BOWLING GREEN - The past month has been so agonizing for the Bowling Green State University football team, it doesn't need a rivalry game for motivation. But if the Falcons snapped their four-game losing streak with a win over the University of Toledo on Tuesday, make no mistake, it would be a season-defining accomplishment for some.
"A lot of people are disappointed and upset about how the season has gone," senior receiver Ruben Ruiz said. "Our team doesn't like to lose to them. It's the last game and we want to get all our frustrations out.
"Beating Toledo, this is something I want to tell my kids about someday. This is my last chance."
The Falcons, at 4-7 and 3-4 in the Mid-American Conference, haven't won since Oct. 14. Since then they've lost to two of the worst teams in college football this season in Temple and Miami, and were in their opponents' red zone in their past two games with a chance to tie or win the game in the final minute but couldn't convert.
Wednesday's 9-7 loss to the RedHawks was particularly ugly, and gave the Falcons their fifth loss at Doyt Perry Stadium in two seasons.
The only thing worse for the Falcons than experiencing the past month would be having to sit on a five-game losing streak all winter, spring and summer.
"[A win] would be a great springboard into the winter program," BGSU coach Gregg Brandon said.
UT has beaten BGSU five consecutive times in the Glass Bowl. Junior tight end Sean O'Drobinak said the game is important to win for the Falcons' 10 seniors, who beat the Rockets their freshman year in 2003 but have lost two consecutive close games to them.
"We need to remember the pain and the agony that came with that," O'Drobinak said. "These seniors have had a horrible past month. I feel obligated, and I feel every underclassman should feel obligated to do something for their seniors."
"The last month doesn't matter, the last two years don't matter. To get a win this week, the whole last month, yeah, it would be painful, but these seniors would go out with a 'W' against the our biggest rival."
Brandon said he was concerned about the freshmen grasping the importance of the game, and expected the seniors to facilitate that process. But he said he was looking forward to the experience.
"It's a great rival game and you always want to beat UT," Brandon said. "Like I told the team before the Miami game, you always want to beat the team down south and the team up north."
TURF TALK: After experiencing the awful conditions of the grass field at Doyt Perry Stadium Wednesday night, Brandon said he would be open to the idea of installing FieldTurf in the future. Rain caused the middle of the field to turn into mud, and kicker Sean Ellis slipped in the muck when attempting a game-winning field goal.
"I think it's something that's definitely worth discussing," Brandon said. "Almost the entire MAC's got it now. The last couple years everybody's put it in."
BGSU and Ball State are the only MAC schools that play on a grass surface, with all others employing FieldTurf or a similar surface. Ball State is expected to install an artificial surface before the start of the 2007 season.
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