• Bowling Green opens the 101st season in program history Thursday night when the Falcons host Morgan State for a 7:00 pm kickoff inside Doyt L. Perry Stadium.
• The contest marks the debut of both head coaches as former teammates Scot Loeffler and Tyrone Wheatley square off. For both Loeffler and Wheatley, it is the first game of their head coaching careers.
• Bowling Green is 1-0 all-time against Morgan State, defeating the Bears 58-13 in 2011.
• BGSU went 3-9 a year ago, while Morgan State finished a 4-7 campaign. The Falcons have won just nine games in the past three years since playing in three consecutive MAC Championship games (winning twice) from 2013-15.
THE COACHING MATCH-UP
• Bowling Green head coach Scot Loeffler and Morgan State head coach Tyrone Wheatley spent two seasons as teammates at Michigan. • Loeffler was a quarterback for the Wolverines from 1993-96, while Wheatley was a running back from 1991-94, earning three All-Big Ten selections and a Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year award.
• The Michigan ties run deep on both coaching staffs. For Bowling Green, associate head coach Steve Morrison, offensive coordinator Terry Malone, passing game coordinator Erik Campbell, and strength & conditioning coach Kevin Tolbert all played and/or coached at Michigan.
• Among the Morgan State coaching staff, the following have ties to Michigan: associate head coach William Carr, defensive coordinator Antonio James, passing game coordinator Derrick Alexander, and special teams coordinator Anthony Binker.
ENTER SCOT LOEFFLER
• BGSU Director of Athletics Bob Moosbrugger named veteran coordinator Scot Loeffler as the 20th head coach in Bowling Green history on Nov. 28, 2018.
• Loeffler became the program's second consecutive first-time head coach. Prior to Mike Jinks, the program had not named a first-time head coach to the position since Gregg Brandon was promoted from offensive coordinator in 2003. Brandon was BGSU's fourth consecutive first-time head coach, following in the footsteps of Urban Meyer, Gary Blackney and Moe Ankney.
• While Loeffler's experience in the lead chair is limited, he is a veteran coach who has served as the offensive coordinator at Boston College, Virginia Tech, Auburn and Temple. He has also coached at Florida, his alma mater Michigan, and Central Michigan -- as well as the Detroit Lions.
• Loeffler has coached seven quarterbacks who went on to play in the NFL, including Tom Brady and Tim Tebow. His team's have qualified for 17 bowl games, including coaching for Michigan's 1997 Rose Bowl team that won the national championship.
THE COACHING STAFF
• Scot Loeffler's first task upon being hired in late November was to assemble the most experienced coaching staff he could. He did not disappoint.
• Bowling Green's coaching staff has mentored more than 150 players who went on to play in the NFL and the staff has competed for both national championships and Super Bowl rings.
• Athlon Sports' Mark Ross named Terry Malone as the Top Coordinator Hire for the MAC during the offseason. Malone has 36 years of coaching experience, including nine years in the NFL and 14 years with Power Five confernce schools. He was a member of staffs that won the 1997 National Championship (Michigan), the 2009 Super Bowl (New Orleans), two MAC Championships (Bowling Green) and five Big Ten titles (Michigan).
• Defensive Coordinator Brian VanGorder is a former winner of the Broyles Award, given to the top assistant coach in the country. A veteran of more than 30 years in coaching, VanGorder has been the DC at Louisville, Notre Dame, Auburn, Georgia, Western Carolina, Central Michigan and his alma mater Grand Valley State.
• Associate Head Coach Steve Morrison has held full-time coaching positions at Syracuse, Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan. He holds Michigan's single-game record with 23 tackles and went on to play in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts.
• The remainder of the new coaching staff is a mix of veterans (Erik Campbell and Chris Hedden) and young, pedigree-rich individuals (Max Warner, Louie Addazio, Julian Campenni).
• Loeffler retained two coaches from the previous staff in Jacob Schoonover and LaMarcus Hicks.
SEVEN IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
• When Scot Loeffler takes the field to lead Bowling Green against Morgan State, he will be the seventh individual to coach a game for the Falcons since the 2013 MAC Championship game on Dec. 6, 2013. Three held interim titles in that time frame.
• Nationally, BGSU is the only program to have seven different individuals coach a game since 2013. Only Houston has seen six different people coach a game in that span of time.
• In the 2013 MAC Championship game, current Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson concluded a five-year career with the Falcons, leading the program to a 47-27 victory over undefeated No. 14 Northern Illinois.
• Special teams coordinator Adam Scheier (now a senior special teams consultant at Mississippi State) took over on an interim basis for the 2013 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, a 30-27 loss to Pittsburgh that served as James Conner's coming out party.
