Bowling Green (7-3) at Eastern Michigan (2-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 23, 1 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Rynearson Stadium (30,200) -- Ypsilanti, Michigan. Television: ESPN3. Home Record: BGSU 5-1, EMU 2-2. Away Record: BGSU 2-2, EMU 0-6. Neutral Record: BGSU 0-0, EMU 0-0. Conference Record: BGSU 5-1, EMU 1-5. Series Record: Bowling Green leads, 24-11-1.
GAME NOTES: The Bowling Green Falcons will try to match their win total from a season ago as they head to Rynearson Stadium for a Mid-American Conference bout against the Eastern Michigan Eagles.
The Falcons dominated their back-to-back Tuesday night matchups against Miami- Ohio and Ohio University before heading into last week's bye. They coasted past the RedHawks for a 45-3 victory before returning home to notch a 49-0 shutout win over the Bobcats. The current two-game winning streak has lifted coach Dave Clawson's team to a 7-3 overall record including a 5-1 mark in league play. Bowling Green will play Buffalo at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Nov. 29 for the East Division crown and a berth in the MAC Championship regardless of this week's result.
Eastern Michigan is also coming off an open week, which gave interim head coach Stan Parrish a little more time to prepare for his second outing as the man in charge. The school decided to part ways with Ron English the day before its last game. Parrish rallied the troops as the Eagles survived an overtime thriller to defeat Western Michigan, 35-32. The win ended an eight-game losing streak, gave EMU its first MAC win and also its first decision over an FBS opponent in 2013. The Eagles will be playing their home finale and hope to own a 3-8 record for their final next week at Central Michigan.
The Falcons own a 24-11-1 all-time series lead over EMU, including victories in 10 of the last 11 meetings. The Eagles suffered a 24-3 setback to Bowling Green when these schools squared off at Doyt Perry Stadium last October.
Although Bowling Green has built a reputation as one of best defensive teams among the non BCS conference programs, its offense has drastically improved this season to give it a very capable team on both sides of the ball. The Falcons are ranked fourth in the MAC in both total yards per game (451.9) and points per game (33.1) thanks to the stellar play of sophomores Matt Johnson and Travis Green.
In his first year as the team's starting signal caller, Johnson trails only NIU's Jordan Lynch and Ball State's Keith Wenning in total yards with 2,487. Johnson has completed 65.9 percent of his passes for 2,308 yards and 14 touchdowns with only five interceptions. The sophomore continued his strong play versus Ohio in its last outing, amassing 229 yards and a pair of TDs on 12-of-17 efficiency while also adding 36 yards on the ground.
Greene scored two rushing TDs versus the Bobcats and averaged 6.9 yards per carry en route to 149 yards on the ground for his sixth 100-yard outing. The sophomore played wide receiver last season before converting to fill a hole left by the departure of the 2011 MAC Freshman of the Year Anthon Samuel. Greene's position change was clearly a wise decision as his 1,167 rushing yards on the campaign are the 11th most among FBS players. BGSU's most dynamic option in the aerial attack is Shaun Joplin, who has tallied 39 receptions for 635 yards and two TDs. Joplin is one of 11 different Falcons with at least one TD catch.
BGSU's defense has set the MAC standard by limiting its opposition to only 325.8 total yards and 15.1 points per outing, which also gives it the sixth best scoring defense nationally. The Falcons became the just the second team to hold the Bobcats off the board during Ohio coach Frank Solich's 114 game tenure at the school. They also held Ohio to a season-low 172 yards of total offense. Cam Truss led the team in its most recent victory with seven tackles, surpassing 200 career tackles in the contest, while BooBoo Gates returned an interception 82 yards.
EMU's offense will need to carry over the momentum it built versus WMU in Parrish's debut. The Eagles ran the ball a school-record 44 times for 264 yards as junior tailback Ryan Brumfield posted a career-best 148 yards and two scores on 15 attempts. Bronson Hill also surpassed the century mark while rookie QB Brogan Roback went 9-of-22 for 132 yards with one passing and one rushing score. Junior tight end Tyreese Russell also made an impact with 76 receiving yards.
The Eagles still have a long way to go as their scoring average rose to only 20.9 ppg after the 32-point outing. With running the ball against the Falcons basically not an option, Roback will have to improve his efficiency as he has completed only 44.2 percent of his passes and thrown three TDs against the same numbers of interceptions.
EMU's defense will not be able to contain Johnson and Greene if it stays consistent either. The Eagles have allowed 442 points in 10 games which is the most in the MAC. The duo of Donald Coleman and Ike Spearman were outstanding in the victory over WMU. Coleman finished with 14 tackles while Spearman made 13 stops and also had an interception.
There have been plenty of experienced coaches who have failed to figure out a way to overcome BGSU's defense. Parrish has a lot of inexperience on both sides of the ball, which will cause his record as EMU's interim head coach to fall to 1-1 in a non-dramatic fashion.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Bowling Green 38, Eastern Michigan 10
11/20 11:10:42 ET