Bowling Green vs. Ohio prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Falcon and Bobcats on Saturday in Athens, OH.
Bowling Green vs. Ohio Game Preview
When: Saturday, October 8
Where: Peden Stadium, Athen, OH
TV Broadcast: ESPN3
Bowling Green (1-4, 0-1 MAC) comes into the game having lost to Eastern Michigan, 28-25, in its conference opener last week. Of their four losses, the 28 points surrendered is actually the lowest total Bowling Green’s allowed. The week prior the Falcons gave up 77 points to Memphis—their second time giving up 77 points this season after a 77-10 loss to Ohio State in their season opener. Running back Fred Coppet also had his best game against the Eagles, rushing for 141 yards and his first two touchdowns of 2016.
On the flip side, the Bobcats (3-2, 1-0 MAC) come in riding a two game winning streak, having played their best defensive game all season in last week’s 17-7 win over Miami (OH). Ohio held the RedHawks to 33 yards rushing on 32 attempts, and forced four Miami turnovers. The Bobcats’ defense sealed the game when linebacker Blair Brown strip-sacked Miami quarterback Noah Wezensky at his own goal line, and defensive lineman Kevin Robbins fell on the ball in the end zone to make to make it a 17-7 game.
Last year’s game saw Bowling Green rout the Bobcats, 62-24. Quarterback Matt Johnson threw for 365 yards and four touchdowns for the Falcons, while running back Travis Greene added 106 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. The win extended Bowling Green’s winning streak over Ohio to four.
What To Know About Bowling Green
It’s been a struggle for the defending MAC champions in their first season under head coach Mike Jinks, as the Falcons rank last in the country in scoring defense, allowing nearly 50 points per game. What is perhaps more surprising is the fact that Bowling Green also ranks in the bottom ten in scoring offense, putting up just over 17 points per game. Jinks was brought in from Texas Tech where he served as assistant head coach and running backs coach. Given his background, the fact that the Falcons are 122nd in yards per play is reason for concern.
What to Know About Ohio
The Bobcats have hung their hat early in the season on their ability to force turnovers. They are tied for sixth in the nation in total turnovers forced (12), and are tied for fifth in turnover margin (+7). Dual-threat quarterback Greg Windham leads the team in rushing and is responsible for more than half the team’s offensive touchdowns. Perhaps more importantly, Windham has only thrown two INTs on 169 pass attempts, after throwing an INT on 10% of his pass attempts last season.
Offense: Ohio. Windham averages almost 260 yards of total offense—the highest of any player on either team. Meanwhile, the Falcons have more turnovers (15) than they do touchdowns (10) with quarterbacks James Knapke and James Morgan combining for four touchdown passes and 13 INTs.
Defense: Ohio. As mentioned before, Bowling Green is last in the nation in points allowed. They are also second to last in yards allowed. The Bobcats could try to be bad at defense, and still might be better than the Falcons.
Special Teams: Ohio. Kicker Louie Zervos leads the nation with 14 FGs made, boasting a season long of 46 yards. While Bowling Green punter Joseph Davidson is sixth in the country averaging 47 yards per punt, the Falcon’s defense is so bad that his impact is greatly reduced.
Coaching: Ohio. Head coach Frank Solich has coached at the highest level, spending six years as the head man at Nebraska. Overall he has 17 years of head coaching experience before this season, compared to zero for Jinks.
Intangibles: Ohio. The Bobcats are playing at home after a hard earned road win to open conference play. Bowling Green, on the other hand, just lost to a team that has won seven games combined over the past four seasons.
Matchup to Watch
Ohio secondary vs. Knapke/Morgan
The only way Bowling Green can stay in this game is if it can sustain drives and keep the defense on the sideline as much as possible. The issue with that is Ohio leads the MAC with six picks, and the two Bowling Green quarterbacks are not exactly careful with the ball. Look for the Bobcats to be aggressive in trying to jump the routes of Bowling Green receivers.
Spread: Ohio -12.5
Over Under: 61.5
Bowling Green vs. Ohio Prediction
While the Bobcats really only excel at kicking field goals and forcing turnovers, those are two more strengths than Bowling Green has. The Falcons very well may be the worst team in college football, and lack an established play maker that can counteract their short comings on defense. Ohio has a senior quarterback and a head coach with a wealth of experience—a combination which should be more than enough to break their losing against their rivals to the north.
Bowling Green vs. Ohio Score Prediction: Ohio 31, Bowling Green 7