|Carle's Corner: Falcon must focus on task at hand (10-19-12)|
|Written by By JACK CARLE Sentinel Sports Editor|
|Friday, 19 October 2012 08:57|
Don’t ever look ahead and definitely don’t look back.
Forecasting what’s ahead and living on past successes is for pundits, fans and sports writers.
For the current Bowling Green football team it’s the old cliché — one game at a time.
That’s the correct attitude to take into Saturday’s game against the University of Massachusetts at Gillette Stadium. Kickoff is at noon.
Yes, Bowling Green has won three straight games and is in position to control its own destiny in the race of the Mid-American Conference East, a spot in the MAC championship game, and a bowl game.
The winning streak is nice, but it doesn’t mean anything without following it up with another victory.
And, yes, the temptation is there to look ahead because there are some potentially big games on the horizon next month, including a Nov. 7 game at currently undefeated and nationally-ranked Ohio, and a Nov. 17 home game with Kent State, which is the surprise team in the MAC this fall.
Those November games won’t mean as much, if the Falcons stumble before getting there.
The task at hand is UMass, a winless team which gave Ohio everything it wanted in a 37-34 loss on Sept. 29.
“That game wasn’t a fluke. They didn’t get lucky. They went toe-to-toe with a nationally ranked team who is undefeated,’’ BG head coach Dave Clawson told the media earlier this week about the Ohio-UMass game.
And I’m sure Clawson and his staff are hammering home the same points to the team.
Whether or not the BG-UMass game is a trap game is debatable, but one thing for sure is the Falcons cannot afford to overlook the Minutemen.
Just ask Toledo about the battle they got from Eastern Michigan or Ohio State and how Indiana was in the game to the end last Saturday. Both games were on the road with the visiting team holding the edge according to the pundits, fans and writers. By the time the final whistle blew that edge was paper thin.
That’s the case again Saturday in Gillette Stadium against UMass.
“They are a very dangerous football team,’’ Clawson said. “They have played a very, very competitive schedule.
“They are improving. They have some very talented football players. We expect a very challenging game.’’
So here are my keys to victory and they are much the same as they have been for the few weeks.
• BG needs to come in with the right mental attitude, take control of the game from the start and not give UMass a glimmer of hope.
• The Falcons have to successfully run the ball. The offensive line has been real good of late and there’s no reason not to saddle them up and let Anthon Samuel and John Pettigrew roll. BG has rushed for over 200 yards in each of the last three games and that should be the goal again. Plus the running game opens up the play-action passing attack.
• BG’s defense has to maintain its high level of play. The Falcons have allowed a total of 30 points in the last three games while basically shutting down the explosive offenses of Akron and Miami. UMass stayed in the game with Ohio because of the play of quarterback Mike Wegzyn, who threw for 373 yards and four scores. The Falcons need to limit Wegzyn, stop the run, and force some turnovers, much like they did against Miami last week.
If BG can make all three of those keys happen, then the worry can start about the next opponent on the schedule — whomever that happens to be.
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