Saturday, December 07, 2013

A few hours sleep....feels just as good

Oh, sweet victory.  Still walking on air this morning...the Falcons broke the 21 year drought and won the MAC Championship and did it convincingly.

Let there be no doubt.  We were the better team last night.

It was a great atmosphere.  Great crowd.  BG fans cheering their team, NIU fans cheering their team...just a very exciting night for a game.

And, of course, the Falcons won.  They won, they won, they won.

Doesn't grow old.  MAC Champion Bowling Green Falcons.

How did it happen?  In general--and I'll go into this a lot more--BG had an awesome game plan on offense and executed it perfectly.  Meanwhile, on defense, they stopped drives.  NIU got some numbers and they made some yards, but BG stopped drives and kept NIU out of the end zone.  The Falcons played a great fundamental football game on defense, a great team game, and stopped the supposedly unstoppable NIU offense.

BG got the opening kickoff and marched right down the field.  The first 34 came from Ronnie Moore on a reception and a run and then Travis Greene ripped off 13 yards.  On first and 10 from the 28, Johnson found Tyler Beck who ran over several guys to get in the end zone.  75 yards, 5 plays, 2:08.

NIU answered right back, but as John Wagner noted in The Blade, how they did it was a predictor of what would come.  They drove 73 yards, but in 11 plays, converting a 3rd and 12 before scoring.  (It was an incredible catch by their guy, by the way, just incredible).

BG struck right back, getting a 61 yard completion to Ronnie Moore on the very next play from scrimmage.  BG drove to the 11, got pushed back by a false start and had to kick a FG to take a 10-7 lead.

And then the defense made a stop that set the game in motion.  Jordan Lynch ran for 1 yard and then they got a 7 yard pass.  On 3rd and 2 they went to Lynch again...and he got 1 yard.

That's a 3 and out.  Starting on its own 24, BG got 15 yards on 3 carries from Travis Greene and then Matt Johnson hit Ronnie Moore twice for 61 yards, including a 36 yd TD catch where Ronnie Moore was completely and totally wide open in the secondary.

The tone for the game was now set.  BG was up 17-7.  NIU was two scores behind and would be the chaser for the remainder of the night.

NIU took the ball on their own 18 and started to go to the air.  They drove to the BG 35, but then BG got them into a 3rd and 9 and got the incomplete pass and their mercurial kicker, Matthew Sims, nailed a 51 yd FG to cut it to 17-10.  Still, it was huge that BG stopped the drive.

BG went 3 and out and punted (for the only time, as it turned out).  NIU drove to the BG 29 on two plays, but here again, the defense stopped the drive, on 2 incompletions and a 1 yard run by Jordan Lynch.  Another Sims FG made it 17-13.

They came right back and tried a surprise onside kick.  They recovered it, but they were offsides and they made an illegal block (no longer are you allowed to just run down and plow over the guys helplessly waiting for the ball and they got the call).

BG was then penalized on the kickoff return and started on its own 12.  BG just gashed the NIU defense, going 88 yards in 9 plays, finishing on a 22 yard TD pass from Johnson to Heath Jackson who was in the usually wide open middle of the NIU defense.  BG led 24-13.  The game would never again be a one-score game.

But you don't know that at the time.  Everyone remembers the 3rd Quarters NIU had against BSU and Toledo.  You knew they had the ability to come back.

NIU went back to work, converting 2 3rd downs to get to the BG 38.  Once again....the Falcons stopped the drive (two incompletions and a blowed-up screen by DJ Lynch for -3) and NIU tried a  58 yard FG and missed.

There was 2:32 left in the first half.  What followed was clearly the game's wildest sequence.

Travis Greene had made a great run for over 20 yards and was around midfield when he fumbled and NIU recovered.  1:22 left now and a big danger point.  If NIU gets a TD and it is 24-20 going into the locker room?  That's a new game.

First, NIU made only 4 yards on its first two plays and nearly gave up a pick 6.  Then, on 3rd down, Lynch rolled left with protection.  BG got a great surge from its line--it looked like their guys were right on top of Lynch--and his pass was deflected by the line and intercepted by Ted Ouellet.

BG had the ball its 49 with about a minute left.  Now, the worm has feared 24-20 and you know could make it 31-13.

And they did.  Two completions to Heath Jackson for 13 yards, a 3rd and 10 completion to Alex Bayer to get to the 26, followed by a Johnson scramble for 7 and then two passes to Bayer for the remaining 19 and the TD.  31-13, heading to the half.

We all paused for air.  The Ford Field DJ played, "You Dropped a Bomb on Me."  And we had...BG dropped a bomb on NIU.

Second half next.

(Edited for correct half for onside kick and Beck TD run).

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