• Dino Babers was named head coach of the Falcons beginning in the 2014 season and he went 18-9 in two seasons, coaching his final game at BGSU in the 2015 MAC Championship game, a 34-14 win over Northern Illinois. He is currently the head coach at Syracuse.
• Defensive coordinator Brian Ward, now the DC at Syracuse, was named interim head coach for the 2015 GoDaddy Bowl, a 58-27 loss to Georgia Southern.
• Mike Jinks, currently the running backs coach at USC, was then hired to lead the Falcons beginning with the 2016 season.
• Jinks was fired following a 1-6 start to the 2018 season and Carl Pelini, now the associate head coach at Youngstown State, closed the campaign with a 2-3 mark.
• Enter Scot Loeffler. The former Michigan quarterback and veteran coordinator becomes the seventh individual to coach the Falcons in a span of 2,092 days.
FIRST GAME COACHING NUGGETS
• Bowling Green head coaches have been extremely successful in their first games coaching in Doyt L. Perry Stadium.
• BGSU coaches are 9-1 all-time in their first games in Doyt L. Perry Stadium. This record includes Bob Gibson, who began his second season at BGSU when Doyt L. Perry Stadium opened in 1966.
• Loeffler will be the fourth head coach in the last five to debut on a weeknight. Gregg Brandon opened his career with a 63-13 win over Eastern Kentucky on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2003. Dave Clawson defeated Troy 31-14 on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2009. Dino Babers' team hit the road to play on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014 in a 59-31 loss to Western Kentucky.
THE FUTURE MINI GOLF PRO
• Running Backs Coach Chris Hedden has a successful track record in football, but maybe he will head to the mini golf senior tour in the distant future.
• Hedden won the third annual BGSU Athletic Department Mini Golf Tournament during the summer of 2019, posting the winning score at Perry Falls Mini Golf Course.
• Hedden stunned defending champion and BGSU men's golf coach John Powers to win the title over approximately 80 other BGSU Athletic Department staffers.
• By vote of their peers, seniors Jack Kramer and David Konowalski have been named the team captains for the 2019 season.
• Kramer is the projecting starting center for the Falcons and has played in 30 games in his career, starting all 12 a year ago.
• Konowalski started all 24 games during the 2016 and 2017 seasons before an achilles injury kept him out of the 2018 campaign. He returns for a sixth-year of eligibility this year.
• Eight Falcons were named to at least one preseason All-MAC team by the three major national preview publications – Athlon Sports, Lindy's Sports, and Phil Steele's College Football Preview.
• David Konowalski was recognized as a preseason second team All-MAC player by Lindy's, third team by Phil Steele and fourth team by Athlon.
• Andrew Clair and Jack Kramer were named to the preseason All-MAC lists by two of the publications.
• Caleb Bright, Austin Dorris, Jerry McBride III, Brandon Perce and Lorenzo Taborn each were recognized by one of the preseason magazines.
PUNISHING RUNNING GAME
• Head coach Scot Loeffler has not hid the fact that BGSU's running back unit may be the most talented on the team.
• That unit begins with Andrew Clair, a returning all-conference player who posted the best breakaway stats in the Mid-American Conference, according to Pro Football Focus.
• According to PFF, Clair's breakaway percentage of 47.4 percent ranked as best in the league among those with at least 115 carries. Of the team's 11 rushing attempts that went for at least 20 yards a year ago, Clair recorded six of them. On those six carries, he gained 250 yards, an average of more than 41.0 yards per carry.
• Redshirt junior Bryson Denley played in all 12 games a year ago, starting twice. He had 224 yards rushing and also caught 15 passes. Denley was just two years removed from missing the 2016 season with an ACL injury.
• Redshirt senior transfer Davon Jones is a big, bruising back who will be difficult to tackle. He played three seasons at Boston College, splitting time between running back and linebacker. In 2016, he rushed for 361 yards and two touchdowns. Splitting time between the two positions in 2018, he had three more TDs.
• Falcon fans could also see junior transfer Nigel Sealey and true freshman Trevon Raymore in 2019. Sealey was the leading rusher at Albright College, an NCAA Division III school, in 2017 while Raymore ran for 2,518 yards and 27 touchdowns at Norwalk High School a year ago.
• Junior Andrew Clair has proven to be one of the most dangerous multi-purpose backs in the country and is climbing the charts in the BGSU record book.
• Clair enters the 2019 season with 1,427 career rushing yards, 27th most in school history. His seven career 100-yard rushing games ranks 12th in program history.
• Against Oregon in the 2018 season opener, Clair carried for 113 yards. He has a 100-yard rushing game against every MAC East Division school except for Buffalo.
• Clair averaged 6.8 yards per carry as a freshman to break a school record that stood since 1951, when Fred Durig averaged 6.7 yards per touch. Willie Geter tied Durig's mark in 2008.
