Bowling Green Football 2013 Bowl Capsule

Bowling Green Falcons
The Mid-American Conference has a new sheriff in town! The Bowling Green Falcons toppled Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship game, not only handing NIU their first loss of the season and knocking them out of the BCS conversation, but also taking the conference title home themselves. Their reward is a trip to the Little Caesar's Bowl...well, it can't all be good news. Although, with the way the bowl system works, the final game is arbitrary. The year was a complete success for Bowling Green.
2013 Record: 10-3, 7-1
Coach: Dave Clawson
Coach Bowl Record: 0-2
Big Wins: 11/29 at Buffalo (24-7), 12/6 vs Northern Illinois (47-27)
Bad Losses: 9/14 at Indiana (10-42), 10/26 Toledo (25-28)
Playing in the high-powered MAC, Bowling Green still finished the year as one of the best defensive teams in the country. Bowling Green was a top 10 unit in total defense, passing defense, scoring defense, fourth down defense and red zone defense. In fact, for the entire month of November, the four games prior to the conference championship, BGU went 4-0 and gave up a total of 17 points in the month. They had just a remarkable year on that side of the ball. But championships aren't won with just one part of a team. The offense was also superbly balanced. The passing offense, led by quarterback Matt Johnson, was a top-tier unit. The rushing offense, literally carried by Travis Greene, rated out even better, as the Falcons averaged over 200 yards per game on the ground. And not to be out-shined by their conference brethren, Bowling Green also averaged over 35 points per contest. It was an all-around special team for coach Dave Clawson in 2013. Even the return game was good, as wide receiver Ryan Burbrink led a punt return unit that brought two back for scores and averaged over 14 yards per return.
For a team that dominated so many facets of the game, according to the numbers, the weaknesses are few and far between. Bowling Green had no weak spot on defense. And its offense was as well-balanced and productive as one can be. Even the team's turnover margin was good. The reason the Falcons were not more highly regarded and didn't get much press this season was two-fold. First, Northern Illinois dominated the conversation. The Huskies were 12-0 and primed for a BCS bid heading into the MAC title game. Meanwhile, BGU suffered two, out-of-conference losses that shoved them to the back pages. The other factor at play was the strength of Bowling Green's schedule. Other than NIU at the end of the year, the best team the Falcons played was Mississippi State and, although the final score was close, they lost. They also lost early to an average Indiana team. A win in either one of those games would have put Bowling Green in the conversation of the top 25 poll. Two losses put them out of all conversation.
Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Travis Greene, RB, 1,555 yards
Passing: Matt Johnson, QB, 3,195 yards
Receiving: Shaun Joplin, WR, 822 yards
Tackles: D.J. Lynch, LB, 78
Sacks: Ted Ouellet, DT, 5.5
Interceptions: Boo Boo Gates, S, 2; Ryland Ward, S, 2
2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 209.7 (24th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 254.4 (40, 2)
Total Offense: 464.1 (27, 3)
Scoring Offense: 34.4 (32, 3)
Rushing Defense: 134.8 (28, 1)
Pass Defense: 161.8 (4, 1)
Total Defense: 296.6 (7, 1)
Scoring Defense: 13.8 (5, 1)
Turnover Margin: 0.8 (17, 4)
Sacks: 2.25 (48, 6)
Sacks Allowed: 2.67 (100, 12)
Recent Bowl Appearances:
2012    Military Bowl              San Jose State (20-29)
2009    Humanitarian Bowl     Idaho (42-43)
2007    GMAC Bowl              Tulsa (7-63)
2004    GMAC Bowl              Memphis (52-35)
2003    Motor City Bowl        Northwestern (28-24)
1992    Las Vegas Bowl          Nevada (35-34)
*all team stats through 11/30