Falcons battle Bobcats in MAC affair

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Updated: 11/11/2013 11:21 am

Bowling Green, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - The Bowling Green Falcons will continue their pursuit of a trip to Detroit for the Mid-American Conference Championship as they host their East Division rival Ohio University Bobcats at Doyt Perry Stadium on Tuesday.

Both of these teams were in action last Tuesday. Ohio suffered a 30-3 loss at Buffalo, which resulted in the Bulls' improvement to a perfect 5-0 MAC record. The Falcons were dominant on both sides of the ball en route to a 45-3 decision over Miami-Ohio. Although Bowling Green is 4-1 in league play, leaving it a game back of Buffalo in the standings, it can guarantee itself a berth in the MAC Championship with victories over the Bobcats, Eastern Michigan and Buffalo to close out the regular season.

Ohio is 3-2 in the MAC after its disappointing loss to the Bulls last week. Coach Frank Solich guided his squad to impressive triumphs over North Texas and Marshall during September's non-conference slate, but his team is 0-2 on the road versus opponents that currently own winning records. The Bobcats are already bowl eligible, although it seems highly unlikely that senior quarterback Tyler Tettleton will get another chance at a MAC Championship at this point.

The Falcons own a 4-1 record at Doyt Perry Stadium this season with the only setback coming on Oct. 26 to the Toledo Rockets, who scored a touchdown with just over a minute remaining to hand coach Dave Clawson his only MAC loss of 2013. Clawson has completely resurrected Bowling Green's program since a 2-10 finish in 2010, which was his first season with the team. The Falcons made their first bowl appearance since 2009 last season, but came up short and fell, 29-20, to San Jose State in the Military Bowl.

This will be the 65th meeting between Ohio and the Falcons. Bowling Green currently leads the all-time series, 37-25-2 after defeating the Bobcats, 26-14, at Peden Stadium in Athens in 2012.

Ohio was inefficient offensively last week versus Buffalo and finished with a season-low 233 total yards. The defense held strong for the first half, but after a questionable safety was called on Tettleton early in the third quarter, the Bulls produced three consecutive touchdowns to pull away. Tettleton finished with 126 passing yards and was sacked three times before leaving in the fourth quarter. He is expected to return this week, and needs just 215 passing yards to pass former Ohio signal caller Theo Scott for third on the single-season passing yards list. If Tettleton surpasses Scott, he will own the program's first, second and third best rankings for a single season.

The Bobcats were paced on the ground versus Buffalo by senior tailback Beau Blankenship, who tallied 68 yards on 20 carries. Blankenship was unstoppable as a junior, ranking third in the MAC with 1,604 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns on 312 rushes. He has failed to meet those lofty numbers this season as he enters Tuesday's bout as the conference's 10th most productive runner with 618 yards and four scores on 138 totes. Senior wideout Donte Foster has been a steady contributor, netting 80.9 ypg and six touchdowns on 51 receptions.

Despite being pummeled by the Bulls, Ohio has the third-best scoring defense average in the MAC at 22.7 ppg. It will look to bounce back after surrendering 421 total yards of offense to Buffalo. Ben Russell led the team with eight tackles last week. Russell is the Bobcats' tackle leader on the season with 58 total stops, including six TFL and three sacks.

Offensively, Bowling Green has relied on the sophomore tandem of Matt Johnson and Travis Green to produce the conference's third best offense with 451 total yards of offense and 31.3 points per game. In the lopsided win over Miami, Johnson accounted for four total touchdowns with three coming through the air. The redshirt sophomore signal caller went 20-of-26 for 252 passing yards while Greene racked up 112 yards on 14 carries. Greene's performance pushed his season total to 1,018 yards with an impressive 6.1 ypc average. Johnson has shown poise in his first year as a full-time starter with only four interceptions, which is the fewest among the MAC's consistent starting quarterbacks.

While the visitors enter with the third-best defense, Bowling Green is setting the MAC standard in both total defense (342.9 ypg) and scoring defense (16.8 ppg). The Falcons dominated Miami's struggling offensive unit their last time out and limited the RedHawks to only 228 yards of total offense and 16 first downs. The defensive unit also scored a touchdown as BooBoo Gates returned a fumble 11 yards for six points in the third quarter. Gates recovered two loose balls in total and Bryan Thomas also registered a fumble recovery

The Falcons could still win the division if they are downed by Ohio, although they would need help if that were to occur. Bowling Green is the most balanced team in the conference and should be able to survive the Bobcats, who disappeared against a similar Buffalo unit a week ago.

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