|BG run game improves (10-18-12)|
|Written by JACK CARLE Sentinel Sports Editor|
|Thursday, 18 October 2012 09:37|
Two years ago, Bowling Green was last in the nation, averaging only 62.3 rushing yards per game.
That has changed this season, due to the combined effort of an effective offensive line and a stable of successful running backs.
The Falcons are averaging 172.6 yards per game on the ground and have put together three straight games with over 200 yards rushing.
The running attack is one reason BG takes a three-game winning streak into Saturday's game against the University of Massachusetts. Kickoff is at noon at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
''To me, the O-line is the heart and soul of the team. They are the heart and all the blood goes through them. When that group is unselfish, tough, physical and plays with great emotion and passion that carries through the whole football team," BG head coach Dave Clawson said.
To start the season, only Dominic Flewellyn (left guard) and Jordon Roussos (right tackle) had started on the line for the Falcons. The newcomers were redshirt freshmen Fahn Cooper (left tackle) and Alex Huettel (right guard) and junior college transfer David Kekuewa (center).
"I would say the one time that we all came together and became very much more cohesive was in the summer, when we had to push each other through the summer workouts," said Flewellyn, one of BG's captains this season.
Clawson knew there would be some growing pains, but he's not surprised at the success of the line this fall.
''Just looking at their strength numbers, I knew that this would be the firmest, strongest, most explosive offensive line since we've been here,'' said Clawson, who is in his fourth season. "They were the most physical guys we had.
"We knew we were going to have to run the ball more this year, just because we graduated all of those receivers," Clawson added. "When you ask an offensive lineman what's your favorite thing to do and he says pass (protection), I get a little bit nervous. Any good O-lineman worth his salt wants to get low, fire off, and knock people off the football.
"We have a group that really enjoys doing that and they enjoy doing it together.''
Flewellyn enjoys the emphasis that has been placed on the running game and being able to get physical.
"Imposing your will on somebody is just fun. It's probably why I play football," Flewellyn said. ''This year, they are depending on us more to make things happen for the team.
''It's so much fun, because that's what we've been asking for; that's what every offensive lineman wants - put the game on their shoulders and let's go.''
Flewellyn, who has made 27 starts, and Roussos, who has made 26 starts as an offensive lineman, have helped the younger player mature and progress. Flewellyn plays between Cooper and Kekuewa, being able to help both of them, and Roussos is beside Huettel giving the Falcons a very physical right side on the line.
Flewellyn said the group has been able to bond because of doing things off the field, including eating and playing games together.
"Overall, everybody has respect for one and other and they respect the job they have to do," Flewellyn said. "When you have a group of people who respect one another and are all friends, it's going to be a lot easier to play with one another during a game.''
OUELLET: Ted Ouellet, a redshirt junior defensive tackle for the Falcons, is returning to his home state for Saturday's game. He is the only Massachusetts native on the Falcons' roster.
"It will be neat for him this weekend to go back home to play in front of a lot of his family and his friends," Clawson said.
"He's just a tough, hard-nosed, blue-collar guy.''
BAYER: BG's Alex Bayer has been named to the John Mackey Award midseason watch list.
The Mackey Award is given annually to the most outstanding collegiate tight end.
Bayer has a career-high 22 receptions for 294 yards and two touchdowns on the year.
INJURIES: Running back Jamel Martin is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.
He is the sixth Falcon who has been lost for the season, joining defensive tackles Jairus Campbell and Hunter Maynard, wide receivers Heath Jackson and Jermal Hosley, and rover Tim Moore.
Running back Jordan Hopgood and linebacker Dwayne Woods are both expected to play against UMass while Bayer is probable.
NEXT: BG hosts Eastern Michigan next Saturday with kickoff at 3:30 p.m.
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