Falcons trounced by Memphis 77-3
MEMPHIS – Bowling Green was part of another record-breaking performance Saturday night.
The records set have not been in favor of the Falcons.
Bowling Green gave up 77 points for the second time in four games to open 2016 – the latest coming in a 77-3 beating at Memphis in Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
It was the third time the Falcons have allowed 41 points or more in a game this season as they fell to 1-3 heading into Mid-American Conference play next Saturday.
“The mindset right now is we’re not very good. That was a poor showing – it was embarrassing,” said Bowling Green first-year coach Mike Jinks.
The 77 points was the most scored by Memphis in a single game.
A game that was effectively over in the first quarter, the Tigers scored early and often. Their longest scoring drive lasted just 4:22, and the shortest was a mere nine seconds.
Of Memphis’s 10 offensive touchdowns, six came on plays of 19 yards or more, with three of them being 40 yards or more.
The Tigers scored 11 touchdowns with 11 different players.
“Defensively, those are the guys we’ve got,” Jinks said. “That’s who we have to play with, so that is what it is.
“Those guys, we missed a lot of tackles. I know they’re 18-year-old young men but they’ve got to play. We can’t go to the waiver wire and pick up some more football players. This is our football team, for better or worse.
“We’ve got to coach them hard, we’ve got to love them hard, and find a way to put a better product on the football field,” he said.
Bowling Green was torched for 635 total yards, including 395 through the air. Memphis quarterback Riley Ferguson was 20-of-27 passing for 359 yards and six touchdowns, all coming in the first half.
The Tigers (3-0) scored 1:59 into the game on a 19-yard pass from Ferguson to Daniel Montiel, but Bowling Green responded nicely with an eight-play, 62-yard drive that resulted in a field goal.
Then the wheels came off.
After a defensive stop, Falcons quarterback James Knapke was intercepted by Genard Avery, who returned the ball 28 yards for a touchdown after the perfectly-thrown ball was bobbled by Deric Phouthavong and snatched up by Avery.
Memphis scored on its next five possessions to take a 42-3 lead that eventually ballooned to a 56-3 lead by halftime.
Knapke was intercepted three times – two of which were the result of drops – in the first half before being replaced by redshirt freshman James Morgan midway through the second quarter.
“We’ve got to make plays,” Jinks said. “You sit back there and everybody wants to point fingers at the quarterback, put a lot of pressure on him, but we had too many drops.
“Our guys that are going to be guys, our players that are going to be playmakers … they’ve got to start making plays.”
Phouthavong, Ronnie Moore, Janarvis Pough and Marquis Zimmerman were among the receivers to have significant drops.
Knapke was 6-of-13 for 82 yards and the three interceptions before Jinks made the switch to Morgan.
The freshman finished 17-of-34 for 126 yards and an interception as Bowling Green totaled just 294 yards of offense.
“I thought the quarterback played decent in the first quarter,” Jinks said, “but as the game moved on I kind of felt like we left some throws out there and it was time to get a good, long, hard look at the freshman.”
“About what I thought I would see,” Jinks said when asked what he saw from Morgan. “He made some great throws and there were some times you looked up and wondered what in the heck was going on.
“I feel for the quarterbacks right now,” he added. “But, again, this is who we are right now and all we can do is continue to work.”
NOTES: It was the first time in Bowling Green history that the Falcons have allowed 60 points or more in multiple games during the same season … Bowling Green’s three points are the fewest for a single game since losing 37-0 at Virginia Tech in 2012 … It is the first time Bowling Green has lost back-to-back games since 2014 … Moore moved into ninth place on BGSU’s all-time receiving list with 2,326 yards … The Falcons host Eastern Michigan next Saturday.