Saturday, May 26, 2018
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Falcons not able to hide bad defense

Instead of saying "Omar," perhaps the Bowling Green football team should be muttering, "Oh my."

With or without injured quarterback Omar Jacobs, arguably the best player in the Mid-American Conference, no one fears the Falcons this season.

And why should they?

Bowling Green's defense is dreadful and its special-teams play borders on comical.

The only reason the Falcons are in first place in the weak East Division is because of their offense, which revolves around Jacobs and receivers Steve Sanders and Charles Sharon.

It's hard to defend the defense, which has more holes in it than O.J. Simpson's alibi.

Bowling Green ranks 110th in the nation among 117 Division I teams in run defense, allowing 217.9 yards per game, and 81st in total defense, giving up 29.7 points.

In their three losses, the Falcons have been bludgeoned for 831 yards on the ground, 1,446 total yards and 149 points.

And last Saturday, they were tortured by a freshman quarterback making his first career start for Western Michigan.

The un-special teams have been pitiful, too.

The Falcons have had three punts blocked in seven games, and there have been several near misses.

Two kickers have combined to miss six extra points.

Bowling Green also was the last team in the country to attempt a field goal, and that didn't come until its fifth game.

The Falcons have converted just one of three attempts. A lot of teams try that many field goals in one quarter.

In addition, Nate Fry is averaging 33.2 net yards per punt, and the Falcons are yielding 23.1 yards per kickoff return.

It's hard to tell which has been a bigger bust - the defense, which was good enough to win nine games last year under coordinator Tim Beckman, who has since joined the Ohio State staff, or the special teams, which were a huge asset under Urban Meyer.

"That's a great question," Bowling Green coach Gregg Brandon said yesterday. "The special teams have just been erratic. We've been really outstanding at times, and other times we've been dismal.

"I think overall the thing that has been the most disappointing is our inability to stop the run consistently. I realize we played some really solid running teams early, Wisconsin and Boise State, but we haven't been able to stop teams that haven't been rushing the ball very well prior to playing us."

It's virtually impossible to get a line on just how bad Bowling Green's defense is, since the Falcons have padded their stats in victories over Temple (0-7), Buffalo (0-8), Ball State (1-6) and Ohio (3-4).

"We got to get it fixed here pretty quickly," Brandon said.

The poor play of the defense and special teams has put added pressure on Jacobs, who is questionable for Saturday's home game against Akron with a separated left shoulder on his non-throwing arm.

"Nobody's feeling sorry for Bowling Green, I'll guarantee you that," Brandon said.

Because of their defensive deficiencies and special-teams follies, the Falcons haven't beaten a team with a winning record this year.

Unfortunately, Jacobs doesn't play defense or special teams.

His injury, though, could be the final blow for the Falcons.

If Jacobs misses more than one game, Bowling Green's fall from prominence will be indefensible.

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