Bowling Green @

(6) Ohio St.

Sat, Sep 3
9:00 AM Pacific
Rotation: 162
Odds: Ohio St. -28, Total: 66

Game Analysis

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OHIO STATE (-28)  45   Bowling Green  13

Bowling Green is going to sorely miss graduated star quarterback Matt Johnson. Johnson led a potent attack in 2013 (6.5 yards per play) but was injured early in the 2014 season opener and the Falcons’ up-tempo attack was left in the hands of backup James Knapke. Johnson had been 0.8 yards per pass play better than average in 2013 but Knapke was 1.2 yppp worse than average in 2014 (5.9 yppp against teams that would allow 7.1 yppp to an average quarterback). Johnson returned last year and the Falcons’ attack took flight again with an aerial attack that was 1.3 yppp better than average (7.8 yppp against teams that would allow 6.5 yppp). With Johnson gone Knapke is back at the helm and the question is how far Bowling Green’s offensive efficiency will drop. Head coach Dino Babers has moved on but the up tempo spread attack will continue under new coach Mike Jinks, who spent his last few years at Texas Tech. Knapke is probably going to be better than he was in 2014 but better than horrible (-1.2 yppp in ‘14) is an incredibly steep drop from last year’s production and starting the season against a very good Ohio State pass defense should result in a long afternoon for Knapke in his return to the starter’s role.

My ratings project only 4.1 yards per play for Bowling Green in this game the Falcons’ solid defense (0.2 yppl better than average) is at a significant disadvantage against what figures to be a more potent Ohio State attack. The Buckeyes were 1.9 yards per play better than average in 2013 and +1.8 yppp in 2014 before slumping to +1.0 yppl last season (6.5 yppl against teams that would allow 5.5 yppl to an average team). J.T. Barrett, who was a 3rd team All-American QB in 2014 is back as the undisputed starter after starting last season as a backup (he started 5 games in the second half of the season) and I expect the offense to be improved even without star RB Ezekiel Elliott. Ohio State’s rushing numbers were actually much worse last season than the previous two years and Barrett’s return as the full time starter will help offset the loss of Elliott. There’s also the plenty of talent to step in at the running back position and overall I expect some improvement this season from the Buckeyes’ attack.

Bowling Green’s defense was solid last season (average on a national scale, which is good for the MAC) and should be better this season with all their key defenders returning, but the Falcons will have a tough time matching up with Ohio State’s speed and my ratings project 512 total yards at 6.7 yppl for the Buckeyes in this game. Overall, the ratings favor Ohio State by 29 ½ points and Urban Meyer will have his team ready to play. Bowling Green’s 10 wins last season will give Meyer the ammunition he needs to get his team to take this game seriously and Meyer’s 46-15-1 ATS record against non-conference opponents (43-11 ATS when not favored by 35 points or more) makes the likelihood of Ohio State’s covering this big number a bit better. This is a tough first game for Bowling Green’s first time head coach and teams with new head coaches are only 21-46-1 ATS in week 1 since 2002 (as far back as I tracked new head coaches). I don’t have enough value to make this a play but I certainly side with Ohio State at -28 or less and I like the Under given the expected drastic decline in Bowling Green’s offensive efficiency without Johnson.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Bowling Green
  • Ohio St.


  • Run Plays 36.6 42.2
  • Run Yards 151.6 231.6
  • YPRP 4.4 5.7


  • Pass Comp 22.0 22.0
  • Pass Att 42.6 33.4
  • Comp % 51.6% 65.9%
  • Pass Yards 216.8 314.2
  • Sacks 1.8 1.2
  • Sack Yards 10.0 8.2
  • Sack % 4.1% 3.5%
  • Pass Plays 44.4 34.6
  • Net Pass Yards 206.8 306.0
  • YPPP 4.7 8.8


  • Total Plays 81.0 76.8
  • Total Yards 368.4 545.8
  • YPPL 4.5 7.1


  • Int 2.6 0.6
  • Int % 6.1% 1.8%
  • Fumbles 0.4 0.4
  • Turnovers 3.0 1.0
  • Points 17.2 49.8
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