Mobile, Ala. – Georgia Southern scored 35 unanswered points in the second half to overcome Bowling Green's 27-23 halftime lead Wednesday evening to defeat the Falcons 58-27 in the GoDaddy Bowl. It was BGSU's fourth consecutive year playing in a bowl game.
Matt Johnson threw three first half touchdowns and Travis Greene scored from five yards out with 36 seconds left in the first half to put the Falcons ahead 27-23. Johnson became Bowling Green's passing touchdown leader, ending his career with 73.
Bowling Green built a 20-9 second-quarter lead as . . .
Over the next two Georgia Southern drives, the Eagles had just nine yards on six plays and failed to pick up a first down. That gave the Falcons the opportunity to build a lead as Johnson found Ronnie Moore with a shovel pass on an end around for a 15-yard touchdown to make it 13-9.
On the first play of BGSU's first drive of the second quarter, Johnson found Gehrig Dieter streaking down the sideline for a 51-yard touchdown. The eight-second drive was the second-fastest of the season and gave the Falcons a 20-9 lead with 11:42 to play in the first half.
Georgia Southern answered with a methodical seven-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by a 26-yard touchdown rush. The Eagles ran the ball on every play of the drive before Wesley Fields brought Georgia Southern back to within four points with the scamper. The Eagles converted on fourth-and-two just prior to the touchdown rush.
On Bowling Green's next possession, the Falcons were forced to punt without a first down, but Joe Davidson booted a 73-yard punt to flip field position. It was the longest punt in GoDaddy Bowl history and BGSU's bowl history.
Georgia Southern, though, marched down the field and went 92 yards over 11 plays. The Eagles scored the go-ahead touchdown on fourth-and-five when quarterback Kevin Ellison escaped the Falcon rush and found Montay Crockett in the back of the end zone for a 31-yard scoring strike. It was Crockett's first reception of the season.
With just 1:27 left in the first half, the Falcons got the ball back and Greene took over. After a seven-yard pass to Dieter to the 41-yard line, Greene ripped off a 52-yard rush to the seven-yard line. Two plays later, he scored from five yards out to give the Falcons a 27-23 halftime lead.
As the second half began, the Georgia Southern offense continued its onslaught, while the Bowling Green attack got bogged down in a torrential downpour. The Eagles covered 75 yards in 14 plays on the first drive of the third quarter, eating 7:32 off the clock to take a 30-27 lead with the Eagles' nation's-best 50th rushing touchdown of the season.
Bowling Green tried to respond and the Falcons drove to Georgia Southern 20-yard line before turning the ball over on downs. The Eagles took a two-score lead on the next play as quarterback Favian Upshaw went 80 yards in 11 seconds for a 37-27 advantage.
After Johnson fumbled a wet football, the Eagles quickly built upon the lead. Georgia Southern continued to pound the ball and scored from one yard out for the 44-27 lead. The Falcons again fumbled away a wet football on the next possession and Georgia Southern iced the game away with an eight-yard rushing touchdown to make it 51-27. The Eagles tacked on one more score for the 58-27 final.
Johnson finished his career by going 15-of-34 for 246 yards and the three first half touchdown passes. He ended the year with a MAC record 4,946 passing yards. Greene's career came to a close with a team-high 79 yards rushing. Moore had five catches for 83 yards and Dieter added five receptions for 76 yards. Lewis caught three passes and had 68 receiving yards. Defensively, Taylor Royster and Austin Valdez each recorded 11 tackles.
Bowling Green ends the season with a record of 10-4 and the game is the final collegiate contest for 18 seniors. Georgia Southern finishes the year with a record of 9-4.
* Bowling Green finished the season with a 10-4 record, winning double-digit games for the sixth time in program history.
* Bowling Green is 6-7 all-time in bowl games.
* BGSU is 1-2 all-time in the GoDaddy Bowl.
* Bowling Green won a school-record seven games away from home this season.
* Bowling Green has scored 591 points this season – most in school history. BGSU's 81 touchdowns is also a program record.
* With his three touchdown passes, Matt Johnson became Bowling Green's career touchdown-pass king, surpassing Omar Jacobs' 70-touchdown mark.
* Matt Johnson extended his MAC and school records for most yards (4,946) and touchdown passes (46) in a single season. With his 15 completions, Johnson finished the year with 383 – breaking the school record set by Tyler Sheehan (373) in 2009.
* Matt Johnson threw three touchdowns in the first half, marking the sixth time this year that he's thrown for at least three touchdowns in a half. That mark is tied for first in the FBS.
* Ronnie Moore (30), Roger Lewis (28) and Gehrig Dieter (16) all extended their streaks for consecutive games with a catch.
* Travis Greene finishes his career with 3,852 yards – most in program history.
* Travis Greene is the third player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season multiple times, and also the second player in school history to lead the team in rushing over three-straight seasons.
* Roger Lewis became the 10th player in school history to score at least 100 points in a single season (102).
* Roger Lewis (1,524) and Gehrig Dieter (1,033), who surpassed 1,000 yards receiving during the game, combined for the most yards for any wide receiver duo in school history this season.
*Alex Huettel made his 55th-consecutive start – the third-longest streak in the country.
* Gehrig Dieter (89) and Roger Lewis (82) could inch up the BGSU single-season receptions list tonight.