The mantra for the Bowling Green Falcons this weekend will be not to look past this week’s opponent, the Eastern Michigan Eagles. The Falcons are 5-1 in the conference and have a showdown with the Buffalo Bulls on Nov. 29 that will decide the East division title. For the Eagles, they will be looking to play spoiler and carry the momentum gained in the victory against Western Michigan two weeks ago. This matchup is will showcase the league’s best defense (Bowling Green) against one of the MAC’s worst defenses (Eastern Michigan). The outcome will decide on which team can dictate the tempo on Saturday and force the other team into their style of play.
Bowling Green is very methodical on offense and relies on a physical offensive line. The Falcons are averaging 33.1 points per game (45th in the nation) and are balanced. The team is averaging 255.9 passing yards per game (43rd in the country) and is ranked 40th in rushing offense (195.9 rushing yards per game). Sophomore quarterback Matt Johnson has shown poise and confidence in leading the Falcons’ offense. Johnson is not afraid to stand in the pocket and deliver the football to an underrated group of receivers.
Bowling Green will look to exploit an Eagles defense that is giving up 44.2 points per game, and is ranked 123rd in the nation. The Eagles are yielding 250 rushing yards per game and 267.5 passing yards per game.
Eastern Michigan has struggled offensively this year, and is ranked 106th in the country in scoring offense (20.9 points per game). The Eagles are ranked 98th in the nation in passing offense (198.2 yards per game), and are averaging 164.2 rushing yards per game. Eastern Michigan must be able to run the football and keep the pressure off of quarterback Brogan Roeback. The Eagles have given up 25 sacks through 10 games.
Bowling Green will look to dominate the line of scrimmage and force the Eagles into third down and long situations. The Falcons are ranked first in the MAC, giving up 15.1 points per game. The Falcons have very aggressive linebackers and safeties that help out in run support. In order for the Eagles to move the chains and get big plays, they are going to need the success of the running game. Bowling Green is giving up 154.2 rushing yards per game, and allowing 171.6 passing yards per game on the season.
Prediction: Bowling Green’s ability to run the football behind their big offensive line will be the difference. The Falcons are too physical on both sides of the line of scrimmage, and will force the tempo with their physical style of play.
Bowling Green — 36, Eastern Michigan — 13