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Georgia Tech Football: Opponent Previews - Bowling Green

Tech welcomes some MACtion into Bobby Dodd

Quick Lane Bowl - Bowling Green v New Mexico State Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images

Scott Loffler needed a breakout season, after going 7-22 in his first three seasons, and he hit it in 2022, going 6-7, finishing 2nd in the MAC East and playing in the Quick Lane Bowl. This turnaround earned him a contract extension and expectations to continue the upward trajectory. The Falcons were picked to finish 4th in the MAC East during the MAC’s media days.


The Falcon offense made positive strides in 2022, averaging 23.5 points per game (8th in the MAC), 334.7 total yards per game (10th), 100.3 rushing yards per game (11th), and 234.4 passing yards per game (4th). They return 8 starters on offense, but they do lose their starting QB, Matt McDonald who completed 61.1% of his passes for 2654 yards with 22 touchdowns to 9 Interceptions. Loffler brings in Missouri and Indiana transfer Conner Bazelak, who started 29 games across the two programs with 62.2 % completion rate with 36 touchdowns and was SEC Freshman of the year in 2020, to compete with last year’s back up Camden Orth for the starting job. The good news for the Falcons is that they return their leading receiver from last season, Odieu Hiliare who caught 58 balls for 747 yards and 6 touchdowns, the bad news is that they lose the next three players on the list. They return the top 4 leading rushers from last season, led by Jaison Patterson who had 135 carries for 583 yards and 1 touchdown. They will also have the return of 2021 leading rusher Terion Stewart, who sat out the 2022 season, but was the leading rusher in 2020 and 2021. The Falcons will also count on the production of swiss army knife running back Ta’Ron Keith, who had 47 carries for 195 yards and a touchdown to add to his 34 receptions for 332 yards and 4 touchdowns. There is one other offensive piece for opponents to keep an eye on and that is tight end Harold Fannin Jr, another hybrid player who has shown production in both the running game (10 carries, 53 yards, 4 TDs) and the passing game (19 receptions, 218 yards, 1 TD), look for him to get the start at TE, but be moved around. The Falcons return 4 starters on the offensive line.


The Falcons offense has made strides in the right direction, the defense has continued to struggle. They gave up an average of 32.5 points (10th in the MAC), 419.6 total yards given up (10th), 168.9 rushing yards given up (11th), and 250.7 passing yards given up (9th). They finished last in the MAC in 3rd down defense, giving up a first down on 47% of their third down tries. They return five starters from last season. They lost their top sack production in defensive lineman Karl Brooks, a 6th round pick by the Green Bay Packers. Their leading returner in sacks is outside linebacker Demetrius Hardamon, who had six sacks last season. Their leading returning tackler is linebacker Darren Anders. Safety Trent Simms tied for the lead in interceptions last season and returns to lead the secondary.

Special Teams

Punter Sami Sir returns, but the Falcons will be looking for a new kicker. Running back Ta’Ron Keith was 2nd team all MAC as a kick returner and returns to that position.


The Falcons are picked to finish 4th in the MAC East, in a conference that has shown a lot of parity and usually plays tight games. Loffler is expected to build on his success last season, but much of that will hinge on if the defense can make some strides after a struggling 2022. The 2nd game of the season against FCS Eastern Illinois and the 4th game of the season against perineal MAC heavy weight Ohio will set the tone early to see if the Falcons are making progress, or if the Loffler extension was a mistake. The Jackets are 1-0 against the Falcons, winning the last meeting in 2018 by a score of 63-17. I wouldn’t expect the Jackets to match that score, but the game should be good respite sandwiched in between trips to Wake Forest and Miami.