Bowling Green’s Izaah Lunsford, left, Jerry Gates, Travis Greene, Paul Swan and Ted Ouellet celebrate a MAC title at Ford Field, where the Falcons will be playing Thursday. BG has sold 7,500 tickets.
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BOWLING GREEN — Most people associate bowl games with warm-weather sites like Florida or California. But the Bowling Green State University football team isn’t complaining that their bowl experience this year will be in Detroit.
“It’s indoors, so nobody can complain about the weather,” junior linebacker D.J. Lynch said.
Lynch, a native of Pontiac, Mich., is one of several players excited to play near their hometowns as the Falcons face Pittsburgh in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl at Ford Field in Detroit.
Friday the team began preparations for the game, which will take place Dec. 26 at 6 p.m. The Falcons practiced on the weekend last week but then took time off for finals.
“In our first two practices [last week] there was very little Pitt prep,” BG interim coach Adam Scheier said. “We introduced some things regarding our opponent, but it was more about getting them back on the field and getting back in the flow.”
Senior defensive end Ronnie Goble, who is from Plymouth, Mich., said he and his teammates are excited to play at Ford Field, the same place where BG won the Mid-American Conference championship game.
“Having my last game in a place where a lot of family and friends can see me is going to be cool,” said Goble, who had roughly 25 friends and family at the MAC title game.
So far Bowling Green has sold roughly 7,500 tickets for the bowl game, and the Falcon players said they hope a large crowd of BG fans will have the same effect it had two weeks ago.
“The first drive of the MAC championship game, the D-line couldn’t hear my calls,” Lynch said. “It was a mess that first drive; it’s loud in there.”
Goble confirmed Lynch’s words, adding, “I messed up a call because I couldn’t hear what the linebackers were saying. We didn’t need to bring any ‘juice’ to that game.
“And it was exciting to see all the orange. In fact, that will be one of my favorite football memories: Being able to go up to the stands and [interact] with fans that were leaning over the brick walls.”
While Scheier said he doesn’t feel having played at Ford Field a few weeks back will be an advantage, he does believe it will bring back some good feelings.
“It will be hard for our guys not to have that rush of emotion overcome them, because the last time we were there we experienced an emotional event,” said Scheier, who admitted having goosebumps just thinking about BG’s win over Northern Illinois in the MAC championship game. “It was the culmination of five years of sacrifice, especially from guys who were 2-10 in their first year.”
And while it may not be a warm-weather site, Lynch said playing at Ford Field confirms that there’s no place like home.
“Instead of being at home watching people play in bowls, I’d rather be at home playing in one,” he said.
NEW GRADS: After practice Saturday, Scheier asked the Falcons who had walked through graduation ceremonies over the weekend to stand up. Alex Bayer, Shaun Joplin, David “Chief” Kekuewa, Matt Schilz, Brian Schmiedebusch and Cam Truss stood up to wild applause from their teammates.
INJURY REPORT: The time off since the MAC title game has allowed the Falcons to get healthy.
The only player considered doubtful for the contest is junior rover Justin Ford, who has missed time because he exhibited concussive symptoms. Ford was not in uniform for Saturday’s practice.
Freshman running back Fred Coppet, who also missed time because of concussive symptoms, practiced with the Falcons Saturday.