Red zone mistakes doom Falcons in 24-10 loss to Central

Bowling Green went toe-to-toe with Mid-American Conference heavyweight Central Michigan in Perry Stadium
on Saturday afternoon.
In the end Central was able to connect on more opportunities and the Chippewas came away with a 24-10
victory. Central Michigan has now won seven straight games and is 7-1 overall and 5-0 in the MAC. BG had
a two-game winning streak broken and is 3-5, 2-2 with four games remaining.
Bowling Green was a dismal 1-of-5 on red zone scoring opportunities, including missing a field goal,
throwing an interception and losing a fumble.
“We’ve been playing great red zone defense all year,” said CMU head coach Butch Jones. CLICK
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Meanwhile the Chippewas were able to ride the legs of quarterback Dan LeFevour and their triple-option
type offense to 259 yards on the ground while making key plays to keep drives alive.
“The elements made it extremely difficult with the wind. We knew we had to establish the run game. Dan is
a vital part of our run game, and I thought he did a good job,” Jones said.
LeFevour was able to keep things moving for the Chippewas with 128 yards on 22 carries.
“There were times when we had their quarterback in the backfield on third down with a chance to make a
play. We missed a tackle or he broke a tackle and extended the drive and that led to two of their
scores,” BG head coach Dave Clawson said.
“If we convert those red zone opportunities and we get him down on third down, I think it’s a different
football game. We didn’t make the plays and they did.”
BG’s missed field goal came with 43.2 seconds remaining in the first quarter and BG trailing 7-0.
The Falcons did come back to tie the game at 7 with 11:26 to play in the first half on a nice 24-yard
pass from Tyler Sheehan to Freddie Barnes.
Just over two minutes later, the Chippewas took the lead for good on LeFevour’s 29-yard scoring pass to
Antonio Brown.
Bowling Green took the ensuing kickoff and moved to the CMU 12-yard line. But Sheehan underthrew the ball
and Josh Grody made the interception at the 1-yard line.
The Falcons got the ball back before the end of the first half and moved inside the 20-yard line before
stalling. Mike Norsic came on to kick a 40-yard field goal and Bowling Green trailed 14-10 at the break.

“In the first half we did a lot of things right to put ourselves in a position to beat a very good
football team. But we did not make some critical plays,” said Clawson. “We knew we were going to have to
play extremely well. And we knew there would not be a big margin for error.
“Certainly a lot of the mistakes we made were a result of the quality of competition.”
Central Michigan increased its lead to 17-10 with a field goal early in the third quarter.
After the CMU field goal, the Falcons again moved the ball and with a first-and-10 from the CMU 14-yard
line, Chris Wright fumbled on a wide receiver counter play in the middle of the field.
“There were three times we had the ball inside the 20 and instead of scoring 21 of 17 points, you walk
away with nothing,” Clawson said.
“I thought he was going to score,” Clawson added about Wright’s play. “He did not take care of the ball
in traffic. At that point it was 17-10 and we’re inside the 10. If we score it’s a tie ball game and
it’s a completely different game. That one, obviously, hurt us a lot.”
The Chippewas increased their lead to 24-10 with 10:02 remaining in the game.
On BG’s next three possessions after the lost fumble, the Falcons managed just 12 yards in total offense
and were forced to punt three times. BG did move 62 yards on its final possession before stalling at the
Chippewas 18-yard line with 2:56 remaining in the game.
“It was tough because those were critical points in the game,” Barnes said about BG’s lack of success in
the red zone. “They are pretty good in the red zone. But at the same time I feel us doing our job would
have allowed us to put some more points on the board.”
Photo caption: Bowling Green Falcon running back Willie Geter (1) gets away from against the Central
Michigan Chippewa defensive lineman John Williams (94) and linebacker Nick Bellore (43) during the
second quarter at Doyt Perry Stadium Saturday afternoon. (Photo: Andrew Weber/Sentinel-Tribune)