ED SUBA JR. / AKRON BEACON JOURNAL Enlarge
KENT, Ohio - The scenario seemed all too familiar for Bowling Green State University Saturday afternoon at Kent State.
The Falcons found themselves trailing another opponent with few moments to spare and little room for error.
The three previous situations this season ended with the Falcons coming up on the losing side.
BG quarterback Tyler Sheehan and wideout Freddie Barnes reached perhaps deeper than any other Falcons in recent history, leading the Falcons to a 36-35 comeback win over Kent before a stunned homecoming crowd of 15,211.
Sheehan passed for a career and school-record 505 yards while completing a record 44 of 63 pass attempts, including four touchdowns. His yardage is fourth-best all-time in the conference. Barnes proved a perfect complement, setting school records with 22 catches for 278 yards receiving. He had touchdown catches of 8, 2, and 45 yards. He was only one catch shy of matching the Division I single-game record for catches.
Yet, the Falcons' record-setting day in the air ultimately came down to Sheehan capping off a 14-play, 74-yard last-minute drive by scoring on a nine-yard quarterback keeper with only five seconds left to clinch the win.
The call was a designed quarterback draw. The Falcons had one timeout remaining but didn't have to use it since Sheehan went the distance.
"We've been in a lot of football games like that this year, and we've come up on the short end, but it is a credit to our players that they kept playing hard," coach Dave Clawson said.
"Our offense executed really unbelievably in the fourth quarter. They converted every down they needed to."
The Falcons outscored the Flashes 19-7 in the final period.
Barnes, who dropped a potential touchdown late in the game in the loss to Ohio last week, had been looking forward to facing Kent. It represented an opportunity for redemption.
"We'd been in this position for a couple of weeks, and last week I let us down, so this week I felt like I had to step it up," Barnes said. "We had to have fun. If we don't have fun it's going to be tough. We need to have fun through the good and the bad and we'll deal with the rest later."
Sheehan called his game-winning touchdown run the biggest rushing touchdown of his career. Of course, it was the first rushing touchdown he's scored that has decided the outcome.
"I know the game of football is a game of inches, so I knew it could have gone an inch either way," Sheehan said. "I just lowered my shoulder and tried to make a play for my team."
The Falcons (2-4, 1-1 MAC) opened the game by falling behind 14-0 to the Golden Flashes (2-4, 1-1 MAC), who seemed primed and ready to hand BG its fifth straight loss of the season.
The Golden Flashes made it interesting early by scoring on the first play of their first possession. Sam Kirkland gave Kent a 7-0 lead when he took a handoff and raced to an 86-yard touchdown with 13:12 left in the opening quarter.
It wasn't long before the Flashes owned a 14-0 lead after Kent blocked a 33-yard field goal try by BG's Jerry Phillips and Kent's Quinton Rainey returned the loose ball 82 yards for a touchdown with just over three minutes left in the opening quarter.
However, Kent's early strikes only served as fuel to get the Falcons on the right track.
The Falcons outscored the Flashes 17-0 in the second quarter and ended up taking a 17-14 lead into halftime.
Sheehan found Adrian Hodges for an 11-yard touchdown to complete the Falcons' first scoring drive. It wasn't long before the QB capped the Falcons' second scoring drive by connecting with Barnes on an eight-yard touchdown completion to tie the score at 14 with 7:10 left in the first half.
Then fifth-year senior Matt Norsic, a walk-on kicker, gave the Falcons a 17-14 edge by nailing a 21-yard field goal with just under two minutes left in the first half.
However, the Flashes regrouped at the break and outscored the Falcons 14-0 in the third quarter to take a 28-17 lead into the fourth quarter, setting up another cardiac finish for the Falcons.
Contact Donald Emmons at:
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