The Bowling Green State University football team lost its 2014 season opener at Houchens-Smith Stadium Friday night, Aug. 29, to Western Kentucky University by a score of 59-31. The Falcons -- who fell behind early, 21-0 -- fought to within 14 points on two separate occasions, but could never climb closer.
Western Kentucky scored eight touchdowns and outgained Bowling Green, 702-465. The Hilltoppers converted 40 first downs compared to the Falcons' 27.
Brandon Doughty completed 46-of-56 passes for WKU, connecting on six touchdowns for 569 yards. Running back Leon Allen ran for a game-high 93 yards on 28 carries, while Taywan Taylor led all receivers with 12 receptions for 185 yards.
Matt Johnson threw for 314 yards and one touchdown on 25-of-36 passing for BGSU. Gehrig Dieter and Roger Lewis made their debuts for the Orange and Brown and registered 78 yards apiece to pace the receiving core. Travis Greene rushed for 91 yards and a touchdown on 18 touches. Fred Coppet and Andre Givens also scored one touchdown each on the ground for the Falcons.
Safety Brian Sutton recorded a contest-high 18 tackles for the Orange and Brown, while Gabe Martin was second on the team with 12 total stops.
Coppet capped off a seven-play, 70-yard touchdown drive with a one-yard rush to bring Bowling Green within two scores at 21-7 at the 6:54 mark of the second quarter.
After another Hilltopper touchdown, Tyler Tate tied a career long with a 52-yard field goal, but Western Kentucky answered with a 29-yard field goal at the second quarter horn to take a 31-10 halftime lead.
Western Kentucky extended its lead to 28 points with a 10-play drive that covered 69 yards to open the third quarter, prior to BGSU putting up 14 consecutive points of their own in the third to bring the score to 38-24.
Dino Babers' offense was on full display during the Falcons' two straight scores, as the drives took 2:30 and 0:39, respectively.
Givens scored on a three-yard rush and after a three-and-out defensive stand, Johnson found Ronnie Moore on a screen pass that went for a 41-yard score on just the second play of the drive.
WKU responded with another touchdown, however, as the Hilltoppers capped an 11-play drive with a 20-yard pass and catch. The touchdown was Doughty's sixth of the evening.
The Hilltoppers went on to score 14 of the game's final 21 points to secure the 59-31 victory.
Bowling Green will return home to Doyt L. Perry Stadium for its home opener against VMI on Sept. 6 at 3:30 pm.