Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller (17) breaks up a pass against Bowling Green wide receiver Chris Galion (81) during the first half Saturday, Sept. 22, in Blacksburg, Va.
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Midway through the third quarter, Bowling Green State University football coach Dave Clawson made a change.
He had watched starting quarterback Matt Schilz struggle through the first half of the Falcons' 37-0 loss at Virginia Tech, completing 6-of-19 passes for 35 yards. When Schilz tried to float a pass down the left sideline that was picked off by the Hokies' Antone Exum midway through the third period, Clawson had seen enough.
Clawson replaced the junior Schilz with redshirt freshman Matt Johnson, who finished the contest but also struggled.
"We were behind a lot, and we wanted to give him a chance and let him play and see if he can give us a little spark," Clawson said in explaining the move. "We were down 27-0, he's on scholarship, and we think he's going to be a good quarterback. So let's give him a shot.
"He's also a little more mobile, so given their pass rush I thought he might be able to make some plays with his feet."
Neither quarterback played particularly well. Schilz completed 9-of-25 passes in the game for 87 yards with one interception, while Johnson connected on 5-of-17 passes for 46 yards.
The Falcons' offense ran 68 plays, split between 42 passes and 26 runs. That ratio obviously is skewed by BG falling behind at the half and trying to throw to get back into the contest.
Clawson said his team's struggles offensively go beyond poor quarterback play.
"We don't have receivers getting open, we're not throwing the ball accurately, we had a couple of procedure [penalties] that got us off-schedule against a very good defense that, after [losing] a week ago, played inspired football," he said.
"They beat us up front, they covered us in the secondary, we didn't play well at quarterback. What struggle didn't we have?"
Junior tight end Alex Bayer, who caught one pass for eight yards, said he doesn't think the offense's struggles are becoming more mental than physical.
"The last two weeks we played two good defenses," Bayer said. "To be a good offense, you have to put points on the board. The last two weeks we've struggled to do that."
IN DEFENSE OF THE DEFENSE: The Falcon defense was able to slow the Hokies in the second half, not allowing a pass completion in the third quarter and giving up just 23 passing yards in the half.
"I thought in the second half we had some kids step up and make some nice plays on the corner," Clawson said. "I thought Von McKoy made some nice plays on the ball, and that's a kid who has been run by two weeks in a row. It was very encouraging to see him step up and make some plays on the ball.
"I thought Darrell Hunter's 'pick' was a great play. I thought Gabe Martin continued to play hard, and Taylor Royster at the end [played hard]."
Hunter led the Falcons with eight tackles and also had the interception, while Swan and Ryland Ward each had six stops. Senior defensive tackle Chris Jones finished with five tackles, two tackles for loss, and one sack.
INJURY REPORT: The Falcons had several players hurt during the course of the physical contest, but only two players did not return.
Junior cornerback Cameron Truss was injured midway through the second quarter and did not return, while redshirt freshman wide receiver Ryan Burbrink did not return in the second half after catching two passes for 13 yards in the first half.
Among those who left the field with an injury but later returned were sophomore running back Anthon Samuel (nine rushes, 32 yards), sophomore linebacker D.J. Lynch (one tackle), and Martin, a sophomore rover who made three tackles.
Sophomore wide receiver Heath Jackson played in his first game after missing the first three with a knee injury and caught a team-high three passes for 32 yards. Junior Shaun Joplin, who was questionable for the contest, did play and caught one pass for 18 yards.