BOWLING GREEN -- The first scrimmage of fall drills provided just what the doctor ordered for the Bowling Green State University football team's offense.
The Falcons went for more than two and a half hours under the lights at Doyt Perry Stadium Wednesday night, and there was plenty of scoring -- six different touchdowns in all, not to mention a pair of 32-yard field goals by Central Catholic product Kyle Burkhardt.
"I thought the offense got the better of the defense," BG head coach Dave Clawson said. "That's really the first time that happened in 2011.
"We made some big plays, we converted some third downs, we didn't turn the ball over, and the offensive line continued to improve. We did a lot of good things, and that was encouraging."
The tone was set by the first play of the scrimmage as John Pettigrew returned the opening kick 94 yards for a score.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Trent Hurley then engineered several scoring drives, running 21 yards for one score before throwing TD passes of 49 yards to Eugene Cooper and seven yards to Alex Bayer.
Sophomore QB Matt Schilz later scored on an 11-yard run, and later in the scrimmage true freshman running back Anthon Samuel bulled into the end zone from a yard out.
Clawson said the offensive line played well, allowing the Falcons' skill position players to shine.
"Because we played better on the offensive line, more plays got beyond the defensive line and into the perimeter," he said. "Those guys are extremely young, and we need to get those guys up to game speed as quickly as we can."
Clawson estimated that BG ran upwards of 160 plays in the scrimmage, and that was by design.
"We even were able to give our younger players some plays at the end," Clawson said. "Right now we just want to load our players up with reps. Young teams need experience, and one way to do that is to go long in scrimmages.
"We let the guys play, and we'll coach it off the film."
For players such as Bayer, the opportunity to get away from drills and mimic a game setting was exciting.
"It was great to go out there for the first time," Bayer said. "I think the offense has really meshed from spring ball until now.
"To finally go out there and not have the coaches in our ears telling us stuff is really fun. You have some freedom out there. And that's when your leaders step up."
Last season Bayer caught 22 passes for 298 yards and a touchdown, and he said he'd like to increase his work load this fall.
"We tell the quarterbacks, 'Keeping feeding us the ball,' " Bayer said. "Everyone calls the tight ends the 'elephants,' so we tell them, 'Keep feeding us the peanuts.'
"We won't be making any big moves, but we'll put our shoulders down and get the extra yards."
Clawson said his team has completed the first third of its preseason schedule.
"The first third of camp, we just want to get our base [offense and defense] installed, because that's the meat and bones of what we do," he said. "Now the next nine days is about applying what we do to different situations during a football game while continuing to get better with the base stuff.
"Then in the final third of camp we start getting ready for Idaho."
Several key players didn't see action, most notably linebacker Dwayne Woods, wide receivers Kamar Jorden, and Adrian Hodges and defensive back Aaron Foster. Clawson said he expects all four to return to action soon.
The only player lost to injury is senior offensive lineman Scott Lewis. The Northview High School grad will have knee surgery this week and is expected to miss the first few weeks of the season.
Contact John Wagner at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6481.