Bowling Green 45, Indiana 42: Falcons go to the wire to knock off Hoosiers

By Jack Carle
Associated Press

Bowling Green, Ohio — Bowling Green’s James Knapke threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Roger Lewis with 9 seconds to play as the Falcons knocked off Indiana, 45-42 Saturday.

“I think the players and the team had some juice stolen from them early in the season. And we got a little bit of that back,” BG head coach Dino Babers said.

For IU head coach Kevin Wilson, it was about making plays at critical times.

“When you get in a close game there are a lot of chances. …You go back and see that’s why you lost the game, but that’s also that how you win games,” Wilson said. “If we don’t make some plays we’re not in that game.”

Knapke, a redshirt sophomore making his second career start, set school records for attempts (73) and completed passes (46) as he threw for 395 yards and three touchdowns. Lewis, a freshman, finished with 16 receptions for 140 yards and a touchdown for Bowling Green (2-1).

Indiana took a 42-39 lead with 2:04 remaining on a 1-yard run by quarterback Nate Sudfeld on a fourth-down play.

The Falcons then moved 88 yards in 12 plays for the winning score. The PAT was blocked after the Falcons’ touchdown. Indiana had one final chance, but Bowling Green’s James Sanford knocked down Sudfeld’s pass inside the 5-yard line.

“Coming out of the second half we knew we had to score points. We took it upon ourselves and it came out pretty well,” Knapke said. “The receivers were getting open, I just had to get them the ball. ... That last drive we finally put it all together.”

Sudfeld was 31-of-41 for 347 yards and a touchdown for Indiana (1-1). Tevin Coleman rushed for 190 yards and three touchdowns.

Indiana held a 14-12 lead at the half on a 1-yard run by Sudfeld and a 22-yard pass from Sudfeld to J-Shun Harris II. Bowling Green’s Tyler Tate kicked four field goals in the first half.

“What I was trying to let them know at halftime was you only get so many opportunities like this in life and you have to fight, you have to claw, you have to hold on. You’ve got to lose fingernails and jerseys. You’ve got to find a way to make this happen,” Babers said. “When everybody is rallying like that, nobody cares who gets the credit.”

The teams combined for 61 points in the second half, trading touchdowns the entire half.

In the third quarter, Knapke threw a 40-yard scoring pass to Ronnie Moore and Travis Greene scored on a 5-yard run. Indiana’s Tevin Coleman scored twice in the third quarter on runs of 5 and 46 yards.

Coleman’s 46-yard scoring run with 2:51 left in the third quarter gave Indiana a 28-26 lead.

Fred Coppet scored on a 1-yard run for the Falcons just 52 seconds into the fourth quarter, but the 2-point conversion pass failed and BG held a 32-28 lead.

Indiana responded with a quick four-play drive with Coleman scoring on a 31-yard run to push the Hoosiers ahead 35-32.

Indiana’s defense then held and the Hoosiers were driving to extend their lead when BG’s Charlie Walker forced a Coleman fumble with Ryland Ward recovering at BG’s 12 with 9:04 left.

“It was big. It was huge, it really was,” Babers said about the fumble.

The Falcons then drove 88 yards for a score on a 31-yard pass from Knapke to Ryan Burbrink. With the PAT kick, Bowling Green held a 39-35 lead with 5:24 remaining.

After the Hoosiers regained the lead, the Falcons responded with the winning drive, helped by a pair of pass interference penalties on Indiana. The second penalty put the ball at the 2.

“We didn’t play a couple of balls well,” IU’s Wilson said about BG’s final drive. “I thought the (pass interference) calls were proper calls; I had no issues.”

Greene finished with 123 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries for the Falcons.

It was Bowling Green’s first win over a Big Ten team since the Falcons defeated Minnesota in overtime to open the 2007 season.