MTSU scored three touchdowns in the span of 2:01 surrounding halftime, and inclement weather limited offensive production in the second half, as the Falcons failed to score in the final 30 minutes.
Josh Cleveland rushed . . .
BGSU won the coin toss and took the ball first. Neither team could do much on their opening possessions, both of which ended with punts. However, MTSU's resulted in the first break of the game. Ronnie Moore muffed the punt, and the Blue Raiders recovered on the BGSU 10. On 3rd-and-goal, Brent Stockstill found Ty Lee over the middle for a six-yard TD pass and a 7-0 lead.
recovered at the MTSU 21. A 15-yard pass from James Knapke to Fred Coppet brought BGSU to 1st-and-goal, then Josh Cleveland took the ball around left end for a one-yard touchdown on third down.
After an MTSU punt, the Falcons went on an 84-yard drive to take the lead. The nine-play march was dominated by seven runs. Coppet had the first two, including a 12-yard run to start the drive. Josh Cleveland had the next two, the last of which went for 23. Donovan Wilson capped the drive with three runs. The last went for a four-yard touchdown, his first since last October.
I'Tavius Mathers evened the game with a 53-yard run on the following possession, and MTSU forced a punt for a chance to take the lead. However, Alfonso Mack made his first interception of the season and seventh of his career, returning the ball 47 yards to the MTSU 1. On the next play, Donovan Wilson plowed into the end zone for a touchdown and a 21-14 lead just 1:46 into the second quarter.
The rest of the game belonged to the Blue Raiders. Stockstill led an 80-yard drive to even the game at 21 late in the second quarter. Knapke led BGSU to midfield, but he fumbled after a sack and MTSU recovered. That allowed Mathers to score again on a four-yard run with 30 seconds left in the half, and MTSU led 28-21 at the break.
Mathers scored yet again on the first play from scrimmage in the second half when he raced upfield for 78 yards with a Stockstill pass. Middle Tennessee held their 35-21 lead until Mathers posted his fourth score of the game, a five-yard run, with 4:01 to go in the game. That provided the final 41-21 margin.
BGSU ran 93 plays for 433 yards. Of those, 61 plays for 304 yards came on the ground. That is the most rushing yards for Bowling Green since Nov. 24, 2015 at Ball State. It is the first time BGSU has rushed the ball at least 60 times since 2014 against Kent State.
Cleveland's 18 carries and 153 yards were both career highs, and he posted his first career touchdown. Donovan Wilson also set career bests for carries (10) and yards (36). His two scores were his first since last October against Akron, and they tie for his most in a single game. Coppet's 27 carries were 13 more than his previous high, and his 117 yards were the second most in his career. It is his fifth career 100-yard game.
Defensively, Trent Greene had 11 more tackles and now owns 36 for the season. He was fifth nationally with 12.5 per game entering the contest. Alfonso Mack's interception is his first of the season and seventh of his career. Gus Schwieterman added a sack; he now has three in the last two games.
BGSU's loss drops the Falcons' record to 1-2. Bowling Green returns to action next week when they travel to the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn. to face the Memphis Tigers. Game time for that contest is 8:00 p.m. Saturday.