BOWLING GREEN, OHIO – The Bowling Green Falcons boast one college football's best offensive combinations in fifth year senior quarterback Matt Johnson and sophomore wide receiver Roger Lewis.
On Saturday afternoon, that pair hooked up six times for 118 yards and two touchdowns as Bowliing Green dominated the Akron Zips in every facet of the game as they rolled to their fourth consecutive victory, 59-10, before a homecoming crowd of 20,021 at Perry Stadium.
With the win and Western Michigan's victory at Ohio earlier in the day, Bowling Green (5-2, 3-0 MAC) moved into sole possession of first place in the MAC Eastern Division.
“It was a team win today.” Falcons head coach Dino Babers said. “We played great in every phase of the game. The defense came together today, allowing 10 points to a team like Akron. Special teams came up with big plays.”
Akron (2-4, 1-2 MAC) has lost five of its last six MAC games away from home while absorbing its worst conference road loss since 2011 at Western Michigan (68-19).
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It was a windy, chilly afternoon. However that did not stop the BGSU offense, which came into the game leading the MAC in points (40.7 ppg) and total yards (604.7 ypg).
The hosts scored on their first possession of the game after blocking an Akron punt and taking possession on the Zips 48 yard line. Johnson and the offense needed just six plays for a touchdown as sophomore running back Donovan Wilson ran up the middle from two-yards out for a 7-0 lead.
After an exchange of punts, UA moved the football for the first time. Starting from his own 48 yard line, sophomore QB Thomas Woodson put together a 10-play drive, tying the score at 7-7. WR Tyrell Goodman took a pass over the middle for the points.
It was the Zips offense best drive of the game as they managed just 271 total yards overall. Woodson completed 13-of-28 passes for only 91 yards and a pair of interceptions before being replaced by senior QB Kyle Pohl in the fourth quarter.
After the kickoff, Bowling Green took complete control of the game.
The following kickoff was a short one that bounced on the artificial turf and was fumbled by the Zips. BGSU recovered at the Zips 26. Johnson found Lewis over the middle on the next play for a touchdown, increasing the lead to 21-7.
Johnson would finish the afternoon completing 25-of-30 passes for 357 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions. Coming into the game, he led the Football Bowl Subdivision in total passing yards (2,534) and touchdowns (19).
UA did respond with a score on the next series. Woodson got the offense moving with two completions to sophomore WR Jerome Lane, who led the Zips in receptions with four for 45 yards. The drive reached the Falcons 29 before stalling. Senior PK Robert Stein made a 46-yard field goal into a stiff breeze to make the score 21-10.
It would be the Zips final score on the afternoon.
Bowling Green put the game further out of reach early in the third period
by driving his first possession 65 yards in eight plays. Johnson finished with his third touchdown pass -- all three to different receivers. Fifth-year senior Ryan Burbrink ran a go pattern and caught up with Johnson’s pass in the end zone from 34 yards out to make the score 35-10.
The Johnson-to-Burbrink tally was the first of five consecutive Falcons scores in the second half (four touchdowns and a field goal). They added two more touchdowns in the third when Coppet scored on a six-yard run and Johnson found senior RB Travis Greene on the left sideline.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Johnson and Lewis hooked up for the second time in the game -- this one from a yard out. It followed a 42-yard Johnson-Lewis connection that video replay ruled to be out of bounds just short of the goal line.
There was little to be salvaged by the Zips on this day. After the Stein field goal, they managed just 78 offensive yards in the second half.
“Everybody played terrible today,” senior NT Cody Grice said. “It was a bad game all around.”
One surprising stat in the game was the Falcons had 532 yards of total offense. It was surprising in the fact that it was Bowling Green's lowest output so far this season. By contrast, it was the second most yards given up by the UA defense in 2015. They allowed 539 yards at nationally ranked Oklahoma.
“That is the best defense we have faced in the MAC so far this season.” Babers said. “They are big and they are fast.”
Bowling Green travels east to battle Kent State, while Akron has the week off and will return to action October 31 when Central Michigan comes to InfoCision Stadium.