The Bowling Green State University football team scored on its second play from scrimmage, just 2:05 into their game versus Ohio University on Tuesday night (Nov. 12), and never looked back.
When the clock finally expired, the Falcons had blanked the Bobcats 49-0. It is their first shutout since defeating Massachusetts 24-0 in Oct. 2011 and their biggest one since crushing Western Michigan 52-0 on Nov. 6, 2004.
Bowling Green's defense smothered Ohio and allowed almost nothing until the game was completely out of hand. The Bobcats managed just 50 yards of total offense and two first downs in the first half as BGSU built a 35-0 lead. They ran just one first-half play on the Falcons' side of the field, and that resulted in a turnover.
In the second half, Ohio was somewhat more successful but managed to total just 172 yards in 62 plays from scrimmage during the game. The running game, in particular, struggled against a stout defensive effort. It managed just 56 net yards on 29 carries, less than two yards per attempt. This contributed to a 2-for-16 performance on third down and only nine first downs. That first down total equaled the number of Ohio punts in the game.
BGSU's offense scored twice in its first three plays and moved the ball at will until the game was effectively over. The Falcons accumulated 460 total yards in 61 plays. Those were split nearly evenly on the ground and in the air. Bowling Green rushed for 207 yards and passed for 253 more. They were 6-for-10 on third down plays, 4-for-4 in the red zone and held the ball for 33:37.
Travis Greene had another stellar game to add to his resume. He rushed for 149 yards on 22 carries (6.9 yards/attempt) and scored twice. William Houston ran the ball just twice and for only two yards, but each carry resulted in a one yard touchdown. The scores were his ninth and tenth of the season.
Matt Johnson completed 12-of-17 passes for 229 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also ran for 36 yards. Senior Matt Schilz completed one pass in his final home game, and it was a 24-yard scoring throw. Heath Jackson led all receivers with five catches, 74 yards and a touchdown. Alex Bayer also scored and had 68 yards on two receptions. Ronnie Moore caught the Schilz touchdown throw, and Shaun Joplin had 71 yards on just three catches.
Defensively, Cameron Truss led the team with seven tackles. Six different players had at least one-half sack. Ryland Ward forced a fumble and also recovered one, and Paul Swan also forced a fumble. BooBoo Gates had an interception that precluded the Schilz touchdown throw, and he returned it 82 yards.
For Ohio, Beau Blankenship ran for just 26 yards. Tim Edmond added only 20. Tyler Tettleton threw for just 93 yards in 27 attempts and had an interception. He also ran for -6 yards on five carries. Sebastian Smith had three receptions for 16 yards, while Troy Hill had two for 28. Josh Kristoff and Ben Russell led the Bobcats with eight tackles, and Xavier Hughes contributed the team's lone takeaway -- an interception of Johnson in the second quarter.
After Ohio started the game with a three-and-out, Matt Johnson ran a beautiful run fake on the Falcons' first play from scrimmage. He threw deep down the middle and found a wide open Joplin for a 43-yard gain. On the next play, Greene ran around the left end for an 11-yard touchdown jaunt and a 7-0 Falcon lead.
On the ensuing Ohio drive, the Bobcats lost two yards on three plays, but they chose to run a punt fake from their own 30 on fourth-and-12. Grant Venham gained just two yards, and Bowling Green took over at Ohio's 32. On the next play, Johnson threw deep to Jackson, who made a great leaping catch. Jackson's 32-yard reception gave BGSU a 14-0 lead less than 3:30 into the game.
Ohio failed to get a first down again, but this time Bowling Green had to start with relatively poor field position. That did not stop BGSU. The Falcons took 11 plays and 6:30 of game time to go the 72-yard distance for another touchdown. Houston's one-yard run gave BGSU a 21-0 lead
The Bobcats went three-and-out for the fourth consecutive time, and Bowling Green simply continued to score. As the game moved into the second quarter, the Falcons continued to mix effective runs with the occasional pass. An 18-yard catch-and-run by Jackson brought the ball to the Ohio one, where Houston performed his specialty again. Houston's tenth touchdown of the season handed Bowling Green a 28-0 lead. Incredibly, the game was less than 18 minutes old.
After punting again, Ohio's defense finally stopped the freight train known as Bowling Green. They pressured Johnson into an interception and took over near midfield. However, two plays later, Swan forced a Donte Foster fumble which was recovered by Ward. Granted another chance, the Falcons scored another touchdown. Greene carried the ball five times, and the last was a 16-yard burst into the end zone for a 35-0 spread.
What little doubt could have possibly remained at halftime was erased on the first possession of the second half. After two Greene runs, Johnson threw once to Bayer for 11 yards then again down the right sideline. Bayer caught the ball, made a couple of moves, and rumbled for a 57-yard touchdown.
Down 42-0, Ohio made a couple of attempts to score but could not push through. Early in the fourth quarter, Tettleton was intercepted at the goal line by Gates on a third down play from inside the BGSU 30. Gates returned it 82 yards. Two plays later, Schilz delivered his touchdown pass to Moore for the final points in BGSU's 49-0 victory.
Ohio had one last trip into Bowling Green territory but turned the ball over on downs.
The win gives Bowling Green a 7-3 overall record and a 5-1 mark in the Mid-American Conference. With Buffalo's loss at Toledo, the Falcons are now back in a first-place tie in the Eastern Division. Regardless of what happens next week, the winner of the Bowling Green-Buffalo game on Friday, Nov. 29th will win the division and play in the MAC Championship Game. Bowling Green's next contest is on Saturday, Nov. 23 at Eastern Michigan.
Ohio's loss drops the Bobcats' record to 6-4 overall and 3-3 in the MAC. They are officially eliminated from the division title race and are now competing for a possible bowl invitation.
Notes*The 49-0 win on Tuesday night was the Falcons' biggest win since Oct. 1, 2005 (70-7 vs. Temple)
*Tuesday night's shutout was the first shutout for the Falcons since a 24-0 win vs. UMass last season (Oct. 20, 2012)
*Tuesday's 21-point first quarter was the largest offensive output in the first quarter by the Falcons since scoring 28 vs. Morgan State (Sept. 10, 2011). Coincidentally, that game was on 9/10/11. Tonight's output occured on 11/12/13.
*Tuesday's 21-point first quarter was the fourth time this season the Orange and Brown have scored 21 points in a quarter. They have now scored 21 points once in every quarter this season. They scored 21 points in a quarter vs. Ohio (1st quarter), vs. Tulsa (4th quarter), vs. Murray State (2nd quarter), and at Miami (3rd quarter).
*Travis Greene rushed for 149 yards on Tuesday night, moving into fourth place all-time for a single season. He now has 1,167 rushing yards this season. Tuesday also marked Greene's sixth 100-yard rushing game this season, and 5th such game during MAC play.
*With his two touchdowns, William Houston becomes the fourth Falcon since 2004 to rush for 10 TDs in a single season. Last season, Anthon Samuel rushed for 11 TDs, and in 2004 P.J. Pope had 15 rushing TDs.
*Shaun Joplin had three catches in the game, surpassing 100 career catches.
*Cam Truss led the team with 7 tackles, surpassing 200 career tackles in the contest.
*BooBoo Gates' 82-yard interception return was tied for third longest in school history. It was his seventh career interception.
*Tyler Tate was a perfect 7-for-7 on Tuesday night in point after attempts. The seven successful conversions were Tate's career high.
*Matt Schilz (passing) and Alex Bayer (receiving) each recorded a touchdown on Senior Night.
*Senior quarterback Patrick Brown kneeled the final snap of the game on Tuesday night, marking his first career appearance.
Courtesy: BGSU Athletics