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Published: Tuesday, 9/20/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

Falcon’s ‘Baby Birds’ able to learn in defeat

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Stunned Bowling Green players react after an extra-point attempt was blocked against Wyoming. Stunned Bowling Green players react after an extra-point attempt was blocked against Wyoming.
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BOWLING GREEN — The Bowling Green State University football team is young enough that Saturday’s loss provides another learning opportunity for the “Baby Birds.”

The Falcons, featuring a 50-man starting two-deep that is two-thirds underclassmen — it includes 18 freshmen and 15 sophomores — are dealing with their first loss this season after Saturday’s 28-27 setback against Wyoming.

While BG coach Dave Clawson certainly didn’t want to lose after a pair of season-opening wins, he may learn something about the character of his young team.

“After the game, the lockerroom was very quiet, and when we met [Monday] it was very quiet,” he said. “And that’s the way you want it to be. A team that has invested [time and effort into winning], that has worked hard, [a loss] should hurt. It should bother them.

“I liked that it was quiet, that there wasn’t any giggling or laughing. There was no, ‘It’s no big deal’ because it was a big deal.”

Another harsh lesson the Baby Birds must learn is that mistakes must be corrected. In the lopsided win against Morgan State the Falcons scored so many points that three turnovers never were a problem. Against the Cowboys, BG’s turnover total doubled to six, and those miscues played a large role in the one-point loss.

“After the Morgan State game we said, ‘[The turnovers are] a problem that, if it doesn’t get fixed, are going to cost us a football game,’” Clawson said. “It’s one thing to talk about things after a win, but when they don’t get fixed and they largely cost you a win, [those words] ring a little truer.”

Clawson said at practice Monday, “guys were focused and bounced around pretty well.” The Falcons will need to continue to prepare well as they face an extremely difficult portion of the schedule.

BG is on the road the next three weeks, facing defending Mid-American Conference champion Miami Saturday followed by games against Big East power West Virginia and MAC West Division contender Western Michigan before coming home to host two of the MAC’s best teams in Toledo and Temple.

WOODS HONORED: Junior linebacker Dwayne Woods was named MAC East Division defensive player of the week.

Woods finished with a game-high 12 tackles, including a pair behind the line of scrimmage, in the loss to Wyoming.

PUNTER HONORED: While sophomore punter Brian Schmiedebusch did not receive league honors, he was named national punter of the week by the College Football Performance Award, an online college football website.

The Ottawa-Glandorf High School graduate averaged 58.7 yards per punt thanks to kicks of 55, 61, and 60 yards against Wyoming. The sophomore landed two punts inside the opponent’s 20, including one downed at the Cowboys’ 2-yard line.

INJURIES: The biggest injury in the Wyoming contest was to back-up defensive end Bryan Thomas, who suffered a knee injury.

Thomas will have an MRI taken at some point this week but is expected to miss a significant portion of the season.

True freshman Zach Colvin will take Thomas’s spot on the BG two-deep behind starting defense end Ronnie Goble.

Seniors Scott Lewis, a Northview grad who plays on the offensive line, and cornerback Adrien Spencer, both of whom missed the first three games because of injuries, are expected to be available for the Miami contest.

Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.com or 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.



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