Bowling Green Head Coach Scot Loeffler during the NCAA college football game between the Tennessee Volunteers and Bowling Green Falcons in Knoxville, Tenn. on Thursday, September 2, 2021.

Ut Bowling Green

Bowling Green coach Scot Loeffler to miss game for health reasons

Bowling Green head football coach Scot Loeffler will miss Saturday’s game at Mississippi State due to a “personal health matter,” the school announced Friday.

Associate head coach Steve Morrison, who also coaches inside linebackers, is the acting head coach for Bowling Green (1-2). Running backs coach Brian White will work as the game manager on the field, with Morrison operating from the booth on game day.

Loeffler is expected back on the field at Akron on Oct. 1.

Loeffler, 47, has been the coach at Bowling Green since 2019. He has an 8-24 record.

–Field Level Media

Sep 3, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA; Bowling Green Falcons quarterback Matt McDonald (3) runs the ball as UCLA Bruins defensive lineman Martin Andrus Jr. (44)  and linebacker Carl Jones Jr. (35) move in with tight end Andrew Bench (89) providing coverage during the second half at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Mississippi State seeks bounce-back effort vs. Bowling Green

Mississippi State recorded a pair of impressive wins in its first two nonconference games.

The Bulldogs then a 31-16 loss at LSU in their Southeastern Conference opener last week. They will hope to get back on track when they host Bowling Green in a nonconference game on Saturday.

“We’ve identified plenty to improve on from the last game,” Mississippi State coach Mike Leach said. “We need to get a week better this week.”

The Bulldogs (2-1), who began the season by defeating Memphis 49-23 and Arizona 39-17, led LSU 13-0 before getting outscored 31-3 in the final 30:46.

They held the ball for an average of 39 minutes in the first two games but for just 27 against LSU. After averaging 30.5 first downs and 487 yards in the first two games, they had just 15 first downs and 289 yards against the Tigers.

“We’ve got to be consistent,” Leach said. “On all three sides of the ball we interrupted ourselves of being inconsistent.”

The Falcons (1-2) showed resiliency last week.

Coming off a 59-57 loss in seven overtimes against Eastern Kentucky, Bowling Green had to work overtime again vs. Marshall after overcoming two 14-point deficits. The Falcons needed just one extra period to prevail 34-31 against a Thundering Herd team that had just beaten Notre Dame on the road.

“There’s some tenaciousness, no quit in this team,” Falcons coach Scot Loeffler said. “It just shows you: Don’t listen to the noise, don’t worry about what emblem you have on your helmet.

“Anyone in college football can win. Every team that we play, you’re going to have the chance to win or lose the game, plain and simple.”

Bowling Green, which began the season with a 45-17 loss at UCLA, added five transfers to its roster in June.

“We came out with a lot of new transfers, anybody that knows football, that’s hard to do — get a team together that doesn’t have much chemistry in order to win,” senior wide receiver Odieu Hiliare said. “You got to build chemistry, valor, resilience, and we’ve been doing a great job.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 3, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins wide receiver Kazmeir Allen (19) scores a touchdown against the Bowling Green Falcons during the first half at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Dorian Thompson-Robinson shines as UCLA turns it on against Bowling Green

Dorian Thompson-Robinson passed for 298 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 87 yards and two more scores to lead UCLA to a 45-17 win against visiting Bowling Green in the season opener for both teams on Saturday afternoon at the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles.

Kazmeir Allen caught 10 passes for 85 yards and a touchdown, and Zach Charbonnet added 111 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries for the Bruins, who trailed by 10 points just before the midway point of the second quarter.

Bowling Green quarterback Matt McDonald completed 17 of 34 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown. The Falcons were held to 162 total yards, including 37 on the ground.

McDonald found tight end Christian Sims over the middle with a short pass and he sliced through the UCLA defense for a 22-yard touchdown that extended the lead to 17-7 with 13:54 left in the first half.

The 101-degree heat seemed to wear down Bowling Green more than the Bruins, however.

UCLA started its comeback with a 24-yard field goal by Nicholas Barr-Mira.

Thompson-Robinson, who completed 32 of 43 passes with an interception, then found Allen on a short screen pass and he dodged defenders for a 20-yard touchdown to tie the score 17-17 with 4:04 left in the first half.

Keegan Jones then hauled in a 52-yard touchdown strike to give the Bruins a 24-17 lead with 2:18 left in the half.

