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Published: Thursday, 9/10/2009

The End Zone: Bowling Green

They carried themselves throughout the practice sessions in a way that sent the message they're highly motivated and determined to prove the prognosticators wrong.

Picked to finish fifth in the Mid-American Conference East Division, the Falcons may have showed some of their earnest focus when they upended Troy by rallying from a14-0 deficit to prevail 31-14. It was definitely a good start for BG first-year coach Dave Clawson.

With seniors like quarterback Tyler Sheehan, wide receiver Freddie Barnes and linebacker Cody Basler in leadership roles, the Falcons have exuded a level of maturity that any coach would appreciate. Clawson has certainly welcomed their business-like approach during his nine months on the job. It has helped make for a rather smooth transition from the end of the Gregg Brandon era. Several Falcons talked during the preseason about playing with a “swagger” or style of play that revealed a high level of belief in one another.

One could suggest the season-opening victory over Troy could persuade others to start believing.

Then again, playing Saturday against No. 25 Missouri looms as a potentially better gauge.

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