Bowling Green, OH - Bowling Green's offense has garnered most of the attention in the Falcons' first two games, but it was their defense that stepped up and provided the margin of victory in Bowling Green's 48-35 victory over Temple Saturday.
BG's Freddie Barnes Scores
"I'm going to remember this game as the game that Kenny Lewis stole the ball," said Bowling Green head coach Gregg Brandon. "That was the play of the game in my opinion."
With the scored tied 21-21 early in the third quarter, Bowling Green cornerback Kenny Lewis ripped the ball from Owls' fullback Josh Bundy and ran 35 yards untouched into the end zone, beginning a run of 24 unanswered points that put the game out of reach.
"I thought Josh was making a second effort and it was a situation of ball security, which we work on everyday," said Temple head coach Al Golden after the game. "We work hard like crazy at it (ball security). Our veteran players turned the ball over. I guess we are going to have to keep working at it."
On the Owls' next possession, quarterback Adam DiMichele, who passed for 299 yards and four touchdowns, was hit in the Owls' end-zone by Bowling Green's Jacob Hardwick, jarring the ball loose. The Falcons' Orlando Barrow pounced on the loose ball for a touchdown, giving Bowling Green an insurmountable 35-21 lead midway through the third quarter.
The teams had battled back and forth throughout a competitive first half.
The Falcons spotted the Owls an early 7-0 lead when Steve Maneri caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from DiMichele late in the first quarter but the Falcons responded on a pair of Freddie Barnes touchdown receptions of 21 and 7 yards from quarterback Tyler Sheehan who also found Marques Parks later in the second quarter for a 13 yard touchdown as the Falcons built up a 21-7 lead.
The Owls, however, stormed back with a pair of touchdowns in the final four minutes of the half when DiMichele connected with Dy'Onne Crudup from 21 yards out and then with five seconds remaining in the half, DiMichele scored on a 1-yard run to tie the game at 21-21.
After Bowling Green's two defensive touchdowns in the third quarter, the Falcons added to their total on a 41-yard Sinisa Vrvilo field goal and then Tyler Sheehan tossed his fourth touchdown of the game when he connected with Tyrone Pronty early in the fourth quarter as the Falcons built up a 45-21 lead before Bowling Green head coach Gregg Brandon pulled his starters and the Owls added two late touchdowns.
The win avenged Bowling Green's 28-14 loss to Temple last season which was the Owls only victory in 2006 but Brandon did not see revenge as a point of emphasis in the Falcons preparation for the Owls.
"This team last year learned from that loss. The kids that played in that game took the bitterness of that defeat and learned from it. We talked about it earlier in the week but that didn't come up today."
What did come up was a new attitude, according to Falcons' defensive end Diryal Briggs.
"The big plays at the start of the second really got the crowd excited and we just feel that we're going to let everyone know this is a new team with a new attitude. All around, defense, offense, we're more of a unit now," said Briggs.
The Falcons outgained the Owls 447-401 yards but held the Owls to just 10 yards of offense in the decisive third quarter. The Falcons offense was dominated by its aerial attack which accounted for 351 yards.
"That's who we are. We're a throwing team," said Brandon addressing the Falcons' pass-first-run-second offense. "As long as Tyler (Sheehan) keeps throwing the ball like he is throwing we are going to continue to be a passing team. We like to spread people out and throw the football, that's Bowling Green football."
Bowling Green (2-1, 1-0 MAC) moved into first place in the MAC East by winning its first conference game of the season while Temple (0-4, 0-2 MAC) continues to search for its first win of the season, The Falcons host Western Kentucky next while Temple travels to face Army.