STARKVILLE – It is always nice to win on homecoming.
But Mississippi State’s opponent Saturday night will not be a pushover. Bowling Green is 5-1 on the year and has won four of its 10 all-time meetings against teams that currently makeup the Southeastern Conference.
The Falcons have three wins over Missouri and also defeated Kentucky in 1985.
Bowling Green traveled to Florida to open the 2012 season and had the Gators tied in the third quarter before falling late 27-14. Dave Clawson is 0-2 against the SEC during his five-year tenure at BGSU but knows his team will be amped up for an upset this weekend.
“There’s always a little extra juice,” Clawson said. “Our players enjoy these games. They enjoy being on this stage and enjoy the challenge of it. It worked out well last week. As soon as we got home from our game, boom right there on TV is LSU and Mississippi State. They got a chance to watch the game, saw the environment and heard the cowbells. We’re going to a big-time atmosphere.”
The Falcons have won three straight games and another victory would give them bowl eligibility for the second consecutive season.
On the offensive
Bowling Green’s offense is averaging 480.8 yards and 32 points per game. But Clawson understands his squad will have its work cut out against an SEC defense.
“Watching the film, it’s clearly a different level,” Clawson said. “On defense they can run in the secondary and at linebacker. Their front is beautiful. They are long, lean, athletic, strong and are good pass rushers.”
Clawson was especially impressed with MSU’s Chris Jones. The former Houston defensive lineman made four tackles, two for loss and a sack against LSU last week.
“They’ve got some guys on that line that will be making a lot of money playing football on Sundays,” Clawson said. “(Jones) is a 5-star recruit and is playing as a freshman. We were watching him on film and what he did to LSU. He probably won’t be there four years.”
There is also concern from Clawson about the Bulldogs spread offense and its skilled backs and receivers. If that was not enough, Bowling Green must also prepare to face both Dak Prescott and Tyler Russell at quarterback.
“They give you a lot to prepare for in terms of their scheme and talent,” Clawson said. “There are challenges across the board. But if you look at the two things that jump out are certainly their perimeter speed and talent and where they are as a defensive line.”