Falcons' veteran defense living up to expectations (10-23-12) PDF Print E-mail
Written by JACK CARLE Sentinel Sports Editor   
Tuesday, 23 October 2012 09:50
Bowling Green defensive back BooBoo Gates (24) intercepts a pass intended for Massachusetts wide receiver Marken Michel (4) during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
With experience returning at every position, Bowling Green's defense was expected to be good this fall.
The veteran Falcons have not disappointed as the defense ranks first in the Mid-American Conference in scoring defense (16.8), total defense (304.0), rushing defense (109.2) and passing defense (194.8).
During BG's current four-game winning streak, the opposition has scored only 30 points. The Falcons are 5-3 overall and 3-1 in the MAC.
BG looks to continue its defensive prowess Saturday against Eastern Michigan, Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. in Perry Stadium.
"We have been a relatively young defense the past two years and a lot of those guys took their lumps (in 2010 and 2011). Now, we have a bunch of guys that have played a lot of football together," BG head coach Dave Clawson said. "We are certainly benefiting from the investment we made in '10 and especially '11 of playing young guys.
"They are kind of all getting better together. They all understand the system.''
In BG's five victories this season, the Falcon defense has held the opposition to less than 100 yards rushing in each game.
The opposition has combined for only 278 yards on the ground in the five games, including six yards allowed against Idaho and three yards given up to Miami.
Clawson said good defense starts with defending the run, forcing people off schedule, creating third-and-longs, and getting pressure on third down from the defensive front thus allowing the coverage to work.
In the last four games, the opposition has been successful only 15-of-62 times on third down conversion opportunities.
"When you can get a team to a third-and-long that is a difficult down to convert," Clawson said. "We're getting a pass rush. We've covering pretty well in the back-end. We're not conceding a lot of easy throws.
"It's also really important when you do that, that you don't let the quarterback escape," he continued. "We are doing a much better job this year of ... not allowing the quarterback his escape lanes.''
The Falcons have also created nine turnovers in the last four games, including six interceptions of which two were returned for touchdowns.
"When a passing game cannot have the time that they want, you create opportunities for turnovers,'' Clawson said.
WOODS: BG's Dwayne Woods is MAC East defensive player of the week for his efforts in a 24-0 win at the University of Massachusetts.
Woods finished the game with two tackles, a pass breakup, and a 48-yard interception return for a touchdown in the Falcons' first shutout since Nov. 6, 2004.
BG held UMass to just 118 total yards, forced four turnovers and allowed the Minutemen to convert just 1-of-16 third down attempts.
This is the fifth time this season a Falcon has earned MAC East defensive player of the week honors. Chris Jones has won the award three times and Ryland Ward once.
PENALTIES: Clawson is looking to clean up BG's penalty problems. The Falcons were hit with 15 penalties for 130 yards at UMass.
"I was very disappointed in the amount of penalties we had. That's the most amount of penalties since we've been here as a staff," Clawson said about the UMass game. ''Over the first three years we have always been one of the least penalized teams in the league.
''That's something we have to get corrected. In a lot of cases, it was just a lack of discipline that at some point will really hurt us.''
Clawson was especially disappointed in three blocking in the back penalties on punt returns, which cost the Falcons 84 yards of field position.
SCHILZ: Matt Schilz, who has made 30 career starts, continues to move up on the career passing lists for the Falcons.
He is fourth with 1,056 passing attempts; third with 630 completions; fifth with 6,921 passing yards; and fifth with 45 touchdowns passes.
KICKS: During BG's current four-game winning streak, Stephen Stein is 14-of-15 on extra points and 2-of-3 on field goals and Tyler Tate kicked a 42-yard field goal against UMass. It was BG's longest  field goal since Jerry Phillips kicked a 44-yarder against Ball State on Oct. 17, 2009.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 October 2012 09:56

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