BOWLING GREEN IS CHEEZ-IT NATIONAL TEAM OF THE WEEK
DALLAS – The Bowling Green Falcons scored 38 unanswered points to stage an historic comeback, gaining the program’s first win over a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference in a 38-27 win at Georgia Tech. Coming back from a 14-0 deficit to win made the Falcons the Cheez-It National Team of the Week, as selected by the All-America Committee of the Football Writers Association of America.
This is Bowling Green’s first national team of the week honor from the FWAA.
Connor Bazelak passed for 263 yards but it was ball control that played a decisive factor in the win. Bowling Green held the ball for 42:45 with Terion Stewart rushing for 138 yards and a touchdown, his second 100-yard game of the season. Finn Hogan caught eight passes for 102 yards, both career highs, also had a highlight-worthy one-handed catch that put the Falcons up 17-14 in the second quarter just before the half. Bazelak also rushed for a touchdown, his first on the ground at BGSU.
Bazelak and Stewart each surpassed career yardage marks in the game. Bazelak eclipsed 8,000 passing yards and 40 touchdowns for his collegiate career, and Stewart topping the 1,000-yard mark in his BGSU career. Odieu Hiliare extended his reception streak to 40 games, currently the fifth-longest active streak in the nation.
The Falcons were plus-3 in the turnover margin that included two key interceptions. One was a pick-six by cornerback Deshawn Jones Jr. with a 45-yard return, the other came from the other side as cornerback Jordan Oladokun recorded his second interception of the season and career in the fourth quarter at the Falcons’ 5-yard line. BGSU’s defense stifled Georgia Tech to just 69 rushing yards.
“I'm really proud of this team. I've said it a thousand times, we're a team that can go out and do what we did last week [a 31-point home loss to Ohio] and we're a team that can go beat a Power 5 team.” BGSU coach Scot Loeffler said. “Our challenge now is to see if we can put it back-to-back. That's hard to do right now. College football is different, just like I said last week when we played terrible, college football is week in and week out. Your mind has to be right, your heart has to be right and you have to be a selfless, team guy to get things done and that's who we have to be. We're never going to out-talent anyone, but we're going to be a team that has enough talent.”
Since 2002, the FWAA has named a National Team of the Week. Coming into the 2023 season, 284 teams have been honored, including 101 different Division I programs. Each honored team will receive a custom Cheez-It "care package" along with a hand-crafted game ball made in America by Dallas-based Big Game USA, the nation's leading manufacturer of custom footballs.
The Falcons play at Miami (Ohio) at 3:30 pm ET Saturday in a game broadcast by ESPN+.
The other National Team of the Week nominees for the weekend of Sept. 30 were:
Oregon State (4-1): The Beavers opened their Pac-12 Conference schedule beating No. 10 Utah, 21-7, on Friday. OSU’s defense held the Utes to just 198 yards, well short of their season average of 322.5 ypg to take control. DJ Uiagalelei connected on 14-of-25 passes with 205 yards through the air and a score, while Silas Bolden led the receiving corps with 100 yards on six catches and a score. The win marked the third against a ranked foe for OSU under head coach Jonathan Smith and the Beavers improved to 14-1 at home over their last 15 games at Reser Stadium.
West Virginia (4-1): The Mountaineers escaped Fort Worth with a 24-21 come-from-behind win at TCU, blocking a pair of fourth-quarter field goals to end the Horned Frogs' 10-game regular-season Big 12 Conference win streak. The WVU defense, which had allowed just one touchdown over its last nine quarters, limited the nation's 11th-ranked offense to just 121 yards in the second half and 17 points below their season scoring average. Twice, TCU marched nearly the length of the field to get into position for Griffin Kell to kick game-tying field goals and both times they were blocked – the first from 28 yards out was deflected by Mike Lockhart, and the second from 37 was knocked down by Sean Martin. It was West Virginia's third straight win at Amon G. Carter Stadium.