Bowling Green (6-3) at Ohio University (8-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, Nov. 7, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Peden Stadium (24,000) -- Athens, Ohio. Television:ESPN2. Home Record: BGSU 4-0, OU 5-0. Away Record: BGSU 2-3, OU 3-1. Neutral Record: BGSU 0-0, OU 0-0. Conference Record: BGSU 4-1, OU 4-1. Series Record: Bowling Green leads, 36-25-2.
GAME NOTES: The Bowling Green Falcons head south for a pivotal Mid-American Conference matchup with their Buckeye State rival Ohio University Bobcats at Peden Stadium.
Bowling Green delivered another great defensive performance to defeat Eastern Michigan, 24-3, and become bowl eligible for the first time in three years. Coach Dave Clawson's team has been one of the most impressive teams in the FBS in recent weeks, outscoring their opposition 157-33 over the course of its current five-game winning streak. After the team started out 1-3 with a passing based offensive philosophy, BGSU has pounded away on the ground. BGSU should be well rested coming off a bye.
Ohio had its hopes of being a BCS buster ruined when it lost 23-20 to Miami- Ohio in Oxford. The Bobcats redeemed themselves with a 45-14 rout of Eastern Michigan last Thursday to improve to 8-1 overall. This contest will be the final game at Peden Stadium this season, where the Bobcats are unbeaten in 2012. Ohio has not gone undefeated at home since 1968. Coach Frank Solich needs to lead his team to a win in this one to remain in the hunt for the MAC Championship.
Bowling Green and Ohio enter the contest tied for second in the MAC East Division. The Falcons and Bobcats are trailing Kent State by one game in the standings. Both sides control their own destiny and can punch their ticket to the MAC Championship by winning out. Bowling Green holds a 36-25-2 edge in its all-time series with Ohio.
The Bowling Green offense, which finished last in the nation in rushing in 2010, has been powered by its front line in recent weeks. The Falcons gained 1,075 yards rushing in the last four outings.
The Falcons managed to pick up 225 yards on the ground against Eastern Michigan despite being without their star tailback, Anthon Samuel. The reigning MAC Freshman of the Year is also questionable to return this week due to a neck injury. Samuel has already surpassed the 1,500-career rushing yardage mark and has reached the century mark in nine of his first 17 contests.
Matt Schilz, who will be making his 32nd career start, is coming off a season- low 78 passing yards versus EMU, but he managed to stay mistake free in the win. For his career, the junior has passed for 6,999 yards and 45 touchdowns.
Schilz lacks a clear favorite target this season as six different players have double digit receptions. Shaun Joplin (31 rec. 478 yards), Chris Gallon (31 rec., 314 yards), and Ryan Burbrink (30 rec., 253 yards) are three that have had their numbers called frequently.
BGSU's defense ranks in the top 10 in the FBS in both total defense (290 ypg) and scoring defense (15.2 ppg). The Falcons have kept each of their past two opponents out of the end zone.
A big reason for the Falcons' success is senior DT Chris Jones. The veteran defensive lineman leads the MAC with 16 tackles for loss, and 11.5 sacks this season. Jones also has a defensive touchdown to his credit due to a 23-yard fumble return. Jude Adjei-Barimah is a big-time playmaker with a team-high three interceptions.
The Bobcats have one of the top offenses in the MAC, ranking second in rushing (220.8 ypg) and third overall (462.2 ypg). Ohio totaled 559 yards of total offense last Thursday, but turned the ball over twice.
Junior quarterback Tyler Tettleton has guided the efficient attack by passing for 1,900 yards and 15 TDs with just two interceptions in eight games. He has completed 61.5 percent of his attempts (150-of-244) and produced a trio of rushing touchdowns as well.
Tettleton keeps the opposition guessing consistently by spreading the ball around. Nine different Bobcats have at least 100 receiving yards with Donte Foster emerged as a star last week with a career-high 164 yards and two touchdown catches on seven catches. Foster is leading the OU receiving corps with 487 yards and seven TDs on 38 receptions.
The Bobcats have relied heavily on Beau Blankenship to move the chains this season. The junior tailback is third in the MAC in rushing with 1,097 yards on 225 carries. Blankenship has been slowing down as the season wears on. After rushing for 100 yards or more in his first five games, Blankenship has surpassed the century mark in just one of four games.
Ryan Boykin has become a primary component in OU's rushing attack and may be passing Blankenship on the depth chart soon. Boykin led the team with 128 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries last Thursday versus EMU.
The Bobcats appear to have regained their defensive tenacity. Ohio held EMU to 305 total yards of offense after allowing its previous three opponents to tally over 1,400 yards combined.
Junior linebacker Keith Moore has been the heart and soul of the defense and has recorded a team-best 76 total tackles. Neal Huynh is an aggressive lineman and has compiled seven tackles for loss. Jelani Woseley has made seven tackles for loss as well and two of the team's nine interceptions.
Bowling Green's defense has been phenomenal, but it has not faced an opponent as talented as Ohio since week four. The Falcons will need a huge performance out of Schilz if they are going to deny OU a trip back to the league title game. Ohio will have trouble moving the ball on the ground, but Tettleton is a capable passer.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio University 24, Bowling Green 20
11/07 11:20:29 ET