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Quarry Q&A on Bowling Green with SB Nation MAC Blog Hustle Belt

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Talking Bowling Green football with Thurman Dieter, a writer for the excellent SB Nation blog Hustle Belt, which specializes in all things Mid-American Conference related.

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1.     Starting QB Matt Johnson has been ruled out for the season. How did backup QB James Knapke do in the 48-7 blowout win against VMI last week, and what should the Hoosiers expect from him this weekend?

Knapke played "solid" according to Coach Babers. From the press box, you could see he was late on quite a few throws. It'll take time for him to get fully adjusted to the pace of the offense but I wouldn't expect that to come this week against the Hoosiers. One surprising thing to take from the VMI game was a scramble where he looked to have some mobility. Hoosier fans shouldn't expect many mistakes from Knapke, but don't expect him to make miraculous plays either.

2.     Besides Knapke, what other players are expected to make an impact for the Falcons this season?

Travis Greene and Fred Coppet have put up huge numbers in this pass happy offense. Their numbers through the first two games: Greene 36 carries 220 yards and 3 TDs. Coppet 15 carries 138 yards 2 TDs. With this offense, you can expect breakout numbers from any of the receivers. Roger Lewis had a big game against VMI putting up 140 yards and a touchdown off 6 receptions. Ryan Burbrink returned a punt 75 yards for a score last week against VMI and is a threat on special teams.

3.     Last year's Bowling Green team went 10-4 and won the MAC title, and former coach Dave Clausen left for Wake Forest. What does new coach Dino Babers bring to the table for the Falcons? I know that at Eastern Illinois he coached Jimmy Garoppalo, who is now Tom Brady's backup.

Dino Babers brings a high tempo offense to the table that is capable to put up huge numbers. They still haven't adjusted to game time speed and I wouldn't expect it to be "Falcon Fast" this week.

4.     Last year, IU defeated Bowling Green 42-10 in Bloomington. What went wrong in that game for the Falcons, and what lessons did they take away for this year's game?

The offense wasn't able to convert on third downs or in the red zone in Bloomington last year. The offensive line struggled with the pass rush of the Hoosiers. This years OLine has been solid with three returning starters, giving the Falcons QBs the half-a-second they need to get the pass off. Defensively, they were able hold down the Hoosier offense in the first half with two different goal line stops. In the second half, IU's tempo took over and led to the 42-10 blowout. The Falcons learned a lot about tempo in the Summer going up against the Babers tempo. It should be interesting to see if they can stick with the Hoosiers offense.

5.     In Bowling Green's first game, they lost 59-31 to Western Kentucky. How has BGSU's defense adjusted after giving up over 700 yards of offense in this game?

Well, the WKU game didn't go as planned. The BG came off a MAC championship with the conferences top defense and expected similar numbers coming into the year. The secondary missed a plethora of open field tackles which led to the 700 yards. For some reason, no adjustments were made defensively. The secondary stayed ten yards off the receivers who ran screens and quick routes the entire game. VMI was a drop off in talent level but the secondary made the open-field tackles when needed.

6.     Any unique features that IU fans show know about the atmosphere at Doyt Perry Stadium?

The atmosphere is average for games like VMI but with a B1G opponent, you can expect the Doyt to be packed and loud. A new feature for the Falcons is the Doyt Dive where players go celebrate with the "Falcon Fanatics" after the game in the stands.

7.     What should visiting Hoosier fans do in the town of Bowling Green if they're planning to hang out in town before or after the game?

Well there's not much, it's a small college town with one main street. A couple bars and restaurants here and there but Perrrysburg is probably a better option for incoming fans looking for something to do.

8.     Prediction time: Who do you see winning this one, Bowling Green or IU?

I would expect a different type of game this year for these two. Bowling Green is starting to get their feet underneath them on offense and the defense knows the IU scheme. It will be close but I don't see the Falcons coaching staff winning a close game. 38-31 Hoosiers win again.

Thanks for your answers, Thurman. Indiana plays at Bowling Green on Saturday at noon, and the game can be seen on ESPNU.