Team preview: Bowling Green

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(All information as of June 20, 2008)


Gregg Brandon had to chuckle when the subject of a contract extension came up in a conversation about the prospects of his team in 2008.

"It was a raise," the fifth-year head coach said about Bowling Green State University's offseason decision to extend his contract through 2011.

Things were not so chipper around the Bowling Green campus a year ago when the Falcons came
off a 4-8 campaign that was their first losing season since 2000.

The Falcons did not stay down for long, though. BGSU stormed back last year with a 4-2 record in the MAC East Division to earn a share of that title and then took a trip to the GMAC Bowl. The stay in Mobile, Ala. turned ugly with a 63-7 drubbing from Tulsa, but the Falcons did not let it dampen their accomplishments on the season.

"We had a good turnaround year," said Brandon, who guided BGSU to its third bowl game in five seasons.

The Falcons are looking to raise the bar even higher this season with 19 starters back, including kicker Sinisa Vrvilo and punter Nick Iovinelli.

On offense, BGSU has eight starters back, led by junior quarterback Tyler Sheehan. The Cincinnati native started all 13 games for the Falcons and became the fourth signal caller in school history to throw for 3,000 yards.

Sheehan directed an offense that finished second in the MAC in passing (278.8 yards per game) and first downs (299), and ranked fourth in total offense (402.5 ypg) and third-down conversions (41.1 percent).