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2013 Pre-Season Preview: Bowling Green Falcons

2012 Record: 8-5 (6-2 in MAC)

2012 Preview

Head Coach: Dave Clawson (22-28 at BGSU, 80-77 All-Time)

Last Bowl Game: 2012 Military Bowl: Lost to SJSU 29-20

Stadium: Doyt Perry Stadium in Bowling Green, OH (capacity = 23,724)

Home Field Advantage: ranked 18th out of 55 mid-major teams

Schedule Glimpse:

2013 Schedule Link

Revenge: 9/7 at Kent State, 10/26 vs Toledo

Out of Conference Foes: 8/29 vs Tulsa, 9/14 at Indiana, 9/21 vs Murray State, 10/12 at Mississippi State

Swing Games: 11/12 vs Ohio, 11/29 at Buffalo

 

Statistical Snapshot:

2012 Statistics Link

Stats to Fear: made 52.9% of FG attempts (last in MAC), converted on 65.96% of red zone attempts (last in MAC) and scored TDs on 48.94% of red zone trips (11th in MAC)

Stats to Cheer: gave up 155 plays of 10 or more yards (it sounds like a lot but it was the least in the MAC) and 36 plays of 20 or more yards (also the least in the MAC), allowed opponents to convert just 27.96% of third downs (4th in Nation)

Advanced Stats (Football Outsiders 2012 FEI Ranking): 72nd out of 124 teams

 

Personnel:

Phil Steele's Returning Starters: Offense: 10, Defense 9, Special Teams 2 (tied for most in FBS)

Key Defensive Returnees: LB Gabe Martin (70 tackles, 4.5 sacks), LB Paul Swan (65 tackles), DB Cameron Truss (63 tackles), LB D.J. Lynch (63 tackles), DB Ryland Ward (57 tackles), DB Jude Adjei-Barimah (30 tackles, 4 INT)

Key Offensive Returnees: QB Matt Schilz (2585 yds passing, 14 TD, 12 INT), WR Chris Gallon (54 rec, 6 TD)

Top Recruits: DE Darius Holiday, RB Fred Coppet, DT Shannon Smith, S Isaiah Gourdine, WR Mike Rogers, RB Brandon English, WR Teo Redding

 

Inside Scoop with the Falcon Blog:

CFBZ: Bowling Green's defense was fantastic last year allowing just 16.8 points per game. Who are the stand-outs on this unit?

Falcon Blog:The defensive unit returns 10 starters from that unit, so as you can imagine, hopes are very high for this year. Now, the lost players were Chris Jones (MAC Defensive POTY and Texans draft choice) and LB Dwayne Woods–the two best defensive players.  The top guys on a returning basis are ROVER Gabe Martin, S Boo Boo Gates and LB Paul Swan. Martin was made to play this position. He is everywhere on the field, plays the run and the pass. Gates has continued to develop and Swan is one of those over-achiever types who has made himself into a high-quality player.
 
 
CFBZ: The Falcons were near the bottom of the MAC in yards per game and points per game. What should we expect from the offense this season?
 
Falcon Blog: Good question. This is a huge question mark. Last year, BG had inconsistent QB and WR play and good RB play. However, the top RB (Anthon Samuel) may or may not return due to family issues, two other backs are coming back from injury and the team has FOUR true FR coming in this fall who could play. There is an open competition at QB and the WRs are the same cast as last year, so we are waiting to see if they take a step up. For BG to move from good to great, they have to maintain their running back play and improve at QB and WR, regardless of who plays. 
 
 
CFBZ: According to Phil Steele, Bowling Green returns 19 starters this season. Are there any newcomers that could break into the starting line-up for the Falcons this season?
 
Falcon Blog: I'd list a couple. The best story is Kendall Montgomery. A super-athletic TE from Miami, FL, he is behind two really good players and he was moved to DE, where he has the tools to be an absolute beast. He's 6'5" and basketball-athletic and as he learns the position, I think he can present big issues as a pass rusher. The other would be true freshman Fred Coppet of Ft. Lauderdale. Given the turmoil at RB for BG, he has a chance to make an impact right away. 
 
 
CFBZ: What will make the 2013 season a success in your eyes?
 
Falcon Blog: We've been pointing here for a long time. BG has not won a conference championship since 1992. Coach Clawson had to essentially strip the entire program down to rebuild it to where it is today. BG has gradually improved every year despite being "young."  The team is not young anymore. This senior dominated team needs to win the East Division at least to consider it a successful season. Obviously, a MAC title is a home run.

 

Verdict:

The Falcons took a big step forward last season moving from a five win team to an eight win team that played in a bowl game. The improvement of the defense was a huge key as the Falcons went from allowing 28.8 ppg in 2011 to just 16.8 in 2012. At home the Falcons were even better allowing just 13.4 and in wins they allowed just 8 points per game. BGSU also allowed the least amount of total yards in the conference and were the best in the conference at defending third downs. 

If the offense was half as good as the defense, the Falcons could very well end up in the MAC Championship Game. The Falcons were just 10th in the MAC in scoring offense and 11th in total offense. Seems like a strange combination since Dave Clawson came up on the offensive side of the football. 

I like the BGSU schedule. They skip conference favorite NIU and they also get Toledo at home. When I look at the schedule I see another 8-4 regular season if the team comes out and plays the same way that it did last season. The key is the offense. In the first two weeks against Tulsa and Kent State they are going to have to put some points on the scoreboard to win (lost 31-24 to Kent St last year and Tulsa averaged 34.7). There is no doubt in my mind that the Falcons will be a good team in 2013. If they want to be a great team and compete for the MAC Championship, the key games are Kent State and Toledo. If they can beat Kent State they could be looking at a MAC Championship showdown with Jordan Lynch and NIU.

 

 

Previous 2013 Pre-Season Previews:
 
C-USA- FAU
Independent: Georgia StateOld Dominion
MAC- Buffalo
Kevin Causey

About Kevin Causey

dry humorist, beer snob, occasionally unbiased SEC fan, UGA alumni, contributor for The Student Section and founder of College Football Zealots

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