The Falcons finish the regular season with a 9-3 (7-1 MAC) record, and will now focus on preparing for the Mid-American Conference Championship Game. Ball State finishes the season at 3-9 (2-6 MAC).
Matt Johnson – who completed 24-of-31 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns – tied the school and MAC record for touchdown passes in a single season when he found Gehrig Dieter for a one-yard score in the third quarter, pushing BGSU's advantage to 34-0. The touchdown pass was Johnson's 41st of the season, which ties fellow Falcon Omar Jacobs' mark that was set in 2004.
BGSU nearly had three 100-yard rushers in the game. Fred Coppet rushed for 109 yards and one touchdown on 12 carries. Coppet now has four 100-yard rushing performances in his career. Travis Greene and Matt Domer scored both of Bowling Green's fourth-quarter touchdowns. Greene – who finished with 97 yards on 17 touches – put the Falcons up 41-10 with 6:16 to go in regulation. Greene also rushed for a score in the first half. Domer had just three carries, but rushed for 105 yards. His 95-yard touchdown score with 39 seconds to play – which concluded the game's scoring – was the second-longest touchdown run in school history.
Leading all Falcon receivers, Dieter caught 11 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown, while Roger Lewis finished with four catches for 59 yards. Ronnie Moore added three catches for 52 yards. Ryan Burbrink hauled in three catches for 17 yards, while Greene and Scott Miller chipped in with two receptions apiece.
Defensively, the night was highlighted by three first-half interceptions – two of which were turned into touchdowns. Heading into the game, quarterback Riley Neal – who completed 24-of-40 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown – had only thrown three interceptions across the entire season. Alfonso Mack notched his team-leading fifth interception, while Dernard Turner registered his fourth of the season and Eilar Hardy notched his second.
Linebacker Brandon Harris registered a career-high 11 tackles – two of which went for a loss – to lead the Falcon defense. Fellow linebackers Trent Greene and Austin Valdez followed with 10 and nine tackles, respectively. Turner notched eight, and Mack finished with seven. Defensive lineman Shannon Smith registered BGSU's lone sack and also finished with two tackles for loss.
After a three-and-out from the BGSU offense to open up the ballgame, Ball State converted a pair of third downs before Turner picked off Neal at the BSU 49-yard line, setting up a nine-play touchdown drive.
Facing a third-and-10, Johnson found Moore for 35 yards down to the BSU 14 on a screen pass. Three plays later – on third-and-goal – Johnson faked a hand off to Greene and found Folkertsma wide open for a three-yard score.
Bowling Green forced a punt on Ball State's ensuing drive, and drove 98 yards over 11 plays to take a 13-0 lead. Set up by another long reception from Moore – this time for 34 yards – Coppet scored from one yard out for BGSU's second touchdown of the evening.
The Falcons would push their advantage to 20-0 early in the second quarter, as Greene capped a six-play drive that covered 73 yards with a four-yard score. This time, the big pass play was a Johnson-to-Lewis connection, as Lewis got free down the BGSU sideline for 38 yards to the BSU 22.
Bowling Green's third interception of the contest set up the final score of the half – a Johnson four-yard run. He went in untouched on a read option. Mack picked off Neal, and ran for 39 yards on the return to give BGSU great field position at the Ball State 27. It took BGSU just five plays and 41 seconds to make the score 27-0.
Bowling Green will play for a MAC title for the third time in three years on Dec. 4 at Ford Field in Detroit. BGSU's opponent will not be determined until Friday. If Toledo beats Western Michigan, BGSU will get a rematch with the Rockets. If Western Michigan wins, Bowling Green will face Northern Illinois. Kickoff in Detroit is scheduled for 8 p.m., and the game can be viewed on ESPN2.
(Courtesy of BGSU Athletics)