Idaho (0-1) at Bowling Green (0-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 8, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Doyt L. Perry Stadium (24,000) -- Bowling Green, Ohio. Television: ESPN3, BCSN. Home Record: Idaho 0-1, BGSU 0-0. Away Record: Idaho 0-0, BGSU 0-1. Neutral Record: Idaho 0-0, BGSU 0-0. Conference Record: Idaho 0-0, BGSU 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 1-1.
GAME NOTES: The Bowling Green Falcons aim for their first win of the season when they host the Idaho Vandals for a non-conference clash at Doyt L. Perry Stadium.
Idaho suffered a 20-3 setback as it struggled to find a rhythm offensively and gave up too many big plays to Eastern Washington in its season opener. The Vandals put their only points on the board when Trey Farquhar connected on a 27-yard field goal in the first quarter, but EWU displayed dominance the rest of the way by scoring 20 unanswered points.
Dating back to last season, the loss was the fourth in a row for coach Robb Akey's team. Idaho finished 2011 ranked 111th in total offense (301.5 yards per game) and 101st in total defense (436.8 yards per game). The Vandals failed to inspire hope that those rankings will improve in 2012 as they lost the total yardage battle, 388-223, to EWU.
The Falcons were not intimidated when they went head-to-head with No. 23 Florida in week one. BGSU tied the score up, 14-14, in the third quarter before the Gators scored 13 consecutive points to claim a 27-14 decision. Nine different Falcons made their first career start in the hard-fought loss. BGSU moved the ball well in the contest and managed to register eight more first downs than the Gators, but a pair of costly turnovers hindered the possibility of an upset.
Head coach Dave Clawson, now in his fourth season with the program, is 14-24 at Bowling Green. Clawson is 3-0 in home openers as head coach of the Falcons after guiding the team to wins over Troy (2009), Marshall (2010), and Morgan State (2011).
The series between the Vandals and Falcons is tied, 1-1, coming into Saturday's rubber match. Idaho edged the Falcons in the first-ever meeting in the 2009 Humanitarian Bowl (43-42), but BGSU got its revenge in 2011 with a 32-15 win in Moscow.
Idaho's quarterback Logan Bushnell could not get it going in his first career start. The senior signal caller completed 10-of-28 passes for 128 yards and threw an interception before Taylor Davis came in to complete 6-of-8 attempts for 41 yards in relief work. Junior transfer Dominique Blackman was held out of the opener for unknown reasons by coach Akey after being named the starter in mid-August.
Senior Ryan Bass turned a team-high 14 carries into 55 yards. Idaho rushed for only 70 yards as a team in the loss. Najee Lovett was the most effective target in the passing game with 105 yards on eight catches.
The Vandals frustrated EWU's Kyle Padron for the most part as he managed to complete only 13-of-33 pass attempts with an interception. However, Padron exposed the big play opportunities available against Idaho's defense with an average of 20.0 yards per completion.
On the ground, the Vandals held EWU to 3.8 yards per carry but allowed their opponent to break away for a few backbreaking scampers.
Idaho faces an experienced passer this week in BGSU's Matt Schilz. The junior quarterback will be making his 24th career start. Schilz threw for 3,024 yards and 28 touchdowns with 13 interceptions in 2011 as a sophomore. He completed 24-of-49 passes for 204 yards and was picked off once by Florida.
Six different wideouts roped in a Schilz's pass versus the Gators. BGSU had just one wide receiver on its roster with in-game experience heading into 2012. Chris Gallon impressed in his debut with a team-high 69 yards on six receptions. Ryan Burbrink and Je'Ron Stokes provide alternative options for the Falcons' aerial attack.
BGSU's rushing attack revolves around the 2011 MAC Freshman of the Year, Anthon Samuel. The sophomore tailback set a freshman record with 844 yards last season and managed 39 yards and a touchdown on 13 touches in the opener against Florida. Senior John Pettigrew is also an important component of the Falcons' running game.
Defensively, BGSU held Florida to 365 yards, while 10 different players recorded three tackles or more. Bryan Baird led the balanced effort with five tackles, while junior DT Ted Ouellet recorded his first sack of the season. The Falcons' starting cornerback duo of Darrell Hunter and Cameron Truss held their own against SEC competition in the opener as no Florida player recorded more than three catches.
Idaho's offense could receive a boost if Blackman makes his debut this week. The 6-foot-5, 255-pound quarterback transferred from Old Dominion after redshirting in his lone season with the program. Prior to ODU, he averaged 337.4 passing yards per game for Los Angeles Harbor. Regardless of Blackman's participation, BGSU clearly holds the upper hand with a talented quarterback, skilled position players, and a deep defensive unit.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Bowling Green 31, Idaho 10
09/05 10:32:29 ET