After weeks of struggle sporadically peppered with an occasional victory, Ohio is approaching its final game of the season. It’ll face Bowling Green at Doyt L. Perry Stadium on Friday in hopes of capping off its season with a win instead of another heartbreak.
The Bobcats (3-8, 3-4 Mid-American Conference) have won two of their last three games and haven’t lost to the Falcons (3-8, 1-6 MAC) since 2015. The Falcons have been blown out in their last two games and haven’t won a game since late October.
Here’s a look at the Falcons ahead of the Bobcats’ final game of the season:
All-time series: Bowling Green leads 40-30-2.
Last time they played: Nov. 28, 2020. Ohio dismantled Bowling Green 52-10 in Peden Stadium and amassed 436 total offensive yards. De’Montre Tuggle rushed for 185 yards and three touchdowns on 15 attempts, including a 70-yard touchdown run on Ohio’s second drive of the game.
Bowling Green report: The Falcons have become the recurring punching bag of the MAC East Division for the past six seasons. They’ve ended every season since 2016 with a losing record, and their win over Buffalo on Oct. 30 was their first conference win since 2019.
The Falcons are one of the weakest offensive teams in the MAC. They sit in the basement of the conference rankings for total offense, averaging 314.3 yards per game. Their 21.5 points per game is second only to Akron for the lowest-scoring offense in the MAC.
Bowling Green hasn’t fared much better on defense. It’s been outscored 83-24 in its last two games and hasn’t held a conference opponent to under 20 points this season. Its one decent facet has been its passing defense, which allows an average of 193.8 yards per game and is ranked third in the MAC. Bowling Green’s defense has picked off opposing quarterbacks nine times and forced four fumbles this season.
However, Bowling Green still has managed to rack up a handful of wins this season. It upset Minnesota 14-10 in Week 4 and defeated Football Conference Subdivision opponent Murray State the week prior.
How Ohio beats Bowling Green: Ohio can’t be overconfident when facing Bowling Green. Despite being whipped by opposing quarterbacks since conference play began, Bowling Green held Northern Illinois to just 38 passing yards in mid-October.
The Bobcats, however, might be able to utilize their running backs unit effectively. Tuggle had a career day against the Falcons last year, and he has the opportunity to repeat that success. The Falcons rank in the bottom half of the MAC for run defense and have allowed 29 rushing touchdowns this season.
On defense, the Bobcats need to watch out for quarterback Matt McDonald. The senior’s 2,300 passing yards account for 66.5% of the Falcons’ total offensive yards. If the Bobcats can shut down McDonald, the Falcons will be forced to rely on a run game that averages just over 100 yards per game.
Stat to know: 6-4. Ohio is 6-4 against Bowling Green over the last decade. However, Bowling Green hasn’t won since it was under the leadership of current Syracuse coach Dino Babers in 2015.
Player to watch: Matt McDonald, quarterback, No. 3
McDonald is the lone man who keeps Bowling Green’s offense rolling. He ranks fifth in the MAC for total passing yards and averages 209.1 passing yards per game. He’s also managed to record four rushing touchdowns this season despite netting just three total yards on the ground.