BOWLING GREEN - While there are many benefits to playing in a bowl game, the biggest for Bowling Green State University's football team is the chance to erase the memory of its last game.
Instead of ending the season with a 49-41 loss at Toledo, the Falcons will get a second chance to make a good final impression in the GMAC Bowl.
BG already has begun practicing for its Dec. 22 contest against Memphis to be played at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala.
Junior captain Mike Thaler said receiving the bowl invitation has given the players new energy.
"Guys are excited to be out [on the practice field],'' he said. "When we came back from Thanksgiving break, everybody still had a bad taste in their mouth.
"Once we got the bid it gave us a little boost to get back out here. It has given everybody energy to come out here and practice hard."
Scott Mruczkowsk, a senior captain, said he has seen the same excitement among the players on offense that Thaler has noticed in the defense.
"Playing in that bowl game is an incentive," Mruczkowski said. "It puts a little pep in our step because we get to go down to Mobile and play together again."
Senior captain Cole Magner said the Toledo loss affected the Falcons at first, but the effect has worn off.
"At first people were dragging, but luckily we got some time off for Thanksgiving to think about, then get back to work when we got back here," he said. "We've had some time.
"We watched the film, corrected the things that needed to be corrected, and we're moving on to the bowl game."
The senior wide receiver said having a bowl game was the perfect salve to heal the hurt of the Toledo loss.
"If that was the last game of our year, and that was what we [seniors] ended on, that would stink a lot," Magner said.
"But here's another chance to redeem ourselves and leave on a good note."
Senior captain Jovon Burkes said he likes the enthusiasm the Falcons have brought to the practice field.
"It's been very intense once we found out we were going to a bowl game," Burkes said.
"A lot of guys look at it as another lifeline. The whole team has come out excited to play."
BG coach Gregg Brandon said he hopes his team uses that Toledo contest as motivation.
"We all watched the film last Friday, and the kids were really ticked that they didn't play better, especially in the second half," Brandon said.
"They saw that we didn't finish. We've got to finish people on the road.
"This game is an opportunity for redemption.
"We'll be ready to play."
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