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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 20, 12:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gillette Stadium (68,756) -- Foxborough, Massachusetts. Television: None. Home Record: BGSU 3-0, UMass 0-2. Away Record: BGSU 1-3, UMass 0-4. Neutral Record: BGSU 0-0, UMass 0-0. Conference Record: BGSU 2-1, UMass 0-3. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Massachusetts Minutemen seek an end to their nine-game losing streak, as the take on the Bowling Green Falcons in Mid-American Conference action at Gillette Stadium this weekend.
The Falcons will not be an easy opponent as they ride in with a three-game win streak in two, which consists of victories over Rhode Island (48-8), Akron (24-10), and Miami-Ohio (37-12). Against Miami, Bowling Green notched 486 yards of offense and created three turnovers and six sacks on the other side of the ball. The victory over the RedHawks improved BGSU to 2-1 in the MAC.
The Minutemen, who have the longest active losing streak in the FBS, are coming off of a bye week. UMass is still seeking its first win overall and in the MAC, having dropped conference games to Miami-Ohio, Ohio University, and Western Michigan. The Minutemen have been outscored by an average of 29.6 ppg, but their closest loss came in their last home outing to the undefeated Ohio Bobcats (37-34).
This will be the first meeting in history between these programs on the football field. UMass is in its inaugural season as a member of the FBS.
The Bowling Green offense has been powered by its front line in recent weeks. The Falcons ran for 256 yards versus Miami their last time out and for 754 yards over the course of their previous three games.
Anthon Samuel was unstoppable as he gained 171 yards on 22 carries to lead the Falcons past Miami. The reigning MAC Freshman of the Year has already surpassed the 1,500-career rushing yardage mark and has reached the century mark in nine of his first 16 contests.
Matt Schilz, who will be making his 30th career start and is coming off his third consecutive multi-touchdown game. The Falcons' signal caller completed 20-of-27 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns last week versus Miami. For his career, the junior has passed for 6,733 yards and 43 touchdowns.
Schilz lacks a clear favorite target this season as five different players have double digit receptions. Shaun Joplin (27 rec. 395 yards), Chris Gallon (26 rec., 269 yards), and Ryan Burbrink (26 rec., 205 yards) are three that have had their numbers called frequently.
BGSU's defense ranks first in the MAC in total defense (330.6 ypg) and in scoring defense (19.1) after three dominating performances in a row. During their current win streak, the Falcons have allowed just 10 points and 247.6 yards per contest.
A big reason for the Falcons' success is senior DT Chris Jones. The veteran defensive lineman has 25 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, and 9.0 sacks this season.
Only a handful of teams in the FBS have an offense that is less efficient than UMass (13.8 ppg, 293.7 ypg). The Minutemen looked to be improving after they gained 511 yards versus Ohio, but they were limited to just 218 by Western Michigan their last time out.
Freshman QB Mike Wegzyn is pacing the team with 1,022 yards, four touchdowns, and four interceptions on 99-of-187 passing. All four of his touchdown passes came in the close loss to Ohio. Wegzyn was held under 100 passing yards (88) for the second time this season his last time out.
Deion Walker has been Wegzyn's preferred target with a team-high 31 catches and 411 yards. Alan Williams (19 catches, 205 yards, three TDs) and Rob Blanchflower (17 catches, 186 yards) have also been heavily utilized in the passing game.
Most of the work out of the backfield goes to Michael Cox, who has 395 yards and three touchdowns on 101 carries. Wegzyn can also make plays with his feet, piling up 122 rushing yards and a score.
While there are signs of hope on the offensive side of the ball, the UMass defense continues to be a step behind the competition, allowing more than 40 ppg and just over 500 ypg.
The increased volume of play has allowed Perry McIntyre to figure among the league leaders in tackles with 65. The unit has just as many interceptions as it does sacks (six).
Bowling Green's offense should have no problem picking up ground and points against a weak UMass defense. The Minutemen struggle against the run, which has been the Falcons' strength in recent weeks. Samuel should have another big game as BGSU cruises to its fourth win in a row.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Bowling Green 28, Massachusetts 10
10/17 11:05:43 ET
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