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Published: Wednesday, 11/17/2010

Some Falcons start a second season Wednesday night

BOWLING GREEN - All of those clocks around the Bowling Green State University football offices have "zeroes" on them Wednesday.

You know the clocks: They are the ones counting down the days until the game against "That Team Up North," as the Falcon players at Monday's news conference carefully identified Toledo.

And while the BG players have been involved in rivalry games since high school, senior Tyrone Pronty said tonight's rivalry contest against the Rockets, which kicks off at 8 p.m. in the Glass Bowl, is different - and more intense.

"It's different in college because it's more important," he said. "It means more [to win] to the former Falcons. One thing they cherish is the rivalry, and that makes college rivalries different."

Former Falcon Pete Winovich addressed the team on Sunday, and Pronty said the message Winovich delivered was a simple one.

"He said that, regardless how the season has gone, you have to get hyped for the game against 'The Team Up North,' " Pronty said. "Everyone becomes healthy [for that game]; everyone seems to run faster and play harder when you play 'The Team Up North.' "

The Falcons practiced at the Glass Bowl Tuesday, and coach Dave Clawson said the reasons went beyond getting used to the stadium's lights and turf.

"There are a lot of guys on our team who have never been up there - that's how young we are," he said. "The majority of our team has never been there."

The Falcons have 44 scholarship players who are either first-year or redshirt freshmen, meaning nearly half of the players on the BG roster have never been on the field for this rivalry contest.

"I've talked to the guys on defense about this game," senior linebacker and team captain Eugene "Champ" Fells said. "We know it's going to be a down-and-dirty game. We have to play hard and be prepared for this game."

Fells said the chance to spoil Toledo's attractiveness as a bowl prospect doesn't enter into Bowling Green's planning.

"We haven't talked about [them being bowl eligible]," Fells said. "I could not care less about that. All we know is that we want to play our game."

One other thought on the minds of the Falcon upperclassmen is the school's three-game win streak. It means many of them have never experienced a loss to the Rockets.

"I have thought about that, and that really would be something I hope happens," senior linebacker Eugene "Champ" Fells said. "But that's not my motivation. My motivation is to help my team come out with a W."

Pronty agreed, adding, "The past record really doesn't matter. I'd rather go 1-0 against them this year than whatever has happened in the past. My motivation is to go 1-0 against them this year.

"Of all the goals we had for this year, that's the one we still have left: We can still beat The Team Up North. This is one of those games you'll always remember.

"This is a memory we'll always talk about. And hopefully we'll come out with a W so it will be a good conversation."

STAT TO WATCH: One area in which both BG and UT excel is in creating turnovers.

BG is tied with Boston College for third among BCS schools with 28 turnovers gained, one behind national leaders Hawaii and Oregon. Close behind the Falcons in sixth place is Toledo with 26; the Rockets are tied with Miami (Fla.), Ohio State, and Tulsa.

The problem for BG is that it is tied for 114th in turnovers lost with 26. Only three schools - Ball State, Buffalo, and Middle Tennessee - have lost more turnovers.

Contact John Wagner at:

jwagner@theblade.com or


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