Falcons suffer sixth straight loss

October 22, 2016 GMT

Saturday marked a new low. There is nothing left to play for, except each other.

Bowling Green’s season, in essence, is over.

After a 40-26 loss to Miami on Saturday in Doyt Perry Stadium, all of the Falcons’ beginning-of-season goals are unattainable.

There won’t be a bowl game. There won’t be a Mid-American Conference championship. There won’t be a winning record.

Now they’re hoping to finish with more than one win.

It was Bowling Green’s sixth straight loss as it dropped to 1-7 overall and 0-4 in the MAC. Miami, which hadn’t scored more than 24 points in a game this season, is 2-6, 2-2.

“It was tough addressing that senior class … because they’ve accomplished a lot,” said Falcons coach Mike Jinks. “I’m proud of them. They need to walk out with their heads up because they’ve done what few classes have done.

“My heart aches for them. They understand the reality of it, and at the same time, we just promised them that we’ll continue to coach our butts off.

“It’s a special group, and they deserve better than that.”

Bowling Green quarterback James Morgan put up more impressive numbers, but his fourth quarter was suspect. He finished 30-of-49 (62 percent) passing for 389 yards and three touchdowns, but was intercepted three times in the fourth quarter when the Falcons were attempting to come back from just a three-point deficit.

Morgan, a redshirt freshman, was 14-of-23 for 126 yards in the final 15 minutes. But his misses were costly.

Miami went ahead 40-26 with 8:31 to play, just three plays after Morgan’s first interception. On the ensuing drive he was picked off by Miami’s TJ Williams, but the Falcons forced a fumble to give themselves another shot.

It was to be desired.

Morgan’s pass over the middle looked to be to nobody in particular and was intercepted by Tony Reid with 4:55 left, all but spelling the end for Bowling Green.

“He’s pressing a little bit,” Jinks said of Morgan. “And we really didn’t run the ball very well today, and that was a huge part of today’s game.

“We needed to be able to run the ball and bring that extra guy to the box to create some one-on-ones in coverage. Hats off to them. They did a good job defensively.”

The Falcons ran for just 57 of their 446 total yards.

Scotty Miller led Bowling Green with 11 catches for 178 yards and two touchdowns, while Ronnie Moore had five catches for 81 yards.

But it was penalties and mental errors that proved costly for the Falcons.

After Miami tied the game at 10-10 early in the second quarter, Moore dropped a swing pass behind the line of scrimmage and the RedHawks fell on it in the end zone for a safety. The play was the first from scrimmage after Will Watson returned the kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown, only for it to be called back for a block in the back.

Miami drove downfield on its ensuing drive and Bowling Green’s Jamari Bozeman intercepted a pass in the end zone, but it was for naught when the Falcons were flagged for roughing the passer.

The RedHawks scored on the next play on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Gus Ragland to Sam Shisso.

Bowling Green finished the day with 10 penalties for 104 yards. Miami had 10 for 106.

“When you’re making penalties and you’re turning the ball over and you’re shooting yourself in the foot, it’s been a struggle for us,” Jinks said. “We’ve got to find a way to grow up, mature and quit killing ourselves.

“You’ve got to hold them accountable and you’ve got to get them out. If they’re going to continue to make those kind of mistakes you can’t play them. That’s how we’ll approach it.”

The game was described as a shock to junior linebacker Austin Valdez, who led the Falcons with nine tackles, along with David Konowalski.

“It’s tough, obviously,” Valdez said. “It’s painful for me and the seniors. All the guys coming from the seasons in prior years, my first three years was nothing but winning. We’ve got games left. We’ve got pride. We can’t let the seniors go out with one win.

“Things don’t go our way, people have got to bounce back. Some people do and some people don’t. It’s up to the leaders on the team to get these guys ready.”