Time expires on undefeated season
Tettleton sacked on last play at Miami
By Lonnie McMillan / Contributor
Saturday, October 27, 2012
OXFORD, Ohio - Time expired when Tyler Tettleton was sacked with Ohio inside the 10-yard line of Miami and the RedHawks held on to give the No. 24 Bobcats their first loss of the season, 23-20, on Saturday at Yager Stadium.
Tettleton led Ohio down the field with 1:24 to go and the Bobcats (7-1, 3-1 Mid-American Conference) chose to take one shot at the end zone with nine seconds left. But with no timeouts left, the clock ran out on Ohio when Tettleton tried to make a play and was brought down in the backfield by Wes Williams, ending Miami's six-game losing streak in the Battle of the Bricks.
“I was just trying to make a play,” Tettleton said. “Everything broke down and I was just trying to make a play.”
The primary read was a backside post to Donte Foster, Tettleton said, adding that he knows he should have thrown the ball away to allow for a game-tying field goal try, but he forgot that the team was without timeouts.
Ohio coach Frank Solich said he never gave thought to kicking the field goal on that play and added that the coaches were trying to communicate from the sidelines that the Bobcats needed to throw into the end zone.
“On the last drive, with no timeouts left, you don’t have a chance to tell Tyler to make sure to throw the ball out of bounds, but you expect him to know that with all the training he’s had, because he’s so sharp and because of everything he’s done over the course of time he’s been here and the coaching he has gotten.”
Matt Weller’s 38-yard field goal with 4:41 remaining tied the game at 20.
Shut out to that point in the second half, Miami (4-4, 3-1 MAC) converted a third-and-2 with a 17-yard pass from Zac Dysert to Nick Harwell, and on the next play, Spencer Treadwell broke off a 30-yard run to the Ohio 18-yard line. The Bobcats used all three of their times on the next three plays, holding the RedHawks to a Kaleb Patterson 31-yard field goal.
The Bobcats quickly crossed midfield with a 33-yard completion to Landon Smith. Beau Blankenship made an 11-yard catch and run and Tyler Futrell made a catch for 6 yards, getting out of bounds to stop the clock. A completion to Blankenship was good for another first down and two straight Tettleton rushes got Ohio to the Miami 7-yard line.
“You can never get a play back, but obviously, he made so many good plays for us that put us in the position we were in. It does not come down to one player. It does not come down to one side of the ball. We just did not get it done.”
Tettleton finished 23 of 38 for 302 yards, but he was sacked six times. Ohio had given up only five sacks in its previous seven games.
Solich said he was not sure why there was an uncommon lack of protection.
“Tyler was running around the football field to where some of those plays where he got flushed out of the pocket, there could have been more sacks made.”
The Bobcats played from behind from the start, giving up a 40-yard Patterson field goal on the game’s opening possession and then blowing a coverage and leaving Nick Harwell wide open to catch a 54-yard touchdown pass on a third-down play.
Miami extended its lead to 13-0 with a Patterson field goal with 2:55 remaining in the first quarter.
A 45-yard completion to Chase Cochran set up Ohio’s first score, a 5-yard Blankenship run with 48 seconds left in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Duwan Scott caught a 38-yard pass from Dysert to the 1-yard line, where Jamire Westbrook ran it in for a 20-7 Miami lead at the 12:00 mark.
The Bobcats answered on their next possession with Tettleton scoring on a 3-yard run.
Ohio crossed midfield on its next possession and pinned Miami at its own 1-yard line. The RedHawks punted back, giving the Bobcats the ball across midfield, but they failed to take advantage and punted.
Dysert put the RedHawks in position to add to their lead with time winding down in the half, but he was intercepted by Nathan Carpenter on a third-down play from the Ohio 10-yard line. It was the game’s only turnover.
The Bobcats got a Weller 45-yard field goal to open the second half, making it 20-17. However, they missed out on a touchdown opportunity, losing 25 yards on consecutive offensive line penalties. The Bobcats finished with five penalties for 58 yards, while the RedHawks had just one for 5 yards.
“We really hurt ourselves on two straight drives with penalties,” Solich said. “It’s something we have not had an issue with throughout the season in terms of just playing a good football game penalty-wise. Where that all came from and what happened there I’m not sure.”
Ohio’s defense settled in during the second half, giving up just three first downs on Miami’s next four possessions, but the offense failed to take advantage. The Bobcats’ best chance to score came in the third quarter when they moved to the Miami 27-yard line, but Tettleton was sacked for a 12-yard loss on third down.
“Defensively, overall that was one of our best games,” said Ohio linebacker Keith Moore, who led his team with 10 tackles. “We had some big plays that didn’t go our way and some busted coverages. If you take five of six of those plays away, we win. It’s a new ball game, so its’ unfortunate.”
Dysert was 21 of 36 for 311 yards. Harwell lit up Ohio for the second straight year, making eight catches for 138 yards. Scott had four receptions for 94 yards.
The Bobcats undoubtedly will lose their top-25 ranking and all hopes they had of becoming the MAC’s first Bowl Championship Series buster. However, the team’s main goal of winning the its first league championship since 1968 still is attainable.
“The rankings aren’t our goal,” safety Gerald Moore said. “Our goal is to get back to Detroit.”
Kent State (7-1, 4-0 MAC) has the MAC East lead with Bowling Green (4-1 MAC), Miami and Ohio all in the mix. The Bobcats still have games against the Golden Flashes and Falcons remaining.
First, though, Ohio has a quick turnaround before hosting Eastern Michigan at 6 p.m. Thursday in a game that will be broadcast on ESPNU.