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Best of the worst: Football invites Bowling Green to Kelly/Shorts Stadium


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Senior linebacker Malik Fountain celebrates after sacking the quarterback on Nov. 3 at Rynearson Stadium.

It's a battle for the best of the worst in the Mid-American Conference.

To put this upcoming game in perspective, Central Michigan has gone 348 days without a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) win. For Bowling Green, it's been 372 days since the same feat occurred in its history.

Both teams are winless and at the bottom of their division in the Mid-American Conference this season, CMU at 0-6 and Bowling Green at 0-5.

Nevertheless, the Chippewas (1-9) and Falcons (1-8) square off at 3 p.m. on Nov. 10 at Kelly/Shorts Stadium. 

The Chippewas are aiming to avoid their worst start since joining Division I in 1975. CMU has never won just one game in a season, dating back to its 0-1 record in 1904 under coach Charles Tambling. 

CMU's worst finish since joining Division I was 2-9 overall in 2000.

Head coach John Bonamego's 2018 group is on pace to be historically bad, potentially owning the worst performance in 114 years. Standing in CMU's way is Bowling Green, another program bleating for a win. 

Instead of looking at the historical numbers, Bonamego is focused on winning games. He said losing is unacceptable, despite being 1-9. 

"I don't think that way," Bonamego said of potentially having the worst season in the century. "I'm not programmed that way. Here's who we are playing, here's how we are going to win. I can't burn brain power concerning myself with those superlative things.

"It's about doing everything we can to win this game and give our seniors a chance to walk off Kelly/Shorts (Stadium) for the last time as winners."

Throughout the past 33 games, the Falcons have won just seven times, and in the last 21, only three victories.

Following junior quarterback Tommy Lazzaro's injury during CMU's loss to arch-rival Western Michigan, redshirt sophomore Tony Poljan took over under center, as he did throughout the first three games of 2018.

The result was the same as earlier in the season – a loss.

Poljan struggled to lead CMU in his second-straight start against Eastern Michigan, so Bonamego ultimately yanked him for redshirt freshman Austin Hergott.

"Austin's more of a drop-back quarterback and a pocket passer," Bonamego said. "He can run the ball, but that's not his forte. We recruited Austin when we were still in a pro-style offense, and he's adapted well. It's good to see him get some snaps under his belt."

Hergott completed 2-of-5 passes against the Eagles for 22 yards before throwing an interception in EMU's 17-7 triumph. 

Against Bowling Green, Bonamego said the starting quarterback will be a game-time decision. He also noted once the 2018 season concludes, Poljan's primary position will change to tight end and wide receiver.

Scouting Bowling Green

CMU's offense is averaging 15.4 points per game, and Bowling Green's defense is allowing 46.3 points per game. Both teams rank last in the MAC and 128th in the NCAA for their respective categories.

The Falcons offense, on the other hand, is led by 6-foot-3 sophomore quarterback Jarret Doege. He's accumulated 2,285 yards, 23 touchdowns and nine interceptions on 202-of-322 passing.

Senior wide receiver Scott Miller leads the team with 54 receptions, 860 yards and seven touchdowns. Right behind Miller is sophomore receiver Quintin Morris – 35 catches for 449 yards and six touchdowns. 

Carl Pelini took over as Bowling Green's interim head coach after Mike Jinks was fired on Oct. 14, 2018. 

"I want to thank coach Jinks for all of his efforts with our football program and in the BG community. However, we felt it was time to make a change in leadership,” Bowling Green Athletics Director Bob Moosbrugger said. 

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