Bowling Green is aiming for a return to the postseason in 2018 following back-to-back seasons of four and two wins, respectively. A challenging schedule starts with two Power Five opponents, but the Falcons have high hopes for this season. Here is what they need to fulfill them:
1) Find answers on defense. As detailed in this season preview, the Falcons’ year likely will be made or broken based upon if (and how much) their defense improves. If Carl Pelini’s system has the Falcons playing even passable defense by the midpoint of this season, BG should be able to contend for a bowl bid.
2) Jarret Doege takes the next step. Everything else can fall in place with stability at quarterback, and BG looks like it will have that. Doege, the true sophomore quarterback, was a clear upgrade for the Falcons at the end of last season with a promising — albeit small — sample size. If Doege takes another step forward as the BG coaches expect, the Falcons’ offense should be a threat in the Mid-American Conference.
3) Beat Miami. Given the rigors of BG’s September, which includes games against Oregon, Maryland, and Georgia Tech, the MAC opener is about a close to a must-win as there is early in the season. If BG beats Miami, it would be decent shape with the rest of the MAC schedule to go. If not, bowl eligibility would be a serious challenge.
4) Keep the front seven healthy. Injuries are part of football, but where they take place on the roster matters. BG can ill-afford injuries to its defensive line and linebackers, especially with absence of defensive end David Konowalski, who already is out for the season with an Achilles injury.
5) Curb penalties and turnovers. Games can be won and lost based on the simple mistakes, and Bowling Green struggled in this regard last season by ranking 118th in penalty yardage and 110th in turnovers lost. With corrections here — the coaching staff meticulously tracked both turnovers and penalties during training camp — BG can and probably should swing a few of the tight games that didn’t go its way last year.
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