COLUMBUS - In his fourth season as Bowling Green State University coach, Gregg Brandon has earned a reputation as an offensive daredevil.
To illustrate how far away that persona was tucked yesterday at Ohio Stadium, Brandon was upset he didn't make the decision to punt on fourth-and-nine in the first quarter with his offense inside Ohio State's 35-yard line. Instead, kicker Sean Ellis tried a 50-yard field goal, which was blocked.
"We probably should have punted it," Brandon said. "My thought there was hey, the kid's made some long field goals in practice, he's never had a shot. Let's see if he can get it up.
"The offense took the ball down, and I didn't want to punt it, I wanted to get some points. That was probably a bad decision on my part."
In previous years, and perhaps even this year against previous teams, Brandon might have gone for the first down in that situation. But he felt the only way the Falcons would have a chance against Ohio State was if they stuck to bread-and-butter plays.
"You play a team like this, you really have to be smart in all phases of the game," Brandon said. "You have to take care of the football offensively, which, you may pull in your horns a little bit."
Ohio State had forced 13 turnovers, including 11 interceptions, entering the game. The Buckeyes' turnover margin is second in the country. Therefore, none of the misdirection plays from last week against Ohio, save for a Corey Partridge reverse late in the fourth, found their way into BGSU's offensive game plan.
"We were reluctant to throw the ball down the field a lot because they just feast on deep balls," Brandon said. "They get so many teams on third-and-eight-plus, and we got a few of those today. We just didn't want to throw it up because they're so active in the back end, just breaking on balls."
Despite the Falcons' 35-7 loss, the offense was more consistent through the air than in the past several weeks. Quarterback Anthony Turner was 16-of-24 for 179 yards. The receivers had some success running after the catch, with completions of 14, 15, 19 and 20 yards.
"The throws that we did hit today were kind of dink 'em and dunk 'em things, just trying to make first downs, move the chains, possess the ball," Brandon said.
The Falcons' scoring drive in the third quarter gave the team a bright spot. BGSU drove 85 yards in 15 plays to start the second half, culminating in Partridge's one-handed grab in the end zone for the score. The Falcons converted twice on third down and once on fourth down in the drive, and Turner completed all six of his pass attempts. The eight-minute, 39-second drive was BG's longest of the season.
"That was a great drive for the team, because it took time off the clock and showed that we can move against Ohio State," Partridge said.
BGSU (3-3) returns to Mid-American Conference action this weekend, playing Eastern Michigan at home.
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