UCLA kept the momentum in the second half, extending the lead to 31-17 on their first possession on a 4-yard touchdown run by Charbonnet.

Thompson-Robinson scored six seconds into the fourth quarter on an 8-yard dash to stretch the lead to 38-17.

Cashius Howell blocked UCLA’s first punt of the season and Charles Rosser recovered it in the endzone for a 7-0 lead 1:14 into the game.

Thompson-Robinson came back with his 68-yard touchdown scamper to tie the score 7-7.

Following an interception by Thompson-Robinson and a muffed punt by UCLA that led to a Bowling Green field goal, the Falcons took a 10-7 lead into the second quarter, despite being outgained in yards 156-60.

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2021; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan (2) takes a snap in the first quarter against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota looks for another dominating outing vs. Bowling Green

Minnesota will look to extend its winning streak to three games when it hosts the Bowling Green Falcons in a nonconference game on Saturday in Minneapolis.

The Golden Gophers produced one of their most dominant performances in school history in a 30-0 win last week over host Colorado. They outgained the Buffaloes 441-63 en route to posting their first shutout of a Power Five team on the road since a 21-0 win at Illinois on Nov. 12, 1977. Colorado had seven yards in the first half.

Trey Potts rushed for three touchdowns and finished with 121 yards on 26 carries and Mar’Keise Irving added 89 yards on 15 carries, with Ky Thomas rushing for 66 yards and a score on seven carries. Quarterback Tanner Morgan went 11-for-17 passing for 164 yards.

The emergence of Potts, who rushed for 178 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Miami of Ohio on Sept. 11, couldn’t have come at a better time for the Gophers (2-1). Their starting running back, Mohamed Ibrahim, suffered a season-ending injury to his left leg in Minnesota’s season-opening loss to then-No. 4 Ohio State on Sept. 2. Ibrahim shredded the Buckeyes for 163 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries.

The Gophers have won 21 straight nonconference games — 17 regular-season games and four bowl contests — which is the longest active streak in the country and dates to a loss to TCU in September 2015.

Bowling Green (1-2) comes to the Twin Cities after posting its first victory of the season with a 27-10 win over Murray State, which plays in the Football Championship Subdivision. The Falcons, who play in the Mid-American Conference, scored 17 second-half points to break open a game that was tied at 10-10 at halftime.

“We tell our team we’ve got a 24-hour rule,” Bowling Green coach Scot Loeffler told the Toledo Blade. “Our team needs to learn how to deal with a little bit of success. We’ve dealt with adversity and we’ve dealt with failure a ton. Now it’s time to learn a little bit of what it takes when we have a little bit of success.”

The Falcons opened the season with a 38-6 loss at Tennessee before losing on a last-second field goal at home against South Alabama on Sept. 11.

Bowling Green will look to senior quarterback Matt McDonald to carry a pass-heavy offense. He’s gone 70-for-98 passing for 716 yards with two touchdowns and an interception this season.

However, the Falcons have struggled running the ball, averaging just 53 yards per game. Freshman Nick Mosley is the team’s leading rusher with 74 yards on 17 carries.

“They can spread people about and do a lot of things with screens to get the ball in the hands of individuals who can make a play with it,” Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck told reporters. “The focus has to be to go 1-0 in the Bowling Green season.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 2, 2021; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Joe Milton III (7) throws the ball against Bowling Green Falcons linebacker Darren Anders (23) during the first quarter at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee rolls up 326 yards rushing in rout of Bowling Green

Quarterback Joe Milton rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another Thursday night as Tennessee gave new coach Josh Heupel a win in his first game, dumping Bowling Green 38-6 in Knoxville, Tenn.

Milton, a Michigan transfer who beat out Virginia Tech transfer Hendon Hooker and holdover Harrison Bailey for the job, wasn’t quite as proficient in the air. Milton was just 11 of 23 for 140 yards, overthrowing a spate of deep passes before connecting with Cedric Tillman on a 40-yard score with 5:11 left in the game.

But the Volunteers were able to overpower the Falcons with their ground game. Jabari Small rushed for 116 yards and a score on 22 carries, while Tiyon Evans added 116 yards and a touchdown on 16 attempts. For the game, Tennessee outrushed its Mid-American Conference opponent 326-32.

Bowling Green stayed in the game for a half, using a short passing game to control the ball for long stretches of the second quarter. Matt McDonald hit 25 of 38 attempts for 187 yards, spraying his passes to eight different receivers.

