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Published: Saturday, 10/20/2012

Bowling Green Falcons claim Saturday's opponent is better than its record

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Bowling Green State University football team is working on a three-game winning streak heading into its game today against the University of Massachusetts.

The Minutemen enter this contest, which kicks off at noon, winless after their first six games as a FBS school.

Mismatch, right?

Not so fast, say the Falcons. One potential advantage for UMass that BG coach Dave Clawson cited was that the Minutemen had a bye week before playing his team.

“Any time a team has a bye week at this point in the year, it creates a guessing game,” he said. “What are they going to emphasize? What are they going to de-emphasize? What are they going to be doing with personnel? It’s very concerning.”

Charley Molnar, who is in his first season as coach at UMass, said there probably won’t be a lot of major changes in terms of scheme.

“For our group of guys, everything is new,” he said. “We don’t need a new scheme — we need to master the scheme that we have.

“Once we do that we will be fine.”

Molnar said his squad spent the extra time between games working on a number of different things.

“No. 1 for us was to get healthy, to keep our guys fresh from the physicality of games and practices leading up to games,” he said. “No. 2, we went back to fundamentals, the basics of football. We took it like it was spring ball, to focus on those kinds of things.

“No. 3, we gave our young guys a lot of work — even guys who won’t play this season. We gave them some extra work to get them up to speed.”

While UMass is winless in its first season in Mid-American Conference play, and is being outscored by an average margin of 43.5 to 13.8, junior linebacker Paul Woods said he and his teammates can’t dwell on that record.

“We see their record, but we can’t take notice of that,” he said. They are coming off a bye and have had a lot of time to prepare for us.

“We know they are hungry for a win and I’m sure they feel this is a game that can get their season back on track.”

Clawson said the skewed statistics and winless record is as much a function of the Minutemen’s opponents as its ability. UMass has played Michigan, Indiana, and UConn in non-conference action and faced Miami as well as pre-season MAC favorites Ohio and Western Michigan in league play.

“[UMass] easily could have won that Ohio game,” Clawson said. “It was a four-quarter game, and they had a chance to win right until the final snap.

“When they put it together, they are going to be pretty good. And they are close [to putting it together] right now.”

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



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