C Scott Mruczkowski

2003 Statistics

Coach: Gregg Brandon
11-3, 1 year
2003 Record: 11-3
at Purdue WON 27-26
at Ohio State LOST 17-24
at Western Michigan WON 32-21
at Eastern Michigan WON 33-20
at Miami OH LOST 10-33
at Ball State WON 41-14
Northwestern WON 28-24

2003 Final Rankings
AP-23, Coaches-23, BCS-24

2004 Outlook

Second year head coach Gregg Brandon did in one season what many thought would take a few. The consistency and maturity the troops under his watch exhibited make us/most extremely anticipatory for the '04 campaign. The new QB he has to shape will assuredly make this version of the Falcon's as good as the last Harris-lead squad, if not better. It is a tough call to predict someone can replace the complete package Josh Harris was to this team, but here we go. Omar Jacobs will make Harris an afterthought once he hits on all cylinders. But how long might that take? The defense is experienced enough (especially within knowing each other's abilities) that foes will not be able to do what they did in '03. The linemen and CBs tapped will make teams have to go over the middle, so watch the safeties to gauge how far along this defense has come.

Bowling Green is the MAC team with that Cinderella potential for this go-around. The spotlight hits them as they go to Norman, so the press coverage will make them an instant national conversation piece. Brandon will have his squad ready, and, though a win is unrealistic versus OU, look for a quality showing (and respectable performances from all, especially Jacobs) to have many buzzing about the Falcon's destiny. The stripes earned here will make their third tilt (nationally televised) in DeKalb, Ill. (9/24 versus Northern Illinois) a win, watch and see!

Eventually, they end with Marshall and then at Toledo, for what likely are the MAC game(s) to determine the west half's winner. Toledo has the wares to make it tough for the Falcons, as Brad Gradkowski is the seasoned vet Jacobs looks to become. Expect a spanking for Bowling Green then, which will let us know exactly what the next offseason will focus upon. But then, 2005 looks bad for the BGSU's opponents once all of these kinks are not there anymore.

Projected 2004 record: 8-3
DE Mitchell Crossley
QB - 3.5 DL - 3.5
RB - 3.5 LB - 3.5
WR - 4 DB - 3
OL - 3 ..

Passing: Omar Jacobs, 28-19-0, 345 yds., 4 TD

Rushing: P.J. Pope, 191 att., 1005 yds., 10 TD

Receiving: Cole Magner, 99 rec., 1138 yds., 10 TD

Scoring: Shaun Suisham, 16-24 FG, 56-60 PAT, 104 pts.

Punting: Nate Fry, 49 punts, 40.2 avg.

Kicking: Shaun Suisham, 16-24 FG, 56-60 PAT, 104 pts.

Tackles: Keon Newson, 124 tot., 78 solo

Sacks: Mitch Crossley, 9 sacks

Interceptions: Keon Newson, Jelani Jordan, Mike Thaler - 1 each

Kickoff returns: Cole Magner, 18 ret., 19.8 avg., 0 TD

Punt returns: Charles Sharon, 31 ret., 8.8 avg., 0 TD


OFFENSE: Josh Harris-QB, Robert Haley-OT, Jimmy Williams-OT, Craig Jarrett-TE, Vardan Mkhitarian-OG
DEFENSE: Mitch Hewitt-LB, Janssen Patton-CB, Jason Morton-FS, Mike Malone-SS

Omar Jacobs is finally going to get his chance. After seeing a few "real game" scenarios, this physical specimen will bring a capable set of speedy feet and an even better head for football. Jacobs will play a similar style to Josh Harris, so there is little for Omar's teammates to adjust to. The Fort Lauderdale QB represents a potential (marginal) improvement, though that may not be seen for anywhere from a few games to the entire season. We think he will be a quick study who can actually take the team to the next level. Converted-WR (who was actually a QB first) Van Johnson is another quick, multi-dimensional leader, which is a sharp contrast to third-string frosh Nick Thurman's drop-back approach. The backups are green, but they make this unit a strength many do not boast. The adjustments from Harris should not be too extensive, but (early) dilemmas are sure to arise.

