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Published: Friday, 11/20/2009

Falcons reverse earlier setbacks

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

BOWLING GREEN - The opportunity to have a winning record for the first time since beating Troy in the season opener is within reach for Bowling Green State University.

A victory tonight over Mid-American Conference foe Akron University would tip the Falcons' overall record over .500 and potentially position them for a postseason bowl game.

A sixth win against Toledo in the season finale officially will make the Falcons bowl-eligible.

Not bad for a team whose season began by losing four of its first five games under Dave Clawson, who is in his first year as BG's coach.

Yet the Falcons (5-5, 4-2 MAC) are not thinking too far ahead of themselves. More importantly, no one is looking past the Zips (2-8, 1-5 MAC).

"For our season goals we need to be successful against Akron," Clawson said.

The Falcons enter the contest with the Zips riding a two-game win streak.

Two weeks ago Bowling Green went on the road to defeat Buffalo 30-29 before traveling to Miami and coming through with a 35-14 win. The Falcons defense, led by senior linebackers Jerett Sanderson and Cody Basler, made some key stops in each contest.

The Falcons produced five turnovers against the RedHawks, the most BG has recorded in a game this fall.

"I'm very excited about the progress our defense is making," Clawson said. "I think the last two games we've put together some good (defensive) efforts.…"

Clawson added: "We're tackling better. Our assignments are better and I really credit our senior class for that. When you start out a season 1-4, if you don't have good senior leadership that can quickly become 1-5, 1-6, 1-7. I said all along that the thing I was encouraged about we never practiced like a losing football team."

The Zips' offense averages 18 points and 287 yards a game, including 106 on the ground. Freshman quarterback Patrick Nicely has completed 50 percent of his passes and averages just over 160 yards a game while Akron uses a quartet of running backs to provide the ground attack.

One of the Zips' two wins includes a 28-20 decision over Kent State. In comparison, BG defeated Kent 36-35.

"When you get to November I think you throw out the records," he said. "This is a very big game for us and what our goals are this year and we've got to be ready to play."

Contact Donald Emmons at:

demmons@theblade.com

or 419-724-6302.



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