YPSILANTI, Mich. - While it wasn't pretty, it was mission accomplished for the Bowling Green State University football team.
The Falcons beat Eastern Michigan 33-20 at Rynearson Stadium yesterday, keeping them unbeaten in MAC play with a 3-0 record. It also improved BG's record to 6-1 on the season, keeping them on the fringe of the national polls.
And the victory kept alive the Falcons' hopes of hosting ESPN's GameDay at Perry Stadium next Saturday.
In fact, yesterday GameDay announcer Lee Corso said on the air that if BG and Northern Illinois both won their games, the GameDay crew would travel to Bowling Green. The Huskies did their part by beating Western Michigan 37-10 in DeKalb, Ill., yesterday.
“Bring 'em on - the more the merrier,” said BG coach Gregg Brandon when asked about the GameDay crew.
Quarterback Josh Harris, who ran for 96 yards and three touchdowns while completing 17 of 25 passes for 187 yards against the Eagles, also looks forward to welcoming the Huskies to Perry Stadium.
“This will probably be the craziest week of practice we'll have since I've been here,” Harris said.
While the Falcons had hoped for a blowout heading into the contest with NIU, Brandon said a closer contest with Eastern Michigan didn't hurt his team.
“Today we got exposed in some areas that we'll need to correct,” Brandon said. “But when you blow someone out you sometimes get lulled to sleep. I know we'll be ready to play next week.”
Perhaps the biggest challenge Bowling Green will face is stuffing Michael Turner, Northern Illinois' Heisman Trophy candidate at tailback. The Falcons' run defense was exposed yesterday as EMU tailback Anthony Sherrell finished with 187 rushing yards on 33 carries.
“We have some defensive goals, and we didn't achieve them,” said BG linebacker Ted Piepkow. “Turner is hyped-up, but he's a great tailback. We look forward to the challenge of stopping him.”
RECORD WATCH: With his three touchdowns yesterday Harris continued his climb up the Bowling Green career scoring ladder.
Harris now has scored 37 rushing touchdowns in his career, two shy of the 39 Dave Preston scored from 1973-76. Harris also has scored a total of 40 touchdowns rushing and receiving, just one behind Preston's 41.
Harris also has scored 242 points in his career to pass kicker Gehad Youssef for third place on the Falcons' career scoring list. Youssef scored 231 points from 1981-84.
Harris is chasing Preston, who is in second place with 246 points, and kicker Brian Leaver, who had 247 points from 1991-94.
INJURY WATCH: Linebacker Mitch Hewitt left yesterday's game early with a hamstring injury in the first quarter and did not return. Offensive lineman Robert Haley rolled his ankle late in the contest but was able to walk later.
THE LAST WORD: To be kind, let's just say Brandon wasn't impressed with Rynearson Stadium.
“It was a small crowd [announced at 6,154], and it's a dark, gray place,” Brandon said. “It was like playing in a prison.”