The Massachusetts Minutemen (1-3, 0-0) will travel to face the Bowling Green Falcons (3-2, 1-0) in a Mid-American Conference matchup Saturday afternoon. Bowling Green has won three straight meetings between the teams, including a 47-42 win on the road on September 27, 2014 in the most recent meeting; Massachusetts covered the line as a 5.5 point underdog.
Massachusetts is coming off their first win of the season as they beat Florida International 24-14 last week. Bowling Green held on for a 28-22 win over Buffalo on the road last week. This game is scheduled to kick off at 2:00 pm ET from Doyt Perry Stadium in Bowling Green, Ohio and can be seen on ESPN3. Bowling Green is currently a 14 point favorite with the over/under set at 77.5 points in this contest.
Massachusetts put together a complete performance as they racked up 495 yards of offense while limiting Florida International to just 188 yards last week. The Minutemen did turn the ball over twice while not forcing a turnover but they managed to do enough to pull out the win. Massachusetts rolled up 29 first downs while limiting the Golden Panthers to 13 while winning the battle for time of possession 31:24 to 28:36. Blake Frohnapfel’s third touchdown pass midway through the fourth quarter gave the Minutemen a 10 point lead they would not relinquish.
The Minutemen are 17th in the nation in passing offense with an average of 327 yards per game through the air but they average only 118 yards per game on the ground. Massachusetts is averaging 22 points a game but they are 112th in scoring defense by allowing 37.2 points per game. Frohnapfel has completed 57.1 percent of his throws for 1,214 yards with seven touchdowns and three interceptions. The run game is putting up just 3.9 yards per carry with Marquis Young leading the team with 21 carries for 188 yards and a score while Jamal Wilson adds 119 yards plus two scores on 25 carries. Tajae Sharpe leads the Minutemen with 45 receptions for 536 yards and a score; Marken Michel contributes 22 receptions for 284 yards and three scores. Two kickers for Massachusetts are a combined 7 of 9 on extra points and two of three on field goals this season.
Bowling Green had a great offensive performance but needed to hold off a fourth quarter charge by the Bulls to preserve their victory. The Falcons led 28-9 in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter but saw that lead sliced to six points. Bowling Green racked up 536 yards of offense but allowed 500 yards in the game; the Falcons did record the only turnover of the contest. The Falcons allowed the Bulls to rack up 34 first downs and lost the time of possession battle 33:45 to 26:15 yet won the game.
The Falcons are 2nd in the nation as they light up opposing defenses to the tune of 418.6 yards per game through the air; they average 162 yards a contest on the ground. Bowling Green is dead even on the scoresheet as they average 36 points per game and are tied for 110th in scoring defense by giving up 36 per game. Matt Johnson, the senior, has been brilliant running the offense as he’s hit 66.5 percent of his throws for 2,084 yards with 14 touchdowns against two interceptions. Travis Greene is the main man on the ground with 66 carries for 351 yards and three scores; Fred Coppet chips in 49 carries for 299 yards. Four players have reeled in at least 23 passes this season: Roger Lewis leads the team with 40 grabs for 760 yards and six scores while Ronnie Moore (34 receptions, 343 yards, TD), Ryan Burbrink (24 grabs, 284 yards, TD) and Gehrig Dieter (23 catches, 280 yards, 2 TD) all can move the sticks as well. Tyler Tate has hit 23 of 24 extra points but is only 3 of 8 on field goal attempts.
Bowling Green is 4-1-1 ATS in their last six after an ATS loss and 11-4 ATS in their last 15 against teams with a losing record. Massachusetts is 3-8 ATS in their last 11 against teams with a winning record, 1-4 ATS in their last five after giving up less than 100 yards on the ground and 1-5 ATS in their last six on the road against teams with a winning home record.
The Minutemen struggle to stop opposing teams and we’ve seen Bowling Green have issues defensively as well. This one could be another shootout like we saw last season but the Falcons have done a better job protecting the ball than the Minutemen have. Look for Bowling Green to come up with a couple of turnovers and win this game for their third straight victory.