PHILADELPHIA - There might have been some question heading into yesterday's game with Temple as to whether the Bowling Green State University football team would struggle with a hangover after last week's tough loss at Northern Illinois.
But those questions were emphatically answered by halftime of the Falcons' 70-16 plucking of the Owls at Lincoln Financial Field.
By halftime BG had rolled up 442 yards of total offense and averaged 10.8 yards per play. The defense had limited Temple to just 152 yards, including just 31 net yards rushing.
And the score was 42-9. BG was one point shy of the Mid-American Conference record for points in a half set by the Falcons against Toledo in 1959 and tied by Marshall against East Carolina in 2001. BG added 28 points in the second half to even its record at 2-2; Temple fell to 1-4.
"We got a dose of humility last week," BG coach Gregg Brandon said. "I wanted to see how we responded when we lost a tough game. So it was very important that we came out humble and poised.
"Our offense took it to them, and defensively we didn't let them out of the gate. We overcame some adversity early, and the defense responded right away."
That adversity came on the game's third play, when BG quarterback Omar Jacobs underthrew a pass to Steve Sanders. The toss was intercepted by Temple's Troy Bennett, who returned the ball to the Falcons' 14.
But the BG defense allowed just six yards to keep the Owls out of the end zone, and Ryan Lux kicked a 25-yard field goal.
"That's what I wanted to see right there: Our backs were against the wall in the red zone right away on defense, and we held them to a field goal," Brandon said. "The offense came right back, moved the ball down the field and scored, and we never looked back."
The Falcons scored on their next six possessions of the first half, with plenty of highlight materials mixed in:
Things were working so well for Bowling Green that on one series, three straight Falcon penalties forced them into a third-and-32 situation on their own 30. Jacobs threw a completion to Sanders for 30 yards, then found Magner wide open over the middle for 40 yards and a touchdown on fourth down.
"Their quarterback was outstanding, and their receivers made some great catches," Temple coach Bobby Wallace said. "[Defensive coordinator] Raymond [Monica] had us in some good defenses at times. But they executed extremely well and we could just not make a play."
Jacobs finished with 367 passing yards, the first 300-plus yard passing day of his career, and tied his career high with four scoring tosses before leaving the game late in the third quarter.
"It was very important [to have a good game today]," Jacobs said. "We had trouble [executing] in the red zone last week, and we just wanted to go out and execute this week. We wanted to go back to our basics: run and block, pass and catch."
Pope's four touchdown scores were a career high, and he finished with 106 rushing yards on only eight carries for his fifth career 100-yard running day.
"Coach [Brandon] talked all week about getting that swagger back," Pope said. "[That meant] getting confidence back, getting the excitement back; just going out and feeling that we should be successful on each play."
The defense accepted Brandon's challenge as well. Of Temple's 152 yards of total offense in the first half, 63 came on a long pass from quarterback Mike McGann to Brian Allbrooks that set up a one-yard TD run by Tim Brown early in the second quarter.
"Coach had talked all week about getting back to our brand of defense," said lineman Brad Williams, who had a sack among his five tackles and also forced a fumble. "[That meant] more blitzing, more chest-bumping and getting excited."
Contact John Wagner at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6481.39.95227 -75.16237