Breakding Down Bowling Green

By Frank Gogola

No. 14 football (12-0, 8-0 MAC) has one more test in its ways before a potential second straight BCS-busting season: the Bowling Green Falcons (9-3, 7-1 MAC). The MAC West-champion Huskies will square off with the MAC East-champion Falcons 7 p.m. Friday at Ford Field in Detroit. The Huskies are playing in their fourth straight MAC Championship game and are looking for their third consecutive championship. Football beat writer Frank Gogola (@FrankGogola) breaks down the Falcons.

Quarterback: Matt Johnson

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Matt Johnson is the leader of one of the more versatile offenses in the MAC. The 6-foot, 215-pound quarterback has completed 63.2 percent of his passes for 2,802 yards, the second-highest total in the conference. Johnson has taken good care of the ball, throwing 18 touchdowns to only seven interceptions. He has rushed for 236 net yards, the third-highest total on the Falcons, and five touchdowns. He helms a Bowling Green team that is No. 3 in scoring offense (34.4) and No. 3 in total offense (464.1).

Running Back: Travis Greene

Redshirt sophomore running back Travis Greene brings to the ground game what Johnson brings to the passing game. The 5-foot-10, 181-pound tailback has rushed for 1,422 yards, the second-highest conference total, and 10 touchdowns. Greene’s 1,422 rushing yards make up 56.5 percent of Bowling Green’s net rushing yardage (2,516). He has done more than just run the ball, as he has caught 14 passes for 122 yards (seventh on team) and one touchdown. NIU will have to be ready for an offense that could light up the scoreboard through the air or on the ground.

Wide Receiver: Shaun Joplin

Redshirt senior wide receiver Shaun Joplin has been Johnson’s No. 1 target throughout the season. The 6-foot-2, 209-pound wideout leads the Falcons in receptions (47) and receiving yards (807). Joplin is second on the team in receiving touchdowns (three), and he leads the team with 67.2 receiving yards per game, which is ninth in the MAC. He won’t be the only receiver the Huskie defense will have to worry about, as the Falcons likes to spread the ball around and have four receivers with 390-or-more receiving yards.

Offensive Line: Dominic Flewellyn

Senior offensive lineman Dominic Flewellyn anchors an offensive line that can look as equally good as bad. The 6-foot-3, 278-pound right guard was named to the all-MAC third team last season and was named a team captain last season and this season. Flewellyn is part of an offensive line that has paved the way for the MAC’s No. 2 pass offense (254.4) and the No. 3 rushing offense (209.7). Conversely, the offensive line has surrendered 32 sacks, the second most given up in the conference.

Defensive Line: Ted Ouellet

Redshirt senior defensive lineman Ted Ouellet has been a disruptive force up front for the Falcons. The 6-foot-3, 284-pound defensive tackle has been on a mission to get into opposing offenses’ backfields. Ouellet leads Bowling Green in sacks (4.5) and is tied for second in tackles for loss (six). He is second on the defensive line with 26 total tackles and leads the team with six quarterback hurries. He has also forced one fumble for a Bowling Green team that is fourth in the conference in turnover margin (plus-nine).

Linebacker: D.J. Lynch

Redshirt junior linebacker D.J. Lynch directs one of the best defenses in the MAC. The 5-foot-11, 244-pound outside linebacker leads the Falcons in total tackles (67) and tackles for loss (6.5). He has also registered three quarterback hurries, two sacks, one fumble recovery and one pass breakup. Led by Lynch, the Falcon defense leads the MAC in rushing defense (134.8), pass defense (161.8) and scoring defense (13.8). The defense has gained only 19 turnovers, which is tied for fourth least in the conference, and has recorded 27 sacks, sixth out of 13 MAC teams.

Secondary: Jerry “BooBoo” Gates

Senior defensive back Jerry “BooBoo” Gates is arguably the best defender for the Falcon defense. The 5-foot-11, 219-pound safety was named to the all-MAC first team last season and has continued to be a playmaker. Gates has recorded 57 total tackles, three tackles for loss, two pass breakups and one quarterback hurry. Adding to his versatility, he leads the Falcons with three fumble recoveries and is tied for the team lead in forced fumbles (two) and interceptions (two). It will be imperative the Huskie offense knows where Gates is every play.

Special Teams: Tyler Tate

Redshirt sophomore place kicker Tyler Tate has been reliable for the Falcons when he has been used. The 6-foot, 173-pound special teamer has been the only kicker used by Bowling Green. Tate has only attempted 17 field goals in 12 games, as the Falcons tend to finish off drives in the end zone. He is 14-of-17 (82.4 percent) kicking field goals and is 51-of-52 (98.1 percent) converting extra points. If the Huskies have to give up points, they would much rather see Tate hitting field goals than the Falcons celebrating in the end zone.