Indiana’s next opponent, Bowling Green State University, received some unfortunate news this morning. Starting quarterback Matt Johnson will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a hip injury in the Falcons’ first game against Western Kentucky University. This is obviously a huge blow to BGSU. Coming off a MAC Championship a season ago, the Falcons were predicted to win the MAC East and a second-straight conference title. Dreams of repeating are likely dashed.
Johnson was no doubt a productive player for the Falcons. While leading them to a conference championship, he threw for almost 3,500 yards and 25 touchdowns, with just seven interceptions. He had the 11th-best passer rating in the country.
The impact this has on next week’s game is immense. The Hoosiers have caught a break. An offense known as “Falcon Fast” just lost its leader and will likely be a step slower. Now, most of you probably weren’t worried about Bowling Green considering the Hoosiers disposed of them 42-10 last year. But, I’d like to remind you the contest was in Bloomington, and it was just the third game of the season. Bowling Green finished the year with a ton of momentum and a full-strength squad was going to be a much tougher test than before, not to mention the fact that the game is in the Falcons’ backyard.
So, who will IU’s defense see under center? Well, there is some Hoosier flavor to him. Enter James Knapke, a redshirt sophomore from Fort Wayne, Ind. He led Bishop Luers High School to three-straight state championships. He owns his school’s and conference’s passing records with 5,983 passing yards and 76 touchdown passes and was named All-State as a senior. In his brief career at Bowling Green, he’s completed 4-0f-10 passes for 71 yards and one TD.
Lucky for the Hoosiers, they will get to see Knapke in action, as he makes his first start this weekend while the Hoosiers are on their bye week. This new QB won’t be a complete surprise when the two teams take the field on September 13.