BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – The Bowling Green State Falcons opened their 50th anniversary season of Doyt Perry Stadium with an exciting 27-26 win over the University of North Dakota on Saturday, Sept. 10. The Falcons benefited from three touchdown receptions by Scott Miller but had to tip away a two-point conversion attempt in the final seconds to preserve the victory.
"Defensively, they took a pounding last week after that ball game," BGSU Head Coach Mike Jinks said. "We don't win it without . . .
Much like last week, it did not take long for BGSU to get the first score of the game. The Falcons received the opening kickoff, and after both teams failed to get a first down on their opening possessions, Bowling Green took over at its own 29. On the first play, James Knapke whipped a pass to Miller, who was streaking over the middle.
BGSU's defense forced the Fighting Hawks to go three-and-out again and began their first sustained drive of the game from their own 25. Knapke completed five of six passes to start the march, including connections of 22 to Ronnie Moore and 21 to Miller.
Josh Cleveland carried the ball eight yards to get inside the UND five. It was 3rd-and-2 when Moore ran around right end for a three yard touchdown. The run was Moore's fourth career rushing score and gave the Falcons a 14-0 lead only seven minutes into the game.
Bowling Green carried that 14-0 lead to the end of the first quarter, as Knapke went 11-of-19 for 163 yards in the period. Miller accounted for 99 of those.
Midway through the second quarter, UND's Deion Harris intercepted Knapke on the first play of a BGSU drive to give the Fighting Hawks the ball at the Falcons' 39. BGSU's defense allowed 20 yards before Reid Taubenheim connected on a 36-yard field goal for North Dakota's first score.
Soon after, Harris again picked off a Falcon pass, this time by James Morgan. The catch, on a tipped ball, resulted in a 61-yard return for a touchdown, as BGSU's lead was cut to 14-10.
Knapke returned to the game and, four plays later, beat UND's defense once again with a pass to Miller over the middle. This 51-yard connection gave BGSU a 21-10 lead with one minute left in the first half.
UND failed to score before the break, but it scored a touchdown on its first drive of the second half, then kicked a field goal after Tyus Carter picked off Knapke at the Bowling Green 33 on the Falcons' first play of the half. With 9:48 left in the third, the Fighting Hawks were within 21-20.
The Falcons answered with a ten-play, 64-yard drive that was fueled by Knapke passes and Fred Coppet runs. On 3rd-and-24 from the North Dakota 40, Knapke found Teo Redding for 29 yards and a first down as Redding made a nifty diving catch. Knapke then threw his third scoring pass of the day to Miller on the next play, this time from 11 yards out. After a missed extra point, the score was 27-20.
The score remained the same until North Dakota drove 65 yards to tie the game with 13 seconds left in the game. Keaton Studsrud completed five balls on the drive, the last for three yards to Stetson Carr. However, UND went for two to win the game, and Studsrud's pass attempt fell incomplete. BGSU completed its 27-26 victory by recovering an onside kick attempt.
Miller finished the contest with five catches for 161 yards and three touchdowns. The scores were the first three of his career, and the yardage total nearly tripled his previous career total. His 71-yard reception is the longest play of the season to date for BGSU.
Moore scored BGSU's other touchdown on the fourth rushing score of his career. He also hauled in three passes for 39 yards. He has receptions in 32 consecutive games, and the 39 yards gives him 2,272. That total moves him into tenth place on BGSU's career reception yards list.
Janarvis Pough had four catches for 51 yards, while Deric Phouthavong added five for 41. All of those totals are career highs. Knapke fed his receivers to the tune of 23-of-40 for 315 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. The three scoring passes ties Knapke's career high.
Antonyo Sotolongo and Austin Valdez led BGSU's defense with ten tackles; the total for Sotolongo was a career high and gives him 19 for the season, while Valdez has 20. Trent Greene added nine for a team-leading season total of 25. Gus Schwieterman had three sacks, and Brandon Harris added another. Those were the first career sacks for both players.
Overall, BGSU outgained North Dakota 417-383 and 327-219 through the air. They also allowed just 3.8 yards per carry despite 43 attempts by UND. The Falcon defense limited the Fighting Hawks to just 4-for-17 on third down attempts.
The victory gives Bowling Green a 1-1 record overall and 1-0 at home. The Falcons will once again play at Doyt Perry Stadium Saturday when they host the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee State. That game will kick off at noon and will once again be carried live by American Sports Network and ESPN3.
(Courtesy of BGSU Athletics)