FALCONS NOTEBOOK

Injury provides chance for Falcons’ Pettigrew

10/28/2012
BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
John Pettigrew had 136 yards on 24 carries Saturday against Eastern Michigan.
John Pettigrew had 136 yards on 24 carries Saturday against Eastern Michigan.

BOWLING GREEN — The Bowl­ing Green State Univer­sity foot­ball team en­tered Satur­day’s game against Eastern Mich­i­gan mi­nus ar­gu­ably its top of­fen­sive player, run­ning back An­thon Samuel.

“We just said, ‘JP, it’s your game,’ ” BG coach Dave Claw­son said of se­nior run­ning back John Pet­ti­grew. “And he did enough for us to win.”

Pet­ti­grew posted a ca­reer-high 136 yards on 24 car­ries while catch­ing a pair of passes for 21 yards to ably re­place Samuel in the Fal­cons’ 24-3 vic­tory at Doyt Perry Sta­dium.

“Once I found out it was my turn to start, I was ex­cited,” Pet­ti­grew said. “I knew I had to come out with a fo­cus, to be ready to play to step up to the chal­lenge.”

While Pet­ti­grew came into the game sec­ond on the team in rush­ing with 252 yards, his ac­tion be­fore Satur­day’s con­test had fo­cused on short-yard­age plays.

“It was ex­cited to be a part of a wide range of plays,” he said. “I was happy to help my team in this game.”

Not only was the se­nior’s rush­ing to­tal a ca­reer high, it eclipsed the 92 yards he had posted in his three pre­vi­ous sea­sons at BG.

“I couldn’t be hap­pier for John,” Claw­son said. “He was a highly re­cruited guy out of high school. He didn’t nec­es­sar­ily put in the work dur­ing his first two years here, but the last two years he has.

“As a coach, it’s great to see a guy who has re­ally worked for ev­ery­thing he has achieved. He has be­come a re­ally good player for us.”

Samuel suf­fered a back in­jury in the first half at UMass last week. While he re­turned to that game in the sec­ond half, the in­jury lim­ited his prac­tice time this week.

“He tried to prac­tice Thurs­day, but he just didn’t feel good,” Claw­son said of Samuel. “Could he have played? Maybe. But I just didn’t want to take a chance, play him, and maybe lose him long-term.”

Be­sides Pet­ti­grew, the Fal­cons got con­tri­bu­tions at run­ning back from Jor­dan Hop­good, who fin­ished with 61 yards rush­ing and also com­pleted a 53-yard touch­down pass to Shaun Jop­lin, and fresh­man An­dre Giv­ens, who ran for 29 yards, in­clud­ing a 27-yard TD run in the first quar­ter, be­fore suf­fer­ing a scary in­jury.

Giv­ens was tack­led hard mid­way through the third pe­riod and wasn’t able to re­turn to his feet. An am­bu­lance came onto the field to take Giv­ens to Wood County Hos­pi­tal, but he was re­leased early Satur­day eve­ning.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Most weeks, the ef­fort Satur­day by se­nior de­fense tackle Chris Jones would earn him Mid-Amer­i­can Con­fer­ence East Divi­sion de­fen­sive player of the week hon­ors.

But even though Jones had 2.5 sacks and a fum­ble re­turn for a touch­down, he wasn’t even the top player on his own team’s de­fense.

“[Gabe Mar­tin] got a turn­over and cre­ated a turn­over, had the same amount of sacks and more tack­les,” Jones said. “It’s got to be Gabe.”

Mar­tin forced the fum­ble that led to the TD by Jones and also had an in­ter­cep­tion to go with his seven tack­les, which in­cluded 2.5 sacks.

Mar­tin con­fessed that the in­ter­cep­tion came when Eastern Mich­i­gan quar­ter­back Tyler Benz ba­si­cally threw the ball di­rectly to him.

“I’m go­ing to go out on a limb and say I took a good drop,” Mar­tin said. “I looked back at the re­ceiver, and that sped my drop a lit­tle bit. But then I turned back, and voila.”

“It was a Christ­mas pres­ent, but I’ll take it.”

Mar­tin was dip­lo­matic when asked who BG’s player of the week nom­i­nee on de­fense would be.

“I guess we’ve got to wait and see,” he said.

JONES FOR PREZ? Among the signs at the Doyt Satur­day was two that hyped Jones for Pres­i­dent and the Heis­man Tro­phy.

“Those were my bud­dies who brought the signs,” Jones ad­mit­ted, who then was asked with award he would pre­fer. “If I have to choose one, I’ll take the Heis­man. Pres­i­dent is too much for me — I’m in foot­ball right now.”

MONTGOMERY OUT: Soph­o­more TE-DE Ken­dall Mont­gom­ery was sus­pended one game for a vi­o­la­tion of team rules. He was not in uni­form for Satur­day’s game.