KENT - On a day when offense was needed to win a game, the Bowling Green Falcons responded with the most total offense in Dave Clawson's four-plus years as head coach.
With redshirt sophomore quarterback Matt Johnson getting his first career start, Bowling Green rolled up 576 total yards of offense on the way to a 41-22 victory over Kent State. The Golden Flashes played without standout running back Dri Archer.
''We had a good game plan going in,'' Johnson said. ''After the first series, we saw they weren't doing anything different than what we practiced. We played extremely confident; I felt extremely confident. There weren't any tricks, there weren't any surprises.''
Defense has been BG's staple over the last two years.
However, Kent State used its option attack to put up three touchdowns and 247 yards in the first half, although the Falcons held a 24-22 lead at the break.
It was a different story in the second half, as BG's defense held the Golden Flashes to 55 total yards and did not allow a score.
''We came out in the first half excited, a little over excited, and made just simple mistakes,'' said BG's Gabe Martin, who finished with a team-high nine tackles. ''We went in at halftime and told everyone to just settle down.''
Kent State got the ball to start the second half. After allowing one first down, the Falcons forced a punt.
''Right after the first series, we seemed to settle down,'' Martin said about the second half. ''We were still amped up, but it was more of a calm emotion which is good to see.
''We were back to being ourselves, playing with our swagger.''
Clawson said it was just a matter of bringing a little more pressure by the defense.
''Kent was doing a good job of creating some run-pass dilemmas, and we weren't handling the zone-read option well at all,'' Clawson said. ''They got outside our safety a few times, and in the second half we made the adjustment of keeping our safety outside the arc, and then brought some pressure. It just sorted out the gaps for us a little better.''
Bowling Green scored on the first possession of the game on a Travis Greene 1-yard run. Tyler Tate kicked the first of his five PATs.
Kent State quickly responded on Colin Reardon's 42-yard pass to Chris Humphrey. Humphrey then ran for the 2-point conversion.
To start the second quarter, Tate kicked a 30-yard field goal to put the Falcons up 10-8.
Reardon threw a 12-yard scoring pass to Casey Pierce and with the PAT, the Golden Flashes held a 15-10 lead.
Bowling Green then went 75 yards in six plays to score on a 3-yard run by Andre Givens. With the PAT, the Falcons led 17-15.
The Golden Flashes responded with a quick drive of their own, going 68 yards in five plays with Traylon Durham scoring on a 2-yard run. With the PAT, Kent State held a 22-17 lead.
Bowling Green then went ahead for good in the final minute of the first half on a 7-yard pass from Johnson to Jared Cohen. Cohen was first ruled down at the 1-yard line, but after Clawson asked for a review, the play was ruled a touchdown and the Falcons were up 22-17.
In the second half, Tate kicked a 41-yard field goal; Johnson connected with Ryan Burbrink on a 92-yard TD pass; and William Houston scored on a 1-yard. It was Houston's fourth touchdown in two games.
The Johnson to Burbrink scoring pass was the third-longest in school history.
''We practiced that play for a long time ... against that exact defense,'' Johnson said. ''We knew that if we called that play and they were in that defense, that if (Alex) Bayer wasn't open quick, we were going to have a shot at 'Burbs' deep.''
Clawson said this was a good team win.
''It's good to win a game like this,'' Clawson said. ''Over the past two years our defense has carried us. This is really the first game we've had in two years that we struggled on defense and our offense carried the team.
''Credit to Kent, they really had us on our heels in the first half, they did a really good job,'' Clawson continued. ''We made some adjustments, and the kids executed. It was a really good win for us.''
Greene finished with a career-high 145 yards rushing on 24 carries.
Johnson was 19-of-25 passing for 340 yards. Shaun Joplin had six receptions for 113 yards while Bayer had four catches
for 52 yards and Chris Gallon had four catches for 45 yards.
The Falcons, 2-0, travel to Indiana to face the Hoosiers in a noon start next Saturday.
BOWLING GREEN 41, KENT ST. 22
Bowling Green 7 17 10 7—41
Kent St. 8 14 0 0—22
BG_Tra.Greene 1 run (Tate kick), 10:22.
Kent_Humphrey 42 pass from Reardon (Humphrey run), 7:52.
BG_FG Tate 30, 14:46.
Kent_Pierce 12 pass from Reardon (Melchiori kick), 9:40.
BG_Givens 3 run (Tate kick), 6:57.
Kent_Durham 2 run (Melchiori kick), 4:40.
BG_Cohen 7 pass from Johnson (Tate kick), :54.
BG_FG Tate 41, 6:29.
BG_Burbrink 92 pass from Johnson (Tate kick), 4:33.
BG_Houston 1 run (Tate kick), 12:51.
First downs 26 15
Rushes-yards 46-219 28-138
Passing 357 164
Comp-Att-Int 19-25-0 15-28-0
Return Yards 5 0
Punts-Avg. 3-36.0 6-47.0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 5-40 2-10
Time of Possession 36:32 23:28
RUSHING_Bowling Green, Tra.Greene 24-145, Coppet 4-36, Givens 6-21,
Johnson 8-17, Moore 1-5, Team 1-(minus 2), Houston 2-(minus 3).
Kent St., Reardon 12-58, Calhoun 1-29, Meray 3-27, Durham 11-24,
PASSING_Bowling Green, Johnson 19-25-0-357. Kent St.,
RECEIVING_Bowling Green, Joplin 6-113, Bayer 4-52, Gallon 4-45,
Burbrink 2-101, Beck 1-41, Cohen 1-7, Moore 1-(minus 2). Kent St.,
Humphrey 4-84, Goode 4-24, Boyle 3-17, Pierce 2-28, Calhoun 1-6,