The Bowling Green State University football team exploded with one of the finest afternoons of offense in school history on Saturday (Sept. 21) as the Falcons defeated the Murray State Racers, 48-7, in front of 16,094 fans at Doyt Perry Stadium in Bowling Green, Ohio.
The team rolled up 660 yards of total offense, which broke the Dave Clawson-era record of 576 yards set just two weeks ago at Kent State. The number fell just 46 yards shy of the all-time school record, which was set against Grand Valley State in 1978.
The Falcons did not discriminate between the pass or the run; three Falcon passers accounted for 378 yards through the air, while eight different runners pounded out 278 yards on the ground. Those yards led to 32 first downs, and that is just five shy of the BGSU record. Bowling Green also averaged 8.9 yards on their 74 plays.
Want more? Seven of the team's ten possessions resulted in touchdowns. That included five consecutive touchdown possessions during the middle of the game (and six of the final seven). BGSU punted only twice and had just one turnover. The Falcons were 8-for-10 on third down attempts and converted all seven drives into the Murray State red zone into touchdowns.
On defense, the Falcons allowed only 117 yards in the first half and a total of 312 for the game. Those 312 yards came on 66 plays, for an average of just 4.7 per play. They converted only four out of 14 chances on third down and scored on just one of three red zone opportunities.
The game started innocently enough for Murray State. They won the toss and deferred, so BGSU received the opening kickoff. After getting 20 yards and one first down, the Falcons were forced to punt. That would amount to their shortest drive of the game, and they wouldn't punt again until the end of the third quarter.
The defense quickly forced Murray State to punt after three plays, and BGSU scored the game's first points on an eight-play, 63-yard drive. Matt Johnson passed to Chris Gallon for four yards to cap the march with a touchdown. Tyler Tate missed the extra point, but the Falcons led 6-0.
Following another punt, BGSU began another drive, but, near midfield, Johnson threw wildly over the middle and the ball was intercepted by Darria Skinner. Skinner returned the ball to the MSU 47, and the Racers marched inside the Falcons' 10 yard line. Racer quarterback Maikhail Miller was poised to score a touchdown, but Paul Senn forced a fumble at the one-yard line, and it was recovered there by Paul Swan. Murray State would not threaten again until the game was no longer in doubt.
From there, the rest of the half was all Falcons. BGSU went on an 11-play, 99-yard touchdown drive, then forced a punt by Murray State. Then, another touchdown drive for the Falcons -- this time 69 yards in five plays. That was followed by another Racers' punt, which was downed at the BGSU 3. The Falcons finished the half with a 16-play, 97-yard touchdown march that took 5:01 of the final 5:08 off the clock.
At halftime, the Falcons led 27-0.
Murray State went three-and-out to start the second half, and Bowling Green put the game away for good on their first drive. Johnson led BGSU down the field for 68 yards in just four plays, and Andre Givens ended that drive with a nine-yard scoring run.
The two teams traded touchdowns later in the third quarter to make the score 41-7, before Ronnie Moore scored the final touchdown on a pass from third-string quarterback James Knapke during the final quarter.
Johnson finished his day in the third quarter after completing 19 of 22 passes for 244 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Matt Schilz replaced him and went 5-for-6 with 63 yards. Knapke was a perfect 4-for-4 on his drive and passed for 71 yards.
The three quarterbacks connected with 11 different receivers. Moore and Gallon led with five catches each; Moore had 63 yards and a touchdown, while Gallon had two scores and 36 yards. Tight end Alex Bayer caught four balls for a game-high 65 yards, and Shaun Joplin brought in three passes for 53 yards.
Of the eight players to register at least one carry, Travis Greene led with 17 for 133 yards and a touchdown. Three others also scored rushing touchdowns, including Andre Givens (8 carries, 47 yards), Johnson (5-40) and William Houston (7-24).
Defensively, Jude Adjei-Barimah and D.J. Lynch led with eight tackles. Adjei-Barimah's total included two tackles for loss and a sack. Taylor Royster also earned a sack for BGSU.
Maikhail Miller completed 22 of 32 passes, but most of them were near the line of scrimmage. He earned only 134 yards passing. Ten different receivers caught passes, but only one had more than three catches or 26 yards. That receiver was Nevar Griffin, whose five catches accounted for 42 yards.
Jaamal Berry led Murray State with 55 yards rushing on nine carries, one of which went for the team's only touchdown. Miller had ten carries for 52 yards, and Duane Brady also had ten for 44 yards.
Bowling Green continues their stretch of three consecutive home games next week against the Akron Zips in BGSU's second Mid-American Conference game. The contest will begin at 2:30 p.m. and will be televised online at ESPN3.com.