It went down to the wire Saturday in the first Raycom Media Camellia Bowl, but Bowling Green picked up a 33-28 win over South Alabama, which was making its first bowl appearance.
Here’s a closer look at how the Falcons did it:
How the game was won: At the wire. The second half was a back-and-forth affair. South Alabama took its first lead of the game with 1:20 remaining, and it looked like all the Jaguars needed to do was not have any major defensive breakdowns. Then it had a major defensive breakdown as Bowling Green receiver Roger Lewis got past safeties Terrell Brigham and Roman Buchanan for a 78-yard score.
Then, Bowling Green needed exactly what South Alabama needed a play before -- hold and don’t have any major defensive breakdowns. Unlike the Jaguars, the Falcons did just that. On the next snap, Jude Adjei-Barimah intercepted South Alabama quarterback Brandon Bridge.
Game ball goes to: Bowling Green quarterback James Knapke. The sophomore threw for 368 yards and two touchdowns. He came up with clutch play after clutch play and was able to keep the offense together after losing one of his best receivers -- Ronnie Moore -- to a targeting ejection in the third quarter.
Tough break ... literally: There's a pretty good chance South Alabama coach Joey Jones broke his nose during the fourth quarter, when one of his players flew out of bounds. The player slid on his back, but his feet flung up, and Jones -- who looked to be in a position to help slow the player down -- ended up taking a cleat to the face.
Rethinking that: Midway through the fourth quarter, with Bowling Green up by six and on fourth-and-goal at the South Alabama 1-yard line, the Falcons decided to try a field goal instead of going for a touchdown. It was Tyler Tate’s first attempt at a field goal of 19 or fewer yards this season, and he pulled it wide left. As a result, South Alabama received the ball on the 20-yard line. Looking back, it really was a tough call to make: If the Falcons had gone for it and made it, great; if they had gone for it and missed it, at least that would’ve been an extra 20 yards the Jaguars would’ve needed to travel. Considering Tate was 21-of-26 heading into that kick and he had made two field goals prior, it wasn’t a bad call, but it’s one of those plays on which if the Falcons had lost, it would’ve been looked back on as one in which Bowling Green should’ve taken a smarter risk.
Best play: Talk about clutch. With Bridge’s impressive second half and the Jaguars looking like they could go on a run, Adjei-Barimah came up with his first interception of the season -- the one that sealed the win for the Falcons.