• According to Pro Football Focus, Clair averaged 4.5 yards after contact in 2017, the fifth-best average in the country among returning running backs.
• The St. Louis native finished the 2017 season with a team-best 1,184 all-purpose yards, ranking fifth in the country among true freshmen with 107.6 all-purpose yards per game.
• Clair followed up his rookie season with an equally productive 2018 campaign, rushing for 702 yards and adding 19 catches for 102 more yards.
• Pro Football Focus ranked Clair as the most explosive running back in the MAC with a 47.4 percent breakaway percentage, highest among all ball carriers with at least 115 rushes.
• Another area of strength for the Falcons could be in special teams as Bowling Green returns both its kicker and punter for 2019.
• Redshirt junior Nate Needham was perfect on 34 extra point attempts a year ago and made 6-of-10 field goals, including 5-of-7 from inside 40 yards.
• Redshirt junior Matt Naranjo took over the team's punting duties midway through the 2018 season and performed admirably. He averaged 41.2 yards per punt, with a long of 72 yards. Of his 31 punts, four traveled 50 yards or more and six pinned the opposition inside the 20.
RETOOLING AT QB
• For the first time since 2010, Bowling Green enters a season without a quarterback that started at least five games in the previous campaign.
• Scot Loeffler brought in a pair of transfers to compete with returner Grant Loy for the starting job.
• Redshirt sophomore Matt McDonald played in two games in 2018 for Boston College, going 7-of-8 for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
• Sixth-year senior Darius Wade played in 25 games for Boston College from 2014-17 and then took a graduate transfer to Delaware for 2018, but was unable to play due to injury. He was granted a sixth year for 2019. He is 95-of-171 with five touchdowns in his career.
• Redshirt junior Grant Loy has played in 17 games over the past two seasons, starting once a year ago. He is 16-of-28 with two passing TDs in his career, adding 215 rushing yards and two more touchdowns as well.
KONO RETURNS TO THE FIELD
• The spiritual and emotional leader for the Falcons, David Konowalski returns for his sixth season in the Orange and Brown.
• Konowalski redshirted as a true freshman in 2014 and then played for the Falcons from 2015-17. Set to be one of the leaders on the defensive line, he tore his achilles in the team's first fall scrimmage of the 2018 season.
• Konowalski started all 24 games for the Falcons in 2016 and 2017 and has racked up 112 career tackles, including 12.5 for loss and 6.0 sacks.
• Konowalski was part of the most memorable moment of the past three years. With BGSU leading Miami 30-29 in 2017, the RedHawks sat just one yard from scoring the winning touchdown. On a botched snap, Konowalski crawled and fought his way into the backfield, batting the loose ball away from a Miami player and into the hands of teammate Brandon Harris, who returned it 93 yards for the clinching touchdown.
• Bowling Green has 37 true freshmen and 10 redshirt freshmen on the 2019 roster.
• With just over 44 percent of the roster maintaining freshman eligibility, BGSU is the 23rd youngest team in the country.
• BGSU's 37 true freshmen are seventh-most in the nation. Nebraska leads the way with 47, followed by UCLA and Alabama with 43 each. Among Mid-American Conference schools, Bowling Green leads the way, followed by Akron with 36.
BYE BYE BYE
• Bowling Green is one of nine teams in the country who will not face an opponent coming off of a bye week.
• BGSU and Eastern Michigan are the only Mid-American Conference schools with that favorable schedule. Georgia Tech, Tulsa, Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, Old Dominion, BYU and New Mexico State are the other seven.
• Notre Dame plays an NCAA-high seven teams (including Bowling Green) coming off of bye weeks. No other school in the country plays more than five such games.
100 YEARS OF BG FOOTBALL
• BGSU Football will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first game in the program's history all year long. Although this is the 101st season of Bowling Green Football, the program officially began on Oct. 3, 1919 in a home game against Toledo.
• Bowling Green's first victory came in a 7-0 win at Kent State on Nov. 6, 1920 and the Falcons have rarely looked back.
• BGSU has won 17 conference titles (12 in the Mid-American Conference) and played in 13 bowl games.
• Through 100 seasons, Bowling Green is 542-391-52 (.577) all-time, including 284-184-11 (.604) in MAC play. The Falcons have a winning record all-time against every current MAC school except for Miami and Toledo (though BGSU has the opportunity to even the all-time series against Toledo this year).
WOMEN RULE THE WORLD
• The Bowling Green football program has a pair of women in critical positions within the football program, a rarity at the FBS level.
• Liv Passey is just the second female Director of Football Operations in Mid-American Conference history. A graduate of Boston College, she is in her first year working with the program.
