BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — It may not have registered on the Richter Scale, but that large thud you heard in Memorial Stadium at Indiana University on Saturday was Bowling Green’s balloon bursting.
The Falcons came into their game with the Hoosiers at 2-0 and seeking a signature win against a Big Ten team. Instead, Bowling Green failed to produce an offensive touchdown and Indiana rolled to a 42-10 victory.
“All the things that we have been doing well in the first two games, we didn’t do well,” BG head coach Dave Clawson said. “We didn’t play well; we got whipped across the board.
“I believe we’re at a point in the program where we don’t go into any game, believing we can’t win,” Clawson added. “We didn’t look at this game that we were big underdogs. We thought that if we came in and executed, and played well that this was a winnable football game.”
The Falcons couldn’t get the necessary yardage when they had opportunities. For the game, BG was 8-of-20 on third down conversions, and 2-of-6 on fourth down plays.
“We were playing great between the 20s, but in the red zone we didn’t execute as well as we did in the middle of the field,” said BG quarterback Matt Johnson. “We went in at halftime (down 17-10), saying they really haven’t stopped us, and we have stopped ourselves. That held true the entire game.”
Bowling Green had 409 total yards of offense and had the ball for 35:13 of the game, but the Falcons lacked explosive plays. The Falcons were 0-for-3 on red zone chances.
“There were a lot of things we could have done differently to spark us,” Johnson said. ”We were moving the ball great, we just didn’t execute in the red zone. That’s pretty much what the game came down to.”
On the other side of the ball, BG’s defense had problems with IU’s fast-paced offense, especially in the second half. The Falcons did stop the Hoosiers twice on fourth down inside the 5-yard line in the first half. However, in the second half Indiana rolled up 401 yards in total offense and scored three touchdowns.
“We got beat bad. We got whipped in every aspect of the game,” Clawson said. “They ran the ball, they threw the ball, they made big plays.
“We had them in a lot of third and longs and couldn’t get off the field,” Clawson continued. “Credit to Indiana, they made plays and we didn’t.”
Indiana quarterback Nate Sudfeld had an outstanding game, going 17-of-26 for 335 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for a touchdown.
“Their quarterback is a stud. They have really good receivers; we couldn’t cover them,” Clawson said. “We didn’t get much pressure on the quarterback. We gave that kid time, and he put the ball on the money and their receivers beat us.”
Cody Latimer, the son of former BGSU Falcon Colby Latimer, finished with 137 yards and a TD on six receptions for Indiana. The Hoosiers also had two running backs finish with over 100 yards as Stephen Houston had 13 carries for 155 yards and Tevin Coleman carried the ball 19 times for 129 yards and two touchdowns.
“Everything we saw, we prepared for all week, we just didn’t come out and execute it,” BG linebacker Paul Swan said. “We were sloppy, and guys were doing their own thing. “It’s frustrating; it’s a big loss for us.
‘‘We were real confident coming into the game,’’ Swan continued. ‘’We thought we had a good game plan.”
BG’s scores came on a 56-yard return of a blocked punt by Paul Senn and a career-high 45-yard field goal from Tyler Tate.
Bowling Green did have several opportunities to change the momentum, but failed.
On IU’s drive after Senn’s blocked punt, BG’s defense held, forcing IU punter Erich Toth to punt from his own end zone.
The Falcons again went for the block and several BG players got past the blocking wall, but freshman Isaiah Gourdine ran into Toth, giving IU a new set of downs.
The Hooisers didn’t score, fumbling at the half-yard line on a fourth down play, but the penalty put BG’s defense on the field for 10 more plays, including four press-packed plays inside the 5-yard line, and drastically changed the field position. Also if the Falcons could have gotten the block or forced a punt, a score could have changed the momentum.
Trailing 21-10 at the half, Bowling Green got the ball to start the second half.
IU attempted an on-side kick, but the kick rolled out-of-bounds, giving BG excellent field position at the IU 42-yard line. However, Johnson threw an interception on the seventh play of the drive.
Four plays after the interception, the Hoosiers scored to make it 28-10 and basically take control of the game.
‘‘It shows us that we’re not bullet-proof,’’ Johnson said about the loss. ‘‘We have to come out and we have to execute the game-plan the way that we know how.
‘‘We missed too many little assignments for us to win the game.’’
INDIANA 42, BOWLING GREEN 10
Bowling Green 7 3 0 0 — 10
Indiana 7 14 7 14 — 42
Ind—Coleman 1 run (Ewald kick), 9:38. Drive: 3 plays, 51 yards, 0:39.
BG—Senn 56 blocked punt return (Tate kick), 4:36. Drive: none.
BG—FG Tate 45, 11:06. Drive: 12 plays, 72 yards, 4:51.
Ind—Coleman 43 run (Ewald kick), 8:20. 8 plays, 73 yards, 1:37.
Ind—Hughes 8 pass from Sudfeld (Ewald kick), 2:44. Drive: 6 plays, 80 yards, 2:10.
Ind—Latimer 33 pass from Sudfeld (Ewald kick), 10:11. Drive: 4 plays, 80 yards, 1:16.
Ind—Sudfeld 1 run (Ewald kick), 14:23. Drive: 9 plays, 80 yards, 3:34.
Ind—Roberson 3 run (Ewald kick), 11:40. Drive: 5 plays, 32 yards, 2:28.
First downs 24 25
By rushing 8 8
By passing 14 15
By penalty 2 2
Rushes-yards 36-136 48-266
Passing 273 335
Comp-Att-Int 28-51-1 17-26-0
Avg. gain per play 4.7 8.1
Sacks-yards lost 2-8 4-24
Punts-Avg. 2-44.0 1-0.0
Punt returns 1-56 0-0
Kickoff returns 2-30 3-72
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 2-2
Penalties-Yards 6-50 6-45
3rd-down conversions 8-20 8-13
4th-down conversions 2-6 0-3
Red-zone conversions 0-3 4-7
Time of Possession 35:13 24:47
RUSHING—Bowling Green, Tra.Greene 11-43, Coppet 7-40, Moore 2-15, Givens 3-15, Johnson 8-12, Houston 4-8, Hopgood 1-3. Indiana, Houston 13-155, Coleman 19-129, Roberson 4-6, Roberts 3-3, Team 1-(minus 3), Coffman 1-(minus 4), L.Smith 2-(minus 5), Sudfeld 5-(minus 15).
PASSING—Bowling Green, Johnson 25-44-1—248, Schilz 3-7-0—25. Indiana, Sudfeld 17-26-0-335.
RECEIVING—Bowling Green, Gallon 8-82, Joplin 7-104, Bayer 4-25, Burbrink 3-29, Tra.Greene 3-12, Coby 1-12, Moore 1-5, Pohlman 1-4. Indiana, Latimer 6-137, Hughes 4-34, Wynn 3-81, Stoner 2-40, Houston 1-31, Bolser 1-12.