Quick Lane Bowl: Minnesota vs Bowling Green

By Will Bateman

Welcome to Bowl Season! 84 teams, 42 matchups, 35 different cities; if you thought the College Football postseason was restricted to the four teams in the playoffs, think again. In this game preview, we turn our attention to the Quick Lane Bowl, between Minnesota and Bowling Green:

Where and When

Quick Lane Bowl

Location: Ford Field, Detroit, MI

Date: 26th December 2023

Time: 2:00pm (ET)

The Story So Far...

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Replacing the gloriously named Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, the Quick Lane Bowl began in 2014 when the Ford Motor Company acquired naming rights for the Boxing Day bowl game. Sponsored by Ford and taking place in the USA’s Motor City, the bowl game takes place on the Detroit Lions’ home turf at Ford Field.

As the only 5-win team playing a bowl game this season, it’s safe to say that it’s been a year to forget for PJ Fleck’s Golden Gophers. As only 81 teams reached the magic number of six wins to qualify for a bowl game, Minnesota find themselves travelling to Detroit thanks to their Academic Progress Report being the highest among the 5-win teams in the country; being in a bowl game on the basis of academic performance might not be every college football fans’ dream, but as a Gophers fan we’ll certainly take what we can get.

Minnesota’s opponents, the Bowling Green Falcons, posted their first winning season since 2015 with a very creditable 7-5 record to finish the Mid-American Conference (MAC) regular season. Appearing in their second consecutive Quick Lane Bowl after going down 24-19 against the New Mexico Aggies last year, the Falcons will be hoping to repeat their 14-10 win over Minnesota from September 2021.

The Quarterbacks

After a season of struggle, Minnesota’s sophomore quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis has entered the transfer portal with Rutgers looking like his next school. Following the 28-14 loss to bitter rivals Wisconsin in the last game of the regular season, Kaliakmanis entered the transfer portal amid rumours of tensions with Head Coach PJ Fleck.

Minnesota however moved quickly with new QB Max Brosmer coming in from the University of New Hampshire. After leading the FCS with almost 3,500 passing yards alongside 29 touchdown passes and only six interceptions, Brosmer is a hugely exciting prospect for the Gophers who have suffered from a weak passing offense in recent seasons.

With Kaliakmanis going out and Brosmer only just coming in, the starting spot for the Quick Lane Bowl goes to 5th year quarterback Cole Kramer. Kramer has only thrown 14 passes in his entire college career, completing eight for 103 yards and two touchdowns while throwing two interceptions, one of which came in his only throw this season against North Carolina.

On the other sideline, Former Missouri Tiger and Indiana Hoosier Connor Bazelak is the starting quarterback for the Bowling Green Falcons. Bazelak started all but two of the Falcons’ games during the regular season finishing with almost 1,700 yards, 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions in a Bowling Green offense with a more explosive ground game.

Prospects To Watch

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Recently named as an All-American by the Football Writers of America Association and in the first team All-Big Ten, Tyler Nubin is undoubtedly the standout star of this Minnesota Gophers team. Recording 53 tackles and five interceptions this season, Nubin is certainly one to watch alongside his younger brother Jordan at running back and All Big Ten Second Teamer wide receiver Daniel Jackson who has a knack for a spectacular catch.

The Bowling Green Falcons had 10 players on the All-Mid-American Conference team with tight end Harold Fannin Jr. ranked 7th in the country with 573 receiving yards and 5th with six receiving touchdowns. The run game however is the real strength of this Falcons team with running back Terion Sewart ranked 1st in the country with 4.8 yards per carry after contact; the sophomore has rushed for 762 yards with eight touchdowns this season.


The Gophers starting quarterback is a man who has thrown 14 passes since 2019, so this is going to be a tough test of Cole Kramer’s credentials; Kaliakmanis struggled to connect with a talented receiving corps but with such little in-game experience this is likely to be a hard day at the office for the 5th year quarterback Kramer.

Bowling Green’s ground game on the other hand is something else; a nation leading running-back and an all-Conference tight end is a scary prospect. While the Gophers have a robust defense, it is actual point scoring that remains a difficulty so I tip the Falcons to win this one (unfortunately).

Minnesota 17 – 24 Bowling Green

Will Bateman


Will works in communications and is a relatively new convert to College Football. Alongside the Minnesota Gophers, he’s an avid fan of the Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Phillies and Tottenham Hotspur. Follow him on Twitter @ItsWillBateman