|BG faces must-win game (10-02-12)|
|Written by JACK CARLE Sentinel Sports Editor|
|Tuesday, 02 October 2012 09:31|
It's only the first weekend in October and already Bowling Green faces a must-win conference game.
The Falcons play at Akron Saturday with kickoff at 2 p.m.
Both Bowling Green and Akron have one Mid-American Conference loss while East Division rivals Kent State and Miami already have two conference victories.
"This is a big MAC East matchup. Right now, both teams have one conference loss and can't afford a second," BG head coach Dave Clawson said.
"This is a huge game," he continued. "We have to go on the road, which is always difficult in the league, and play a team that is greatly improved, that is playing extremely hard and offensively is as explosive as any team in the conference right now.''
The Zips and Falcons have not played since 2009 when BG posted a 36-20 victory.
Terry Bowden, in his first year at Akron, is hoping his team can rebound against Bowling Green after the Zips dropped a 56-49 decision to Miami last Saturday.
"We're just trying to win our first conference game in a few years," Bowden said. "Bowling Green is one of those teams last year that was kind of in the middle (of the MAC) and they're shooting to wanting to get back up there.
"We just want to get out there and play better,'' he continued. "I don't know if we can compare ourselves to where Bowling Green is right now because of where we were and where we are. We just have to fight hard.''
Akron has lost nine straight MAC games with its last conference win coming on Nov. 26, 2010, a 22-14 decision over Buffalo.
GATES: Bowling Green's Jerry 'BooBoo' Gates is The College Football Performance Award national punt returner of the week for his efforts in the 48-8 win over Rhode Island last Saturday.
On his first punt return of the year (and second of his career) Gates went 80 yards for a touchdown.
Gates' score was the fourth-longest punt return in school history and the Falcons' first punt return for a touchdown since Eugene Cooper scored versus Toledo in 2010.
Gates owns two kickoff returns for touchdowns, one punt return for a score, and an interception return for a touchdown. He is the first player in school history to have touchdown returns via kick, punt and interception returns.
SAMUEL: Anthon Samuel, the MAC freshman of the year in 2011, has not suffered any sophomore jinx through the first five games this fall for the Falcons.
He has rushed for 337 yards and scored seven touchdowns on 69 carries this fall. He's also caught 11 passes for 98 yards.
"He's a very mature young man. He picked up the offense as quickly as any running back we've had in our program," Clawson said. "He's very elusive. He can make people miss in space. He's tough; he does a nice job in blitz protection.''
Samuel is tied for 25th on BG's career rushing list with 1,221 yards. He has eight 100-yard rushing games in just 14 contests and has 12 touchdowns.
WILLIAMS: Dalton Williams is a difference-maker in his first season at Akron.
Williams, 6-foot-4, 221 pounds, transferred to Akron from Stephen F. Austin prior to spring practice for a fifth year of eligibility after finishing his undergraduate degree. At Stephen F. Austin, he completed 72-of-110 passes for 724 yards and seven touchdowns as a backup from 2008-11.
So far this season, he is 153-of-243 (63 percent) for 1,689 yards with 14 yards and seven interceptions.
Those numbers are somewhat inflated by Williams' 37-of-48 effort for 446 yards and three TDs in a 66-6 win over Morgan State.
Take out the Morgan State performance and Williams is still having an outstanding season going 116-of-195 (59.5 percent) for 1,243 yards with 11 touchdowns and six interceptions.
"He can make every throw," Clawson said. "For a guy who is new to the school and new to the system, the ball is going exactly where it should go ... Just watching him the last two games, I'm very, very impressed; he can spin it.''
"He's running the offense very well. They have him very schooled-up on what his reads are ... He's very accurate," Clawson continued. "He's a big guy who has pocket presence. He can throw the ball under duress.''
500: The Falcons are in their 94th season of football and have an all-time record of 499-349-51 (.584).
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