ATLANTA — The Bowling Green Falcons scored 38 unanswered points to stage an historic comeback, gaining the program’s first win over a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference in a 38-27 win at Georgia Tech.
It should be no surprise that soon after the game the awards starting come in for the Falcons.
Coming back from a 14-0 deficit to win made the Falcons the Cheez-It National Team of the Week, as selected by the All-America Committee of the Football Writers Association of America.
This is Bowling Green’s first national team of the week honor from the FWAA.
After the Falcons’ 38-7 loss to Ohio a week earlier at Doyt Perry Stadium, BGSU coach Scot Loeffler saw something in practice that led him to believe the Falcons could defeat Georgia Tech. He said as a head coach, he’s just starting to learn the “psychology” of being at the helm.
“I’m learning that. Yeah, like definitely learning. I’ve learned a lot,” Loeffler said. “And, the positive things.
“I’ve been around these guys a ton, like I probably should say this off the record. I knew we were going to beat Georgia Tech on Wednesday.
“I just, I know these guys. I know how they think. I know how they act. I would have never said that publicly, but I knew that we were going to beat Georgia Tech, and I knew it was not going to be close, to be quite honest with you.
“I knew that we would walk in there and we would play our tails off, and so I’m learning that, and I just like I said, I’ve made mistakes with them. Normally, can figure things out with the little bit of air in there too, so I I’m starting to figure them out and it’s good.”
In addition, Bowling Green cornerback Deshawn Jones Jr. and running back Terion Stewart have earned MAC East Player of the Week honors for games played through Oct. 1, announced the Mid-American Conference.
Jones was named MAC East Defensive Player of the Week and Stewart was named MAC East Offensive Player of the Week. It is the first weekly accolade for both Jones and Stewart.
Stewart (Memphis, Tenn.) played a pivotal role in leading Bowling Green to a historic 38-27 victory over Georgia Tech, marking the first time the Falcons have defeated an ACC opponent.
Stewart rushed for an impressive 138 yards on 26 carries, which included a touchdown. Stewart achieved his second 100-yard rushing game of the season, which was punctuated by eight rushes of 10 yards or more.
Additionally, he contributed to the passing game with one reception for 27 yards. His TD capped a 10-play, 86-yard drive that consumed five minutes and six seconds of the third quarter, providing Bowling Green with a commanding 31-14 lead.
Jones’ (Akron) 45-yard interception return for a touchdown served as the decisive blow that secured the win for the Falcons.
Despite the challenging start that saw Georgia Tech take an early 14-0 lead, Jones and the BGSU defense rallied. The BGSU defense held the Yellow Jackets to just 293 yards of total offense for the remainder of the game.
Notably, their strong defensive effort resulted in Georgia Tech being held scoreless for nearly 40 minutes. This was particularly impressive given that the Yellow Jackets entered the game averaging 33.8 points per game and were ranked No. 17 nationally in total offense.
In addition, quarterback Connor Bazelak passed for 263 yards but it was ball control that played a decisive factor in the win. Bowling Green held the ball for 42:45 behind Stewart’s running game.
Finn Hogan caught six passes for 102 yards, both career highs, also had a highlight-worthy one-handed catch that put the Falcons up 17-14 in the second quarter just before the half. Bazelak also rushed for a touchdown, his first on the ground at BGSU.
Bazelak and Stewart each surpassed career yardage marks in the game. Bazelak eclipsed 8,000 passing yards and 40 touchdowns for his collegiate career, and Stewart topping the 1,000-yard mark in his BGSU career. Odieu Hiliare extended his reception streak to 40 games, currently the fifth-longest active streak in the nation.
The Falcons were plus-3 in the turnover margin that included two key interceptions. One was a pick-six by cornerback Deshawn Jones Jr. with a 45-yard return, the other came from the other side as cornerback Jordan Oladokun recorded his second interception of the season and career in the fourth quarter at the Falcons’ five-yard line. BGSU’s defense stifled Georgia Tech to just 69 rushing yards.
“I’m really proud of this team. I’ve said it a thousand times, we’re a team that can go out and do what we did last week [a 31-point home loss to Ohio] and we’re a team that can go beat a Power 5 team.” BGSU coach Scot Loeffler said.
“Our challenge now is to see if we can put it back-to-back. That’s hard to do right now. College football is different, just like I said last week when we played terrible, college football is week in and week out.
“Your mind has to be right, your heart has to be right and you have to be a selfless, team guy to get things done and that’s who we have to be. We’re never going to out-talent anyone, but we’re going to be a team that has enough talent.”
The Falcons play at Miami (Ohio) at 3:30 pm ET Saturday in a game broadcast by ESPN+.
BGSU coach Scot Loeffler said the Falcons had the right attitude heading into the Georgia Tech game and they need to be that way in Oxford, too.
“They just need to do what they did last week,” Loeffler said. “I thought we walked in very confident. I thought we walked in very focused, some swagger to be quite honest with you after what happened the week previously.
“We need to be able to walk into stadiums and be carefree just because we know we are confident we put the work in during the week and that our minds are right walking into the stadium. If we do that, we will be competitive.”
( — by Sentinel-Tribune Sports Editor J. Patrick Eaken with contributions from BGSU Athletics)