The Dino Babers era at Bowling Green is off to a rocky start.
The former Art Briles assisant and Eastern Illinois head coach lost his debut at Western Kentucky 59-31 Friday, and has reportedly lost something even bigger in the process. According to the Toledo Blade, starting junior quarterback Matt Johnson will miss the remainder of the season with a hip injury suffered in the loss.
Babers confirmed to the Blade that redshirt sophomore James Knapke will get the start when the Falcons host FCS VMI in their home opener Saturday.
The loss is a heavy, heavy blow for Babers' team, one that was picked to win the MAC East and its second consecutive MAC championship in preseason thanks (in no small part) to its potential MAC Offensive Player of the Year at quarterback. As a sophomore, Johnson finished tied for seventh in the nation in yards-per-attempt (one spot ahead of Teddy Bridgewater) and posted a 25-to-7 touchdown-to-interception ratio, giving him the FBS's 11th-best passer rating.
Knapke replaced Johnson in the fourth quarter of the loss to the hilltoppers but did not attempt a pass.