The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

September 28, 2011

Mountaineers can’t take Bowling Green lightly

MORGANTOWN — It will be homecoming for the fans but bounce-back Saturday for West Virginia’s football team.

The Mountaineers (3-1) host Bowling Green (3-1) in a non-conference game at Mountaineer Field/Milan Pushkar Stadium. The kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.

WVU, now ranked No. 22, is a 20-point favorite, but the Gold and Blue can’t afford to take Bowling Green lightly.

The Mountaineers must put last week’s 47-21 loss to No. 1-ranked LSU behind them and get back on track before beginning Big East play.

“You always have to be worried after a loss,” WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said.

“We would have had the same feeling had we won the LSU game.”

“There was a lot of energy and anticipation. You don’t really have to get your guys up when playing in a game like that because they are going to be up anyway, and there is a natural little hangover that comes with that whether you win or lose.”

While WVU was bowing to the Tigers, Bowling Green’s Falcons were defeating Miami of Ohio 37-23 on the road. They had dropped a 28-27 decision to Wyoming the previous week for their lone loss.

Bowling Green’s other victories were over Idaho 32-15 and Morgan State 58-13. 

West Virginia has won two previous meetings against this Ohio opponent, 62-14 in 1988 and 24-17 in 1991.

Don Nehlen, who was WVU’s head coach from 1980 through 2000, is a graduate of Bowling Green. He spent 16 years there, nine as the head coach. So the retired Hall of Fame legend has some fond memories of his alma mater.

“Yeah, we beat a couple (nationally ranked) teams when I was coaching there,” Nehlen recalled Tuesday. “We upset Syracuse twice, and then we went to Purdue and won there.

“They were ranked in the Top 10 that year. Purdue had five or six players who were great in the NFL, too. So teams in the Mid-American Conference get some good players out of Ohio high schools, and on occasion they’ll win a game they weren’t supposed to win.”

Nehlen admittedly doesn’t know much about Bowling Green’s current team. He noted, though, that the Falcons are mostly sophomores and freshmen.

So far, Bowling Green has done well, coming off a 2-10 disastrous season in 2010.

WVU is honoring its former quarterbacks at Saturday’s game. They also will be guests for golf on Friday.

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