Any player will tell you that football games are not meant to be played midweek, but that’s the way it works with nationally televised Mid-American Conference games. Friday’s Bowling Green State University-Ohio game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network at noon from Doyt L. Perry Stadium.
“Honestly, it’s quite weird. That is the term to use,” said BGSU senior place kicker Nate Needham, a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award.
“It’s kind of hard to get into a schedule. Obviously, with my position, I like having a nice rhythm to keep things the same for every week. But with this kind of schedule, it is kind of tricky to go on — you have to make up a new schedule as the season goes,” Needham continued.
“For some of these young guys, MACtion is a good experience for them, but I think the biggest part is to keep our bodies healthy and just keeping pushing and keep your head down. The other team is pretty much in the same position — we are all playing in MAC games mid-week.”
BGSU football is finishing the season Friday, following a 49-17 loss to Toledo on a Wednesday two weeks ago and a 34-7 loss to Miami last Tuesday.
For the 3-8 (1-6, MAC) Falcons and Ohio (3-8, 3-4), it is about building momentum into the offseason.
BGSU leads the all-time series 40-30-2, but the Bobcats have won two of their last three games and will be hungry, coming off a 35-23 loss to Toledo in Athens last week.
“They’re a good football team. They’re disciplined,” BGSU coach Scot Loeffler said. “They know how to not beat themselves.
“I know they started out slow, but they’ve been playing really good football these last couple of weeks. They’ve really made a jump in terms of performance compared to the beginning of the season.
“We’ve got to play consistent. We can’t beat ourselves with penalties, and we got to play our best game and give ourselves a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter,” Loeffler added.
BGSU sophomore center Jalen Grant said it’s about making sure all three aspects of the game play cohesively.
“I feel like we have to play complementary football,” Grant said. “Everybody has to help each other — the offense has to help the defense. Special teams have to help everybody.
“We have to play the field position game and the offense has to have time of possession and we have to keep their offense off the field. If we play complementary football, everybody will help everybody.”
In BGSU’s loss to Miami in Oxford, the Falcons’ senior quarterback, Matt MacDonald, was sacked eight times. Grant said the first order of business is to change that.
It was an embarrassment for the offensive line, Grant said.
“You never want to have the quarterback on the ground that many times. It hurts your pride when it happens,” Grant said. “We have to learn from our mistakes. That game had a lot of mistakes, and we must put it behind us.”
Loeffler added, “Obviously we’ve got to control the line of scrimmage. These last two weeks we’ve been exposed to our weaknesses.
“We’ve, throughout the season, smoke and mirrored some things to give us a chance to protect and to get the ball out and these last two weeks we’ve been exposed and haven’t been able to do much in the run game or in the pass game.
“We’ve got to be extremely consistent and somehow be able to run the football to create some type of balance and then protect the passer on third down,” Loeffler continued.
Loeffler agreed that he would like nothing better than to close the season with a win heading into the offseason. He said “playing super competitive” is the answer.
“There were times in the Miami game that we played competitively, and there were times that not so much,” Loeffler said.
“We want to be able to press play after the game and see 22 hats on our side, playing their hearts out and playing extremely competitive and extremely tough,” he said. “We’re a very inconsistent football team right now. There are times we look very good. There are times that we look like we’re a bunch of freshmen and we need to take those next steps with consistency and competitiveness.”
Grant added, “We have a long offseason ahead of us, so after this game I’m ready to get started, get ready to work because next year we are looking forward to putting on a show for everybody.”