KENT, OHIO – The Bowling Green Falcons scored on their first five possessions to build a 31-0 halftime lead and never looked back as they blanked the Kent State Golden Flashes, 48-0, Saturday afternoon at Dix Stadium.
Bowling Green (6-2, 4-0 MAC) collected its fifth consecutive victory to stay atop the Mid-American Conference Eastern Division while registering its first shutout since November 13, 2013 when the Falcons blanked Ohio, 49-0. The win makes BGSU bowl eligible for the fourth straight season.
“This was a great team win” BGSU head coach Dino Babers said. “This was one of those trap games. I told the kids, this was a coaches’ game, and I told the coaches this was a coaches’ game. You can’t let your team get trapped. They know how important the rest of these games are down the stretch and there are going to be no surprises.”
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“It was a disappointing game for us. We didn’t play very well” KSU head man Paul Haynes said. “I give Bowling Green credit; they got talent. So, the game kind of turned into a game that isn’t our type of game when they get up. We can come back but we aren’t scoring a bunch of points right now so it’s difficult for us to sit there and stay in it. Again, I give them credit; they have a very good program and a very good team.”
Realistically, the game was decided early.
BGSU took the opening kickoff at its own 35 yard line. Fifth-year senior QB Matt Johnson moved the offense down to the KSU seven, where the Falcons faced a fourth down.Babers decided to go for the field goal.
PK Tyler Tate’s 26-yard attempt was wide to the right, but, a running into the kicker penalty on KSU moved the ball half the distance to the four. From there, Johnson was flushed out of the pocket. He improvised, rolling out to the left and into the end zone for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
It would be the start of another strong performance by Johnson, who completed 27-of-40 passes for 430 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions while surpassing the 3,000 yard mark for the season.
From that point on, the game was all Orange and Brown.
Midway through the period, Bowling Green extended its lead to 14-0 when Johnson found junior receiver Ronnie Moore down the left sideline 24 yards for the score.
Midway through the period BGSU scored its third touchdown in as many possessions as Johnson connected with fifth-year senior Ryan Burbrink on a screen pass for an 11-yard touchdown.
AfterTate converted a 22-yard field goal, added one more score before intermission. Johnson threw a pass to Moore in the left flat, and the junior broke a tackle. He ran to the middle of the field and sprinted 56 yards for a touchdown that gave BGSU a 31-0 halftime lead. Moore would finish the afternoon with seven catches for 151 yards and two scores.
After the Moore touchdown, Kent State redshirt freshman George Bollas and the offensive 11 moved the ball effectively for the first time in the game. Bollas found freshman WR Antwan Dixon for 40 yards, and a personal four penalty for targeting advanced the ball to the Falcons 22, where the drive stalled. PK Shane Hynes attempted a 39-yard field goal that hit the left upright.
It would be the best chance Flashes chance to score for the remainder of the game.
Johnson and Lewis finished the afternoon in style with a 15-yard fourth quarter touchdown strike to close scoring. Lewis, who finished the game with only four receptions for 102 yards and two scores, made a fantastic one-handed catch while keeping his feet inbounds on the right sideline. The scoring play capped a nine-play 57-yard drive
One facet of the game that could be overlooked was the play of Bowling Green's defense. It held KSU to a season-best 166 yards. The Falcon "D" registered two sacks and two interceptions.
“What can you say about that defense” Babers said. “Getting a shutout nowadays in college football is amazing. The special teams was solid, and the offense trudged along and got some points on the board.”
Similar to 38-7 loss at Toledo back on October 10, the Flashes were beaten in every facet of the game.
“It’s a sign of maturity, when you’re a young football team you’re going to make young mistakes," Haynes said. We have to get better at it.”
In two games against UT and BGSU, the MAC division leaders, the Flashes offense did not score a touchdown. The defense allowed a total of 1,120 total yards and Kent State was outscored 86-7.
The dominating afternoon was another sign of Bowling Green's place in the MAC East. BGSU picked up its 16th consecutive win against the MAC Eastern Division competition. It was the Falcons' third consecutive win over the Flashes, as well as their first shutout against KSU since 1970.
Both teams will have more than a week off before their next games. The Falcons return home to face Ohio on Wednesday November 4, while KSU hosts Buffalo on November 5..