Preview 2017: Bowling Green Falcons

Preview 2017: Bowling Green Falcons

Bowling Green

Preview 2017: Bowling Green Falcons


Preview 2017: Bowling Green Falcons

Previewing and looking ahead at the Bowling Green Falcons season – and what you need to know.

Contact @PeteFiutak

2017 Bowling Green Preview: Back To MAC Title Form?
2017 Bowling Green Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
– Bowling Green Previews: 20162015

What You Need To Know About The Bowling Green Offense

Just six starters are back, but the O should be better and more efficient after having to undergo an overhaul.

Losing leading rusher Fred Coppet stinks, but the running back situation is fine. Scott Miller is an all-star receiver for a decent-looking receiving corps that gets back seven of the top eight targets.

The line was good enough, but now it has to replace three starters around all-star center Tim McAuliffe. There’s enough size, though, to overcome a few likely early problems. As long as the front five is giving QB James Morgan time, everything should be okay. Morgan has the talent to be terrific, but he’s got to …

Biggest Key To The Bowling Green Offense

Stop throwing picks and start converting third down chances. The Falcons kept screwing up with way, way, way too many interceptions – 25 on the year among all the passers – and they had a nightmare of a time early on when it came to simply moving the chains.

The Falcons kept drives going just 31% of the time, and – strangely enough – managed to win late in the season when they were better than that, ripping up Kent State and Buffalo as they got the O moving. By comparison, the 2015 MAC champ offense converted more than 50% of its tries.

What You Need To Know About The Bowling Green Defense

The Bowling Green defense was a disaster. It was a problem when it won the MAC title, too, but two years ago the offense was able to pick up the slack.

Great-tackling linebacker Austin Valdez left as a transfer, but the rest of the top five tacklers are back, and 11 of the top 14 return. However, only six starters are back.

The linebacking corps should be a positive even without Valdez. Brandon Harris and Nate Locke are decent veterans who can move. The tackles are relatively undersized and there needs to be a decent rotation, but the linebackers should be able to clean more up.

It would be nice if there was more of a pass rush to help out a secondary that hasn’t stopped anyone in years. Three starters are back in a good-sized group that makes plenty of tackles, but …

Biggest Key To The Bowling Green Defense

The secondary has to stop getting torched. The 2015 pass defense was miserable, too, but there were a few massive differences. The Falcons got hit for close to 3,300 yards while allowing 6.7 yards per pass and picking off 20 throws.

Last year’s secondary also gave up close to 3,300 yards, but in one less game. Worse yet, it allowed 8.6 yards per throw with 32 touchdowns and just nine picks. Everyone who wanted to throw was able to do it without much of an issue. That’s got to change.

Bowling Green Will Be Far Better If …

It stops … turning … the ball … over. Yeah, that goes for everyone, but Bowling Green had a nightmare of a time last year with giveaways. Only Kansas gave it up more – 36 times to 33 – and only Southern Miss and Purdue were worse in turnover margin.

The 2015 MAC Champion gave the ball up just 15 times on the year and were a +12 in turnover margin, meaning there was a 28 turnover swing in just one season. The Falcons gave it up two times or more in every game but two and won the turnover battle just twice.

Best Bowling Green Offensive Player

WR Scott Miller, Jr. – The smallish, quick 5-10, 160-pounder won’t ever get physical enough to beat up too many defensive backs for the ball – if any – but he can get open.

He led the team with 74 catches for 968 yards and ten scores, while doing his part as one of the main return men. A go-to target, he came up with 11 catches twice and hit the 100-yard mark four times.

2. C Tim McAuliffe, Sr.
3. RB Josh Cleveland, Sr.
4. QB James Morgan, Soph.
5. RB Donovan Wilson, Sr.

Best Bowling Green Defensive Player

S Jamari Bozeman, Jr. – There wasn’t much happening from the Falcon defense last season, but Bozeman tried to do his part as the last line of defense finishing second on the team with 71 tackles with three picks.

The 6-2, 200-pound All-MAC performer on the field and in the classroom is the perfect leader for a secondary that needs to make more big things happen. He’s a great one to work around.

2. P Joe Davidson, Sr.
3. DT Gus Schwieterman, Sr.
4. LB Brandon Harris, Jr.
5. LB Nate Locke, Sr.

Key Player To A Successful Season

QB James Morgan, Soph. – He got his feet wet in his first season, and now he has to make the offense fly. The 6-4, 213-pound bomber was a MAC all-star in the classroom, but he had a rough time keeping his throws from going to the other guys. He threw for just under 2,100 yards with 16 touchdowns, but he gave up 15 picks. The Falcons have just enough pieces to be interesting, but they need the triggerman to be excellent.

The Bowling Green Season Will Be A Success If …

It gets back to a bowl game. Even with all of the problems last season, the Falcons closed out strong with three straight wins, and had a few chances for wins in close losses. With a few tweaks, and with the experience returning, there’s hope for a two-win improvement considering the schedule isn’t all that bad.

Key Game To The Bowling Green Season

Oct. 7 at Miami University The Falcons need to get by Akron at home to start the MAC season. Do that, and the battle against the suddenly-good RedHawks in Oxford might be a big deal early on in the East race.

Bowling Green gets Ohio at home, and while it has to deal with Northern Illinois and Toledo from the West, those are in Doyt Perry, too. There’s a great chance the MU game is the toughest road battle of the conference season.

2016 Bowling Green Fun Stats

– Interceptions Thrown: Bowling Green 25 – Opponents 9
– Penalties: Opponents 90 for 861 yards – Bowling Green 70 for 696 yards
– 4th Down Conversions: Bowling Green 26-of-44 (59%) – Opponents 4-of-7 (57%)

2017 Bowling Green Preview: Back To MAC Title Form?
2017 Bowling Green Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
– Bowling Green Previews: 20162015

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