BOWLING GREEN — For those fans who didn't see the Bowling Green State University defense in its first two games this season, the first half of Saturday night's home opener against Marshall was a mirror of those two games.
There were high points, to be sure. There were mistakes, to be certain. But in the final analysis, the first-half numbers didn't indicate how well the Falcon defense had played.
BG set an early tone by forcing a pair of short drives that accumulated just 22 yards of total offense and resulted in punts by the Thundering Herd.
Then the Falcons got tougher as BG's Angelo Magnone pressured Brian Anderson into a bad pass that Dwayne Woods intercepted and hauled back 78 yards for a touchdown. That interception return was the fourth-longest pick return in Falcon history.
On Marshall's next possession, BG again forced a turnover thanks to pressure, with Jovan Leacock picking off an Anderson pass on his own 42 and returning it 42 yards to set up the offense on the Herd's 16.
But with a 21-0 lead, the Falcon defense started getting sloppy. BG allowed Marshall's Andre Booker to sweep the right end and ramble 68 yards for a touchdown that gave the Herd some life.
After stuffing Marshall on its next series, the Falcon defense stumbled on the final series of the first half. After a kickoff by Bryan Wright landed out of bounds, giving the Herd the ball on their 40, BG allowed Marshall to race 60 yards on 10 plays that took less than a minute, scoring with 00.9 seconds left in the half.
And while the numbers showed that Marshall had 231 yards of total offense compared to BG's 196, the most important number was the Falcons' 28-14 lead at the half.
There was one change in the starting defensive unit for the Falcons Saturday night as freshman Aaron Foster started at the ‘stud' position for Leacock.
NOW SERVING: Saturday's game marked the first time Bowling Green football served alcohol to the general public.
The BG athletic department experimented with serving alcohol to the public two years ago at the Buffalo contest. They received approval to serve alcohol at home games this season.
Fans who wish to purchase alcohol must go to stands behind the east and west stands to show an ID and receive a wristband. Fans must wear that wristband to purchase and consume alcohol.
For $5 fans can purchase a 16-ounce glass of either Budweiser or Labatt, with a limit of two glasses per purchase.
Bowling Green also is offering two alcohol-free sections at the stadium, Sections 20 and 22.
FALCON WALK: Before Saturday's game the Falcons took their pre-game team walk from a new direction.
At 4:45 p.m. the Falcons showed up at the Stroh Center and walked through the tailgating crowd to Perry Stadium. In years past the team had walked through the parking lot on the east side of the stadium; since that lot is closed, the Falcons are expected to walk from the Stroh Center to Perry Stadium for all home games this year.
Saturday coach Dave Clawson was easy to spot, since he wore a bright orange jacket that brought back memories of John Weinert, while freshman D.J. Lynch looked smart in a white dress coat, pants, and shoes.