DeKALB, Ill. - It was a nail in the coffin, not the blow that cost Bowling Green a victory at Northern Illinois last night.
But things might have been different had Garrett Wolfe's second touchdown of the night been erased from the scoreboard.
The play came with the Huskies leading 17-10 and in possession of the ball on the Bowling Green 21. On third-and-five Wolfe swept wide left and seemed destined for the end zone. But Keon Newson came up from behind and knocked the ball loose; Wolfe came down on the ball out of bounds and never controlled it.
What should have happened? It should have been no touchdown, with Bowling Green taking over on its 20.
What did happen? The official, standing mere feet away from the play, signaled a touchdown for Northern Illinois. That gave the Huskies a 24-10 lead on their way to a 34-17 victory.
"I asked Keon, and Keon said he wasn't in there," linebacker Jovon Burkes said. "Keon's one of my players, and I trust him when he said he wasn't in there. "
FEAST OR FAMINE: On its first drive, the Bowling Green offense rumbled 80 yards for a touchdown. On their second drive, the Falcons pushed the ball down to the Northern Illinois 17.
Then, on third-and-two, BG quarterback Omar Jacobs was sacked for a loss while trying to run the option, and a 41-yard field-goal attempt was blocked.
And that's when BG's offense started to have problems. The Falcons' next three drives covered just 69 yards and zero points and left Brandon frustrated with his team.
"We have a veteran team on both sides of the ball, and that veteran element didn't show up tonight," Brandon said. "That's my job: I've got to find out why. Our better players didn't perform."
BY THE NUMBERS: With 93 yards rushing last night, junior P.J. Pope moved into 13th place on the Falcons' all-time rushing list. He now has 1,768 career yards and passed Jack Woodland, who ran for 1,752 yards from 1947-49. ... Wide receiver Cole Magner, who had seven catches in the Falcons' first two games this season, finished with 12 receptions for 86 yards. It was his fifth career game with double-digit receptions.
THREE-DOT DATA: Junior right tackle Rob Warren did not play in the first half because of a knee injury, with freshman Drew Nystrom taking his place for his first career start. Warren played in the second half. ... Last night's crowd of 25,819 was exactly three people shy of the 2002 crowd that watched the two teams play here, making it the 10th-largest MAC home crowd for the Huskies. ... Bowling Green lost for just the third time since 2001 in a situation where it was tied or had the lead at halftime. ... Jacobs scored on runs of 1 and 2 yards for the Falcons' first rushing TDs this season.
THE LAST WORD: Northern Illinois tailback A.J. Harris had 13 carries for 46 yards and a touchdown before leaving the game at the half with an ankle sprain.
He did not return as Wolfe ran for 204 second-half yards.
"He's OK," Huskies coach Joe Novak when asked about Harris. "He'll be OK, especially after watching Garrett."35.00502 -87.82111 It was a nail in the coffin, not the blow that cost Bowling Green a victory at Northern Illinois last night.