OXFORD, Ohio – The Bowling Green State University football team’s 45-3 win over Miami University Tuesday night was just what the doctor order.
The Falcons improved to 6-3 overall, earning bowl eligibility for the second straight season. BG also improved to 4-1 in Mid-American Conference play, staying just one game behind first-place Buffalo in the East Division.
Miami fell to 0-9 and 0-5 with its 13th straight loss.
The game featured an impressive performance by Bowling Green on both sides of the ball. The Falcons offense rolled to 417 yards of total offense in the first three quarters and finished with 447 on 71 plays.
Meanwhile the BG starters gave up just 174 yards of total offense in three quarters and recovered three fumbles, taking one of them to the end zone for the team’s first defensive score in more than a year.
"I think we finally played a complete game," Bowling Green coach Dave Clawson said. "We got off to a fast start on offense. ... Defensively, we gave up too many yards in the first two drives, but we found a way to get off the field with just a 50-yard field goal.
"It was a complete game, and it was a win we had to get."
Bowling Green got a stop on Miami’s first possession of the game and promptly drove 80 yards on nine plays, with Matt Johnson throwing a six-yard touchdown pass to Shaun Joplin to cap the drive.
Miami responded with a 12-play drive, but seemed stopped when quarterback Drew Kummer fumbled a snap and lost seven yards to the RedHawks 33. But Kaleb Patterson booted a 51-yard field goal, the first field goal by a BG opponent this season.
Bowling Green again drove down the field and got a 29-yard field goal by Tyler Tate at 9:15 of the second quarter.
The Falcons then created a break when Paul Swan forced a Miami fumble and BooBoo Gates recovered it on the RedHawks’ 29. Four plays later William Houston rumbled into the end zone from two yards out to make it 17-3 with 6:45 left in the half.
BG then forced a Miami punt and executed the two-minute drill to score just before half. The Falcons’ nine-play, 69-yard drive took just 2:17 to execute, and was capped by an 18-yard TD pass from Johnson to Alex Bayer.
"I think we came out and executed," said Johnson, who completed 20-of-26 passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns. "In the past few weeks I think there was one play per drive that would stall us out. ...
"It was nice to come out and have a fast start instead of putting the defense in a hole."
After an exchange of turnovers to start the second half, Bowling Green scored three more touchdowns to gives the reserves playing time in the final quarter.
The Falcons’ Ted Ouellet forced a Miami fumble that Bryan Thomas recovered on the BG 39, and BG quickly drove 61 yards on 10 plays. Johnson capped the drive with a one-yard QB draw for the score at 7:04 of the period.
On the next Miami possession Justin Ford stripped Dawan Scott of the ball after a short pass, and Gates picked up the loose pigskin and rumbled 11 yards untouched into the end zone.
The fumble return for a score was the first for Bowling Green since Chris Jones took an Eastern Michigan fumble and scored from 23 yards out on Oct. 27, 2012.
The BG defense then forced a punt and the Falcons added a third touchdown in the third quarter by driving 75 yards on just five plays. Chris Pohlman scored for the first time in his career when he took a pass from Johnson and barreled 38 yards into the end zone.
Travis Greene led the rushing attack with 112 yards on 14 carries, giving him 1,018 yards on the season. The game was his fifth 100-yard rushing contest this year as he became the Falcons’ first 1,000-yard rusher since P.J. Pope surpassed that plateau in 2004.
D.J. Lynch led the BG defense with eight tackles, while Paul Swan had seven. Gates, a native of nearby Middletown, Ohio, had four stops and a pair of fumble recoveries.
"We just haven’t been capitalizing on the opportunities [to create turnovers]," Gates said. "We might not be at the right place at the right time, or not breaking on balls that fast or not ripping the ball out.
"This game [creating turnovers] was one of our goals, and we got it done."