The Falcons trailed only 14-6 at halftime as they got 42- and 50-yard field goals from Nate Needham, but never made much headway in the second half.

The Volunteers scored on their first two possessions on 4- and 1-yard runs by Milton and Small, respectively. Both drives lasted less than three minutes as Tennessee clicked off plays at seven-second intervals.

After halftime, the Volunteers found rhythm offensively with the running game. Milton’s 1-yard run just over two minutes into the third quarter made it 21-6 and Evans dashed in from 19 yards with 7:51 left for a 28-6 lead.

Chase McGrath converted a 43-yard field goal with 9:36 left in the game for Tennessee, which finished the night with a 471-219 advantage in total yards. The Volunteers earned 30 first downs to Bowling Green’s 11.

The Falcons, which were winless in five games last year, were flagged 11 times for 85 yards.

–Field Level Media

Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel stands with the quarterbacks during the team's football practice on Tuesday, August 10, 2021.

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Tennessee can’t spare focus vs. Bowling Green

Tennessee is starting over, again, and this time Josh Heupel plans to forge a different path.

Coach leaves or is fired. Lather, rinse and repeat until your program is no longer relevant on a national stage.

That’s the path Tennessee has taken since coach Phil Fulmer was forced to resign in the middle of a 5-7 2008. When he left the program, Fulmer was 100 games over .500 and had guided the Volunteers to a 1998 national title.

Lane Kiffin, Derek Dooley, Butch Jones and Jeremy Pruitt have swung from the heels to try to duplicate Fulmer’s success since he stepped down. All have failed, leaving a once-proud program looking for the right man – again.

Heupel is the latest solution to the ongoing problem at Tennessee, which dismissed Pruitt after going from being ranked 14th after a 2-0 start in 2020 to finishing 3-7. Heupel will make his debut on Thursday night when the Volunteers host Bowling Green in Knoxville.

“I love this team’s effort and energy,” he said. “The way they’ve learned how to approach walking up the stairs and going to meetings and being consistent in those competitive behaviors that you’ve got to have … they care about representing the state the right way.”

Heupel, a star quarterback who piloted Bob Stoops’ Oklahoma to a 2000 national title, is still looking for the man at Tennessee. Power 5 transfers Hendon Hooker (Virginia Tech) and Joe Milton III (Michigan) are battling holdover Harrison Bailey for the starting job.

All the question marks aside, there’s a reason the Volunteers are a 34-point favorite. Bowling Green went 0-5 in a COVID-shortened 2020 and was outscored 225-57.

They were outgained by nearly 150 total yards per game, allowing a whopping 310.2 yards per game on the ground. About the only thing they did well was commit fewer penalties. In short, they look on paper to be a perfect first game opponent for a rebuilding program such as Tennessee.

If Bowling Green is to have a shot at pulling off an upset, it will likely need quarterback Matt McDonald to show significant progress. He struggled last year, completing just 43.9 percent of his passes for 712 yards with six interceptions and just one touchdown.

–Field Level Media

Oct 19, 2019; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley (left) greets West Virginia Mountaineers head coach Neal Brown after the game at Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia-No. 11 Oklahoma canceled; MAC game nixed

West Virginia has paused all football activities — forcing the cancellation of Saturday’s game against No. 11 Oklahoma — for the next seven days due to a surge in positive tests for COVID-19 and contact tracing, the school announced Thursday.

“Our intent is to get this spread under control as soon as possible for the health and safety of all involved,” West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons said in a statement. “We are beyond disappointed not to play our final home game of the season and honor our seniors, but we need to act now and reevaluate our situation after Dec. 17.”

The Mountaineers (5-4, 4-4 Big 12) were scheduled to host the Sooners (7-2, 6-2) on Saturday. Oklahoma is slated to play Iowa State on Dec. 19 in the Big 12 championship game in Arlington, Texas.

Also Thursday, the Mid-American Conference announced the cancellation of Saturday’s game between Miami (Ohio) and Bowling Green due to COVID-19 issues and contact tracing within the Miami program. The game has been declared a no contest, per the MAC.

Also postponed or canceled from Saturday’s schedule: Michigan at No. 4 Ohio State, Purdue at No. 12 Indiana, No. 8 Cincinnati at No. 24 Tulsa, and Ole Miss at No. 5 Texas A&M.

–Field Level Media