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Football team prepares for home opener

Alyssa Benes Assistant Photo Edi
BG Football

This isn’t just any home opener for the Bowling Green football team this Saturday afternoon.

The Falcons are coming off of a week one letdown and news that their starting quarterback Matt Johnson will miss the rest of the season due to a hip injury.

Adversity has hit the Falcons and how they will bounce back from it will be key to how the rest of the season goes.

“I’m heartbroken for the guy [Johnson], he put so much work in during the summer and winter,” said receiver Ryan Burbrink. “I feel for him but that’s life and adversity is going to come — you have to bounce back and we have major confidence in Knapke.”

Redshirt sophomore James Knapke will make his first start for the Falcons on Saturday. There is no worry about Knapke though; Burbrink said they are more focused on making the play when their number is called.

“When the play comes to us we need to make the play for him [Knapke],” Burbrink said. “We just have to catch the ball. We had five key drops [at WKU], when the ball comes to us we just need to make the plays.”

Redshirt Sophomore Gehrig Dieter believes that as long as they execute they will be successful.

“We need to pay attention to our techniques and fundamentals,” Dieter said. “We let that slip a lot just by not finishing routes, blocks and not catching the ball.”

It is the same mindset on the defensive side of the ball, where most of their week one struggles came from poor tackling in open space.

Throughout the week they have been preparing physically, tackling a lot more and paying attention to the details of their own defense, in what Babers called a “take care of Bowling Green week.”

The defense will be going up against Virginia Military Institute quarterback Alex Cobb, who threw for 308 yards, four touchdowns and one rushing touchdown in his collegiate debut.

“He is poised and will come ready to play,” defensive back Brian Sutton said. “We just have to rattle him a little bit, get some pressure on him and tackle in the open field. We are trying to prove ourselves and earn our respect back after that week one disaster.”

That may be easier said than done for a defense that allowed 702 yards of total offense this past Friday. The Falcons are expecting teams to look at the tape and challenge the defense on the perimeter after the defense allowed only 3.2 yards a carry for 133 yards rushing.

“I don’t know if they [secondary] are ready to accept that challenge. I know we have a game Saturday at 3:30 and four cats are going to run out there and they better play some football, that’s what I know,” said head coach Babers.

The Falcons are looking to bounce back against VMI on Saturday at 3:30 and get their first win of the season.

“We need to play well, we need to put a different performance on the field than what we just left out there on Friday. I think every coach and every man is ready to do that,” Babers said. “The story is just starting, this is a long season. It’s not a sprint it’s a marathon.”

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