Bobcats run away from Eagles
Ohio tallies 559 yards of offense in 45-14 victory
By Lonnie McMillan / Contributor
Thursday, November 01, 2012
ATHENS, Ohio – For the first time in Mid-American Conference play, Ohio took control in the second half and rolled to a 45-14 victory against Eastern Michigan on Thursday night at Peden Stadium.
Donte Foster caught a pair of touchdown passes and had a career-high 164 receiving yards on seven catches as the Bobcats racked up 559 yards of offense. Ryan Boykin rushed for a career-best 128 yards and a score and Tyler Tettleton was 19 of 27 for 255 yards and three scores as the offense got on track.
“It was finally a game where we were able to separate ourselves in the second half as the game went on and have a cushion at the end,” Ohio coach Frank Solich said. “I think it was a combination of making big plays in the passing game and having a rushing game that was very strong throughout the entire game and being as balanced as we were gives you a great opportunity to win games.”
Ohio (8-1, 4-1 MAC) led only 17-14 when Ryan Brumfield scored on a 3-yard run with 2:08 left in the first half, but after both teams had quick failed possessions – with Ohio’s ending on an interception tipped at the line of scrimmage – the Bobcats moved 65 yards down the field on seven plays in 50 seconds, scoring on a Tettleton 19-yard pass to Foster to make it 24-14 before the break.
Eastern Michigan (1-8, 0-5 MAC) went 42 yards on 15 plays in a drive that spanned 8:44 and included a pair of fourth-down conversions, but the defense held, using a holding penalty and a Neil Huynh sack to back up the Eagles and force a punt, downed a the 1-yard line.
From there, the Bobcats converted a third down with a 15-yard pass to Foster and then scored quickly on a 79-yard pass play again to Foster that pushed the lead to 31-14 late in the third quarter.
“It was a simple return route,” Foster said. “I believe Tyler’s first read was across the middle to (Tyler) Futrell and it wasn’t there. He gave me the pass and Futrell made a good block for me and it was just an out-in-the-field open run.”
Boykin added a 13-yard touchdown run with 5:40 remaining and Daz’mond Patterson scored on a 29-yard run with 1:33 to go to account for the final margin. The Bobcats totaled 304 rushing yards against the Eagles’ defense, which came in giving up just over 300 yards per game on the ground to rank last in the nation.
“I was very pleased with the outcome,” Solich said. “Early on, I thought maybe it was going to be one of those games where we’d get a lead and they’d stay close enough and all of a sudden one play would turn it and then you’re in a game to the end. It may be the first game where we lost the turnover battle and it was good to see even though we lost the turnover battle, we were able to win.”
Beau Blankenship lost a fumble at the Ohio 28-yard line, setting up Eastern Michigan’s first score, a Tyler Benz pass of 17 yards to Brumfield, knotting the score at 7 with 4:04 remaining in the first quarter. The Bobcats had again the lead on a Blankenship 2-yard run on third-and-goal on their opening possession.
The tie was short-lived as Ohio answered on its ensuing drive, but it had to settle for a 25-yard Matt Weller field goal.
After forcing a three-and-out, the Bobcats went up by 10 on an 8-yard touchdown pass to Chase Cochran at the 8:08 mark in the second quarter. It was set up by a Boykin 57-yard run on a third-and-13 play.
“It seemed like everything was clicking,” Boykin said. “Every hole was open and you can’t give enough credit to the linemen. It seemed like we couldn’t miss. We were hitting everything. All the running backs did well.”
Blankenship had 11 carries for 72 yards, for the first time this season toting the ball fewer times than Boykin. Solich said that was in part due to Blankenship’s first-half fumble.
The lone turnover the Bobcats forced helped them keep the Eagles off the scoreboard in the second half. Keith Moore picked off Benz off a deflection at Ohio’s 20-yard line.
Eastern Michigan also missed a scoring opportunity on the game’s opening possession, using a Benz 33-yard completion to Donald Scott to get to Ohio’s 22-yard line. However, the Eagles were held there and Dylan Mulder missed a 39-yard field goal try off the left goalpost.
Defensive tackle Carl Jones led Ohio’s defense with 10 tackles. Nathan Carpenter had 2.5 tackles for loss and five different Bobcats were in on four sacks. Eastern Michigan finished with 305 yards of offense.
“Coming in we knew they had a ground game and the quarterback seems to be get better at throwing ball, so we were concerned about their offense moving the ball,” Solich said. “They scored 40-some points against Toledo and we didn’t want that. I was pleased with the way we controlled them on offense for most of the game and that obviously is huge for us, not allowing guys to get a huge number of points. Fourteen points, we’ll take that. I think we are get better defensively.”
Bronson Hill carried 25 times for 111 yards to lead the Eagles. Benz was just 9 of 21 for 138 yards. Alex Gillett, who started the year at quarterback, led his team with three catches for 42 yards.
Alex Belfrey had 13 tackles and recovered a fumble to lead Eastern Michigan’s defense. Justin Cudworth finished with 11 tackles.
The final three games on the Bobcats’ schedule will be much more challenging, beginning with their next one against Bowling Green in only six days. It will be Ohio’s third game in a 12-day span, which began with Saturday’s 23-20 setback at Miami.
“We just wanted to get back in the win column and move on,” Tettleton said. “All of our goals are intact.”
Ohio will try to black out the Falcons at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Peden Stadium.