BOWLING GREEN – The impact Anthon Samuel is having on the Bowling Green State University football team in his young career is undeniable.
But the person who had the greatest impact on the Falcons’ star running back is his father, who also was named Anthon. The senior Samuel for whom the BG running back was named passed away when the Falcons running back was eight.
The impact was so great that Samuel honors his father by writing, “RIP Dad” in silver marker on his jersey sleeve before every contest.
“My dad really got me started in football, so I do that every game to honor him,” Samuel said. “Before every game I look at his picture, and I listen to his favorite songs, and that motivates me.”
Samuel was named Mid-American Conference freshman of the year last season after running for 844 yards and five TDs in just nine games.
And the sophomore from Opa Locka, Fla., has shown no signs of slowing down so far this season. He ran for 127 yards and three TDs on just 17 carries in BG’s 48-8 win over Rhode Island Saturday, marking his second 100-plus yard rushing day on the season.
“That was one of our goals in this game – to establish the run,” Samuel said after the victory. “The credit goes to the offensive line, because they blocked their butts off.
“There were a lot of holes in front of me, and when I saw them I just gassed it.”
In his first five games this year Samuel has run for 377 yards and seven touchdowns.
The only MAC running back with more rushing touchdowns this season is Kent State’s Dri Archer.
“He’s a very mature young man,” BG coach Dave Clawson said of Samuel. “He picked up the offense as quickly as any running back we’ve had in the program.
“He’s very elusive, and he can make people miss in space. He’s tough, he does a nice job in pass protection.”
He also has quickly begun his ascent up the Bowling Green career rushing charts. In just 14 games Samuel, who already has seven games with at least 100 yards rushing, is tied with Dave Windatt, who played from 1977-80, for 25th on the all-time list with 1,221.
DEPTH CHART CHANGES: The Falcons didn’t make many changes to their depth chart this week.
The most notable move was to add Jermal Hosley to the “slot” position on offense. The potential starters are Hosley “or” Heath Jackson “or” Ryan Burbrink. Both Jackson and Burbrink did not play against Rhode Island.
There also was an addition to the depth chart at the punt return position. Because both Burbrink and Jackson did not play, BooBoo Gates handled the punt returns against the Rams.
His performance was up-and-down as he returned one punt 80 yards for a touchdown but also fumbled another.
“I don’t know if those other guys can make that [touchdown] return, but the other guys have been more consistent in catching the ball,” Clawson said. “If he’s healthy, Ryan Burbrink probably will be our starting punt returner because he is so reliable catching it.
“But watching BooBoo [return the punt for a touchdown] is exciting, and it takes a lot of pressure off the offense. Maybe we’ll have Burbrink catch it, then lateral it to BooBoo.”
PUNT PROBLEMS: Despite returning All-MAC first team punter Brian Schmiedebusch, the Falcons punting game hast struggled this season.
This season BG has a net punting average of 32.58 yards per boot, which ranks 113th among 120 FBS schools. A year ago the Falcons averaged 40.56 yards per kick to lead the MAC and rank fifth nationally.
“The punt team is not operating at the level we were a year ago,” Clawson said. “When you have everyone back, you expect it to get better, not worse.
“I don’t think we’re covering kicks as well as we were, so that’s something we have to shore up.”
Dunn earns MAC honor
BOWLING GREEN – Junior libero Ashley Dunn was named Mid-American Conference East Division co-defensive player of the week.
The Bowling Green native averaged 6.57 digs per set and was perfect in 30 serve receive attempts as BGSU improved to 4-0 in MAC play with a sweep at Akron and a four-set win at Buffalo.
Dunn had 19 digs against Akron and posted a career-high 27 digs at Buffalo.