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Interview with the enemy: Randy Carpenter of The Hustle Belt

Randy Carpenter of The Hustle Belt stops by to talk about Bowling Green.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

The opponent blog Q&A is back this week! Indiana State did not have a blogger and Virginia Tech's SB Nation site had me on their podcast, but this week the Hustle belt, the uber-MAC overlord of SB nation, has Randy Carpenter answering my questions about the Falcons.

T-Mill: Obviously the big story with Bowling Green is that offense. Is there anything Purdue can do to slow it down or should we accept giving up 400 yards and 35 points and hope to top that?

Randy: That's something Tennessee, Maryland and Memphis could not do so far this year.  Falcon head coach Dino Babers learned this up-tempo version of the spread offense while he was working for Art Briles at Baylor.  The goal of the offense is to run a play every 15 seconds.  They ran something unheard of like 120 offensive plays last year when they beat Indiana.  Their offensive linemen actually lost weight this summer so they could be in better shape to keep pace.  When's the last time you heard of offensive linemen losing weight?

This a veteran offensive unit that has a lot guys that have been playing together for three years now.  All 11 starters are back and they are getting very comfortable with this offense now that they are in year two of running it.  Matt Johnson has been nothing short of unbelievable at quarterback.  He's averaging 455 yards a game passing, and he has so many weapons at his disposal.  His main target is Roger Lewis who had 276 yards and three touchdowns last week.  Lewis is a kid that was all set to go to Ohio State but ended up at a prep school and then landed at Bowling Green. He's got NFL talent.

Plus, Lewis is just one guy in a very deep receiving core.  The Falcons go about six or seven deep with guys that can catch and make plays.  And I am not talking about typical small school type receivers.  A couple of these guys are 6' 4" or taller, and a couple of others have speed to run with about anybody.  You don't put up the numbers Johnson has put up without having some guys that can make plays.

I haven't even talked about the running game.  So yeah, this team can move the ball and score with just about anybody.

T-Mill: As good as the offense has been, the defense has been just as bad. How much is that unit holding things back?

Randy: If Bowling Green had gotten anything from its defense and special teams at all this year, they could very well be 3-0 right now.  The defense is very young and are really learning how to play on the fly.  Tennessee pounded the Falcons with the running game and Memphis used the big plays to outscore them.

But in reality, the defense has been put into some bad situations this year by the special teams units.  For example, Tennessee had like four scoring drives of less than 30 yards because of long punt and kick-off returns against Bowling Green.

The defense has been improving each week and they don't have to be a lock-down unit for this team to win games.  With this offense they just need be respectable for Bowling Green to have success.

T-Mill: Does the win over Maryland and last year's win over Indiana give the Falcons much confidence headed to another Big Ten stadium?

Randy: I think it does for this particular Bowling Green team.  I think the good showing against Tennessee and the near miss against a very good Memphis team also has given them confidence.  When the season started, many thought this Purdue game was their best chance to win a game during their non-conference schedule.  I don't think that feeling has changed.

But Bowling Green has played pretty well against Big Ten teams in recent years.  They've had wins over Indiana, Minnesota, Northwestern, and in 2003 against the Boilermakers the last time they came into Ross-Ade.  This is a confident bunch and I think they take that cue from their head coach.

T-Mill: What did Memphis and Tennessee do to slow down the Falcons at least enough to win?

Randy: Tennessee ran the ball effectively and tried to keep the Falcon offense on the sidelines as much as they could.  That also ate some clock and shortened the game.  Having said that, the Falcons put up over 600 yards of offense and 30 points against the Vols and probably left another 14 points on the field by their own mistakes.

Memphis beat Bowling Green at their own game.  They played fast as well and ran 90 offensive plays in the game to only 74 for the Falcons.  Those numbers are usually reversed for Bowling Green.  Memphis also brought pressure with blitzes in the fourth quarter and it bothered the Falcons.  I would imagine that was the focus at practice this week, because teams watching the film are going to try that strategy again for sure.

T-Mill: Is Bowling Green favored to repeat as champs in the MAC East even with the slower start?

Randy: Yes, they came into the season as heavy favorites to repeat as east champs.  Party because of all the offense they had coming back and the fact that the east does not have a lot of great teams in it right now.  That's kind of what happened last year as well.  I don't think there is any team in their division that can score with them, but you never know.  Weather games in October and November can be an equalizer.  But, I fully expect to see the Falcons back at Ford Field in Detroit in early-December for the MAC Championship game.

T-Mill: Do you have a prediction?

Randy: A lot of Bowling Green fans seem to think this should be a win for them, but I think it will be closer than they think.  I think Purdue will give them a better game than Maryland did.

One thing's for sure, Bowling Green isn't going to sneak up on the Boilers.  All the hoopla around the Falcon offense has made sure of that.  Plus, Darrell Hazell knows the MAC and Bowling Green very well.  He knows what's coming.

I'll predict Bowling Green wins this one 38-31.