‘Cats Power Past Buffalo With Another Strong 2nd Half

By Taylor Greik

What do you think of when you see the Ohio Bobcats play on Saturday? I see a great second half team with very poor performances in the first half of each game. Well, nothing changed this Saturday folks. After another anemic first half, Ohio was able to knock off the Buffalo Bulls 38-31 at Peden Stadium.

Ohio was coming off of a very close call at new Mid-American Conference opponent UMass, as they squeaked out a 37-34 win on the road last week. Ohio has been dealing with several injuries on both sides of the ball, but it really shows on the defensive side of the ball as this defense continued to struggle on Saturday.

In the first quarter, Buffalo was able to establish a solid running attack right from the get-go. They slashed the Ohio defense for 131 yards on 18 carries in the first quarter alone. Ohio had no answer to Buffalo’s high powered offense as the Bulls recorded drives of 75 and 93 yards on their first two drives respectively. Ohio was in such a funk in the early going of this game that it took a 100 yard Daz Patterson kick return to get the ‘Cats back into the ball game. Before the long return for six, the Ohio offense was off to a slow start as well, as Quarterback Tyler Tettleton threw his first interception of the season and Beau Blankenship was only able to gain 14 yards on the ground.

After Patterson’s touchdown off of the kickoff, Ohio’s offense got a much needed jump start to their day, as they were able to put up two more touchdowns in the second quarter. Tettleton threw a 15 yard strike to receiver Tyler Futrell, and a few minutes later, Beau Blankenship found pay-dirt on a 14 yard dash to the house.  Ohio took a 21-14 lead into the half.

Ohio was able to put forth a strong second half after 30 minutes of play. Tyler Tettleton steadied the Ohio attack with 6/15 passing for 99 ids in the second half, while the Bobcats successfully unveiled their two headed monster of a running attack for the first time this year.

To start the third quarter, Ryan Boykin returned from injury and made his first appearance of the season. Boykin split the second half carries with Beau Blankenship, who came into the game ranked second in the entire nation for rushing yards. Beau still had the majority of the carries for the game, 26 carries for 89 yards and a touchdown, but Boykin had a huge impact in the game’s result as he racked up 64 yards rushing on six carries including two clutch fourth quarter touchdowns. Boykin’s second touchdown from 51 yards out with 5:56 left was the clincher for the Bobcats as Buffalo was never able to recover.

Now a lot of people may see that it is not really fair to pick apart this defense as they are dealing with a lot of injuries, but even the Ohio players feel that they need to play better. “We’re suffering with a lot of injuries, we just gotta step up and make a lot more plays as a team”, said Wide Receiver Bukari Bussey after the game, “We finally had depth which has always been a problem in the past.” To add to Ohio’s injury woes, Ohio lost one of their senior captains, TE Jordan Thompson, for the season with an apparent leg injury. Ohio has given up over 500 total yards of offense for the second consecutive week; they gave up 503 yards to Massachusetts last week and 501 yards to Buffalo on Saturday. 313 of those total yards for Buffalo were on the ground for an average of 5.6 yards per carry, totaling the most rushing yards allowed by Ohio so far this season. Buffalo dominated the time of possession by an 11:02 margin and they were 11-19 on third down plays. There seems to be a lot of holes to patch up on Ohio’s defense.

Regardless of Ohio’s shaky performance at home on Saturday, the ‘Cats are now 6-0, 2-0 in the MAC, and became the first team in the entire country to become bowl eligible. Any football coach and team in the nation would believe in the old saying “A win is a win” and coach Frank Solich relayed that after the game as he “couldn’t be more pleased with winning this game regardless of how we win them”.

The bobcats look to ride that belief into next week as they are lined up to face the Akron Zips (1-5, 0-2 MAC) for their homecoming game.

If Ohio can keep winning games they will be in good shape as far as the conference standings go and they will keep gaining more votes in the coaches polls and the Associated Press Top 25 rankings.

