Week 2 brings the Bowling Green into the Zou to face the 25th ranked Tigers in a MAC-Big XII showdown. The Falcons took down the Troy Trojans in week one, 31-14 in an impressive showing. The MAC should not be taken lightly, as it flexed its muscles last night when Toledo took down Big XII cellar-dweller Colorado, 54-38. For tonight's home opener, here are three key matchups to focus on.
Blaine Gabbert vs. Bowling Green secondary
Bowling Green did not get a lot of pressure on Levi Brown, Troy's quarterback, sacking him only twice. Still, they shut down the Trojan's passing attack, allowing only 6 yards per attempt and 263 yards total. As Tiger fans saw last week, Blaine Gabbert has all the tools to pick apart any secondary he sees, so Bowling Green will have to be on top form in the secondary to stand a chance in this game. Dave Yost needs to utilize Danario Alexander's size tonight, since Bowling Green's top two corners are both under 5-10. Remember, this is Gabbert's 2nd career start, so don't expect him to replicate Chase Daniel's performance against, say, Buffalo last year. Still, he should have success tonight against Bowling Green.
Barnes set a school record last week with 15 catches, going for 157 yards and 2 touchdowns in the stomping of Troy. And you thought Alexander had a great opening game! Gettis will have his hands full with the 6-2 senior receiver, but he could be up to the challenge. If Dave Steckel uses the same game plan as last week, look for Gettis to allow Barnes to catch the short routes, but keep everything in front of him. Gettis collected 7 tackles last week and gave up a lot of catches, but made one big play and didn't let anything get past him. Look for the same thing this week.
"The Scorpion" vs. Bowling Green offensive line
Illinois saw Mizzou's top 3 defensive ends all on the field on obvious passing downs in Week 1, and now it has a name. "The Scorpion" was used only in the dime package against Illinois, but it could be seen in other situations as well in the coming weeks. Brian Coulter, Aldon Smith, and Jacquies Smith could cause major problems for quarterback Tyler Sheehan. He was only sacked once against Troy, but should see more pressure at Farout Field.
Tonight's game should be a good gut-check for a Tiger team coming off a win that could easily inflate their egos. With Gary Pinkel as head coach, though, we shouldn't expect the team to come out complacent. He has made it clear throughout the week that the team is not looking over Bowling Green, and they shouldn't be. The Falcons could surprise some people tonight, especially if they win these three matchups.