ATLANTA (AP) — Finn Hogan’s 1-handed scoring catch late in the first half gave Bowling Green the lead, Deshawn Jones Jr. returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown and the Falcons upset Georgia Tech 38-27 on Saturday.
Georgia Tech, favored by 22 1/2 points, was overwhelmed after taking a 14-0 lead. Bowling Green (2-3) scored the next 38 points to claim its first win over an active member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Falcons held the ball more than 40 minutes, more than doubling the time of possession battle.
Georgia Tech (2-3) wore black uniforms as a nod to its “Black Watch” defenses of the 1980s. With former coach Bill Curry attending, the Yellow Jackets’ effort didn’t inspire comparisons to those stingy units.
Bowling Green’s powerful running back Terion Stewart ran for 138 yards and a touchdown while Connor Bazelak passed for 263 yards and a score.
The 5-foot-9, 225-pound Stewart made the Mid-American Conference visitors look like the Power Five team as he consistently broke tackles.
Bowling Green scored 38 unanswered points for a 38-14 lead. Haynes King’s 15-yard scoring pass to Malik Rutherford with 25 seconds remaining in the third quarter produced the Yellow Jackets’ first points since their second possession.
It was a jolting performance for coach Brent Key’s Georgia Tech team, which was coming off last week’s 30-16 ACC win at Wake Forest.
With Georgia Tech leading 14-0, Bowling Green turned the momentum with a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. Coach Scot Loeffler alternated quarterbacks, opening the drive with Bazelak before turning to Camden Orth, the Falcons’ run-first option at the position, in the red zone.
The strategy was effective. Orth’s 11-yard run set up his 1-yard scoring run as he pushed back the Georgia Tech defensive front with his second effort.
Georgia Tech led 14-10 when Bazelak lofted a pass toward Hogan in the end zone. Georgia Tech safety LaMiles Brooks had his arm around Hogan but still the 6-foot-5 receiver reached with his right hand to pull the ball in and held on for the improbable catch while landing on his back.
The catch gave the Falcons a 17-14 halftime lead. Bowling Green outscored Georgia Tech 21-0 in the third quarter. A long drive for the Yellow Jackets ended with King stopped on a fourth-down run at the Falcons 14.
Hogan added a 50-yard catch to open the second half, helping the Falcons maintain control. Bazelak’s 1-yard scoring run pushed the lead to 24-14. Jones’ interception return late in the third increased the lead to 38-14.
Jordan Oladukun added another interception for Bowling Green in the fourth quarter, helping to deflate Georgia Tech’s already sagging comeback hopes. King’s fourth scoring pass was a 16-yarder to Abdul Janneh with 1:35 remaining.
Bowling Green safety Darius Lorfils was ejected after he was called for targeting on a late hit on King in the fourth quarter.
Bowling Green: The Falcons consistently found ways to convert third downs and extend drives. Bowling Green was successful on 7 of 11 third-down plays in the first half and 10 of 16 for the game. The Falcons held the ball for 42-minutes, 25-seconds, more than 25 minutes longer than the home team.
Georgia Tech: Through two possessions, King was 5 for 5 passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns. King completed a 53-yard scoring pass to Eric Singleton on the Yellow Jackets’ first play. King threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Christian Leary to cap Georgia Tech’s second drive. Following the dominant start for a 14-0 lead, Georgia Tech couldn’t maintain momentum. King completed 23 of 37 passes for 348 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions.
Bowling Green: The Falcons will look for their first MAC win of the season when they play at Miami (Ohio) next Saturday. Bowling Green lost to Ohio in its MAC opener.