MACtion is truly the gift that keeps giving. At one point during last night’s three matchups, every game was tied up simultaneously, providing thrilling finishes across the board. Now, we get to do it all over again tonight with three more games on the schedule, including Bowling Green on the road to take on the last place Kent State Golden Flashes. With the Falcons securing a win in three straight MAC games, I’ll break down why they will be too much for the Golden Flashes to handle at home.
Kent State’s best chance to win a conference game was last week against Akron, and up until the 4th quarter, it looked as if they were going to get it. Unfortunately for the Golden Flashes faithful, the team would go on to allow 21 unanswered points in the 4th quarter to lose 31-27. While it was a huge comeback, it was unsurprising to see a Kent State defense that is 114th in the country in success rate struggle to close out a game.
Opponents are averaging 35.6 points per game against Kent State this season, and whether a team is run or pass heavy, both play styles have found success against their defense. The Golden Flashes rank 107th in EPA per run play and 127th in EPA per pass on defense, so they have not flashed a true strength on that side of the ball all year.
The only real positive from their loss to Akron was their quarterback play. Kent State is 133rd in offensive success rate this season, but the switch to Tommy Ulatowski seems to be paying off after he threw for three touchdowns last week. Ulatowski will be challenged much more tonight, though, since he is set to play a Bowling Green defense that is 8th in passing yards allowed per game (172) and 1st in takeaways per game (2.6).
Over their three-game win streak, the Falcons have not allowed more than 21 points, and they are now up to 22nd in the country in total yards allowed per game. The combination of their defense and run game is primarily why the Falcons have remained in the win column. Running back Terion Stewart has proven to be a problem for opposing defense, averaging 84.7 yards per game and racking up four touchdowns over the past two games.
As they look for their 4th straight win, Bowling Green enters this game as (-9.5) point road favorites, and I’ll be backing them for my play. Between their defense and run game, the Falcons hold advantages all over the field that should help guide them to a win and cover.
For starters, Terion Stewart should have a field day against the Kent State defense. The Golden Flashes allow an average of 159.6 rushing yards per game and 4.4 yards per carry, ranking them 98th in defensive success rate on run plays. Feeding Stewart the ball has worked well for the Falcons' offense, and with their run play percentage now ranked inside the top 30 in the country, I don’t see them shying away from that game plan.
If quarterback Connor Bazelak can remain efficient and not turn the ball over, the Falcons offense should have no problem putting points on the board. In order to keep pace with the Falcons tonight, Kent State will need Tommy Ulatowski to carry his momentum from last week, but I don’t think he’ll be able to against the BGSU defense. The Falcons are 56th in success rate on pass plays, so if they play to their strengths and take away the Golden Flashes passing game, I think they’re well on their way to a cover.
Bowling Green (-9.5) on FanDuel