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Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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32 OCT. 7, 2019 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY ANDREW MENTOCK P reviously under head coaches Dave Clawson (2012-13) and Dino Babers (2014-15), Bowl- ing Green averaged nine wins per year and had two 10-win seasons. Clawson turned his success with the Falcons into a job at Wake Forest, which was ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 heading into the final weekend of September. Babers found similar success and accepted a job as the head coach at Syracuse after just two years at Bowling Green. The Orange won 10 games last season and finished No. 15 in the final AP poll. Bowling Green was also the first head coaching job for Urban Meyer, who went on to win national cham- pionships at Florida and Ohio State. Prior to taking the job, he was the wide receivers coach at Notre Dame from 1996-2000. Meyer was the head coach of the Falcons from 2001-02. For at least 20 years, the Bowling Green football program has been used as an excellent springboard for future prominent Power Five coaches. Unfortunately for Falcons fans, if they don't have the right person man- ning the ship, the program can start to sink quickly. After Babers' final season in 2015, a year the team went 10-4, Mike Jinks took over as head coach and pro- duced a 4-8 season. In 2017, it got even worse with a 2-10 finish. Jinks followed that up with a 1-6 start to 2018 and was fired mid-season. So far, it's impossible to tell if new head coach Scot Loeffler is the next Babers, Clawson or even Meyer (un- likely). Loeffler was a quarterback at the University of Michigan from 1993-96, and his most recent gigs were as the offensive coordinator at Virginia Tech (2013-15) and Boston College (2016-18). The Falcons are off to a 1-3 start with a bye week prior to their matchup with the Fighting Irish Oct. 5. Their lone win was a 46-3 runaway in their season opener Aug. 29 against Morgan State of the Football Champi- onship Subdivision. Since then, Bowling Green has lost to Kansas State (52-0), Louisiana Tech (35-7) and Kent State (62-20) — the latter being one of the few teams on their schedule fans expected them to beat. After week four, the team was rated 128th out of 130 Football Bowl Subdi- vision (FBS) programs according to the ESPN metric SP+. The program is in need of a significant rebuild, in terms of both talent and culture, which will not be resolved quickly. "At media day, [Loeffler] said he wants to be here as long as they'll have him," Sentinel-Tribune sports editor Brandon Shrider said. "Obvi- ously, there are certain things that are coach speak but, it does seem like he's here to build something, at least in the short- to mid-term, and he isn't just trying to stop in for two years. "With the roster he has, he has to be at least looking a little way down the road." OFFENSE In Bowling Green's three games versus FBS opponents this season, the team has scored a total of 27 points, good for an average of 9.0 points per outing. Heading into the final week- end of September, only East Carolina and South Florida were averaging fewer points per game against FBS foes. The offensive woes for the Fal- cons started in the summer when in- cumbent starting quarterback Jarret Doege transferred to West Virginia. In 2018, Doege threw for 2,660 yards with 27 touchdowns and 12 intercep- tions. About a month later, redshirt fresh- man quarterback Bryce Veasley fol- lowed suit and left the program. To find a signal-caller, Loeffler turned to his former employer and added Bos- ton College graduate transfer Darius Wade, who started three games for the Eagles in 2017. In four contests with Bowling GAME PREVIEW: BOWLING GREEN Mismatch The Falcons have struggled against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents, and it won't get any easier for them versus Notre Dame Sophomore defensive lineman Karl Brooks led Bowling Green in sacks (3.5) as a true freshman last year and is part of a unit that ranked among the top 20 in the country through four weeks this season with 3.0 sacks per game. PHOTO COURTESY BOWLING GREEN STATE UNIVERSITY Facts & Figures BOWLING GREEN AT NOTRE DAME Game Info Date: Oct. 5, 2019 Site: Notre Dame Stadium (77,622) Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET Television: NBC Radio: This broadcast can be heard live on SIRIUS Satellite Radio (channel 129) and on Notre Dame's IMG affiliates. Series Facts: This will be the first meeting between Bowling Green and Notre Dame Head Coaches: Bowling Green — Scot Loeffler (1-3, first season); Notre Dame — Brian Kelly (84-36, 10th season) Noting Bowling Green: Despite the program's recent struggles, Bowling Green's all-time record is 544-394-52 … The Falcons have won 17 conference championships in their 93-year history … Twelve of those conference championships have come since they joined the Mid-American Conference in 1952 … Bowling Green's first MAC title came in 1956, when the team posted an 8-0-1 record … The last time the Falcons won the MAC was in 2015 … The other five Bowling Green conference championships came in the Northwest Ohio League, which existed from 1921-32 … Over the past three seasons, the Falcons have posted a record of 9-27 … From 2012-15, Bowling Green won 36 games … The last time the Falcons won in the postseason was in 2014, when they defeated South Alabama 33-28 in the Camellia Bowl… The last time the Falcons were ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 was during the 2004 season, when Gregg Brandon was the head coach.

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