BOWLING GREEN - The mood inside Bowling Green State University's locker room at Perry Stadium is a little different from the past few weeks.
BG first-year coach Dave Clawson senses a more uplifting atmosphere present this week coming off a win instead of dealing with another loss.
"The Sunday practice had a little more pep to it," said Clawson, during yesterday's weekly meeting with the media. "Yesterday's practice had a little more pep to it. When you win that's the advantage. It helps you get some momentum and you want to keep that going."
The Falcons (2-4, 1-1 MAC) halted a four-game losing streak last Saturday by posting a 36-35 comeback victory at Kent State. BG hopes to ride the wave of momentum into another Mid-American Conference road game Saturday at winless Ball State (0-6, 0-2 MAC).
Despite not having won a game, the Cardinals are not to be taken lightly, according to Clawson.
"We look at Ball and they're not that much different than we are," he said. "They've lost five games by 10 points or less and they've lost four games by one score or less. A few bounces of the ball and they may be a 4-2, 5-1 football team, just like we could be very easily 1-5 or we could be 5-1. I think it's two pretty evenly matched teams."
Yet, the Falcons are coming off playing arguably their best game of the season. They produced 548 total yards in the contest, which included quarterback Tyler Sheehan passing for a career-best 505 yards and Freddie Barnes setting career-bests with 22 catches for 278 yards, including three touchdowns. It all contributed to the Falcons pulling off their first come-from-behind win since opening the season with a 31-14 comeback victory over Troy State.
And it has the Falcons feeling better about themselves being in position to start a winning streak, instead of trying to end a losing streak.
"Football is an emotional game," Clawson said. "That trip back from Kent felt a lot better for the coaching staff than the trip back from Missouri and the one from Marshall. You get up there and talk to the team after a win and now the eyes are on you a little bit longer and their ears are a little more open and they're more receptive to the message and I think that helps a team get momentum.
"But if we don't take that momentum and prepare well this week and if we don't play well this week against Ball, it's all lost."
MAHONE PRACTICING: P.J. Mahone, a senior defensive back who has been suspended indefinitely since the third week of the season, has been allowed to return to practice this week.
However, the Falcons' top returning tackler from last season has not been given an exact date when he'll see game action. It probably will not happen before November, according to BG's coach.
"He will not play this week and he will not play the following week," Clawson said. "There's an opportunity for him to possibly play in November.
"It's been laid out to him pretty clearly what he needs to do and so far he's done that. If he continues to do that he'll play again."
Despite not suiting up in the Falcons' last four games, Mahone's 21 tackles rank seventh among BG's leaders for the season.
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