Know Thy Enemy: Bowling Green - Solid offense, but don't forget about the punter
Know Thy Enemy is a weekly Q&A where the perspective changes, from the eyes of the Spartans to the eyes of the opposing team. Members of The State News ask the opposing team's student newspaper a few questions and see football through a different perspective.
Bowling Green struggled last year in head coach Mike Jinks’ first season, that’s obvious, finishing with a 4-8 record. But coupled with a three-game winning streak to end 2016, there’s some optimism surrounding the program.
To delve further into who the Falcons feature and their personnel, The State News asked Zane Miller, the Sports Editor of the BG News, four questions about Bowling Green.
1. It’s no secret that neither MSU or Bowling Green had a successful 2016 season. However, the Falcons did win their last three games of the year. How do you think that boosted morale for the team?
A: I think it's going to be a really huge help. I think obviously towards the start of the last season they were a really young team, they had a lot of freshmen players starting. I think this year for them, winning the last three games (in 2016), they're going into this season with a full head of steam.
2. Both MSU and Bowling Green are going into the season with the starter at quarterback as a redshirt-sophomore. Brian Lewerke for MSU, James Morgan for Bowling Green. However, Lewerke just started two games, whereas Morgan started seven, played in all 12 for the Falcons last year. He led the team in all passing categories, slinging for 2,082 yards and 16 touchdowns. What kind of game does he have and what are some of his strength and weaknesses?
A: I think because he only played one season it's going to be kind of hard to tell. I think the game plan for him is to not throw interceptions, to not throw the ball over. Of course, with a young quarterback like that, they usually struggle with that. They struggle with turnovers at the beginning. I think he plays with a sort of confidence throughout the game.
3. Head coach Mark Dantonio said Bowling Green has some talented players, namely at wide receiver in Scott White and tailbacks Donovan Wilson and Josh Cleveland. What kind of stability do they bring to the team as weapons for Morgan can use?
A: They're going to be huge. I think they're kind of looked up to as the leaders on the offensive side of the ball. Even on the defensive side of the ball, because of how they're able to play very consistently no matter what the score is, no matter what the situation is. They're always ready to deal with any situation.
4. Bowling Green has a strong special teams unit, led by punter Joseph Davidson, an All-American. The Falcons ranked first in the nation in kick coverage, allowing opponents just 15.1 yards per return. Elsewhere, they were 28th in punt return defense, yielding just 5.2 yards per return. MSU struggled in 2016 on that side of the ball, what impact can that have for a Falcons team looking for the upset?
A: I think especially with interviews I think we interview the special team players more than any other team in the conference. Just because they're that good. They're definitely well-known around here. Obviously, Davidson he's excellent. Last year, I think he had a 70-yard punt or something like that.