|Carle's Corner: Was BG's win over Akron a mirage or the real thing? (10-12-12)|
|Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff|
|Friday, 12 October 2012 09:13|
Was Bowling Green's 27-10 victory over Akron last Saturday a mirage or the real thing?
The Falcons almost certainly will find out Saturday against Miami. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. in Perry Stadium and it's Bowling Green's Family Weekend.
Miami is the only team in the Mid-American Conference to hold the series edge over Bowling Green (42-21-5) and the RedHawks have won six straight times at Perry Stadium.
After the Akron game BG head coach Dave Clawson called it a ''gut-check win'' and he was right.
The Falcons did not play well in the first half, but managed to be only down 10-0 as the defense made some key plays. Bowling Green had 150 yards of total offense in the first half, averaging 3.9 yards per game. The Falcons were hurt by poor field position. On six possessions, the average starting spot was the 14-yard line, with three possessions starting inside the 6-yard line.
In the second half, with improved field position, the Falcons started clicking by running the ball. BG had 322 yards of total offense in the second half, including 226 yards on the ground, and the defense pitched a shutout.
Clawson was pleased with the resilience and effort showed by his team in the second half.
"We need to build on the performance in the second half and the momentum and the confidence,'' Clawson said. ''That's going to have to carry over as we play a very good Miami team.
''It always comes down to execution. The difference in the first half and the second half, I think we executed better,'' he added.
Bowling Green shut down the Zips' passing attack in the second half by rushing three and dropping eight.
That strategy isn't going to work for an entire game against Miami.
Even when spreading the field, the RedHawks have a running game with quarterback Zac Dysert. Against Akron on Sept. 29 Dysert threw for 516 yards and a school-record six TDs and rushed for another 108 yards. The 624 yards of total offense was a MAC record.
''He's not a guy you are going to fool. Like any quarterback you have to show him different looks,'' Clawson said about Dysert. "The scary thing about him is when you rush three, if your nose guard and two ends get too far dispersed, he'll just take off and run for 30 or 40 yards.''
Clawson went on to say at times when it looks as if Miami is running a pass play, it's really a designed quarterback draw with the receivers running routes to help open up the running lanes.
Also Dysert is able to get rid of the ball very quickly and even if a play is well-defended, the RedHawks can still have a positive gain.
So in a pivotal game for both teams in the quest to win the MAC, here are my keys for the Falcons.
• Defending Dysert. The Falcons must find a way to limit Dysert, who has thrown for 10,246 yards and 61 touchdowns and rushed for 596 yards and 11 scores, during his career.
The Falcons were able to meet the challenge of Akron's passing attack last week, but this is going to be different. Bowling Green's going to need a good pass rush, solid play from the linebackers to keep Dysert from running with the ball, and good coverage in secondary.
• Running game. Bowling Green broke out the running game last Saturday against Akron and will need that kind of effort to control the clock and limit Miami's time of possession.
The Falcons got good play from the line and solid efforts from three different running backs against the Zips.
A successful running game should also open up the passing attack, giving BG's Matt Schilz time to find open receivers.
• Special teams. BG's special teams were better against Akron, but still every time there is a special teams situation, all the Falcons faithful just hold their breath wondering what could go wrong this time.
Ryan Burbrink did provide a bright spot with four punt returns for 35 yards against Akron. And Stephen Stein made his first field goal of the year against the Zips.
A good, solid effort by the special teams with no mistakes, might be the difference Saturday.
The Falcons know this is an important game.
"We've won a couple of games in a row, but that's not going to mean anything if we lose this week,'' BG's Alex Bayer said.
''The feeling we had in the locker room after the last game, was beyond any feeling I have ever felt since I've been here. Just the excitement, the emotion, it was just different ... We have to use that emotion and momentum for this week,'' Bayer added.
To do that it's going to take a total 60-mintue effort, not one good half, to be successful.
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