Another MAC school comes to Laramie and this time it is the Bowling Green. Two years ago Bowling Green was 4-8, but last year they won the MAC East division and earned a berth to the GMAC Bowl where they were soundly defeated 63-7 by Tulsa. The turn around year was great, but now the Falcons want to try to improve and win the MAC title, and with 18 starters back they have a very good chance to accomplish that.
Offense: It all starts with quarterback play for the Falcons is Junior Tyler Sheehan who looks to be just as good as former Falcon quarterback Omar Jacobs. In Sheehan’s first ever start last year he defeated Minnesota and had a near perfect game with 388 passing yards, four touchdowns and no picks. For the year he earned All-MAC third team, completed 303-of-476 passes for 3,264 yards and 23 touchdowns with 11 interceptions.
His Junior year looks to improve off of that and he has a chance to be player of the year if the Falcons win the MAC Championship game.
Last year Bowling Green had a group effort of four backs who led the way to a 1,607-yard, 16-touchdown performance as a unit. They do bring back the four leading rushers from that squad and the leading rusher was Senior Anthony Turner who had 519 yards and nine scores, but his biggest efforts was that he is a dual threat back who also caught 22 passes. Then there is Sophomore Willie Geter who is a similar player to Turner in that he has the ability to catch the ball as he had 37 last year.
The running backs is the depth of the offense and with the ability for them to catch as well as run well this can open up the offense more by playing two of their top backs at the same time.
The wide outs have as much talent as the backs and they are lead by Junior Freddie Barnes and senior Corey Partridge were the top two threats a year ago.
Barnes enjoyed a breakout year with a team-high 82 catches for 962 yards and nine touchdowns. While Patridge had 46 catches and 453 yards, and is the teams play making wide out. Last year Patridge missed five games with an injury so if he is healthy the whole year then the Falcons can just add one more break out player to the team. There are various receivers who are capable of rotating in and out as the third or fourth receiver with, Tyrone Pronty, Jermiah Kelly, and Chris Wright.
Defense: The defense was the reason that Bowling Green did not do better last year, and especially the waxing they took against Tulsa in their bowl game. There are nine starters returning so the 29 points the gave up per game should be better. The defensive line has eight players back who saw significant time in the rotation from a year ago. The main thing that the line needs to improve on is their run game that was 11th in the MAC and gave up over 200 yards per game.
With all the bodies back at linebacker Bowling Green should be better over in their blitzing schemes and stopping the run. They only lose one of their starters, but all the starters are upper in their fourth and fifth years in the program and know the system well.
All four starters return from a group that helped BGSU finish third in the MAC in pass defense a year ago. This is the best news for Bowling Green, because if somehow the defensive line can help create second and third and longs the secondary should be able handle most receiving corps.
Early Prediction: This game is at Laramie which is tough and Wyoming’s rush defense is solid. If this game is a shoot out Bowling Green will win, but if it is in the 20’s then look for it to be close and the edge would go to Wyoming.