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Published: Tuesday, 11/5/2013

FALCON NOTEBOOK

BG adjusts to new schedule

Weekday games litter slate for Falcons at season’s end

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

OXFORD, Ohio — Bowling Green State University tight end Alex Bayer said he knows of only one difference between playing on Saturday and playing on a week night.

“The only thing different is that we missed class [Monday and Tuesday] — which is unfortunate,” he said with a grin.

The Falcons faced Miami University on Tuesday night, the second of four non-Saturday games on BG’s schedule. The season opener against Tulsa was played on a Thursday, and next Tuesday the Falcons will host Ohio at Doyt Perry Stadium.

Bowling Green’s regular-season finale against Buffalo will be played on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

While the Falcons have played mid-week games in all five seasons Dave Clawson has served as head coach, he said it doesn’t get easier with practice.

“In terms of our preparation, that stuff was pretty much set. I think the first time you go through it, it’s more of an adjustment,” he said. “We opened on a Thursday night, and now we’ll play on consecutive Tuesday nights.

“I think we’re much more prepared in terms of what we need to do and when we get it done.”

While these mid-week Mid-American Conference games have developed a history of small crowds, the in-stadium attendance isn’t the main reason for the switch away from a Saturday.

“This gives guys a chance to play on national TV in front of friends and family who otherwise might not be able to make it,” Bayer said. “That makes this exciting.

“Fans of college football have no choice but to watch us — whether they want to or not.”

Clawson, long a supporter of the mid-week games, wasn’t worried about the crowd as much as he was of playing just the third night game of the season.

“The thing that is tricky for us is that we don’t play a lot of night games,” he said. “And we’re a morning practice team, so the challenge is that our coaches — and hopefully most of our players — are used to being asleep when the fourth quarter of this game starts. So we have to adjust our body clocks a little bit.”

 

LOCAL LOOK: Kent Kern has stepped up to lead the Miami defense in his first year as a starter.

Kern, a sophomore who played at St. John’s Jesuit, entered the game with a team-leading 76 tackles in eight games, including four tackles for loss.

RedHawks interim coach Mike Bath said Kern’s value to the team goes beyond statistics.

“The thing that I love about Kent Kern is that he is a passionate young man — he loves the game of football,” Bath said. “He flies around the football field.

“He hates losing, so this season has been tough on him. But it hasn’t taken away any of his passion. It’s been great to see him fly around, but his disappointment in losing has been rubbing off on the other young men on this football team.”

Besides Kern, other locals on the Miami roster include sophomore defensive lineman Albert Phillips, a Springfield grad who has three tackles in four games, and freshman quarterback Steve Slocum, a Perrysburg native who is redshirting.

 

THREE-DOT DATA: The Falcons’ 66-man travel roster included 18 freshmen, six of which are “true” freshmen. … Junior Justin Ford started at rover in place of Gabe Martin, who will miss the rest of the season because of injury. It marked the second start of Ford’s career as he also started in place of Martin against Murray State. … Junior Heath Jackson started at “X” receiver. It marked the first start in Jackson’s career.

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



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