ATHENS, Ohio - The Bowling Green State University football team was buried in a 28-point scoring avalanche to Ohio University, falling 49-25 to the Bobcats at Peden Stadium Saturday.
The Falcons collected just 83 yards of offense in the first half while surrendering 249 yards to Ohio to fall behind 28-3 at the break. While the second half may have skewed the numbers - BG eventually outgained the Bobcats 414-380 - it did nothing to obscure the struggles the Falcons are having in all three phases of the game.
"Right now there's not a lot of things we're doing well - right now we're not a good football team," Clawson said. "We don't stop people on defense and we don't have good balance on offense.
"Right now we're a team that has a long way to go and a lot of things to get better at."
With its third straight loss the Falcons fell to 1-5 overall and 0-2 in Mid-American Conference, and Clawson believes the team has been back-sliding since BG beat Marshall in week three.
"I was very excited about the way we played the first three football games," he said. "We were playing at a [higher] level, and, to me, some of that was because guys were playing hard.
"These last three games, I just don't think we've played with the same tenacity and with the same desire that we did in the first three."
Things looked promising early when, on the first play from scrimmage, the Falcons' Jovan Leacock forced Riley Dunlop to fumble, and Dwayne Woods picked up the ball and rambled all the way down to the Bobcats' 3.
But Bowling Green was stonewalled on the goal line, including a fourth-down lunge by quarterback Matt Schilz that was stopped.
"It's pretty sad when you have it on the 3-yard line and you can't put it on your [offensive] line to get two or three yards," Clawson said. "You count on the fact that you can knock people a half-yard off the ball, and we didn't do that today.
"But we didn't do that last week and we've haven't done it except for the fourth quarter of the Marshall game. It was a problem we had in fall camp and a problem we had in spring ball. We're not a very good offensive line right now."
The only good news was that Ohio was pinned in its own end zone, and Bowling Green got the ball back on its 45. The Falcons drove down to the OU 6, but again could not punch the ball into the end zone and settled for a 22-yard field goal by Bryan Wright.
"It was a little frustrating [to get just three points]," Schilz admitted. "You have to capitalize when the other team makes mistakes, and we didn't. And we paid for that in the end."
Ohio's Julian Posey returned the ensuing kickoff to the Bobcats' 49, and the OU offense got rolling. Ohio rolled to touchdowns on its next three possessions, piling up 157 yards of offense on 19 combined plays, seven of which covered at least seven yards.
"We were fortunate to have them in the position we did [in those first two possessions]," senior defensive lineman Angelo Magnone said. "Then they were able to open their playbook up, and we just didn't stop them."
Just before the half, the Bobcats took over on their 43 with 2:32 left and raced 57 yards in eight plays for a back-breaking score. Boo Jackson finished the drive with a 6-yard TD pass to Jordan Thompson with just 11 seconds left in the half.
Ohio rolled to 249 yards of total offense in the first half, including 134 yards on the ground.
"We really struggled to get off blocks," Clawson said. "Some of their speed and some of their skill on the perimeter at times made us look silly.
"It's assignment football, and we had guys in spots who didn't get off blocks and didn't make plays."
In the second half BG was able to slow down the OU offense by keeping it off the field. But that didn't stop the Bobcats from scoring: Donovan Fletcher intercepted a Schilz pass and returned it 55 yards for a score early in the third quarter, and a 46-yard punt return by Travis Carrie set up a 12-yard TD run by Phil Bates midway through the final period.
While Ohio ran just three plays in the third quarter - and 13 in the second half - one of them was a 62-yard open-field run by Bates for a score.
Offensively Bowling Green got three touchdowns in the second half, but the Falcons came no closer than 24 points.
What is the solution?
"We've got to get guys better," Clawson said. "Freddie Barnes isn't coming back; there's no one coming back who can save us. We are what we are - and right now we're not a very good football team.
"This is where you find out who the players in your program and who you are going to build your program around - not just for this season, but for next year."
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The Bowling Green State University football team was buried in a 28-point scoring avalanche to Ohio University, falling 49-25 to the Bobcats at Peden Stadium Saturday.