Bowling Green, New Mexico State embrace position at Quick Lane Bowl

Field Level Media

December 20, 2022 at 6:42 pm.

Matt McDonald could appeal for another season, but the Bowling Green quarterback could be stepping on the field for the final time when the Falcons play New Mexico State in the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit on Dec. 26.

That doesn’t mean just his last time for Bowling Green, but his last competitive game at any level.

“I know that’s a possibility and I’m OK with that. I have no regrets,” McDonald said. “We’ve overcome a lot over the last couple years and we’ve gotten to this point, bowl game, haven’t done that in the last seven years.

“I thought that was pretty special and I just want to end it with a win and bring a bowl game victory back to Bowling Green.”

The Falcons (6-6) are in their first bowl game since losing 58-27 to Georgia Southern in the 2015 GoDaddy.com Bowl when they face New Mexico State (6-6), which won five of its last six games.

McDonald has thrown for 2,639 yards, 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions this season, his second as Bowling Green’s full-time starter. The last contest wasn’t good as McDonald was intercepted three times during a 38-14 road loss against Ohio.

McDonald spent two seasons at Boston College and transferred to Bowling Green after the 2018 season. He sat out 2019 to meet transfer regulations and started five games in 2020 and the bowl game start will be his 29th for the Falcons.

“He got his brains beat in here for two years and was able to overcome and get out of the bad habits that that creates whenever you’re not around a good team,” Falcons coach Scot Loeffler said. “Matt’s very important. I don’t want to see him go, but it’s time.”

New Mexico State has a hot quarterback in Diego Pavia, who passed for seven touchdowns and rushed for four over the past two games — routs of 49-14 over Liberty and 65-3 over FCS Valparaiso.

Pavia sustained a hamstring injury against Valpo.

“He’s about 90 percent — he will be ready to play unless he has a setback,” Aggies coach Jerry Kill said. “We are going to be really careful with him and everything.”

Gavin Frakes is receiving extra practice repetitions, though Pavia said he expects to play in the program’s first bowl game since beating Utah State 26-20 in the 2017 Arizona Bowl.

“It’s really just working on the neck up and all of the mental stuff that we are getting prepared for,” Pavia told reporters. “… We are going to develop a great game plan.”

New Mexico State’s defense is led by linebacker Chris Ojoh (101 tackles), while Bowling Green features defensive end Karl Brooks, who is tied for seventh in the nation with 10 total sacks.