• Dani Coppes is one of just 11 females who serves as the primary care provide (sports medicine) for an FBS football program. After getting her undergraduate degree at Ohio State, she earned her master's degree at Bowling Green and is beginning her third year working with the BGSU Football team.
• BGSU is one of only two schools in the country to have females in both of these positions, along with Kansas State.
TRENDING TOWARDS SUCCESS
• College football expert Phil Steele tracks the success of teams that lost at least 34 games to injury the previous season. Of teams that had to manage injury-plagued campaigns since 2006, 68 percent have equaled or exceeded their record the next year.
• Bowling Green lost 36 starts to injury in 2018, tied for the 11th most in the country. Virginia Tech lost the most games to injury, 63, while Boston College lost the fewest -- three.
• Five active players have already earned their undergraduate degrees – Austin Dorris, Jack Kramer, Nico Lautanen, Davon Jones, and Darius Wade.
• Jack Kramer and Nico Lautanen were true freshmen on the 2015 MAC Championship team.
• Austin Dorris earned his undergraduate degree from Indiana, while Davon Jones and Darius Wade are both graduates of Boston College.
PRO FALCONS (WIDE RECEIVER U)
• BGSU has five alums currently playing in the NFL preseason, four of which are wide receivers.
• The lone non-wide receiver is Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Ryan Hunter. An undrafted free agent in 2018, Hunter is a native of Canada where he was a high draft pick in the CFL. After spending 2018 on the practice squad, Hunter is projected as third-string right guard.
• Sticking with the Chiefs, Gehrig Dieter is projected as a third-string wide receiver. He finished his BGSU career in 2015, earning his degree and then grad transferring to Alabama for the 2016 season. An undrafted free agent signing, Dieter has spent each of the past two years with the Chiefs.
• Scott Miller begins his rookie season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2019. He was drafted in the sixth round, following four productive seasons with BGSU, ranking third in school history with 2,867 career receiving yards.
• Roger Lewis played only two seasons at Bowling Green but still ranks seventh all-time with 2,637 receiving yards. He left for the NFL following the 2015 season and will begin his fourth year at the professional level. He began his career with the New York Giants and has 43 career receptions and four receiving touchdowns.
• Teo Redding is attempting to make the Green Bay Packers as a wide receiver. He had 1,328 career receiving yards at BGSU and was signed by his hometown Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent following the 2017 season.
• Bowling Green football has its full non-conference schedule for the next two seasons (2020-21) posted at BGSUFalcons.com.
• The 2020 season futures road games at Ohio State and Illinois of the Big Ten. Home games are set to be played against Robert Morris and Liberty.
• The MAC has also announced all opponents for 2020 (but not dates). BGSU will host Northern Illinois, Buffalo, Kent State and Miami, while the Falcons will have road games at Eastern Michigan, Toledo, Akron and Ohio.
• In 2021, the Falcons will host South Alabama and Murray State, and play road contests at Tennessee and Minnesota.
• Additionally, at least one non-conference game per season has been scheduled from seasons 2022-27. All future schedules for BGSU football are subject to change. Check BGSUFalcons.com for additional updates.
• CollegePressBox.com is the official media website for Division I football. Access and download weekly game notes, quotes, statistics, media guides, headshots, logos and more for each conference and its member schools. Register for access at collegepressbox.com/register.
FALCON FOOTBALL ON ESPN+
• With the launch of ESPN+ a year ago, Falcon fans should expect BGSU Athletics to have a large presence on the platform, including a number of football games.
• BGSU's Homecoming game against Louisiana Tech will be broadcast on ESPN+ and more contests could be on the way. A year ago, Bowling Green played five games on ESPN+.
• ESPN+ provides HD-quality video of thousands of live events for $4.99/month or $49.99/year with access through the ESPN App.
• Fans can watch ESPN+ anywhere – Mobile, Desktop, TV-connected devices such as Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, Android TV, and Chromecast.
CHALLENGING THE POWER FIVE
• Bowling Green plays just one game against a Power Five opponent in 2019 (Kansas State), though the Falcons also play at Notre Dame, an independent program that plays in the ACC for all other sports and has a scheduling agreement with the league.
• All 12 Mid-American Conference schools will take on at least one school from a Power Five conference (ACC, Big 12, Big 10, SEC, PAC-12) during the non-conference portion of the 2019 college football season.
• In total, the 12 schools within the MAC will combine to play 22 games against Power Five competition. Kent State and Northern Illinois will play three Power Five schools each in 2019.
• Eight of the league's 12 teams are set to play multiple games against the Power Five. Ball State, Bowling Green (including the Notre Dame game), Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Miami, and Western Michigan will each play such games twice.
• Of those 22 games, 21 are true road games. Ball State plays a neutral site game against Indiana at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.