As gameday approaches, we wanted to look back at last year's tilt with Bowling Green and take a quick glance at what to expect from the Falcons on Saturday.
Last year: Bowling Green 32, Minnesota 31 (OT)
Last year's season opener typified the season that was to come. The Gophers lost a close game. The Gophers put up more than enough points to win and the defense was a sieve. Tyler Sheehan shredded the Minnesota defense, going 34-51 for 388 yards.With a three-headed backfield, BGSU did just fine, rushing the ball 22 times for 118 yards. Suffice to say, Bowling Green moved the ball at will. Anthony Turner, a dual-threat option at quarterback, provided BGSU a change of pace. But the Falcons also benffited last year from Weber playing his first collegiate game. He tossed three interceptions.
Bowling Green 2008:
Bowling Green opened the 2008 campaign with an upset win over Pittsburgh on the road. Somewhat highly regarded, the Dave Wannstedt coached Panthers handed this game to Bowling Green. Pitt turned the ball over three times in the second half, as Bowling Green stormed back from a 14-0 defecit and beat the then-25th ranked Panthers 27-17. Sheehan, a junior, went 24-40 for 163 yards.
If the Gophers are to win, they'll need to slow down Sheehan and his wide receiving duo of Freddie Barnes and Corey Partridge. Running back Chris Bullock caught seven passes out of the backfield against Pittsburgh.
SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Bowling Green's use of multiple formations and three quarterbacks appeared to confuse Pittsburgh. Each quarterback who took a snap helped put the ball into the endzone. Tyler Sheehan ran for a TD and threw a scoring pass; Anthony Turner ran for a TD; and Freddie Barnes threw for a score.
"When we get the ball in [Turner's] and Freddie's hands, they can make plays with it," Sheehan said. "It helps us because [the opposing defenses] have to gameplan for a little bit of everything."
SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: Bowling Green's defense against the run was a big question mark coming into the season, but the Falcons limited Pittsburgh to 46 yards on the ground over the last three quarters while forcing four turnovers. The defensive effort helped the Falcons rally from a 14-0 deficit for the win.
"Our goal the whole time we were preparing for this, just play as one, play as a unit, one heartbeat and one team," said BG senior linebacker John Haneline, "Once we settled in, ... getting the butterflies out and everything, ... then we got comfortable, and it was [that] guys just knew their jobs and we were attacking."
I'm expecting a shoot-out Saturday at Bowling Green. Weber and the Gophers need to limit turnovers and the defense needs to be able to adjust much better then it did a year ago if the Gophers have a hope of going 2-0. A loss shouldn't be construed as the end of the world either. Bowling Green did just go on the road and knock off Pitt.
We'll have more Bowling Green coverage coming shortly. GN is doing a Q&A with a BGSU blogger and we're going to have a liveblog for the game on Saturday, so make sure to keep your laptop handy while watching the Gophers this weekend.