Bowling Green (3-2) at Western Michigan (3-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 8th, 2:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Waldo Stadium (30,200) -- Kalamazoo, Michigan. Television: STO, ESPN3.com. Home Record: BGSU 0-0, WMU 0-0. Away Record: BGSU 0-0, WMU 0-0. Neutral Record: BGSU 0-0, WMU 0-0. Conference Record: BGSU 0-0, WMU 0-0. Series Record: Bowling Green leads, 31-16-3.
GAME NOTES: Looking to open Mid-American Conference play with two wins for the first time since 2005, the Bowling Green Falcons will head to Kalamazoo this Saturday to take on the Western Michigan Broncos at Waldo Stadium.
The Falcons currently hold a 31-16-3 edge over the Broncos in the all-time series. However, Western Michigan has won the last two meetings, including a 41-7 decision over BGSU at Doyt L Perry Stadium last season.
Bowling Green is coming off an embarrassing, 55-10 loss to West Virginia. It was the second loss on the year for the Falcons, who are a -10 in turnovers in those setbacks. However, the Falcons do have three wins on the year and two of those victories have come on the road, including a 37-23 decision over Miami- Ohio.
As for the Broncos, they are coming off one of the biggest wins in program history, as they went on the road and beat a school from the Big East. The 38-31 decision over Connecticut was the first win for WMU against a school from that conference, and it also pushed the team's season mark to 3-2. One of those three victories came against Central Michigan, 44-14, giving the team a big win to start conference action.
Matt Schilz has done everything in his power to carry the offense, and so far the quarterback has played well enough to lead the Falcons to three victories. Schilz comes into this matchup with 1,283 yards and 15 touchdowns against seven interceptions, but the signal caller could be without one of his best options this weekend.
Eugene Cooper, who leads the team with six receiving touchdowns, is questionable for Saturday's game due to an issue with his academics. Fortunately Schilz still has his main target to go to in Kamar Jorden, who has 31 receptions and four touchdowns.
The Falcons will also have to figure out how to continue to find success on the ground without a healthy Anthon Samuel. Samuel, who is leading the team with 428 rushing yards, is dealing with an ankle injury and it is unclear if he will be ready to go against Western Michigan.
Jamel Martin filled in admirably in the team's recent loss to West Virginia, rushing for 111 yards on 23 carries. However, the offense as a whole was miserable, as BGSU committed five turnovers and finished with just 217 total yards.
It was clearly one of the worst games on the season for Schilz, who was intercepted three times. Schilz completed just 13-of-25 passes and finished with only 114 yards and one touchdown.
The defense was not much better in the contest. The Broncos were ambushed by West Virginia, as the Mountaineers trampled Bowling Green for 260 rushing yards, and added another 283 yards through the air.
The team's inability to stop the run has been a thorn in the side of coach Dave Clawson, and this is an area the team needs to improve upon quickly. So far opponents are gashing the Falcons for 148.0 ypg and have already scored nine rushing touchdowns.
If this unit is going to find success than the players should take a note from Dwayne Woods, who is leading the team with 39 tackles and seven TFLs. He also comes into this weekend with two sacks, one interception and two forced fumbles.
Like the Falcons, the Broncos have relied heavily on the pass thanks to Alex Carder. The signal-caller has completed nearly 70 percent of his throws on the year and comes into this weekend with 1,466 yards and 12 touchdowns against six interceptions.
There are plenty of reliable options for Carder, but his favorite target is Jordan White. So far the two players have hooked up 55 times for 668 yards and five touchdowns.
The ground game needs to provide some balance though, as the team is netting a mere 88.4 ypg.
The Broncos finished with just 11 rushing yards this past weekend against UConn, but once again Carder was able to bail the team out by throwing for 479 yards and five touchdowns. Two of those touchdowns went to White, who finished with 173 yards on 12 catches. However, this time Carder spread the ball around, as Robert Arnheim and Caleb Ravenell also finished with more than 100 yards. Arnheim hauled in 10 passes for 113 yards, while Ravenell caught nine passes for 123 yards and two scores.
Coming into last weekend the Broncos allowed just one passing touchdown, but the secondary fell apart against UConn, as the Huskies finished with 300 yards and four scores.
The defense also had trouble stopping the run, surrendering 151 yards, but that is not surprising since this has been a weak area for the team all year long. Through five games the Broncos are being abused for 181.8 yards per game.
This matchup has two of the top quarterbacks in the MAC squaring off, so expect to see fireworks. The Falcons have been tough on the road, but there are some key players missing on offensive. Schilz has a tremendous target in Jorden, but Carder has more weapons and a home crowd behind him and that should be enough.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Western Michigan 38, Bowling Green 31
10/05 10:43:58 ET