BG’s stout defense leads team to four consecutive victories

Sports Editor and Sports Editor

Dominant: a word that many don’t expect to hear along with BG. Neither is the word “unbelievable,” but that is exactly what head coach Dave Clawson called his defense this past Saturday.

“How can you find any fault with the defensive effort?” he said.

Against the Massachusetts Minutemen, the Falcon defense allowed only 118 yards and attributed to a touchdown on a Dwayne Woods 48-yard interception return.

That earned Woods the Mid-American Conference East Defensive Player of the Week. An award won by three different Falcons five times this season. Chris Jones won the award three times and Ryland Ward earned it as well against Akron.

“Chris Jones is a great player, but he’s a better person and leader,” Clawson said following the Miami victory. “He, at times, is a dominant player and he has made that whole group better.”

Jones won one of his three defensive player awards that week with his 2.5 sacks which, at the time, had him leading the nation in that category.

Throughout the season where the offense performance has varied, the defense has always been firm.

Ranked number one in the MAC this entire season, the defense is the heart and soul of this roster. Since the abysmal shutout loss to Virginia Tech, 37-0, the team has gained 917 more yards than the defense has given up, gained five more turnovers and have scored 103 more points than their opponents.

Against MAC opponent Massachusetts, the Falcons held the Minutemen to just 1-for-16 on third down conversions. During the rout of Rhode Island, the Rams were held to their own half for over half of the game.

Both should have been expected as neither team to date has won a game in their seasons. However, against the then-ranked 23rd and currently second-ranked Florida Gators, the defense kept the Falcons in the game.

“I think when you play a game like this, the big key is to try to stay in the game as long as you can,” Clawson said. “You get to the fourth quarter with a chance to win.”

The Gators would pull away in the third quarter to eventually win 27-14. However, the Falcons would regroup.

And regroup they did. In all but their three losses, the Falcon defense hasn’t allowed more than 13 points. The team is averaging 16.8 points against as well as 304 yards against which leads the MAC. The defense is also responsible for allowing 109.2 yards of rushing a game and 194.8 yards in passing which, again, leads the MAC. Nationally the Falcons are ranked 19th in points against, a stat that stands out amongst the MAC leaders in Toledo (71st), 24th ranked Ohio (47th) and Kent State (54th).

In MAC contests the Falcons are 3-1 only dropping a game at Toledo, which is a strong testament to the strength of the defense. An old adage goes, “defense wins championships” and this team is poising to do so. One more win will make the Falcons bowl eligible, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since 2009.