BOWLING GREEN — The last time the Bowling Green State University football team played Tulsa was 2010. And a lot has changed for the Falcons in the three seasons since that last meeting.
“Two years ago, we had 34 freshmen or sophomores on the two-deep,” Falcons coach Dave Clawson said, noting that this year’s two-deep has just two freshmen starters and just three more listed as reserves.
“On defense, every starter for us is a junior or a senior. Clearly we are a more veteran football team than we were three years ago.”
The Falcons lost that 2010 contest to the Golden Hurricane by a 33-20 score in Tulsa, but only the seniors on the BG roster would remember that contest.
Clawson said he would hope the seniors who played in that game would be different players than they were then.
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“You would hope as you get older [players] you get better, and clearly last year we took a step forward,” he said. “Now the next step is the more difficult step.”
Clawson said another advantage of having a veteran team is that he doesn’t expect the Falcons to be nervous about the season opener.
“These guys have opened at Florida, they have played at Michigan in the Big House,” Clawson said. “When you play against opponents like that in that atmosphere, I think you’re ready for an opener.”
Clawson said having an experienced team allowed the Falcons to enter the game with an understanding of how good Tulsa is.
“Sometimes when you’re young and inexperienced, you come into a game thinking, ‘We’ll be all right,’ ” Clawson said. “These guys know that the film doesn’t lie, and they can tell when they’re playing against someone who is good.
“But our guys weren’t intimidated by it. They were excited about it.”
ROSTER CHANGES: The Falcons suspended senior Josh Pettus for the Tulsa game after an undisclosed violation of team rules.
Pettus, a safety who serves as the primary backup to safety Booboo Gates, is expected to return for the Kent State contest.
Also suspended is redshirt freshman defensive end Jhalil-Nashid Croley for a violation of team rules. The length of the suspension for Croley, who was not on the two-deep for the contest, was not disclosed.
Bowling Green also played without sophomore wide receiver Jermal Hosley, who suffered a knee injury, and junior cornerback Darrell Hunter, who suffered a wrist injury during fall drills.
COACH OUT: Offensive line coach Bill Durkin was not with the Falcons for Thursday’s contest.
“We were immediately made aware of the situation, and coach Durkin was placed on administrative leave Aug. 24 while the university investigated the incident,” athletics director Chris Kingston said, though he did not comment on the reason.
“A final decision on coach Durkin’s status at the university will follow that inquiry.
“We are shocked and disappointed by the decision making that went into the incident, and we’re thankful that nobody was injured. This is inconsistent with what we believe in as an athletic department, and it is my hope that this will become a teachable moment that everyone will learn from.”
NOTES: The Falcons had seen opponents make 10 consecutive field goals before Tulsa’s Carl Salazar missed a 27-yard attempt late in the first quarter. The last opponent to miss a field goal was Idaho in last year’s home opener. … The Falcons shut out the Golden Hurricane in the first half. Last season, BG shut out six opponents for at least one half.