ATHENS, Ohio - The playbook turned dog-eared this week leading up to Ohio, and the DVDs on the Bobcats might as well have been played on repeat.
Reverses, double passes, fake punts, Bowling Green State University put it all in. Meanwhile the Falcons' defense feasted on the footage of the holes in the Ohio offensive line.
BGSU beat the Bobcats 21-9 at Peden Stadium yesterday using trickery on offense and domination on defense. The Falcons have won five consecutive road games dating back to last season.
The win got BGSU (3-2, 2-1 Mid-American Conference) its confidence back after its home loss to Kent State last week.
"I'm glad everybody came together as one heartbeat, that's very important," defensive end Diyral Briggs said. "It was a real challenge for us and that's what we needed, some adversity."
The Falcons' defense came up with two interceptions, four sacks and nine tackles for losses. The Bobcats' only touchdown came on a trick play in the third quarter.
Anthony Turner returned to start at quarterback after missing a game with a dislocated nonthrowing shoulder. He, along with Freddie Barnes and Corey Partridge, orchestrated several trick plays that caught the Bobcats (2-3, 1-1) offguard.
"We ran so much offense today, it was unbelievable," BGSU coach Gregg Brandon said. "It's like a pro offense, the stuff that we do. It boggles my mind. Sometimes we gag because we have so much stuff in, but today it won the game for us."
The Falcons gave up two consecutive big plays to Ohio to start the game, but stifled the Bobcats at their 31-yard line on third down and Matt Lasher missed a 48-yard field goal attempt.
Then, for the fourth time this season, BGSU scored on its opening drive, converting twice on fourth down. Partridge ran a reverse for 16 yards to get the ball toward midfield. Ohio held BGSU on third down but Alonso Rojas executed a fake punt, running six yards for the first down.
"Rojas did that all on his own," Brandon said. "We told him if the side collapsed, because we've seen that on film, to go."
BGSU was forced into fourth down again, but Chris Bullock ripped off a 30-yard run to the Ohio 4. Barnes needed one running play for a 7-0 lead.
With the first quarter winding down, Rojas' 22-yard punt gave the Bobcats good field position. Ohio drove to the BGSU 15 but Austin Everson's third-down pass was incomplete and Lasher hit a 32-yard field goal.
The defense set up BGSU's next touchdown. Freshman safety Jahmal Brown intercepted a tipped pass by Everson at Ohio's 45 and returned it 12 yards.
Turner made two of his best passes of the day, finding Partridge down the middle for 16 yards and Sean O'Drobinak on first-and-goal to bring the Falcons to the 1. Barnes came in and did his thing, trotting in for the touchdown.
Ohio brought the score to 14-9 midway through the third on a 23-yard passback touchdown from receiver William Norwood to tight end Rudy Sylvan.
But the Falcons answered, driving 80 yards to bring their lead back to double digits. Barnes had 50 yards receiving on the drive, including 31 yards on a double pass from Partridge to the Ohio 5. Bullock finished off the drive with a touchdown.
Ohio drove into BGSU territory twice in the fourth quarter, but both times the Falcons' defense made sure there would be no comeback. With five minutes left and the Bobcats at BGSU's 39-yard line, Briggs and defensive tackle Brad Williams sacked Everson for a 13-yard loss on third down.
"We studied a lot of film this week, more than what we usually do," Williams said. "It was just little stuff we picked up on, and we got a lot of pressure on him today."
The Bobcats were moving the ball in the final minutes of the game when linebacker Loren Hargrove read Everson's pass and jumped in front of it, returning his interception 31 yards.
"It was really big for the team to just go out and play hard," Barnes said. "Anything was better than last week. We're just trying to take the necessary steps to be where we want to be."
Contact Maureen Fulton at: email@example.com or 419-724-6160.-5.0603 -42.8239