J.D. POOLEY / AP Enlarge
BOWLING GREEN - Bowling Green State University running back B.J. Lane wrote his name in the school's record book on Saturday.
And the razzing from his teammates won't allow him to forget it.
Midway through the final quarter of the Falcons' 41-14 win at Ball State, Lane took a handoff from quarterback Josh Harris on a first-down play from BG's 20-yard line. The sophomore burst through the Cardinals' line and raced down the sidelines before being knocked out of bounds two yards short of the goal line.
When told his 78-yard run set a Bowling Green record - the longest nonscoring run in school history - Lane said, “It's a record, that's true, but it's not a very good record. I've been taking grief since the referee blew his whistle [to end the play].''
Don't expect the ribbing to stop, fellow tailback P.J. Pope warned.
“He got a little [hazing Saturday], but he'll get a lot more in film study,'' Pope said.
Lane and his teammates could laugh after the Falcons, who entered the Ball State game ranked 22nd in the country, improved to 9-2 overall and 6-1 in the MAC with the win.
And both Lane and P.J. Pope keyed a BG offense that rolled up 295 rushing yards; Lane finished with a game-high 115 yards on six rushes while Pope added 77 yards on 11 carries.
And claiming victory in the game, which the Falcons knew would have no effect on their MAC West Division title aspirations, was easier than it seemed.
Yes, BG led by only seven points in the fourth quarter; but while still in front by 14 points Falcon coach Gregg Brandon opted to use back-up quarterback Omar Jacobs in two third-quarter possessions. Jacobs managed just eight yards in a pair of three-and-out drives - one of which was stunted by a penalty.
When Ball State cut the lead to seven by scoring on the first drive of the final period, Harris returned and led Bowling Green on touchdown drives that covered 77 and 92 yards to put the game out of reach.
And playing time was dished out liberally to everyone who traveled: six different Falcons rushed the ball, seven different players caught at least one pass from two quarterbacks, and 22 different players made at least one tackle on defense or special teams.
Expect the smiles, laughs and liberal playing time to dry up this week, though, as the Falcons prepare to host arch-rival Toledo at Perry Stadium Saturday at noon. At stake is an outright West Division title and a chance to host the MAC Championship game against Miami the following Thursday.
“It's us against the Rockets for all the marbles - you couldn't draw it up any better,'' Brandon said. “This is what you play for. This is the game we wanted, and this is the game we need [to win] because it will pretty much define our season.''
Brandon admitted there's a part of that winner-take-all scenario that doesn't sit well with him.
“It hard to win nine football games, and we've won nine football games,'' Brandon said. “If we don't get it done next week our seniors will be bitterly disappointed. Our captains will be bitterly disappointed. I have mixed emotions about that - I don't necessarily feel that is right. But we're playing one game for all the marbles.''
That's why Pope said getting ready to play the Rockets shouldn't be difficult.
“It's our biggest rival, and it's for the MAC championship,'' Pope said. “I don't think we'll have any problem with intensity. It's going to be a fun week.''