With the chance to win the MAC Eastern Division and advance to the MAC Championship game against unbeaten Northern Illinois, the Bowling Green defense did to Buffalo what it had done all month long: dominate.
The Falcons defense held the Buffalo offense to just 15 rushing yards and season lows in points and total yards (236) in a 24-7 road win at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Both offenses started slowly as Bowling Green picked up just seven first downs in its first seven offensive possessions. Buffalo took a 7-3 lead into halftime after a Branden Oliver two-yard touchdown run, the only offensive touchdown Bowling Green has allowed in its four games in the month of November.
Offense remained scarce until Bowling Green broke through with back-to-back touchdown drives midway through the third quarter to take control of the game with a 17-7 lead. The first score came on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Matt Johnson (11-of-26 for 230 yards, 72 yards rushing) to Shaun Joplin (Six catches, 149 yards). Travis Greene (30 carries, 129 yards) followed that score with a 14-yard touchdown run.
Bowling Green posted over 300 yards of total offense in the second half, racking up 490 yards total.
The win clinched the Falcons’ first MAC Championship Game appearance since 2003 and with its defense playing so dominantly, Bowling Green could pose a legitimate problem for Heisman candidate Jordan Lynch and Northern Illinois. The two teams did not play during the regular season and the Huskies have not faced a defense as good as Bowling Green’s.
The numbers are pretty remarkable. The Falcons only allowed 17 points scored in a four game span in November to finish the year at 9-3. BGSU’s only MAC loss was a 28-25 defeat at the hands of Toledo in late October, the same Toledo team that put up a great fight against NIU on Nov. 20.
Bowling Green will obviously be pretty significant underdogs to knock off the No. 14 Huskies, but a close game next Friday night at Ford Field in Detroit would not surprise me a bit.
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