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Published: Monday, 11/4/2013 - Updated: 9 months ago

BGSU FALCON FOOTBALL

Falcons expecting battle against winless Miami

BG focused on bouncing back after loss to Toledo

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

BOWLING GREEN — The Bowling Green State University football team sees some parallels between itself and Miami.

The similarities obviously don’t include the team’s records. The RedHawks enter the contest, which kicks off at 8 p.m. today at Yager Stadium and will be televised by ESPNU, with a winless record. Meanwhile, the Falcons are looking to become bowl-eligible by winning for the sixth time this season.

But BG senior tight end Alex Bayer said there is one sure similarity.

“They’re looking for their first win, so they’re going to be hungry — just like us,” he said.

The RedHawks have suffered through a rocky season that includes the firing of coach Don Treadwell after an 0-5 start. Miami has lost 12 straight, the third-longest active streak in FBS football.

Falcons coach Dave Clawson said his focus isn’t on extending the RedHawks’ misery.

“This game isn’t about Miami. This is about Bowling Green bouncing back,” he said. “This is about going down there and playing well in a conference game against another rival team.

“We have our goals. If you focus on what the other team does, you’re missing the big picture.”

Miami has struggled offensively, ranking 123rd among FBS schools — in other words, dead last — in scoring offense with just 10.9 points per game, while ranking next-to-last in total offense with just 228.1 yards per contest.

It doesn’t help that senior quarterback Austin Boucher has been lost for the season because of an injury.

“Since [interim] coach [Mike] Bath has taken over, they have changed the direction of the offense back to a more traditional attack,” Clawson said. “But they still run some option stuff.

“You pick out the best things that they do and say, ‘If they put this game together, they could present problems.’”

Miami has been up-and-down defensively, giving up at least 40 points in four of eight games but holding Cincinnati to 14 points earlier in the season.

“Defensively, we will face a lot of the same guys we faced a year ago,” Clawson said. “Their defensive line is talented. … And they do some things up front that are difficult to prepare for.”

Clawson said he has noticed that, despite the turmoil within the program, the RedHawks haven’t quit on the season.

“When you have a season like they are having, the hardest thing to do is to keep the guys playing hard — and they are clearly doing that,” Clawson said. “They are playing with great effort.”

Bath said the Miami players deserve the credit for that.

“These young men have responded in the best way they possible could have responded,” Bath said. “We started the season in a slump. And the execution hasn’t been clean.

“But the excitement and passion these young men have shown is something I’m proud of.”

While the Falcons enter the contest as a three-touchdown favorite, Bayer said he and his teammates can’t enter the game overconfident.

“This isn’t a team we can overlook,” he said. “We have to come into the game with the same mentality we have all season, because this isn’t going to be an easy game.”

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



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