|Falcons, Rockets both ready for rivalry game (10-25-13)|
|Written by By JACK CARLE, Sentinel Sports Editor|
|Friday, 25 October 2013 07:24|
There can be ebbs and flows for sports teams at all levels
And many times coaches are worried about whether their team will be ready for game day.
Neither Dave Clawson, the head coach of the Bowling Green State University football team, or his counterpart Matt Campbell at the University of Toledo, are worried about their teams being ready this week.
The arch-rivals play at Perry Stadium Saturday with kickoff at 2:30 p.m. UT has won three straight games in the series.
‘‘This is always a big week, and a very important week for our program,’’ Clawson said. ‘‘There are certainly games as you go through the season that you are worried if your guys are going to be up, but that is never a concern for this (Toledo) week.’’
The Falcons come into the game at 5-2 overall and 3-0 in the Mid-American Conference East. The Rockets are 4-3 overall and 2-1 in the MAC West.
BG’s two losses are on the road to Indiana and Mississippi State.
‘‘We’ve played some really good football teams early on and I think they really stack right up there,’’ Campbell said about the Falcons. ‘‘Their kids are playing with a lot of confidence right now.’’
UT’s three losses have all been on the road to Florida, Missouri and Ball State.
Clawson is impressed with the Rockets on both sides of the ball.
‘‘Their offense is exceptional,’’ Clawson said. ‘‘Their starters at the skilled positions are basically an All-MAC team. You have an exceptional quarterback; your have arguably the best tailback in the conference; their receivers (Alonzo) Russell, (Bernard) Reedy, (Justin) Olack are all exceptional.
‘‘They can spread you sideline to sideline. You combine that with a physical offensive line that can knock people off the ball, and the skill level they have at tailback, they’re a real challenge to prepare for.’’
UT quarterback Terrance Owens dealt with an injury early in the season, but is playing well now.
‘‘When he is playing at his best, he takes care of the football and manages the game with great consistency,’’ Campbell said.
David Fluellen is UT’s top running back, rushing for 1,006 yards and 10 touchdowns so far this season. Fluellen had to leave UT’s game with Navy last Saturday with a back injury, and his status for Saturday’s game is uncertain.
‘‘They have other guys more than capable of carrying the football, making plays, and running their offense. They are loaded at tailback,’’ Clawson said.
Kareem Hunt came off the bench to carry the ball 15 times for 127 yards and two scores against Navy, but he was slowed by a foot injury.
Damion Jones-Moore can also carry the ball, scoring an overtime touchdown against Navy.
An All-MAC performer at receiver and as a kick returner, Reedy is third in the MAC and tied for 22nd nationally, averaging 6.6 receptions per game. He had 46 receptions for 443 yards and three scores this season.
Russell has chipped in with 33 receptions for 414 yards and three scores.
Led by center Zac Kerin, a first-team All-MAC pick last season, UT has allowed only three sacks all season.
Defensively, the Rockets have produced 20 sacks and 16 turnovers.
‘‘They have their defense playing right now, better than they ever have in the five years that I’ve been here,’’ Clawson said.
‘‘They are not giving up big plays. They are getting a lot of sacks with primarily a three-man rush which is amazing, and they are very dynamic at the second and third levels.’’
The Rockets have lost linebacker Trent Voss, the second-leading tackler on the team, with a broken arm.
Linebacker Junior Sylvestre leads the Rockets with 76 tackles, which is tops in the MAC and tied for ninth nationally.
Defensive end Jayrone Elliott leads the team with six sacks for 50 yards in losses.
If the game comes down to a late field goal attempt, Toledo has Jeremiah Detmer, who is 12-of-13 on field goals this season, and he has made 29 of his last 30 attempts.
‘‘Being so close, right up the road, obviously it’s heated,’’ BG quarterback Matt Johnson said about the rivalry. ‘‘Just the tradition of the rivalry, I know it’s extremely important to both schools.’’
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