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Published: Tuesday, 10/18/2011

Goals still attainable for Falcons

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

BOWLING GREEN — The fact that the Bowling Green State University football team is on a three-game losing streak has done nothing to ruin any of the major goals the team set before the season.

Whether it is winning the Mid-American Conference’s East Division title, advancing to the league’s championship game, or earning a bowl bid, those goals are still within reach.

But none of them will be easy for the Falcons (3-4, 1-2 MAC) who prepare for what coach Dave Clawson calls a “must-win” 3:30 home game Saturday against Temple.

“With all that’s happened, we’re still playing for a championship,” he said. “The way things are breaking, we believe we’re playing a championship football game this Saturday.

“There is a resolve and there is a fight, and there is a mental toughness aspect to what we do, that you have to bounce back. I’m confident our guys will do that.”

Beating Temple is essential if the Falcons wish to stay alive for a MAC title. The Owls (5-2, 3-1) and Miami is the only other team in the East Division with one loss. If BG beats the Owls Saturday, the Falcons would have wins over them and Miami, with the rest of the East Division still to play.

Of course, knocking off Temple, which beat Maryland on the road and nearly upset Penn State, won’t be easy.

“Every team at some point of the year hits a point that if you want to reach your goals, there’s no more option for error,” Clawson said. “We’ve hit that point this week.

“If we don’t play well this week and don’t find a way to defend our home field, it’s hard to figure out a scenario that we’ll be in Detroit [for the MAC Championship].”

Temple coach Steve Addazio said he has been impressed with what he has seen from the Falcons, even in the last three losses.

“There are two things I look for when I watch another team on film: How hard are they playing? And are they fundamentally sound?” Addazio said. “That’s what I see [on film] when I watch Bowling Green.

“They are growing as a team, and I know it will be a real challenging game Saturday.”

GATES HONORED: Sophomore rover BooBoo Gates was named the MAC East Division special teams player of the week.

The Middletown, Ohio, native returned a kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown in the Falcons’ 28-21 home loss to Toledo. Gates finished with 152 yards on four kickoff returns, an average of 38 yards per return.

On the season Gates leads the MAC with his average of 29.8 yards per kickoff return, having returned 18 kicks a total of 537 yards. Gates ranks eighth nationally among FBS players.

Gates also returned a kickoff for a score against Kent State last season, making him the first player in school history with more than one kickoff return for a TD.

This marked the second time Gates has earned this honor this season. He also earned the award following the loss at West Virginia.

GETTING HEALTHY: Not only did the Falcons manage to avoid major injuries against Toledo, they also look to get several players back this week.

Sophomore Ted Ouellet, who did not play against UT because of a shoulder injury, is back on the depth chart as the backup to sophomore Jairus Campbell at nose tackle.

And Kyle Bryant, a sophomore who suffered a finger injury in practice Thursday and did not play against the Rockets, also should return to the lineup for Saturday’s contest.

The only other change to the Falcons’ depth chart was at cornerback, where true freshman Darrell Hunter started in front of redshirt freshman DeVon McKoy Saturday.

Hammond wins award

Bowling Green junior goaltender Andrew Hammond was named Central Collegiate Hockey Association goaltender of the week.

Hammond stopped 29-of-30 shots in the Falcons’ 2-1 win over Alabama-Huntsville Friday, then turned aside all 21 shots he faced in a 3-0 win Saturday.

Hammond, a native of Surrey, B.C., is 3-0-1 with a 1.47 goals-against average and .931 save percentage.

Giese leaves women’s team

Junior Maribeth Giese will no longer play for the Bowling Green women’s basketball team because of a medical condition.

Giese, a Cincinnati native, played in 13 games for BG last season and averaged 1.1 points per game.

Giese will remain as a student manager with the team this season. She has a 4.0 grade-point average and plans to graduate in December with a degree in political science.

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



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