Bowling Green blasts VMI, 48-7

vmi_logoThe Bowling Green Falcons returned one punt for a touchdown and blocked another for a score, en route to a 48-7 win over the VMI Keydets Saturday in Bowling Green, Ohio. The game was VMI’s first-ever against the FBS team from the Mid-American Conference and was the Keydets’ first of two against FBS opponents this season.

VMI (0-2), which surrendered a 62-yard punt return for a touchdown in the season-opener against Bucknell, gave up a second Saturday when Bowling Green’s Ryan Burbrink fielded a Hayden Alford kick and brought it back 75 yards to give the Falcons a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.

Bowling Green (1-1) pushed the advantage to 34-7 by halftime, and VMI’s first drive of the third quarter stalled at the Keydet 29-yard line, where Herve Coby blocked Alford’s punt, scooped up the loose ball and raced 14 yards for the touchdown that extended the Falcon lead to 41-7. The pace slowed from there, with only seven additional points being scored to account for the final margin.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Al Cobb, who was named the Southern Conference Freshman of the Week after throwing for four touchdowns and running for another in the opener against Bucknell, did not find the end zone against the Falcons, but he did enjoy another solid showing. Cobb completed 26 of 43 passes for 224 yards as the Keydets finished with 321 yards through the air. His 26 completions were good for the fifth-highest figure in school history.

Alford completed three of his seven attempts for 63 yards, while Ryan Swingle was 1 for 5 for 34 yards in his collegiate debut. The 55 passing attempts were the third-most in school history.

Ten different players hauled in receptions in the contest, led by Aaron Sanders’ career-high seven grabs for 76 yards. Doug Burton, Dane Forlines and Deon Watts recorded five catches apiece.

VMI finished with 97 yards rushing on 35 attempts. Jabari Turner led the way with 43 yards on 13 carries. Derrick Ziglar saw brief action in his season debut after missing the opener with an injury, while defensively, VMI forced two turnovers, a fumble recovery by Ryan Francis and a James Fruehan interception. The Keydets committed three turnovers, however, losing two fumbles and seeing Cobb throw his first career interception.

The Keydets fell behind 28-0 before finally getting on the scoreboard when Alford capped a 69-yard, six-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown run with 8:29 left in the first half. Unfortunately for the visitors, that was as close as they could get as the Falcons scored the final 20 points of the game. VMI drove to the Falcon 2-yard line late in the contest, but redshirt freshman Swingle, the third quarterback used by the Keydets in the game, could not connect with tight end J.C. Garvin as time expired

Bowling Green’s balanced attack piled up 526 yards of total offense, 260 on the ground and 266 through the air. James Knapke completed 22 of 31 passes for the Falcons for 237 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score. Roger Lewis finished the game with six catches for 140 yards and a score, while Travis Greene rushed for 132 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries. Fred Coppet had a rushing touchdown for Bowling Green.

VMI opens the home portion of the schedule Sept. 13, playing host to Davidson at Foster Stadium in Lexington. Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m.

QUOTES – VMI Head Coach Sparky Woods
“They were the stronger, faster team. I thought we played hard but we didn’t play very smart.”

“We gave up two touchdowns in our punting game and had three turnovers that led to a big score for the other team – I thought we had a better chance to make it a better football game than we did.”

“We played a lot of people and got a lot of film and have a chance to move on to next week. They (Bowling Green) were a good football team and the better team today.”

         
 

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