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Published: Wednesday, 11/21/2012

MAC East Division hopes dashed, BGSU looks forward to Buffalo game

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
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BOWLING GREEN — The Bowling Green State University football team lost to Kent State on Saturday.

This Friday the Falcons hope to avoid losing to Kent State a second time.

What? Isn’t Bowling Green facing Buffalo at Crew Stadium in Columbus on Friday?

“When you play a big game that’s emotional, and a team makes a [great] investment in a game and comes up short, it’s only natural that they’re going to be disheartened and disappointed with the outcome,” BG coach Dave Clawson said. “You want there to be some disappointment, because when you work hard to get something and don’t get it, it hurts.

“But by the same token, there’s another game. This is one of the great challenges in coaching: Coming back from the huge emotional win and coming back from a tough, emotional loss.”

And the Falcons’ 31-24 loss to the Golden Flashes on Saturday at Doyt Perry Stadium certainly qualifies as a tough, emotional loss. If BG would have won that contest, the Falcons, not KSU, probably would be playing in the MAC Championship game as East Division champs.

“A loss like that is difficult to take in,” senior lineman Jordon Roussos admitted. “But being a senior, and playing for the last time at the Doyt … it really stung.

“But that’s part of the game — and that’s one of the reasons I love the game. You’re either at an emotional high or an emotional low. I’m willing to risk feeling that low to experience the highs we’ve had this year.”

Losing the chance to play in the MAC title game for the first time since 2003 was a bitter pill to swallow, but the Falcons seem to be pulling out of their funk.

“Sunday was bad, Monday was a little better, [Tuesday] was a lot better,” Clawson said. “But that’s college football. You have two choices. You can wallow in self-pity, feel bad about yourself, and have it affect your next performance.

“Or you can get off your butt, prepare and get ready, and win the next game.”

While that might seem pretty easy since the next opponent is a 4-7 Buffalo team, looks can be deceiving. The Bulls have won their last three games after suffering a six-game losing streak caused by a difficult schedule that included four difficult MAC opponents — bowl-eligible Kent State, Ohio, Northern Illinois, and Toledo — and Big East teams from Connecticut and Pittsburgh.

“We can either look behind or look ahead, and if we look behind we’re going to get embarrassed,” Clawson said. “Buffalo is a good football team. If you look at the teams they lost to — and how close those scores were — they went nose-to-nose with those teams into the fourth quarter.

“These guys have good players. So if we’re not ready, we’re going to get embarrassed.”

INJURY UPDATE: Most of the news is good for the Falcons as they prepare for Friday’s game.

Junior safety BooBoo Gates, who did not play against Kent State after suffering an injury early in the Ohio victory, saw action in Tuesday’s practice and is listed as “probable” for Friday’s game.

Junior wide receiver Je’Ron Stokes, who also did not play against KSU, took reps in practice Tuesday, as did sophomore defensive tackle Bryan Thomas, and freshman kickoff specialist Anthony Farinella.

The only uncertainty surrounds sophomore cornerback Darrell Hunter, who injured his ankle against the Golden Flashes. Clawson said the injury was better Tuesday than in previous days, but he said Hunter remains “questionable” for Friday’s game.

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



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