Bowling Green beats WMU for first time since 2004

KALAMAZOO — Western Michigan fell in a battle of the unbeatens from the Mid-American Conference, suffering its first conference loss of the season Wednesday evening at the hands of Bowling Green, 41-27.

The Broncos and Falcons entered the matchup with 5-0 MAC records and leading their respective divisions.

Despite the loss, Western Michigan (6-4, 5-1 MAC) remains on top of the West Division and is currently in a three-way tie with Northern Illinois and Toledo. The Broncos will face both on the road over the next two weeks, closing out the regular-season at NIU on Nov. 18 and at Toledo Nov. 27.

The Broncos took their first lead of the night in the beginning of the second quarter, pulling ahead 17-14 on a 3-yard touchdown by running back Jamauri Bogan. Quarterback Zach Terrell connected with wide receiver Corey Davis down the sideline for a 36-yard gain to the BGSU 21-yard line on a second-and-three to set up Bogan’s run.

WMU’s defense forced a punt on the next BGSU possession but the offense was unable to capitalize. Bowling Green recaptured the lead with 9:41 left before the half on a 42-yard hook up between quarterback Matt Johnson and receiver Teo Redding.

The Falcons’ defense made a stand on WMU’s ensuing possession, forcing a punt and taking over at its own 45-yard line. BGSU scored again on 31-yard reception by Lewis for his second touchdown of the game. Tyler Tate missed the extra point bouncing it off the upright, making the score 27-17.

Western Michigan trailed 27-20 after Andrew Haldeman booted in his second field goal of the game as the clock hit zero at the half. The kick was set up by Darius Phillips’ fourth interception of the season as the sophomore jumped a short pass and returned it 34 yards to the BG 24-yard line. Haldeman’s kick was good from 21-yards out. The senior kicker also hit a career-long 48-yarder on WMU’s opening drive of the game.

WMU took possession of the ball to start the second half and put together an eight-play, 58-yard drive. Terrell scrambled 10 yards to the end zone for his third rushing touchdown of the season to tie the game at 27-27.

WMU threatened on two fourth quarter drives but was unable to convert on third and fourth downs. Driving with 11 minutes remaining, Terrell hit Davis on an end cut on fourth down but was stopped a yard short at the BGSU 35-yard line.

With five minutes remaining Terrell missed a wide-open Bogan at the end zone on second and goal from the 4-yard line. Terrell was sacked on fourth down to turn the ball over on downs. He was intercepted for the first time in MAC play with 2:44 left in the game, sealing the win for Bowling Green.

Davis had another impact performance, racking up 159 yards for his fifth 100-yard receiving game of the year.  He totaled a career-high 13 catches. Davis currently leads all active FBS receivers with 3,340 career yards.
Terrell finished 24-for-40 with 282 yards passing. A light rain started to come down during halftime that picked up throughout the second half, affecting both teams’ aerial assault.

Bogan recorded 118 yards rushing on 22 carries and scored two rushing touchdowns. Freshman LeVante Bellamy had 69 yards on 11 carries.

Defensively, Western Michigan forced four three-and-outs and seven punts by Bowling Green. The Falcons came into the game averaging just three punts per game.

Individually, Asantay Brown had a team-high 14 tackles. Ronald Zamort and Grant DePalma each made 10 tackles. DePalma recorded a sack and had 1.5 tackles for a loss. WMU had two other sacks in the game.

Offensively, Western Michigan had 487 yards of total offense while Bowling Green had 505. Johnson threw for three touchdowns and 269 yards for BGSU. He entered the game ranking second in the nation averaging 409.6 yards per game. His 269 yards was a season low.

With the win, Bowling Green (8-2, 6-0 MAC) clinched the East Division title for the third straight season. It was the Falcons’ first victory over WMU since 2004.

 

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