Running Back
Juniors B.J. Pope and P.J. Lane both return for a seasoned one-two punch the Falcons will ride for consistent success. Pope is the bigger of the two, and he is sure-handed enough to garner 48 catches, too. Lane slashes more, but is capable of bowling defenders over like Pope. The depth of Raishaun Stover and Dan Macon make this the best RB unit in the MAC. Along with Jacobs, this is a ground-gaining machine that will surely be enough to beat many opponents by itself. The Falcons ranked 21st nationally when running, and should be able to actually improve on those results as the ground game is relied on at first.

The three- (and four-) receiver sets Bowling Green utilizes are deceptive with the amount of running they do. Cole Magner returns after having the second most catches in all of I-A. His formidable size represents this entire corps - they all can either go over the middle and/or the top to snarl the ball, or go helmet-to-helmet when ball-carriers swing it there direction. Charles Sharon and James Hawkins will again be deep threats who will make room underneath. The entire unit is strong, and since the Falcons run and pass the ball the same amount, you can bank again on six players (including Pope) achieving 29+ receptions.

Tight End
Steve Navarro is going to be Bowling Green's main end, but utilization of his talents will not fulfill his potential. He has the dubious honor of providing that extra protection Jacobs may need. When you see the TE downfield more, you will know the offense is making strides in its development.

Offensive Line
For such a formidable bunch, this is (misleadingly) the weakest unit on this offense. We say this because three of the five starters return, and all are upperclassmen. Their center is solid - converted-guard Scott Mruczkowski will be a national Rimington finalist (if healthy). Meanwhile, junior guard Rob Warren will tightly weave with Mruczkowski to form the conference's top inside tandem. The tackles are less worthy of praise, but all will again tightly align to make this entire group essentially the same quality as they were in '03 when the Falcon's ranked third offensively for the country.

The only truly negative factor this offense will experience is when most compare them to the amazing (individual) job Harris accomplished. The balance he created will again be seen with Jacobs, but, as expected, it will take an unpredictable amount of time for Jacobs development(s) to evolve. The break-in period will be easy to take - if Jacobs doesn't personally make the anticipated amount of waves, the RBs and WRs (alone) are strong enough to carry the team to wins. Accordingly, expect more runs than passes for a while. But just when teams begin to stack the box, we will see OC Greg Studrawa put it over foes' heads. The measuring stick for these guys to their predecessors will be when they reach 2003's 50% third-down conversion rate. Only early opponents will have any chance of having strong defensive showings.


TB P.J. Pope


Returning Starters in bold
QB Omar Jacobs-So (6-4, 224) Van Johnson-So (6-1, 197)
TB P.J. Pope-Jr (5-9, 216) B.J. Lane-Jr (5-10, 191)
WR James Hawkins-Sr (6-1, 231) Cornelius McGrady-Sr (6-3, 205)
WR Charles Sharon-Jr (6-1, 178) Derrick Lett-Jr (6-0, 181)
H Cole Magner-Sr (6-2, 196) Brandon Jones-So (6-0, 167)
E Steve Sanders-Jr (6-3, 201) Justin Martin-So (5-10, 169)
TE Todd DiBacco-Sr (6-1, 254) Sean O'Drobinak-Fr (6-4, 249)
OT Andrew Hart-Sr (6-5, 297) Drew Nystrom-Fr (6-5, 304)
OG Kory Lichtensteiger-Fr (6-3, 300) Patrick Watson-Fr (6-5, 293)
C Scott Mruczkowski-Sr (6-4, 319) John Lanning-So (6-4, 294)
OG Andy Grubb-Sr (6-4, 294) Andy Wenstrup-Sr (6-5, 285)
OT Rob Warren-Jr (6-6, 296) Jonathan Culp-Jr (6-6, 288)
K Shaun Suisham-Sr (6-0, 200) Nate Fry-Jr (5-10, 211)



Defensive Line
The tough-to-take days of allowing over four yards per run try are over. With all four starters back, this group will be improved since they have already gelled as a unit. Mitch Crossley is the most experienced, and fellow-end Devon Parks is about to be just as strong. The two ends will make for mismatch problems - one has to be double-teamed, or else. The inside presence is also consistent, making its way into the backfield often. It is almost funny how so much talent, with respectable numbers (59th in I-A for run defense), could often not stop opponents. This time they will achieve early and often. With four (of eight) of the subs being upperclassmen, this unit will not be upheaved as the Falcon's defensive anchor.

