BGSU offense struggles early in spring game

New Bowling Green State University coach Dave Clawson directs players during the spring game at Perry Stadium.
New Bowling Green State University coach Dave Clawson directs players during the spring game at Perry Stadium.

BOWLING GREEN - First, the first-teamers couldn't move the ball.

Next, the second-teamers weren't able to get anything going.

Then, the starters came back out and failed again - and again in the fifth series they went three-and-out.

That first-team/second team back and forth pattern kept repeating itself until the sixth series of yesterday's spring football game at Bowling Green State University when finally, the backups notched a first down.

In a matchup of defense vs. offense, the White team (defense) clearly outmatched the Orange (offense) early on, despite falling by a final score of 66-47.

The White team jumped out to a 15-0 lead under a scoring system that gave the defense three points for a three-and-out, six points for a turnover and two points for a stop.

"In any intrasquad scrimmage, anything you do well is balanced by a breakdown on the other side," BG coach Dave Clawson said. "[The offense] took too long to get going. We don't want to take until the [sixth] drive to start moving it."

Senior running back Chris Bullock finally got the Orange squad on the board with a three-yard run for a first down, giving the offense one point.

Nine plays later, Bullock got the call again, rushing eight yards up the middle and bowling into the end zone with 5:01 left in the first quarter.

Bullock, who finished with 88 yards on 22 carries, scored again in the final minute of the scrimmage on a one-yard run. That proved to be the only points scored by the first-team offense all afternoon in front of an estimated crowd of 2,000 at Perry Stadium.

"We were running pretty basic stuff today, so it's kind of hard to get some wrinkles in, get the defense out of their rhythm," said senior quarterback Tyler Sheehan, who finished 14-of-27 for 129 yards.

"We had a couple guys struggle catching the ball but we expect them to catch the ball in the season, so we're not real worried about that."

Once it got some momentum, the second-team offense had no problem moving the ball and lighting up the scoreboard.

Redshirt freshman running back Chris Dunlap and sophomore wideout Ray Hutson were two backups that did a nice job showcasing themselves. Dunlap had a 25-yard TD run at the end of the first quarter and finished with 106 yards on 15 carries, while Hutson reeled in a pair of TD catches and had 65 yards receiving.

"Like most young players, they were inconsistent through camp," Clawson said. "But one of the things about a spring game is, when the coaches aren't on the field, who makes plays? So it was good to see Ray Hutson and Steven Dunlap make some plays."

Other than putting up the best statistics, the offensive backups also showed the ability to fill up the highlight reel.

Senior quarterback Andrew Beam found Hutson on a 38-yard TD bomb down the right sideline in the second quarter, and redshirt freshman Aaron Pankratz hit Chris Scheidt with a dart over the middle for a 52-yard TD connection in the fourth.

"I just did what the coaches told me to do and used the techniques they've been teaching me all spring," Hutson said. "It was really good, but I have to give credit to the offensive coordinators and the o-line and quarterbacks because they put me in good situations, and I just did what I was supposed to do."

The first-team defense also succeeded in that mission, especially sophomore lineman Andrew Johnson (five tackles, two sacks) and senior safety P.J. Mahone (4 1/2 tackles, two pass breakups).

"In terms of the battle of our No. 1 offense vs. our No. 1 defense, our No. 1 defense won that battle. With the twos, the offense won that battle," Clawson said. "I thought it was a good go, though. Guys were competitive. The thing that I like about our football team right now is I don't think one side of the ball overwhelms the other. I think it's good for a team that there's some back and forth. We had it all camp and we had it today."

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