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Beat up Bobcats remain undefeated

By John Kocsis

Saturday Sept. 22-The tone of the game was set very early by the Norfolk State Spartans. On the opening kickoff the Spartans had two number sevens on the field, wide receiver Wilonte’ Roscoe and linebacker Lynden Trail, which resulted in a five-yard penalty. On the very next play, running back Brandon Riddick fumbled the ball, and Ohio recovered it on the 20-yard line.
The Bobcats’ possession started off slowly, but after a false start on third and goal, quarterback Derrius Vick completed a 10-yard touchdown pass to a fading Donte Foster in the right-hand corner of the end zone. Matt Weller tacked on the extra point to make the score 7-0 in favor of the Bobcats.
Norfolk State’s next possession ended in a three and out, resulting in no yards. After receiving a punt, Ohio’s offense started at the Spartan’s 30-yard line, resulting in Vick throwing screen out to running back Beau Blankenship, who ran in for a 24-yard touchdown with 9: 32 left in the first quarter.
The Spartans’ next possession also resulted in yet again, another three and out, while the Bobcat’s received the ball on Norfolk State’s side of the field. After gaining 10 yards, Weller drilled a 49-yard field goal through the uprights to make the score 17-0.
Ohio led 34-0 at the half, and Vick was 11-15 passing and threw for 149 yards and three touchdowns.
In the second half, Blankenship became the first Ohio running back to rush for at least 100 yards in four consecutive games since Kalvin McRae did in 2007. He finished the game with 109 yards rushing and one touchdown rushing as well as one receiving touchdown and an average of 4.4 yards per carry.
The Bobcats’ offense was on the field for 32:07 compared to the Spartans’ 27:53, they were also more efficient, converting on seven of their 16 third downs compared to Norfolk State’s three for 15. Ohio’s defense found ways to force turnovers, the Spartans turned the ball over five times, three of which were fumbles.
Norfolk State slowed down the Bobcats’ offense in the second half, only allowing 10 points, but they didn’t get on the board until running back Randy Maynes pounded the ball into the end zone from seven yards out with 4:28 left in the fourth quarter. Spartan kicker Everett Goldberg scored a 42-yard field goal with 33 seconds left in the fourth quarter to make the final score 44-10, Ohio.
Matt Weller converted three of his six field goal attempts; all three of his misses were in the second half. The three he converted were for 49 yards, 40 yards and 31 yards. Derrius Vick filled Tyler Tettleton’s role at quarterback, completing 14 of his 20 passes for a total of 199 yards and four touchdowns. He didn’t throw any interceptions. Donte Foster led the team with five receptions for 69 yards and two touchdowns.
Next Saturday at 3: 30, the 4-0 Bobcats will travel to Gillette Stadium to play the 0-4 University of Massachusetts Minutemen.

Bobcats Pull Away at Peden, Defeating New Mexico State

By Paul Monnin,

After upsetting Penn State in their season opener on the road last week in Happy Valley, the Bobcats came out with a strong showing in their home opener, defeating the New Mexico State Aggies in commanding fashion, 51-24.

The Bobcats pulled away in the third quarter, scoring 24 unanswered points to take control. After a five-yard touchdown run by Beau Blankenship put the Bobcats ahead 31-17 with 6:44 remaining in the third, the defense sealed the deal. On the first play of the ensuing Aggies drive, redshirt sophomore Nathan Carpenter intercepted New Mexico State quarterback Andrew Manley’s pass and returned it for a touchdown, all but ensuring the win for the home team.

Bobcats quarterback Tyler Tettleton had a strong outing for the second straight week, completing 15 of his 23 pass attempts for two touchdowns and running for another in just three quarters of work. The redshirt junior compiled 275 total yards before being relieved by backup Derrius Vick.

Blankenship also impressed the fans at Peden Stadium, running for 168 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries.

The Aggies played the Bobcats tough in the first half and pulled within four points with a field goal early in the third quarter. On the ensuing Bobcats drive, Tettleton connected with wide receiver Tyler Futrell on a 50-yard passing play that set up a 37-yard field goal by Matt Weller, igniting the Bobcats 24-point run.

The night was particularly special for Weller, as the Bobcats kicker became Ohio football’s all-time leading scorer.

Next week, the Bobcats will travel to Huntington, WV to face off with Marshall. The Thundering Herd will be seeking revenge after being humiliated by the Bobcats last year in Athens by a score of 44-7.