The TSX Files: Bowling Green

The Sports Xchange's preview of Bowling Green coming off their win over Marshall last week: who's looking good, what needs work.

INSIDE SLANT

After rallying for a 44-28 victory over Marshall behind backup quarterback Aaron Pankratz for its first victory of the season, Bowling Green must go to Michigan to face the Wolverines, who are 3-0.

Matt Schilz, a redshirt freshman, has been Bowling Green's starting quarterback for the first three games of the season.

However, Schilz suffered a sprained right (throwing) shoulder when he was sacked with just over a minute to play in the third quarter against Marshall. Schilz fumbled on the play, with Marshall recovering at Bowling Green's 's one-yard line. One play later the score was 28-28.

The Falcons rallied behind Pankratz, a redshirt sophomore playing in only his second college game, and their defense to secure the victory.

"All year our guys have played hard and we've gotten close in the fourth quarter against some good football teams," coach Dave Clawson said. "We didn't finish and we didn't make the critical plays in the fourth quarter that you need to do to win games against good teams. Tonight we made those plays.

"I was really proud of our defense. When it was 28-28, that's when we had to step it up a little bit and show some character and backbone, and our guys responded great."

Bowling Green made two interceptions in the fourth quarter and allowed Marshall only 16 total yards on 12 plays. The Falcons also forced and recovered a fumble on a Marshall kickoff return in the final quarter.

All told, Marshall turned the ball over five times.

Pankratz completed 5-of-8 passes for 111 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.

"It was a different experience," Pankratz said. "Last year when I went into the game I kind of knew it was coming. This year it was just spur of the moment.

I was pretty excited ... Overall I was just excited to get in and do what they told me to."

Clawson, said he didn't give any special instructions to Pankratz.

"He's been here for three years and he's gotten a lot of reps, and at that point you just hope that all the reps he's gotten through spring football, you hope that takes over and there is carry over," Clawson said.

"He will be the first to tell you, he certainly didn't play a perfect game, but he made some really big plays for us. That touchdown to (Tyrone) Pronty, that's very hard to do. To sit on the sidelines for three hours and then suddenly go into a game 28-28, that is not easy."

Schilz will be evaluated over the weekend and more on his status should be known on Monday afternoon.

NOTES, QUOTES:

--Bowling Green forced five turnovers against Marshall, four interceptions and one fumble on a kickoff return. The Falcons returned two interceptions for touchdowns.

"It was great scheming up by the coaches, a great game plan," linebacker Dwayne Woods said about the four interceptions. "All we did was execute it. It put us in the right position and we made plays."

Woods finished with eight tackles and a 78-yard interception return for a touchdown.

--Younger players continue to see plenty of action for the Falcons. Three true freshmen played key roles in the victory. Aaron Foster started at safety. Jerry "Boo Boo" Gates played about half the game at rover, returned an interception 29-yards for a touchdown and had four tackles. And Dominic Flewellyn played the entire game at left guard.

--Kamar Jorden came into the Marshall game as one of the nation's leading receivers, averaging 11.5 receptions per game. He had 11 catches for 64 yards against Marshall and has made 34 receptions for 343 yards this season.

GAME BALL GOES TO: RB Willie Geter -- Geter made three big catches on screen passes in the final 16 minutes of the game, including a 47-yard effort that helped set up a field goal which put Bowling Green ahead to stay.

Then in the final five minutes of the game, Geter carried the ball 10 times for 45 yards as the Falcons ran out the clock.

Geter finished with 100 rushing yards on 31 carries and added five receptions for 86 yards.

KEEP AN EYE ON: CB Cameron Truss -- A redshirt freshman, Truss made the first start of his career against Marshall. Marshall went at him, especially in a 60-yard scoring drive in the final minute of the first half.

However, Truss stayed strong and finished with a team-high nine tackles, including eight solos. He also had three pass breakups.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I got a lot of help from Tyrone Pronty. I threw him the ball and let him do his thing. It was a great feeling." -- Quarterback Aaron Pankratz, talking said about the first touchdown pass of his career, a 31-yard throw in the fourth quarter.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

LOOKING GOOD: Bowling Green's quarterbacks, Matt Schilz and Aaron Pankratz, completed 24-of-33 passes for 292 yards, with two touchdowns and only one interception. A total of seven receivers caught passes.

While Marshall used various rushes and blitzes in an effort to frustrate Bowling Green's passing attack, both quarterbacks made enough plays to help the Falcons post the victory. And the wide receivers were impressive in gaining yards after the catch, with eight receptions going for 10 yards or more, including gains of 33, 31 and 23 yards.

STILL NEEDS WORK: Bowling Green's kicking game was suspect again.

Bryan Wright missed field goal attempts of 35 and 44 yards, and had a kickoff go out of bounds in the final minute of the first half. Marshall took advantage of the kickoff mistake and drove 60 yards for a touchdown to get to within 28-14 and steal some of Bowling Green's momentum.

The Falcons also missed an extra-point try after a bad snap from center.

Wright did have two of his eight kickoffs go for touchbacks and averaged 43.8 yards on four punts.

ROSTER REPORT

--QB Matt Schilz had to leave the Marshall game because of a sprained shoulder and his status for the Michigan game is highly doubtful.

--LG Scott Lewis remains sidelined because of a broken foot.

--S Lane Robilotto remains sidelined because of a foot injury.

--C Ben Bojicic is still using a crutch as he recovers from a sprained ankle.


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