AKRON — It was a showdown between the best offense in the Mid-American Conference, at least statistically speaking, and the league’s best defense.
For a half, it seemed the offense, which belonged to Akron, would have the upper hand. But the Bowling Green State University football team’s defense dominated the second half to help the Falcons claim a 24-10 victory at InfoCision Stadium.
The Zips came into the game leading the MAC in scoring offense (38.6 points per game) and yards per game (492.4 ypg) after rolling to 629 yards and 49 points in a loss to Miami one week earlier.
But BG, which led the MAC in total defense by allowing just 348.4 yards per game, held Akron to just 316 yards of total offense and 10 points.
“Our defense is ranked high, too,” coach Dave Clawson said. “We challenged our defense: It was the No. 1 offense in the conference against the No. 1 defense. That was a matchup we had to win.
“And I thought we won it. Our guys responded. They were going to make plays, but we didn’t give up big plays. And as the game wore on, I thought our pass rush started becoming very effective.”
In the first half Akron had 280 yards of offense on 50 plays, an average of 5.6 yards per play. But the Falcons held the Zips to just 36 yards on 26 plays, or 1.4 yards per play, thanks in part to four sacks. Akron had minus-23 yards rushing in the second half.
“Nobody was down at halftime,” said safety Ryland Ward, who had five tackles and also forced a fumble. “It was just a matter of what time everybody was going to explode and come together. There wasn’t any bad emotion going on. I can’t say we did anything different besides make some minor adjustments. We just had to execute and be more sure in our tackles.”
Cornerback Cameron Truss led BG with 10 tackles, while rover Gabe Martin had seven. Defensive lineman Ted Ouellet had five stops, including a sack; the other sacks went to Chris Jones, D.J. Lynch, and Kendall Montgomery, a converted tight end playing just his second game at defensive end.
“Kendall has worked really hard,” Clawson said. “Kendall is really well-liked, he’s very serious about football, but he’s at a position [tight end] where we have depth.”
TIMEOUT: A chaotic situation late in the first half led to Bowling Green calling a timeout with Akron in possession of the ball on the Falcons’ 29. The clock was winding down as BG asked for time with four seconds left — and the Zips coaches waving for time as well.
“I called it,” Clawson said of the timeout, which was credited to Akron in the play-by-play. “We saw how they lined up, and we weren’t in the coverage call we wanted to be in. We made a [defensive] call when there were 20-some seconds left in the half, thinking they would run two or three plays.”
Akron lined up and kicked a 46-yard field goal as time expired in the half, but Clawson did not regret the call.
“If they kicked the field goal and got three, I didn’t want to be down 14-0 because we were in the wrong coverage,” he said.
SPECIAL VISITORS: Among those at Saturday’s game were members of Bowling Green’s Board of Trustees. The idea was to look at Akron’s new stadium, which was opened in 2009, and gain ideas for a renovation of Doyt Perry Stadium.