bit of an advantage against the Falcons, as they have played against Baylor University, another up-tempo offense.

Although they lost 67-21, there is still an advantage in playing against that type of tempo.

“They obviously have a great advantage so we are going to have to be focused this week,” Knapke said. “Watching [Buffalo’s] film has been good because we can see where their holes are and see what we can do to exploit them.”

The Falcons will not have to deal with Khalil Mack this year, but that won’t make the job any easier for them.

“Losing Khalil was huge, but at the end of the day we still have to do our job,” Knapke said. “They are very disciplined and they don’t miss a lot of tackles. We just have to execute and do what we need to do.”

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