BOWLING GREEN — Yes, the Bowling Green State University football team’s 28-25 loss to archrival Toledo was disappointing and demoralizing.
But Falcons coach Dave Clawson said he, his coaching staff, and players can only move in one direction to deal with the defeat.
“It’s football. You move ahead — you have no choice,” he said.
The loss dropped BG to 5-3 on the season and 3-1 in the Mid-American Conference. While the loss stings, Clawson and the players have to start focusing on the next game, which comes Tuesday, Nov. 5, at Miami in a game televised on ESPNU.
“In coaching, you have to just coach your team,” he said. “You have to block out the noise.
“When you lose a tight game like that, it doesn’t change your whole program. We’re never going to let one game define us. If you do that, you just live on a roller coaster.”
Clawson’s detractors started to come out of the woodwork following the UT loss, Bowling Green’s second in a row. They point to the team’s struggles to beat teams with a winning record the last two seasons: While the Falcons are 13-8 in that span, only one of those wins have come against a FBS team with a winning record (the win at Ohio last season).
The 11 FBS teams BG has beaten the past two seasons have a combined record of 29-89 for a .246 winning percentage.
There is one major problem with that theory: Every MAC school is in the same boat.
This season Northern Illinois (8-0) has beaten only one FBS school with a winning record, and its opponent winning percentage is at .263 for the season. While Buffalo is 6-2, the five FBS schools the Bulls have beaten have a combined 5-36 record and .122 winning mark.
“We’ve made steady progress with the program in the last three or four years,” Clawson said. “I believe we are on an upward trajectory, and I like this team.
“We’re in November, and we have a chance to win a championship. Our focus is getting our team to be better, preparing for Miami and winning the MAC East. Those are the things we can control.
“I’ve been doing this long enough to know that, when you win a game, things aren’t as great as people are telling you, and when you lose, it’s not as bad.”
Clawson said he looks for his players to bounce back from the disappointing loss to the Rockets and push to reach the rest of the team’s goals.
“Our players invested a lot into that game, and they played their hearts out,” Clawson said. “They were obviously and justifiably disappointed when the game was over.
“All year we talked about getting to November with a chance to win the MAC East, and to win the MAC. And this is two years in a row now where we have that opportunity.”
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