The ninth annual Quick Lane Bowl was held on December 26, 2023, at Ford Field and featured a matchup between the Bowling Green Falcons and the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
The Bowling Green Falcons were heading into their fifteenth bowl game and looking for their sixth bowl win. They finished the regular season 7-5, with an impressive win over Georgia Tech on the road. The Falcons are led by Head Coach Scot Loeffler, in his 5th season with the Bowling Green.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers were heading to this year's Quick Lane Bowl under 7th year Head Coach P.J. Fleck. The Gophers finished the season with a record of 5-7. The Gophers came into the game with 4-0 record in bowl games, which is the most in school history.
Bowling Green opened the game scoring on their first drive, with a 45-yard pass from QB Connor Bazelak to WR Odieu Hiliare. The Falcons scored less than a minute and half into the game. Minnesota responded with a 75 yard drive down the field. QB Cole Kramer was able to connect with WR Elijah Spencer to put the Gophers on the board. Minnesota decided to attempt a 2-point conversion after the touchdown but came short. Leaving Bowling Green leading 7-6.
After both offenses started off hot, the defense for both teams were able to settle in. Minnesota was held to only a field goal for the rest of the first half. Bowling Green was able to ramp up their defense, forcing an interception. This led to a field goal, giving the Falcons 10-9 lead at half-time.
Minnesota opened the second half scoring touchdowns on back-to-back drives. From the 1-yard line, Kramer scored a touchdown. The second touchdown came after a return by WR Quentin Redding to the Bowling Green 27-yard line. The Gophers were able to capitalize with a 7-yard pass from Kramer to WR Jameson Geers. This gave Minnesota a 23-10 lead at the end of the 3rd quarter.
Bowling Green was able to force the Gophers to punt at the start of the 4th quarter. With the Falcons trailing by 2 scores, this was an important offensive series for them. The start of the drive was opened by a 42-yard run by RB PaSean Wimberly to Minnesota's 38-yard line. Bowling Green would eventually score on an 18-yard touchdown run from Wimberly.
The Gophers responded by going down the field in 5 plays and a touchdown by RB Darius Taylor to bring their lead back to a two-score game. Bowling Green would not go down without a fight, bouncing back with their own drive, ending with a touchdown. This brought the game within one score with two and half minutes left in the game.
Despite the effort from the Falcons, the Minnesota Golden Gophers were able to run out the clock to secure the 30-24 win and become the 2023 Quick Lane Bowl Champions.
Bowling Green was able to rely on their senior WR Odieu Hiliare, who finished with 152 yards on 10 catches with a touchdown.
Minnesota's offense was led by, Detroit native, Darius Taylor. The freshman running led the team in rushing and receiving. On the ground, Taylor had 208 yards on 35 carries and 1 touchdown. Taylor also had 11 yards on 2 catches and was named the 2023 Quick Lane Bowl MVP.
- MVP: Darius Taylor (208 Rushing yards, 35 carries, 1 TD)
- Kickoff: 2:30 PM
- Network: ESPN
|Cole Kramer (MINN)
|Connor Bazelak (BGSU)
|Darius Taylor (MINN)
|PaSean Wimberly (BGSU)
|Darius Taylor (MINN)
|Odieu Hiliare (BGSU)