2:00 PM ET, November 2, 2002
Dix Stadium, KENT, OH
KENT, Ohio (AP) -- Joe Alls, Josh Harris and the Bowling Green offense were right on their game -- which meant trouble for Kent State.
Alls, recovered from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for two games in October, rushed for a career-high 179 yards and two touchdowns as the No. 21 Falcons (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 21 AP) remained unbeaten with a 45-14 victory Saturday.
Bowling Green players celebrate a 34-yard touchdown run by tailback P.J. Pope during the fourth quarter.
"We go on the road, we look at it as a business trip,'' said Harris, who completed 18 of 24 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns.
"Everybody wants to knock us off, but we don't want anybody to stand in our way. This streak is a tribute to preparing hard each week. We don't take anything for granted,'' he said.
The Falcons (8-0, 5-0 Mid-American Conference) extended their winning streak to 11 games, scoring 24 points off four turnovers by Kent State (3-6, 1-5). The streak is the second-longest in the nation behind No. 1 Miami's 30 consecutive victories.
"Any time you win the turnover battle it is huge,'' said linebacker Chris Haneline, who recovered a fumble. "You turn the ball over at home, it's a killer.''
The Falcons piled up 486 total yards on offense.
Bowling Green came in leading the nation in scoring at 47.7 points per game, the only team in Division I-A to average more than 240 yards both rushing and passing.
The Falcons ran for 272 yards and passed for 214 -- but that was not enough to please coach Urban Meyer, who is 16-3 since taking over a program that had gone 24-42 the previous six seasons.
"We gave up 252 yards rushing,'' Meyer said. "We do that next week, we will not win, we'll be 8-1.''
Kent State coach Dean Pees was not particularly happy with his team's ground game, either.
"It seems like we're getting caught up in statistics,'' Pees said. "I'd rather run for 40 yards and score 20 points.''
Harris scored on a 3-yard run with 14:57 to play to make it 31-14. Alls set up the score with a 30-yard burst up the middle.
Harris then found P.J. Pope for a 34-yard TD pass to make it 38-14 with 11:19 left.
Backup quarterback Andy Sahm ran 12 yards for a 45-14 lead after T.J. Carswell got the third of four Bowling Green interceptions.
Jelani Jordan picked off Kent State backup quarterback Darryl Polk in the end zone with less than 2 minutes to play for the fifth turnover.
The Falcons went 47 yards in five plays in just 1:15 to score the first time they had the ball. Alls ran the final 2 yards untouched to make it 7-0.
Kent State's Joshua Cribbs then engineered a 14-play, 77-yard drive to tie it. The sophomore quarterback capped it with a 10-yard scoring run off right tackle.
"He's a fantastic player,'' Meyer said. "We watched film of him getting hurt last week and didn't think he would play. He had a great game.''
Cribbs, coming off a strained hamstring, led Kent State in rushing with 91 yards and went over 1,000 for the second straight year, but threw three interceptions.
"It seems like if I try to make something happen on every play, it hurts us,'' Cribbs said. "The man isn't open, but I try to squeeze it in there.''
An 18-yard interception return by Janssen Patton set up the Falcons' second score.
Alls ran 30 yards, breaking several tackles along the way, to make it 14-7 with 8:33 left in the second quarter.
Haneline then recovered a fumble by Antonio King at the 50, setting up a 20-yard field goal by Shaun Suisham for a 17-7 lead.
Yet another turnover helped the Falcons score again just before halftime.
Keon Newson picked off Cribbs' pass, a personal foul penalty was tacked on and the Falcons got the ball on the Kent State 39 with 45 seconds to play.
Five plays later, Harris passed 18 yards to Charles Sharon on third-and-1 for a 24-7 lead.
Cribbs drove the Golden Flashes 89 yards in five plays to make it 24-14 late in the third quarter. The big play was a 58-yard pass to Joshua Bostick. Two plays later, Eddie Beccles ran 16 yards to score.
"We started off pretty good, then killed ourselves with mistakes,'' Cribbs said.