Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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BGSU's running attack surprises Kent


Bowling Green's Freddie Barnes, left, celebrates the touchdown catch of Corey Partridge, right, against Kent State in the fourth quarter yesterday on a 28-yard pass from Tyler Sheehan.


KENT, Ohio - The predictability of Bowling Green State University's offense has reached new heights.

Everyone at Dix Stadium knew what the Falcons were going to do on offense. You know, just typical BG smash-mouth football.

Wait. What?

BG pushed aside its pass-happy attack yesterday for the first time this season. The result was the Mid-American Conference's worst rushing offense torching the league's top rushing defense.

The final score was BGSU 31, Kent State 20.

BG winning on the road is somewhat of a surprise considering its recent performances, but the way the Falcons won is downright bizarre.

BG ran the ball 59 percent of the time - an unbelievable discrepancy from the 35 percent coming into the game.

"During the week the coaches told me and the linemen that we're going to put it on the ground a couple times," tail- back Willie Geter said.

Those couple of times yielded long gains - and more and more opportunities for Geter.

Geter, who stands 5-foot-8 and weighs 170 pounds, finished with 203 yards on 22 attempts upon entering the game with just 87 yards. The freshman from Miami scored a touchdown and averaged 9.2 yards per carry.

It was a refreshing sight for an offense that has been prone to pass.

"The past couple of games they were dropping nine and rushing two people. Now we got them on their heels," Geter said. "With the runs they gave me at the beginning I was thinking if we open up with the run, the offense will open up and we'll have a two-way dimension."

BG is 4-3 and 2-1 in the MAC East, tied with Miami for second place. Buffalo is atop the division at 2-0.

It was at Miami just one week ago that the Falcons nearly hit rock bottom in a 47-14 defeat. Indications pointed to BG continuing its tailspin against a Kent team that was strong where the Falcons were weak.

"I think it says volumes," BG coach Gregg Brandon said. "We challenged them this week in practice. We prepared better for Kent."

That was evident in BG executing a few gadget plays.

A fake field-goal run by Corey Partridge kept a drive going that ended with a four-yard touchdown run by Anthony Turner to put BG up 14-6 late in the first half.

Turner scored again, on a gadget play, to put the Falcons up 21-13 midway through the third quarter. Turner and quarterback Tyler Sheehan began the play lined up in the backfield before Sheehan went in motion to the left. Turner received the snap and threw the ball to Sheehan, who turned, looked downfield, and then opted to toss it back to Turner. Turner streaked down the sideline untouched behind a wall of blockers.

"You have to take some chances like this on the road, in conference games," Brandon said. "[Offensive coordinator] Mick McCall did a great job with the timing of those calls."

BG followed with an unsuccessful onside kick attempt.

BG took a 28-13 lead with

10:14 left on a 24-yard strike from Sheehan to Partridge. Following a Kent touchdown which made the score 28-20, BG kicker Sinisa Vrvilo buried a 49-yard field goal that would have been good from much farther, ending Kent's comeback try.

No one could have predicted BG's running game would have been the reason for yesterday's win. Most figured the Falcons needed to stop Kent's powerful rushing attack to have a chance.

Eugene Jarvis rushed for 168 yards on 33 tries and quarterback Julian Edelman added 104 yards before leaving with a broken arm.

So maybe BG didn't stop Kent's backfield duo, but the Falcons came up big under pressure. Twice Kent squandered scoring opportunities in the second half by turning the ball over on downs inside BG's 10.

"It seemed like once we got in that red zone as a unit we were a little more fired up," linebacker John Haneline said. "We wanted to make a point that when it came time we could stop them."

Contact Ryan Autullo at:

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