KALAMAZOO, Mich. – The Bowling Green Falcons defeated Western Michigan, 41-27, Wednesday night at Waldo Stadium. That win clinches BGSU's third straight Mid-American Conference East Division title, as well as a third straight berth in the MAC Championship game. The MAC title game is set for Dec. 4 at Ford Field.
With the victory, Bowling Green improves to 8-2 (6-0 MAC) on the season and has now won seven straight ballgames. The loss for Western Michigan – which snaps a five-game winning streak – drops the Broncos to 6-4 (5-1 MAC).
After Western Michigan scored on its first drive of the third quarter to knot the contest at 27-27, the Falcons scored the final 14 points of the game to secure the victory.
(CLICK READ MORE TO CONTINUE. . . )
Greene owned rushing scores of 26 yards and five yards in the third quarter, which gave the Falcons a lead that they would never relinquish. Fred Coppet added 64 yards on six carries – good for 10.7 yards per rush.
BIG TIME STOPS
The Falcon defense, meanwhile, got some huge stops late in the game to preserve the two-score lead. BGSU forced a turnover on downs with 4:33 to play in regulation after WMU had a first-and-goal at the Falcon four-yard line. After BGSU stuffed a rush on first down for no gain and WMU threw two straight incompletions, defensive lineman Zach Colvin notched a sack.
On Western Michigan's ensuing drive, defensive back Alfonso Mack secured the win with his fourth interception of the season.
Bowling Green quarterback Matt Johnson completed 23-of-41 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns while throwing just his fourth interception of the year.
Roger Lewis – who caught two touchdowns in the first half – hauled in five balls for 86 yards. Gehrig Dieter grabbed a team-high receptions for 84 yards. Teo Redding added two catches for 48 yards. Ryan Burbrink caught five Johnson passes for 36 yards, while Ronnie Moore and Greene caught a pass apiece.
VALDEZ LEADS BGSU DEFENSE
Linebacker Austin Valdez led the Orange and Brown with 15 tackles, including two tackles for loss and a sack. Defensive back Clint Stephens and linebacker James Sanford followed with 12 tackles each, while linebacker Trent Greene followed with 11. Defensive back Eilar Hardy recorded nine tackles. Defensive lineman Terrance Bush notched two sacks in the ballgame. Colvin had the one, and defensive linemen Taylor Royster and Izaah Lunsford combined for a sack, respectively.
The Falcons received the ball to open the game and, capped by a 35-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to Lewis, drove 79 yards on 10 plays. That drive took just 1:47 off the clock.
After forcing WMU to settle for one of two first-half field goals, Bowling Green scored another touchdown to race out to a 14-3 lead. Greene rushed for a 24-yard score, topping off a nine-play drive that covered 77 yards and 2:05.
BRONCOS RALLY FOR LEAD
Western Michigan would counter with two touchdown runs – both three-yard runs from Jamauri Bogan – to take a 17-14 lead, but Johnson answered with two consecutive touchdown tosses.
Redding and Lewis later got by the WMU secondary for two long connections of 42 and 31 yards, respectively. Redding's touchdown snatch was the third of his career, while Lewis' score – his second on the night – put the Falcons on top by a score of 27-17 with 4:38 to go in the second quarter.
Western Michigan forced a turnover and kicked a 21-yard field goal as time expired in the opening half to trim the BGSU lead to 27-20.
Johnson completed 20-of-33 passes for 239 yards and three touchdowns with one interception in the first half. Greene led the rushing attack with 82 yards and one score on nine carries. Dieter had seven catches for 63 yards at the half. Lewis had two touchdowns and five total receptions for 86 yards. Burbrink had four catches for 27 yards, while Redding scored the touchdown on two catches for 48 yards.
(Courtesy of BGSU Athletics)