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Bowling Green hopes to jump-start running game vs. EKU

  • SPT-BGFB09-36

    Bowling Green's Andrew Clair (1) runs the ball during the Falcons' game against Maryland last week.

    The Blade/Kurt Steiss
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  • SPT-BGFB09-42

    Bowling Green coach Mike Jinks says the offense needs to improve its running game.

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SPT-BGFB09-36

Bowling Green's Andrew Clair (1) runs the ball during the Falcons' game against Maryland last week.

The Blade/Kurt Steiss
Enlarge | Buy This Image

BOWLING GREEN — There was no use in sugar-coating the game tape from Bowling Green’s 45-14 loss to Maryland last week.

What happened in real time was as apparent in slow-motion: The Falcons were beaten badly along the line of scrimmage and the running game suffered. 

Bowling Green managed just 15 yards rushing for the game and gained only two first downs in the second half as Maryland rallied and eventually wore down the BG defense on its way to winning.

Re-watching the game didn’t make it any better from the BG point of view.

“I don’t know how many lessons you can take from getting your tail kicked,” Falcons coach Mike Jinks said.

Bowling Green's 2018 football schedule

Now the Falcons must go about reviving their rushing attack, starting with Saturday’s home game against Eastern Kentucky.

Bowling Green (0-2) plans to make its ground game a focal point after back-to-back losses against Power Five opponents, Oregon and Maryland, in the first two weeks of the season.

Against the Colonels, who play in the Football Championship Subdivision, the Falcons will have a size and height advantage at every position along the line of scrimmage when they have the ball.

Although Bowling Green faced NFL-caliber talent in the past two weeks, Jinks said he thinks the offensive line was better than it showed against Maryland.

“I expect more,” Jinks said. “They faced two of the better defensive linemen they’re going to face all year long, but I expect more out of those guys. … That group is the deepest group on our football team, and we will go as they go.”

Despite having one of the country’s most elusive backs in Andrew Clair, who set a school record with 6.8 yards per carry a season ago, the Falcons thus far have not been able to run the ball as consistently as they had hoped.

The Falcons’ lackluster showing against Maryland dropped their rushing average to 75.5 yards, which ranks 123rd out of 129 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision. EKU’s defense held Marshall to 89 yards rushing last week, and its 94.5 average is in the top 20 of FCS teams.

Jinks said for Bowling Green to reach its potential as an offense, the Falcons will have to improve on the ground.

In his news conference this week, the third-year Falcons coach promised the first two weeks will not become the norm for Bowling Green this season.

“We will have the ability to run the football,” Jinks said. “I promise you we’ll find a way to run the ball, and when you do that, it makes everything else easier.”

Contact Nicholas Piotrowicz at: npiotrowicz@theblade.com, 419-724-6110, or on Twitter @NickPiotrowicz.

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