Defending MAC East champion Kent State suffered its first regular season, conference loss since 2011, 41-22 against Bowling Green. A scoreless second half proved how desperately the Golden Flashes miss injured all-purpose back Dri Archer, but it was also another example of Bowling Green flexing its impressive defensive muscles.
The Falcons adjusted out of the locker room, shutting down dual-threat quarterback Colin Reardon in the final 30 minutes. Reardon had an impressive first half, throwing for two touchdown passes, but could get nothing going either through the air or on the ground in the second.
Meanwhile, the BGSU front seven keyed in on Kent State power rusher Trayion Durham, holding him below three yards per carry on 11 carries. Durham functioned primarily as the muscle backing up Archer’s dynamic play-making in space. Without that element to complement him, Durham struggled to establish
Bowling Green ranked atop college football’s defensive statistical categories a season ago, and have shown no signs of missing a beat this year despite losing outstanding defensive tackle Chris Jones.
The Falcons have six scoreless quarters to their credit with Saturday’s second half clean slate. BGSU completely shut down defending Conference USA champion Tulsa in the opener, holding a Golden Hurricane that averaged nearly 460 yards per game in 2012 to 273, including an astounding 51 on the ground.
Between its first two wins, the Falcons have beaten teams that won a combined 22 games a season ago and entered this campaign as clear front runners in their conferences. Bowling Green moves ahead of Kent State in the MAC discussion, and the Falcons are really worthy of national attention.
BGSU showed off offensive punch to go with its defensive prowess. Quarterback Matt Johnson was 19 of 25 passing for 357 yards and two touchdowns, including a program record 92-yarder in the late third quarter that blew the game open.
The Falcons avoid defending MAC champion Northern Illinois out of the East division, and have non-conference games against Indiana and Mississippi State remaining. Regular conference contenders Ohio and Toledo both come to Doyt Perry Stadium.