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September 21, 2023

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Falcons return starting quarterback Matt Johnson after season ending injury

Following a disappointing loss in the MAC Championship last year, the Falcon football team is back into its preseason camp and is looking to do big things this season.

The offense that averaged 30 points a game last season is expected to put up big numbers this year, returning all of its starters except fullback Chris Pohlman.

This year will also see the return of starting quarterback Matt Johnson, who sat out all of last year due to injury.

“It feels unbelievable just to be running around again with no problems at all. I’m really feeling like I’m back and part of the team again,” Johnson said.

The last year full season that Johnson had under his belt, he threw for 3,467 yards and 25 touchdowns. That same year he took the Falcons to the MAC championship where he threw for a career-high 393 yards and five touchdowns for a title win.

He is expected to do even better this season. Johnson will have a plethora of receivers to choose from on the attack in Roger Lewis, Ronnie Moore, Ryan Burbrink, Gehrig Dieter, Robbie Rhodes, Teo Redding and Chris Gallon, assuming he stays healthy after missing much of the past two seasons.

With so many receivers to choose from, the most obvious problem would be sharing the ball evenly; Johnson says it won’t be a problem.

“The thing that’s special about them is that they’re all in it for each other,” Johnson said. “One guy could have a big game and you can turn around and it’s another guy the next game. As long as we get the win, they don’t really care who has the numbers as long as we’re producing.”

The group is led by Lewis, who caught 73 passes for 1093 yards last season as a true freshman, the first in school history to reach at least 1000 in his first year.

Even though it’s Lewis who is expected to be the go to receiver, it is redshirt sophomore Redding who is making noise in the preseason camp.

Redding displayed his athleticism and speed in a scrimmage, scoring three times including a 95-yard catch from Johnson.

The second year receiver was hurt in last years spring game and did not return until the 17-68 week four loss against Wisconsin.

“The injury set me back a little bit, but this year I came out and worked hard in the summer, hit the weight room and went over film with the quarterbacks,” Redding said. “Last year I was thinking about what I was doing on the field, now I’m just out there knowing what I’m doing, running full speed.”

Another big part of the unit will be redshirt senior Gallon, who hasn’t played a full season since 2012. In that year he led the team in catches, receiving yards and touchdowns.

He did not play a single game last season due to his new injury.

“It’s nothing but motivation for me,” Gallon said. “Being out the last two seasons I’ve been nothing but focused. I’m ready to get back on the field and just be out with my brothers playing football.”

With such a talented group on the offensive side of the ball, this unit is setting its goals high.

They have two consecutive MAC Championship appearances the past two seasons and took the title home in 2013.

In the eyes of Johnson, a successful season this year is “nothing less than a MAC Championship.”

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