2. Defense dominated up front
At one point in the first half, the Bowling Green Falcons were shockingly moving the ball. They actually did finish with 219 total yards, and given all the issues facing them the past two years, that’s actually disturbingly good when facing a Power Five team.
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However, lots of this was due to some solid play-calling by Scot Loeffler in the first half. Loeffler ran lots of misdirection plays and found ways to get Matt McDonald out of the pocket so he could find receivers that made plays. This is how he had two first-half field goals and came dangerously close to scoring touchdowns on both drives, threatening the Vols.
What he couldn’t do, though, was get the north-south running game going no matter how hard he tried. Bowling Green was always going to struggle on the line, especially as they started a true freshman center, and they were no match for the Vols’ defensive line. They finished the game with 23 carries for 32 yards on the ground.
Beyond just the defensive line being dominant, linebackers and defensive backs were always elite on the line of scrimmage at stopping the run. They all got physical, and while BGSU is about as bad as you could be up there, you have to give some credit to UT on that front.