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Published: Tuesday, 9/9/2008

Bowling Green's Brandon does a number on offense

BY RYAN AUTULLO
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
BG's Corey Partridge is one of six players being considered to fill in for kick returner Roger Williams, who broke a finger. BG's Corey Partridge is one of six players being considered to fill in for kick returner Roger Williams, who broke a finger.
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BOWLING GREEN - Gregg Brandon can't give his offense many compliments following Saturday's loss to Minnesota. But he will show them a prop.

Brandon arrived at yesterday's weekly news conference at Bowling Green State University with a visual aid - a white piece of computer paper with the numbers "5-0" in large print.

"Anyone know what this means?" Brandon said.

A smart alec would suggest that Brandon wants to file a complaint with the 5-0 - the police - because Minnesota repeatedly stole the ball from his team Saturday night. And that's actually pretty close.

The real message was in response to the turnover disparity in the Gophers' 42-17 romp. BG committed five, Minnesota none.

"That was the game," Brandon said. "Everything else was window dressing."

There is an alarming, yet somewhat obvious trend, concerning BG's ball security over the last two seasons. When the Falcons commit fewer turnovers than their opponent, they usually win. When they lose the turnover battle, they typically lose the game as well. Often times, and Saturday is a prime example, one turnover quickly turns into three and four turnovers.

Despite having already given the ball away twice, BG was in decent shape entering the fourth quarter down 21-17. Ugly football then ensued. The Falcons' first three possessions of the fourth ended like this: Tyler Sheehan interception. Willie Geter fumble. Willie Geter fumble. The Gophers responded with a touchdown all three times, turning a competitive game into a blitzkrieg.

"Five of them is uncalled for," guard Brandon Curtis said. "It does seem like a snowball effect. I think some guys start to lose focus on what the goal in mind is. When you lose focus, naturally bad things are going to happen."

Brandon was cagey when asked if Geter would earn the start over Chris Bullock on Saturday. Through two games, Bullock has averaged seven yards on 12 rushing attempts and is second on the team with nine receptions. More importantly, he has not fumbled.

"I think it will be who practices best," Brandon said. "But they're both going to play and they're both good players."

In 15 games dating to last year's season opener, the Falcons have won just once - at Eastern Michigan in November - when committing more turnovers than their opponent. Never in that span has BG won the turnover battle yet lost the game.

"It's something that just kind of happens, but it's something that can be fixed," Anthony Turner said. "Once we fix it we'll be smooth sailing, but until it gets fixed we're not going to be winning too many games."

WILLIAMS OUT: Kick returner Roger Williams broke his right index finger against Minnesota and will not be available Saturday for BG's game at Boise State, according to Brandon. Williams, who set career records last year for most returns and most return yards, suffered the injury on the opening kickoff of the second half when he fumbled. Brandon is not ruling out Williams coming back for the Wyoming game in two weeks. Brandon mentioned six players - Tyrone Pronty, Chris Wright, Corey Partridge, Antonio Smith, Freddie Barnes and Kenny Lewis - as possible replacements for Williams.

SCOUTING BOISE: Boise State, which plays host to BG for an 8 p.m. start Saturday, is an unthinkable 59-2 at home since 1999. The Broncos, who are 1-0 after a week one win over Idaho State, pasted the Falcons 48-20 in 2005.

"The next game will be the hardest yet," Brandon said. "It will be harder than Pitt and it will be harder than Minnesota."

NO LOVE: Despite recording three sacks Saturday, BG's Diyral Briggs was not named the Mid-American Conference East Defensive Player of the Week. That honor went to Ohio linebacker Lee Renfro, who had nine tackles and a sack at Ohio State. Briggs leads the nation with five sacks.

Contact Ryan Autullo at:

rautullo@theblade.com



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