The 56 points was the most ever allowed by a Marshall defense, testimony to the talent that BGSU has on offense.
"You just have to give them credit. Their offense is a really, really good offense," said Marshall coach Bob Pruett. "Probably the best offense that's been in this league since I've been in it. They're rolling right now and we had no answers."
"We knew that they could throw the ball and they were effective doing that," said Bowling Green coach Gregg Brandon about Marshall. "Hill is a good player, and those receivers are good. But we kept them out of the end zone long enough to get the win."
The Herd kept Bowling Green in close range until the third quarter. Prior to that, the Falcons managed to score two touchdowns in the span of 21 seconds late in the first quarter. P.J. Pope scored the first of his three TDs in the game on a 1-yard run with :50 left in the first half. Marshall kick returner Ahmad Bradshaw fumbled the ensuing kickoff return, and the Falcons recovered on the 13 yard line. One play later, Steve Sanders hauled in a 13-yard pass from Jacobs to pull ahead by a 21-7 margin.
"We needed to match them on offense, we needed to play better on special teams," Pruett added.
Marshall would cut the BGSU lead to only 7 points on two occasions in the third quarter, the first coming on The Herd's first possession of the second half. MU quarterback Stan Hill (31-of-49, 348 yards) lead the offense on an 11-play, 76-yard drive to open the third quarter that ended with Bradshaw scoring from five yards out.
After yet another P.J. Pope score for Bowling Green, MU receiver Marcus Fitzgerald hauled in a 36-yard pass from Hill on the following drive. That reception set up back Earl Charles just two plays later, with Charles running in for the score with 11:04 left in the third quarter. Marshall was still within striking distance, down 28-35.
Bowling Green put the proverbial nail in Marshall's coffin in the span of four minutes, late in the third quarter. Pope scored his final TD, a 4-yard pass from Omar Jacobs, with 6:57 left to go. Charles Sharon added another TD pass from Jacobs, a 45-yarder, with 4:25 left. To add insult to injury, BGSU defensive back Keon Newson picked off MU quarterback Stan Hill and sprinted 42 yards for the score with 2:51 still to go in the quarter.
""We are a big play offense," Falcons QB Omar Jacobs described afterwards. "Everybody makes plays, and everybody does the right thing at the right time."
When all was said and done, the Falcons had pulled out to a 56-28 lead by the end of the third quarter. MU backup quarterback Graham Gochneaur added a 15-yard rushing TD late in the fourth quarter to cement the final 56-35 margin.
"We had no answer for Omar today," MU coach Pruett summed up.
Bowling Green racked up a solid 543 yards of total offense (389 in the air, 154 rushing), while Marshall put up 461 yards (363 passing, 98 on the ground) in the offensive shootout. Receiver Josh Davis caught 9 passes for 110 yards, followed closely by Brad Bates' 8 catches for 105 yards.
Marshall now stands at an even 5-5 overall (5-2 MAC) with the loss. Bowling Green bumps up to 8-2 overall (6-1 MAC) with the win.
"It's a shame we're 5-5," Pruett added. "We're much better than that. But that's what we are. We'll regroup and go after it. Nobody will feel sorry for the Herd. We just let one get away."
The Herd's final game of the regular season is at home next Saturday, when the Western Michigan Broncos visit Huntington. Game time is set for 4:30pm.