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Published: Sunday, 10/31/2004

Falcons notebook: BG's best catch award goes to Crossley

By JOHN WAGNER

BLADE SPORTS WRITER

BOWLING GREEN - It was a highlight-caliber catch.

The Bowling Green player stretched out his arm and caught the ball one-handed. He cradled the ball into his belly and rambled 30 yards for a touchdown.

Here's the "catch" though: the play wasn't made by a member of BG's highly regarded receiving corps. It was made by defensive end Mitchell Crossley in BG's 41-20 win over Eastern Michigan last night.

"I was looking at a couple of films of [BG receiver] Chuck [Sharon], and I thought I had to get me one," Crossley said of his big play.

Crossley's play came on Eastern Michigan's first drive of the second half, with the Eagles facing second-and-8 from their own 39. The play was designed to be a lateral from Eastern Michigan quarterback Matt Bohnet to tailback Anthony Sherrell.

But Crossley broke free of a block and collected Bohnet's lateral with one hand, then cruised untouched into the end zone for the first touchdown of his career.

Crossley was one of five Falcons to record a team-leading seven tackles. Among those seven stops were 3 1/2 tackles, including a pair of sacks.

"I saw Mitch being disruptive tonight," said BG coach Gregg Brandon. "He was coming off the edge, collapsing the pocket and forcing the quarterback to come out of there more than they wanted to."

He also forced the fumble that ended an key Eastern Michigan drive midway through the fourth quarter while the Falcons were hanging on to a 14-point lead.

"They were running on us and passing on us, and somebody had to make a big play," Crossley said. "People were looking left and right, and my number was called. I just had to go out there and make a play."

THE CENTURY MARK: Receiver Charles Sharon caught 10 passes for 143 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The 143 receiving yards marked his second 100-plus receiving night of the season and fifth of his career.

He needs just 45 receiving yards to become the 10th player in BG history with 2,000 or more receiving yards.

P.J. Pope finished with a game-high 128 yards on 19 carries for his second 100-plus rushing day this season and sixth of his career. He now has 2,109 rushing yards in his career to move into eighth place on the school's career rushing list.

"We challenged our line, [saying] we needed to get P.J. 100 yards today," Brandon said. "For us to continue to win, we have to run the football effectively."

THREE-DOT DATA: Eastern Michigan entered last night's contest as the second-best rushing team in the MAC, but Bowling Green limited the Eagles to just 45 yards on 27 carries. The Falcons now have won 15 straight games in which they have limited their opponents to less than 100 rushing yards. ... BG center Scott Mruczkowski made his eighth start this season and 45th of his Falcon career. That broke the BG record of 44 starts made by Rob Fahrman from 1997 to 2000. ... Rogers grad Steven Lewis started at the boundary cornerback position for Eastern Michigan. He finished the game with two tackles. ... With six catches last night Cole Magner moved into second place on the school's all-time pass reception list. Magner now has 186 career receptions; he passed Mark Szlachcic, who had 182 from 1989-92.



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