Jacobs' day not enough

Falcons' standout quarterback has 458 passing yards, five touchdowns in loss

MADISON — Omar Jacobs looked like a Heisman Trophy candidate Saturday, between the five touchdowns and the 458 passing yards and the 30 completions of 51 attempts.

In Bowling Green's 56-42 loss to Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium, Jacobs was Bowling Green's ray of hope. When Bowling Green had the ball, fans watched the Omar Jacobs show. Jacobs to Partridge. Jacobs to Sharon for a touchdown. Jacobs to Sanders for 63 yards and a touchdown.

Those three receivers, Corey Partridge, Charles Sharon and Steve Sanders, each had more than 100 receiving yards and at least one touchdown apiece. In the end, Partridge, a redshirt freshman, led the team with 160 receiving yards on eight receptions, including a 46-yarder.

"What gave us a chance was our passing game," Bowling Green head coach Gregg Brandon said. "The protection was there, for the most part. We gave up a couple of sacks (four) and our receivers did a nice job getting open, catching the ball, for the most part."

Jacobs calmly marched his team down the field twice in the first quarter, first on a 10-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Partridge, making that the eighth straight game that Bowling Green has scored on its opening drive. Later in the first quarter, he manufactured a 13-play, 76-yard drive capped by an 18-yard touchdown shovel pass to tailback B. J. Lane. Kicker Josef Timchenko botched the extra point on the second touchdown drive but Bowling Green held a 13-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

"I thought Omar did a nice job," Brandon said. "Omar was poised in there and he didn't get rattled. He made some nice throws."

Jacobs, in fact, did not throw his first incomplete pass until just under five minutes remaining in the first quarter. He was a perfect 8-of-8, with 65 yards to that point.

"They've (Bowling Green coaches) trained that quarterback to know where to go with the ball and his receivers really do a good job," Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez said. "He's everything they say he is."

Jacobs remained stellar through much of the second quarter, throwing for two touchdowns and a two-point conversion. His first possession without a touchdown came at 12:39 in the second quarter. He was a key figure in Bowling Green's 35 points that half, which Wisconsin matched. By halftime, Jacobs amassed 305 yards and four touchdowns on 20-of-29 passing.

"I still think we felt like we had a chance to win the game," Bowling Green coach Gregg Brandon said.

But Bowling Green's offense struggled through the third quarter, as Jacobs went 0-of-5 and was sacked two consecutive times — a rarity for the athlete who was sacked just 10 times total last season. This quarter, Brandon said, was essentially the beginning of the end for the Falcons.

Jacobs said both finding a rhythm and execution were problems in the third quarter. He also attributed Bowling Green's inability to match Wisconsin's second-quarter momentum swing, when the Falcons failed to convert three consecutive third-down situations, as evidence of his team's woes.

To make matters worse, Sharon and Partridge both had dropped passes; Sharon had four in the second half, including one in the fourth quarter that, had it been caught, would likely have resulted in a Bowling Green touchdown.

Bowling Green's running game, which averaged 168.3 yards per game last season, managed just 73 yards Saturday (although the team gained 107 yards and lost most of its 34 yards on Jacobs' four sacks). Midway through the second quarter, Bowling Green suffered a blow when P. J. Pope sprained both of his ankles blocking for Lane on a kick return. Pope had 24 rushing yards and 10 receiving yards at that point; Lane finished the day with 47 rushing yards and 36 receiving yards.

"We tried to rely on big plays (when BG fell behind)," Brandon said. "We still made some big plays but we basically abandoned the running game, which we didn't run the ball very well anyway. It's a Big Ten defense. Stout, physical people and they just did a nice job."

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