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Published: 10/9/2012

Falcons seek sharper 60-minute effort

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

BOWLING GREEN – The Bowling Green State University football team put together an impressive second half in its 24-10 win at Akron Saturday.

Of course, the problem for the Falcons was the dismal first-half performance that put them in a 10-point halftime hole.

“Certainly after the game we were excited that we found a way to win and played well in the second half,” coach Dave Clawson said. “But there was a half of football on film that we had to watch and grade in which we executed poorly.

“I think the key to the game was that we played so poorly in the first half, yet we were only down 10 points.”

The Zips outgained BG 280-150 in the first half, but the Falcons forced a turnover that kept Akron from scoring on a play at Bowling Green’s 3 and also limited the Zips to a field goal after an interception late in the half or the deficit could have been greater.

“If you don’t get that turnover and you don’t hold them to a field goal, you’re easily down 21-0 at halftime,” Clawson said. “Then you can’t come out in the second half and run the football.

“It’s a very thin line between winning and losing in the [Mid-American Conference]. I think all the teams are so close and so equal, if we had not made those plays in the first half to keep it a 10-point game we’re feeling a lot different right now.”

Despite the first-half problems, Clawson said his team’s lockerroom at halftime was “good.”

“Kids were positive,” he explained. “Some times you go into the lockerroom at halftime of a game like that and kids’ heads are down and [the emotion] is dead.

“It was a lockerroom that was alive. They knew we were still in the football game, and they responded the way we wanted them to.”

A key to the comeback was the play of BG’s defensive line, which is proving that it has more than just All-MAC lineman Chris Jones.

“A lot of people know who he is, and he’s drawing a little extra attention,” Clawson said of Jones. “But we have some other guys up front who are playing really well, too.

“I thought Ted Ouellet played well, Bryan Thomas played well, Ronnie Goble, Charlie Walker … we’ve developed some depth at that position.

“At times we didn’t get sacks, but we did get pressure and collapse the pocket, which I think helped us defend the pass in the second half.”

TWO-DEEP UPDATE: The biggest change on the first two-deep released for Saturday's home game against Miami that Heath Jackson was removed from the list of slot receivers. He has been hobbled by a knee injury and is not expected to play against the RedHawks.

On the defensive line Zach Colvin was moved from end to nose tackle to back up Ouellet, while Thomas is expected to start at one defensive end opposite Walker. Bryan Baird will back up Thomas and Goble is behind Walker.

WARD HONORED: Sophomore safety Ryland Ward was named Mid-American Conference East Division defensive player of the week Monday.

The Columbus native had five tackles, four of which were solo stops, at Akron. Ward also made a key play in the second quarter, forcing a Zips running back to fumble on a play that began at BG's 3-yard line with the Falcons already trailing 7-0. Bowling Green recovered the fumble to stop a potential score.

Ward is the second Falcon to win the defensive honor this season. Senior defensive tackle Chris Jones won the award after BG's games against Florida and Idaho.

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



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