Bowling Green (0-1, 0-0 MAC)
Doyt Perry Stadium, 3:30 p.m.
What a difference a week makes.
It wasn’t that long ago when the Bowling Green Falcons were cruising into their 2014 season as favorites to win a Mid-American Conference title.
With quarterback Matt Johnson at the helm and surrounded by talented weapons, the Falcons figured to overwhelm opponents on a fairly regular basis.
How much of that will come to pass is yet to be seen. BG may yet prove to be a solid MAC East contender. But the first week of action resulted left a ton of questions.
The biggest question now is how well can the Falcon offense perform without standout quarterback Matt Johnson. The junior from Harrisburg, PA appears to be lost for the season following a hip injury which he suffered in last week’s loss at Western Kentucky.
Bowling Green needs a bounce-back game to steady itself. Can the Falcons get back on track against the VMI Keydetes
VIRGINIA MILITARY INSTITUTE
The Keydets had their own defensive problems in Week One, falling to Bucknell, 42-38.
Neither team led by more than seven points the whole way and it was tied at 35-all early in the fourth quarter when Josh Brake ripped off a 62-yard punt return for a touchdown. VMI managed a field goal with 5:26 left but could not catch the Bison.
Quarterback Al Cobb completed 27 of 40 for 308 yards and four TDs in the Keydets cause. Deon Watt led the rushing attack with 97 yards on 22 carries. Doug Burton’s seven receptions were good for 109 yards and one TD. Four different receivers registered touchdown catches.
Hayden Alford punted four times for an average of 29.3 and had a long of 39.
Matt Johnson was such a good fit for Dino Babers’ offense, it is difficult to say exactly what the impact will be when he is not there. The answer is coming.
So is the answer about a replacement. Most likely is redshirt sophomore James Knapke, who hs limited experience at the collegiate level. Most of that came in mopup duty. His line for 2013 was 4 for 10 for 71 yards and a TD. All the completions were against Murray State (4 for 4).
He was all-state as an Indiana senior and included three state championships in his prep resume.
There remains significant talent on the offensive side, and the opening loss nonetheless displayed BG’s weapons.
Gehrig Deter and Roger Lewiscombined for 15 of the Falcons 25 receptions. In all, six receivers caught passes as BG totaled 313 yards through the air.
Another 152 yards – and three of Bowling Green’s four touchdowns – came via the ground game. Travis Green (18/91) and Fred Coppet (6/65) led the way.
Offensively, the Falcons got off to a bit of a slow start, scoring just 10 points before intermission.
Saturday’s matchup with VMI may give some indication of whether or not BG’s season will be off to a slow start as well.