BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (AP) -- With quarterback Josh Harris slowed
by a sprained right knee, Bowling Green needed a lift.
Welcome back, Joe Alls. Hello, P.J. Pope.
Alls returned to the lineup for No. 24 Bowling Green (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today, No. 24 AP) after
missing two games with a separated shoulder and rushed for 109
yards as the Falcons beat Ball State 38-20 Saturday. Pope, a
freshman who had scored twice all year, added 81 yards and two
The Falcons (7-0, 4-0 Mid-American) hardly missed a beat on
offense, even with Harris ailing. They had 256 of their 451 yards
on the ground.
Bowling Green entered the game averaging 49.3 points, best in
the nation. Saturday's point total was its lowest of the year.
"They're a great football team,'' Ball State coach Bill Lynch
said. "They've got so many weapons, they can hit you so many ways.
If a guy misses a tackle, all of a sudden it's 10 more yards. ...
I've got to admit, they're the real deal.''
Alls rushed for 100 yards for the third time this season and for
the second time against Ball State. Ball State's Marcus
Merriweather finished with 139 yards.
"It felt real good out there,'' Alls said. "I was trying the
get back into the rhythm I had. I think I did all right.''
Bowling Green coach Urban Meyer was looking forward to what Alls
could do when completely healthy.
"That was not the 100 percent Joe Alls,'' Meyer said. "I think
he's a better player than he showed tonight and he still had 100
Ball State (3-5, 1-3) tried to make a game of it in the third
quarter, cutting the deficit to 11 points on a 13-yard pass from
Andy Roesch to Sean Schembra with 2:19 left in the period. But
Harris responded five seconds into the fourth with a 25-yard TD
pass to Charles Sharon.
Harris finished 19-of-32 for 195 yards and two TDs, and he was
held to 24 yards rushing on three attempts. He had been averaging
299 yards of total offense.
Meyer said Bowling Green can be better.
"I can't wait for that one game where everything is clicking,''
Meyer said. "If you get the offense, defense and special teams
really going then watch out, because we can be a really good
After Ball State took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter, Bowling
Green put the game away in the second, scoring 21 points. Pope led
the way by rushing for 44 yards and touchdowns of 6 and 9 yards.
Harris connected with Baker 10 seconds into the quarter to get
Bowling Green on the board. It was the sixth time this season the
Falcons have scored 20 or more points in a quarter.
Tim Streit caught a 2-yard pass on fourth down from Roesch with
8:53 left in the fourth to cut it to 31-20. But after a 56-yard
Bowling Green punt and an intentional-grounding call, Ball State
turned the ball over on downs at its 26. After the teams traded
turnovers, Cole Magner scored on a 4-yard run for the Falcons to