#75 Bowling Green Football 2016 Preview

Bowling Green Falcons
Overall Rank: #75
#4 Mid-American
The 2016 campaign has the look of a transitional year for Bowling Green. After winning the MAC Championship in 2015, Dino Babers left the Falcons for the head coaching position at Syracuse. Mike Jinks takes over this season after serving as the associate head coach/running backs coach at Texas Tech last season. Look for Coach Jinks to continue on with a high flying frenetic offensive pace as his familiarity with the up tempo style of play was one reason that he got the job.
2015 Record: 10-4, 7-1
2015 Bowl: GoDaddy Bowl vs. Georgia Southern (L 58-27)
Coach: Mike Jinks (0-0 at Bowling Green, 0-0 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Andy Padron, Kevin Kilmer
Defensive Coordinator: Perry Eliano, Marcus White
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Fred Coppet, RB, 825 yards
Passing: James Knapke, QB, 173 yards
Receiving: Ronnie Moore, WR, 951 yards
Tackles: Austin Valdez, LB, 101
Sacks: Terrance Bush, DE, 6.0
Interceptions: Alfonso Mack, CB, 6
Other Key Returnees: OL Jacob Bennett, LB Trent Greene, LB James Sanford, P Joe Davidson
Key Losses: RB Travis Green, QB Matt Johnson, WR Roger Lewis, WR Gehrig Dieter, WR Ryan Burbrink, OL Alex Huettel, DL Taylor Royster, DB Denard Turner
The winning culture should ease the growing pains of another coaching staff transition for the Falcons. This is a program that has won 17 straight games against MAC East opponents. So even with just ten returning starters, Bowling Green is going to be a challenge for any team in the MAC to deal with. Defensively, the linebacker corps and the secondary are going to have to lead the way until the defensive line can come together later in the season. The trio of Austin Valdez, Trenton Greene and James Sanford are going to have to make big plays right out of the gate for the Falcons. Alfonso Mack led Bowling Green last season with six interceptions and will need to have a similar season in 2016 if the Falcons are to contend for the MAC title.
With the graduation of Matt Johnson at quarterback, it is going to be critical for the Falcons to have someone take control of the team right away. Senior quarterback James Knapke will have the shot at doing that this season. Knapke has played a lot in his career, starting 13 games in 2014 while Johnson was injured. He threw for 3,173 yards during that season. Thus, there is evidence that Knapke can do the job well, it is just a matter of shaking the rust off and embracing the challenge that comes with being a starting quarterback. Wide receiver is going to be an interesting position group to watch as it has talent but lost a lot of production with the departure of Roger Lewis to the NFL and Gehrig Dieter to Alabama. It will be up to senior Ronnie Moore and junior Teo Redding to take control of the wide receiver position and simply make plays like both players are capable of doing.
The Bottom Line:
As far as the schedule is concerned, it is going to take a lot of success on the road in order for Bowling Green to defend the MAC Championship. A trip to Columbus to play Ohio State on September 3rd will kick the season off with a big challenge for the Falcons. Trips to Toledo on October 15th, along with Northern Illinois on November 1st, should end up deciding the fate of Bowling Green in 2016. The home schedule is not too bad. If Knapke can stay healthy behind an experienced offensive line and replicate his production from 2014, then look for the Falcons to be highly productive offensively and give themselves a chance to win most games. Overall, it should be a nice, solid season for Bowling Green in year one under Coach Jinks. And, if they can steal a game or two on the road, they will have a shot to win ten games in 2016.
Projected Bowl: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
2015 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 180.0 (52nd in nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 366.8 (5, 1)
Total Offense: 546.8 (4, 1)
Scoring Offense: 42.2 (6, 1)
Rushing Defense: 182.4 (79, 9)
Pass Defense: 235.4 (78, 7)
Total Defense: 417.8 (86, 9)
Scoring Defense: 28.9 (84, 9)
Turnover Margin: 0.86 (9, 1)
Sacks: 2.14 (63, 5)
Sacks Allowed: 2.57 (98, 13)


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