BOWLING GREEN — To the casual fan, the Bowling Green State University football team’s lopsided win over Murray State Saturday looks to be little more than an easy win.
To the Falcons — and especially to the coaching staff — the game was much more.
Sure, everyone wants to win. But by building a 27-0 lead at halftime and expanding the advantage to 41-7 after three periods, BG had an opportunity to send a lot of players onto the field.
“It was great to have a game at home where your younger guys can get in there and have some game experience,” Bowling Green coach Dave Clawson said. “It lets them learn on the run.”
And many of them got their first extended “run” of the season. Because the Falcons led Tulsa just 13-0 entering the fourth quarter, and because of travel restrictions for the Kent State and Indiana contests, the Murray State game marked the first extended playing time for a number of players.
BG had 61 players see action against the Racers, although only two — defensive lineman Jhalil-Nashid Croley and defensive back Alphonso Mack — played for the first time. Three quarterbacks threw passes caught by 11 different receivers, while four running backs carried the ball at least once.
And defensively the Falcons had 28 players make some sort of defensive play, whether it was a tackle or a pass broken up.
Clawson said giving so many players a chance to play was good for the team’s spirit.
“From a locker room and morale standpoint, it’s great to get guys in there who have worked very hard for years and reward them with game reps,” he said.
Clawson also said the one-sided nature of the game gave extended playing time to younger players who may be an injury away from starting.
“Generally the first time people play in games, they don’t play very well, with very few exceptions,” he said. “So to get guys real reps in a game in front of a crowd is very valuable to our program, not only this year but also for the future of your program.”
JOHNSON HONORED: Sophomore quarterback Matt Johnson was named Mid-American Conference East Division offensive player of the week, marking the second time in three weeks he was so honored.
Johnson completed 19-of-22 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns against Murray State. He also ran the ball five times for 40 yards and a TD.
Johnson, whose 86.4 percent completion percentage against the Racers was the fifth-best mark in school history, also was honored following the win at Kent State.
Through four games Johnson ranks third in the MAC and 44th among FBS quarterbacks with his passing efficiency mark of 144.9, and his 250 passing yards per game rank third in the MAC and 37th nationally.
HE SAID IT: Sophomore running back Travis Greene had 133 yards rushing and a TD against Murray State in just his fourth start at running back since the Falcons switched him from wide receiver before spring drills.
Greene had a quick answer when asked if he finally is starting to feel comfortable at this "new" position.
“I’ve felt comfortable since Day 1,” he said. “Confident too.”
After four contests Greene ranks second in the MAC in rushing with 102.3 yards per game, the 32nd-best total among all runners in the FBS.