July 8, 2014

Falcons looking to repeat as MAC champions

Bowling Green is poised for a repeat with junior quarterback Matt Johnson and a host of others returning from a Mid-American Conference title.

Johnson had a breakout 2013 as he lead the Falcons to Ford Field and the MAC championship by throwing for 3,467 yards with a 64.2 percent completion rating, 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Also returning is junior running back Travis Greene who rushed for 1,594 and 11 touchdowns. Senior linebacker DJ Lynch is back as is senior safety Ryland Ward as the teams two leading tacklers.

"It should be a smooth transition from (former head coach) Dave Clawson to (new head coach) Dino Babers," wrote Rodney McKissic of the Buffalo News in Sporting News. "The Falcons will again be among the most talented teams in the MAC."

Clawson left to take over the football program at Wake Forest and in comes Babers who was recently the head of Eastern Illinois (FCS).

Babers also spent time as the offensive coordinator at Arizona, Texas A&M and the receivers coach at Baylor.

"Dino Babers has paid his dues coaching in the college ranks," wrote Phil Steele. "I gave (former head coach) Clawson a lot of credit ... each of his four years he talked about youth, but last year said it was a different program."

Johnson will be without First Team All-MAC honorees, (left guard) Dominic Flewellyn and (center) Chief Kekuewa in front of him, but three do return to the offensive line.

Not returning are Johnson's No. 1 and No. 2 receivers from last season, Shaun Joplin (54 receptions, 908 yards and three touchdowns) and Alex Bayer (37, 593 and four).

BGSU will have a tough schedule ahead of itself with non-conference road games against a quality Western Kentucky team and Big Ten power Wisconsin while hosting Indiana of the Big Ten.

The Falcons also draw Toledo and Ball State, two of the top teams in the MAC West with a road game against the Rockets. They must travel to Akron, who is looking to jump in 2014, and Ohio, who is looking to take the top spot.

They do draw Western Michigan from the MAC West as well and host Kent State, VMI (FCS) and get Buffalo for homecoming.

"Bowling Green's coaching change came at the right time," wrote Paul Myerberg of USA Today. "Babers will be the beneficiary of a loaded roster more than capable of the hitting the ground running."

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