|Akron to test BG defense 10-04-12|
|Written by JACK CARLE, Sentinel Sports Editor|
|Thursday, 04 October 2012 08:55|
This week Bowling Green is preparing to play a game in space.
Not on the moon or in a galaxy far, far away.
It's a Mid-American Conference game in Akron. The Zips like to spread the field offensively between the numbers, stretching the opposing defense almost to a breaking point. Kickoff is at 2 p.m. Saturday.
"Akron does a very good job of making it a space game," BG head coach Dave Clawson said.
Akron compares to West Virginia, Clawson said, in the way it spreads the field, using four and five wide receivers.
"They create alleys to run their screens and if you spread out with them too much they have a lot of room in the run game," Clawson said. "We're going to have to tackle well and we're going to have to tackle very talented skilled players. Their skill is certainly in the top quarter, top half of the MAC in terms of receivers, running backs, quarterback.
"Our secondary, our linebackers, they are going to have to make plays in space and that's what a lot of this game is going to come down to," he added.
The Zips are averaging 361.8 passing yards per game (fifth in the nation); 490.4 yards of total offense per game (24th in the nation); and 38.6 points per game (25th in the nation). All three statistics lead the MAC. Akron has thrown for 1,809 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Senior defensive tackle Chris Jones is looking forward to the challenge of playing the explosive Zips.
"We're ready to accept the challenge," Jones said. "Our job as a defense is to stop the offense. Whenever you're given a challenge like this, it kind of ups your excitement for that week knowing that you have someone who is able to move the ball so well, and you have a chance to stop them.''
While BG's defense will be under pressure, the Falcons' offense is going to have to perform at a high level. BG scored only seven touchdowns in the first four games of the season.
"It's also a challenge to our offense; whatever the game requires, they are going to have to step up and do," Clawson said. "Certainly we haven't scored points like that this year.''
Akron is 114th in the nation in scoring defense allowing 41.2 points per game. The Zips' have allowed an average of 50 points per game against four BCS opponents.
EXPERIENCE: BG's 48-8 win over Rhode Island last Saturday, allowed the Falcons' coaching staff to give the regulars some rest and play a lot of the backups for significant amounts of time.
"You just hope that experience benefits you later in the year. At some point somebody may get banged up and one of those guys will have to play," Clawson said about the backups. "Getting those guys game reps (repetitions) is very, very valuable."
SPECIAL TEAMS: While there have been struggles on special teams this season, there have been some positives in those areas under Clawson and assistant coach Adam Scheier.
Since 2009 the positives include, three kickoff returns for touchdowns; three punt returns for scores; 11 blocked kicks; two All-MAC returners (Jerry 'BooBoo' Gates and Eugene Cooper); two All-MAC punters (Bryan Wright and Brian Schmiedebusch); and the Falcons have successfully converted on two fake punts.
INJURIES: BG might be getting back some of its depth at wide receiver as Heath Jackson (knee) and Ryan Burbrink (hamstring) should be ready for Akron. Bart Tanski (collarbone) will resume contact work next week.
NEXT: BG hosts Miami next Saturday with kickoff at 3:30 p.m.
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