#99 Bowling Green Football 2012 Preview

Bowling Green Falcons

2012 Overall Rank: #99
#9 Mid-American
Bowling Green College Football 2012 Preview
Bowling Green Team Page


Bowling Green’s season was not a great one by most accounts.  But compared to 2010, it is easy to see that things are improving under third year coach Dave Clawson.  The Falcons went from 2-10 to 5-7 in 2011, and they appear to be on the upswing.  The MAC was an evenly matched conference last year.  If a few things had broken the Falcons way, they may have been bowl bound.  As it stands now, Bowling Green must find a way to turn close losses into close wins.  They were a young team last year, and they are looking to build on their improvements.

2011 Record: (5-7, 3-5)
2011 Bowl: None
Coach: Dave Clawson (14-23 at Bowling Green, 72-72 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Warren Ruggiero
Defensive Coordinator:  Mike Elko

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Anthon Samuel, RB, 874 yards
Passing: Matt Schilz, QB, 3,024 yards
Receiving: Shaun Joplin, WR, 292 yards
Tackles: Jerry Gates, DB, 73
Sacks: Chris Jones, DT, 8.5
Interceptions: Jerry Gates, DB, 2

Other Key Returnees: RB Jordan Hopgood, TE Alex Bayers, DB Aaron Foster, LB D.J. Lynch

Key Losses: WR Kamar Jorden, LT Ben Bojicic, WR Eugene Cooper, WR Adrian Hodges, WR Ray Hutson


One thing coach Clawson can hang his hat on is that he has a lot of young talent on this team that he has to be happy about.  Quarterback Matt Schilz is a redshirt junior and his leading rusher in Anthon Samuel was just a freshman last year.  They finished 31st in the nation in passing offense.  Schilz 3,024 yards in 2011 has to be encouraging for the Bowling Green fan base.  One of his most reliable targets returns in tight end Alex Bayers.  All this should mean good things for Schilz under center.  The main contributors on defense are back including defensive tackle Chris Jones, defensive back Jerry Gates, and linebacker D.J. Lynch.  With this group returning, the nation’s 34th ranked pass defense should continue to be solid.  Gates will lead the way in the secondary and will look to duplicate his multi-interception season from a year ago.

While the young talent is exciting for the Bowling Green nation, that youth also cost them a little bit last year.  They were generally inefficient on both sides of the ball.  They were in the bottom quarter of the national rankings in rushing at only 122 yards per game.  They ran at least three different running backs at different times last year.  With Samuel emerging, hopefully that issue is settled.  In contrast, Bowling Green could not stop the opposition’s ground game last year, giving up over 200 yards per game.  The Falcons were also one of the worst teams in the nation at holding onto the football.  That is the difference in a couple of one-point losses Bowling Green suffered last season.  They will need to be on the other side of that in 2012 to reverse their fortune.   They also lost three talented receivers including leading receiver Kamar Jorden.  Someone will need to step up to try and replace that production.

The Bottom Line:
Bowling Green suffered a couple of heartbreaking losses last season that could have propelled them into a winning record.  They also had some solid wins that proved this team can play with anyone in the MAC.  Having Schilz as their starter for another full year will benefit the offense, along with the development of Samuel as a ball carrier.  If they can find a few go-to receivers on the outside, they will be in good shape.  It might take them a little while to discover a combination of talent to replace the value they lost in their veteran pass-catchers.  The middle of the defense needs to button up to stop opposing teams rushing attacks (and the MAC is a good running conference).  Based on the improvements they made from 2010 to 2011 and the youth they have on both sides of the ball, Bowling Green has a great shot to receive a bowl bid at season’s end.

Projected Bowl: None

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 122.92 (91st in nation, 8th in conference)
Passing Offense: 261.58 (31, 5)
Total Offense: 384.50 (62, 6)
Scoring Offense: 26.50 (63, 6)
Rushing Defense: 203.42 (104, 10)
Pass Defense: 202.58 (34, 4)
Total Defense: 406.0 (79, 8)
Scoring Defense: 28.83 (77, 7)
Turnover Margin: -1.08 (116, 13)
Sacks: 1.75 (74, 8)
Sacks Allowed: 1.92 (T-59, 9)