Bowling Green's Teo Redding (9) dodges Michigan State's Grayson Miller (44) on the run in the fourth quarter of the Saturday, September 2, 2017, match up at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan. Blade/Katie Rausch
BOWLING GREEN — Teo Redding had a coming-out party last Saturday.
And the timing his big day could not have been better for the Bowling Green State University football team.
Redding finished with eight catches good for 197 yards and two touchdowns in the Falcons’ 37-29 victory at Miami. On the first play from scrimmage in the second half he caught a 75-yard scoring strike from quarterback James Morgan, and later in the game he added a 28-yard touchdown catch, the go-ahead score in BG’s first win this season.
“We needed a playmaker,” coach Mike Jinks said. “Some of the balls he caught on Saturday weren’t easy catches, but he went out there and made plays. … and that takes pressure off the quarterback and other guys on the field.”
According to the website Pro Football Focus, Redding was targeted 11 times on Saturday, and Morgan’s passer rating was 154.4 when he targeted Redding.
To put that number in perspective, Morgan’s passer rating for the season is 108.6.
It was easily the senior’s biggest game as a Falcon, and it validated the patience the program has had in the development of the 6-foot-2, 175-pounder from Warren, Mich. — as well as the patience Redding had to wait his turn for more playing time.
“It was kind of hard,” Redding said. “But you have to keep your head up and know your time is coming. You can’t give up. You have to be patient.”
After redshirting in 2013, he played in seven games as a freshmen the following season and caught five passes for 59 yards. Redding found himself behind a slew of talented receivers in 2015 — two of those wideouts, Roger Lewis and Gehrig Dieter, are now on NFL rosters — and had 13 catches for 222 yards and three scores.
Last year Redding started in eight of Bowling Green’s 12 games and ranked third on the team with 31 catches good for 423 yards and three scores.
This season Redding is second on the team with 27 catches for a team-leading 416 yards and three scores. After making just two catches in the opener at Michigan State, he has caught at least four passes in every game since, which Jinks said is a testament to his growth and development.
“Teo needed a little tough love,” Jinks said. “He’s always been able to come out and flash signs of greatness; what we’re starting to see that explosion on every play.”
The best part of Redding’s development — and the most obvious part after watching his standout performance at Miami — is that this new explosiveness makes the Falcons’ offense much more potent.
“Having a gamebreaker means you can’t play one-on-one against him,” Jinks said. “And having a deep threat opens things up for everyone else. It also causes you to lighten up the box, so we can run the football more effectively.”
While Redding was pleased by his big numbers against the RedHawks, he was happier that the performance ended talk of a winless season.
“It’s good to get that stress off you,” he said. “Everyone is happier: Teammates are happier, families are happier, people around you are happier.
“Now we can come to practice and see people are running around harder, playing with more confidence. It lifts you up to get another win the next week.”