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September 21, 2023

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‘Orange and Brown’ on Saturday: BGSU football hosts inter-squad spring game

Baseball and softball season may be in full force but the gridiron grind will be on full display as BGSU hosts its annual “Orange and Brown” spring football game at Doyt Perry Stadium on April 23 with events kicking off at 11 a.m.

Every NCAA Division I football program hosts a spring football game for the general public to watch, with schools like Ohio State and Michigan State hosting their games this past weekend on April 16.

This event gives fans the ability to get a first-hand look at the team, along with the new faces representing the Falcons.

Returning quarterback Matt McDonald is coming back for his sixth year of NCAA eligibility and his third year with the Falcons. The veteran quarterback leads an offense still full of familiar faces, including the returns of sophomore starting running back Terion Stewart, senior tight end Christian Sims and senior wide receiver Austin Osborne.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Falcons return a plethora of captains. Senior middle linebacker Darren Anders returns as the primary signal caller of a defense that led the Mid-American Conference in interceptions forced. 

Returning alongside Anders in the linebacking corps is junior Brock Horne. Horne finished the season with 90 tackles, second to Anders, who finished with a team-high 124.

Senior safety Jordan Anderson returns to lead the secondary. Anderson last season was a member of the all-MAC third team defense, and led the Falcons with three interceptions.

Falcon fans will also be curious to see the key position battles continue along with the debut of the new faces on the roster. Here are a few names and battles to keep an eye on April 23 and through the summer.

Kicker

With the loss of senior kicker Nate Needham to the NFL draft, the Falcons will be looking to fill in some huge shoes on special teams. 

Needham, a semifinalist for the Lou Groza award for best kicker in the nation last season, leaves the battle for his former starting spot to Jack Sauder and Spencer Straka. 

Sauder is a sophomore from Franklin, Tennessee and is coming into his first collegiate season. A product of Battle Ground Academy, Sauder was a preseason all-state selection his senior year of high school in the state of Tennessee. 

Straka on the other hand, is a veteran presence in the special teams unit. A senior from Toledo, Straka is a walk-on from the BG men’s soccer team where he spent the past three seasons.

Offensive Line

In football, offenses cannot function without an offensive line to keep people upright and give quarterbacks time to throw. For the Falcons, head coach Scot Loeffler welcomes a new center to the program, that being Jakari Robinson, a sixth-year senior transfer.

Robinson, a native of Talladega, Alabama, spent four seasons in Cincinnati with the Bearcats and the last season with the Memphis Tigers before coming to Bowling Green. In 2020, he was a member of the AAC championship team at Cincinnati and part of an offensive line unit that was named a semifinalist for the Joe Moore Award.

Robinson will look to be a strong veteran presence for an offensive line featuring two sophomore guards in Cade Zimmerly and Malone VanGorder. Both will look to improve a unit that gave up the second most sacks last season in the MAC. 

At the offensive tackle position, left tackle Jeremiah Banks-Wall will look to build off a sophomore season in which he started 11 of the 12 games protecting McDonald’s blindside. On the other side, sophomore Alex Wollschlaeger will look to solidify his spot as the starting right tackle. Last season, Wollschlaeger made two starts and five total appearances. 

Backup Quarterback 

Falcon fans can expect Matt McDonald to be on the field at the Rose Bowl against UCLA for week one in September, but who will be backing him up? 

Last year’s second stringer was sophomore Tucker Melton, a 6’2 native of Phoenix City, Alabama and has some new competition. 

Camden Orth comes to Bowling Green with a wealth of experience from the FCS ranks, where he spent the last three seasons at Long Island University in New York. In 2021, he threw 10 touchdowns and more than 1,600 yards with the Sharks. 

Falcon fans should also keep an eye on incoming freshman Owen Bainbridge, 6’4 Stow native who three for nearly 1,100 yards and nine touchdowns with the Bulldogs, while also adding seven touchdowns with his legs. His dual-threat abilities could be on display in the near future for the Falcons. 

For more information about the team and Saturday’s spring game, check out bgsufalcons.com.

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