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2005 MAC Football Pigskin Preview

 

Bowling Green Falcons


Quarterbacks

Omar Jacobs may be the best QB in America this season. Statistically, he certainly was in 2004. Jacobs was named first-team All-MAC and named MAC Offensive Player of the Year in 2004 after setting a conference record by being responsible for 45 TDs (rushing and passing) and set an NCAA record with a 41 to 4 touchdown to interception ratio. He also led the nation in points responsible for (22.5), was second in the country in total offense (358.1), passing yards (4,002) and was third in passing efficiency (167.2) and fourth in completions per game (25.6). For the season, Jacobs completed 309 of 462 passes for 4,002 yards and also rushed for 300 yards and four TDs. Anthony Turner may be the best backup QB in the Midwest, and that includes all of the Big 10 and Big 12 schools. Turner was a top-5 rated prospect in Ohio two years ago and completed his first ten passes during the Falcons spring game.

 

Running Backs

PJ Pope was named 2nd Team All-MAC last season and is only the second running back in BG history to record back-to-back 1,000 yard rushing seasons after rushing for 1,098-yards and 15 touchdowns in 2004. He has started 27 career starts and packs a lot of power in his 5-9 216-pound frame. Pope is a preseason Doak Walker Award candidate. BJ Lane and Dan Macon are quality backups with size than speed. Lane had 85 carries for 375 yards and two touchdowns in 2004 and also returned 15 kickoffs for 371 yards, including a 93 yard touchdown return against Ball State.

 

Receivers/Tight Ends

The Falcons have a splendid group of receivers this season, but will certainly miss two graduated seniors, Cole Magner, who started 40 games in his career, and James Hawkins, who had 31 career starts. Two 5th year seniors return though with Charles Sharon, who had a 1,000-yard season in 2004, and Steve Sanders, who missed that mark by just 16-yards. Each has terrific size and speed and will once again be the primary targets for Jacobs. Derrick Lett and Brandon Jones are slated to be starters while the coaching staff is extremely excited about freshmen Cory Partridge and Luke Alexander. There is an enormous amount of talent within this receiving corps going into the fall and the Falcons should once again flirt with another 4,000-yard receiving season. The TE position is not utilized very much within this offense but Sean O’Drobinak and Ruben Ruiz are slated within the two-deep lineup.

Offensive Linemen

BG must replace the entire right side of their offensive line due to graduation of three seniors who had a combined 87 starts over their careers. The Falcons do have two very good returning players in Kory Lichtenstiger, (6-3, 300) an all-conference performer last season as a freshman, along with Rob Warren, (6-6, 296), a 5th year senior with 25 career starts. John Lanning, Derrick Markray and Drew Nystrom are slated as starters and to keep an offense rolling that averaged 44-points and 506-total yards per game last season. Jon Culp, Kevin Huelsman, Ed Massey, Andrew Stanford and Pat Watson are listed as backups. If there is any worry for the coaching staff entering the season, it is the quick development of the offensive line and building adequate depth immediately.

 

Defensive Linemen

Three starters return in Mike Thaler, (NG, 6-1, 281), Brad Williams, (DT, 6-3, 259) & Devon Parks (DE, 6-3, 239). Thaler finished the season with 30 tackles, including 2.5 sacks. Williams recorded 37 tackles on the year, including 3.5 tackles for loss. Parks finished 5th on the team with six tackles for loss and was tied for the team lead with four QB sacks. He has started every game of his Falcon career and has all-conference potential. Monty Cooley is expected to replace Mitch Crossley, who was a 2nd team all-MAC performer in 2004. Joe Schaefer (6-5, 260) will also see a lot of time at DE this fall. Much of the depth within the defensive trenches this season will be filled with redshirt freshmen and sophomores.

 

Linebackers

Teddy Piepkow is the lone returning starter at LB, produced 81 tackles last season and added two INTs. Terrell White is a new starting LB – he did record nine tackles against Oklahoma last season. Jamien Johnson is the other starting LB and had 21 tackles last season. Lavelle Sharpe saw action last season will add depth while Diyral Briggs brings to the table a lot of athleticism. Pete Winovich, or former QB prospect (6-3, 235), has moved over to LB to add more depth.

 

Defensive Backs

Teddy Piepkow is the lone returning starter at LB, produced 81 tackles last season and added two INTs. Terrell White is a new starting LB – he did record nine tackles against Oklahoma last season. Jamien Johnson is the other starting LB and had 21 tackles last season. Lavelle Sharpe saw action last season will add depth while Diyral Briggs brings to the table a lot of athleticism. Pete Winovich, or former QB prospect (6-3, 235), has moved over to LB to add more depth.

 

Special Teams

Shaun Suisham finished his career as the NCAA record holder in both extra points made (226) and extra points attempted (232) and is the all-time leading scorer at BGSU with 361 points. Joe Timchenko, a 5th year senior, will replace him. Nate Fry returns to handle the punting duties while BJ Lane and Charles Sharon are well established kick and punt returners respectively.

 

Final Thoughts

The Falcons return 12 starters from a squad which finished 9-3 and crushed Memphis in the GMAC Bowl. For the first time in school history, BG has won eight games or more in four consecutive years and has been ranked in both the AP and USA Today/ESPN Coaches polls in each of the last three seasons. All-American quarterback Omar Jacobs back along with most of his WR and RB arsenal also helps. If the offensive line performs anything like last season, the numbers generated by this group could get quite gaudy. The defense looks pretty solid is the LB corps play at a higher level. Certainly the coaching staff is solid. The biggest gift for Bowling Green is that they move back over to the east division this year after a three-year stink in the west division. Only Miami stands in their way from playing for a MAC title. BG has some early road tests against Wisconsin and Boise State, two teams that will be nationally ranked. Beating one, or possible both of these programs could mean a top-15 ranking. This BG team has the talent to do just that and is the preseason favorite to win the overall MAC title for the first time since 1992.

 

Mark it down!

BGSU will beat Wisconsin in their road opened! The Badgers do not have the horses they usually do under Barry Alvarez and the Falcons have far too good of an offense to be stopped during in the first week of season. In fact, BG may win this game by a convincing margin.

Schedule

@ Wisconsin - WIN

@ Ball State - WIN

@ Boise State - LOSS

vs. Temple - WIN

vs. Ohio - WIN

@ Buffalo - WIN

vs. Western Michigan - WIN

vs. Akron - WIN

@ Kent - WIN

@ Miami - LOSS

@ Toledo - WIN

 

9-2 Overall, 7-1 MAC

MAC Championship: Bowling Green over Toledo

GMAC Bowl: Bowling Green over Memphis

 

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