BOWLING GREEN — For a fleeting moment, the loudest part of one of college football’s loudest stadiums was the visiting sideline and the unmistakable orange corner of the stands.
Bowling Green forced No. 24 Oregon into back-to-back punts to open the season Saturday, scored on its first two possessions, and had a 10-0 lead at Autzen Stadium.
Bowling Green wide receiver Scott Miller caught 13 passes against Oregon, including a first-quarter touchdown.
The Falcons, it seemed, might hang around.
Once the Ducks swung momentum with a fourth-and-14 completion that went for a touchdown, Bowling Green wasn’t ready for the forthcoming avalanche.
The Ducks scored 37 consecutive points and ran away with a 58-24 win.
In their return home, the Falcons saw a lesson from the trip.
“The sideline was going nuts when we were winning, everyone’s swinging their towel and going crazy, and that really helps a team,” BG receiver Scott Miller said. “I think once they scored a little bit, they took the momentum and we kind of lost our energy and our edge. I hope we can learn from that and in this week just keep the energy up the whole game.”
Now, BG has another shot — a more realistic one — of pulling an upset against a Power Five team. The Falcons play host to Maryland on Saturday at Doyt Perry Stadium, where they went winless last season.
The Terrapins, who are without head coach DJ Durkin, topped No. 23 Texas in its first game and begin the week as a 14-point favorite.
Against a Big Ten opponent, the Falcons will have the opportunity to correct some of the self-inflicted damage coach Mike Jinks saw when he re-watched the game film.
“We’ve got to be mentally tougher,” Jinks said. “That was a very talented football team we played in Eugene on Saturday afternoon, but when I went back and I broke down the tape, a lot of the mistakes we made were mental.”
Jinks said a protection miscommunication caused the strip-sack of Falcons quarterback Jarret Doege. BG had trouble with its punt team, and Doege threw two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.
“That place got rocking and we kind of got wide-eyed a little bit and didn’t handle that the right way,” Jinks said.
Jinks said he was happy with most of the second half, during which the Falcons calmed down and allowed 14 points to the Ducks’ offense.
However, the Falcons saw first-hand that beating a team of similar caliber has a slim margin for error.
“We can’t go and expect to win a game or be close in a game if we’re shooting ourselves in the foot against a great football team like that,” cornerback Marcus Milton said.
The first quarter offered a measure of hope to Bowling Green. The Falcons, particularly on offense, were not out of place against Oregon.
Their next challenge is to sustain that for 60 minutes.
“For a while there, you’re watching that game and we looked like we belonged,” Jinks said. “We look like we could play play-for-play with a top 25 team. We’ve got to string that along for four quarters. If we’re able to do that, we’ll be a handful.”
Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. Comments that violate these standards, or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, are subject to being removed and commenters are subject to being banned. To post comments, you must be a registered user on toledoblade.com. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.