This next defensive tier is also an asset. Jovon Burkes and Ted Piepkow are returning starters who can defend the run and pass equally well. MLB Burkes is the biggest backer (234), so the smallish size of this unit exemplifies their adaptability and speed. Including first-time starter Dan Sayles (senior), this corp's consistency and liability will continue. These guys are almost interchangeable. Depth here drops off somewhat in talent, so the health of each will be important.

Defensive Back
This constitutes another area where the Falcons return a majority of their quality starters. Senior Keon Newson is a big enough CB to make it in the NFL, a place his talents say he is surely headed. For 2003, his 15 Pass-BreakUps, 9.5 TFLs, 124 tackles (78 solo), and six forced fumbles make him all-American candidate (that we obviously forgot). Counterpart Jelani Jordan is worth his weight, too, but not better than all-MAC (oh well). It is a bad omen when the CBs tackle more/better than the other DBs. The safeties are another drop in quality, meaning that foes who get free in the deep middle will again burn the Falcons. This unit should again rank no better than top 50.

The compliment we give this side of the ball has to do with how they ranked in the middle nationally for most categories, yet were 33rd in scoring defense. This shows a pension for bending without breaking, another way to say they keep the play in front of themselves well. With eight starters back, this means their instincts will allow them to close and finish that much better. The LB's speed allows BGSU's middle dimension to move and adapt to whatever is thrown at them. Their solid play will fuel the entire squad. The line will be the most consistent part, so look for any teams that run on them with success to win. One concern is how teams scored quite a bit more in the second half (foes had 126 points in the first half and 178 in the second). Another is only 11 INTs from '03. These guys have the potential to rule the MAC, but could also be responsible for a few losses. Watch defensive progress to see how far the entire team will go.


SS Keon Newson


Returning Starters in bold
DE Mitchell Crossley-Jr (6-3, 248) Ryan Newble-Sr (6-4, 258)
NG Mike Thaler-Jr (6-1, 281) Monty Cooley-Jr (6-2, 276)
DT Matt Leininger-Jr (6-3, 279) Brad Williams-So (6-3, 259)
DE Devon Parks-So (6-3, 239) Jason Hollingsworth-So (6-3, 208)
SLB Daniel Sayles-Sr (5-11, 211) Terrel White-So (5-10, 232)
Lavelle Sharpe-Jr (5-11, 220)
MLB Jovon Burkes-Sr (6-1, 240) Jamien Johnson-Jr (6-1, 232)
WLB Ted Piepkow-Jr (6-0, 228) Jenkins Reese-Fr (6-3, 227)
CB Terrill Mayberry-Jr (5-11, 169) Tim Arnold-Jr (5-9, 200)
CB Jelani Jordan-Jr (5-10, 177) John Nicholson-Jr (5-9, 190)
SS Keon Newson-Sr (6-0, 190) Deaudre Perry-Fr (6-1, 214)
FS T.J. Carswell-Sr (6-1, 200) Loren Hargrove-Fr (5-11, 203)
P Nate Fry-Jr (5-10, 211) Josef Timchenko-Jr (6-4, 221)




PK Shaun Suisham is another consistent Falcon. Though not a power, he never lost a game for them, so he is not a liability from a psychological standpoint. Like many at this level, Suisham is strong from inside the fourty, but marginal from further out. Junior punter Nate Fry will continue to improve (from 40+), but more has to be done in the punt coverage area. Defensive depth will allow for such, as well as better kick coverage, too.

Return Game
BJ Lane and WR Charles Sharon are poised to make this area an asset. Sharon is proven as both types of return man, while Lane is the preferred KR guy for '04. Funny, but Cole Magner did pretty bad at both positions, though he is still in the mix. This area will be critical right off, for field position battles when fostering a new QB are essential.