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Bobcats blow out Aggies in 2nd half

Ohio rolls up 584 yards in 51-24 victory

Lonnie McMillan Photo
ATHENS, Ohio – Ohio scored 24 straight points in the third quarter to pull away with a convincing 51-24 home-opening win against New Mexico State in front of a record crowd of 25,983 at Peden Stadium on Saturday night.

Beau Blankenship rushed for 168 yards and two touchdowns and Tyler Tettleton threw for 257 yards and two scores as the Bobcats amassed 584 yards of offense and turned a 21-17 lead early in the third quarter into a blowout before the end of the period.

“I wasn’t overly pleased with the first two quarters,” Ohio coach Frank Solich said. “… Similar to the Penn State game, as the game went on, our defense got better and played better. Our offense showed flashes early of being able to put points on the board and in the third quarter, they showed their ability to control the ball and put points on the board.”

The Bobcats (2-0) led just 21-17 after giving up a Tyler Stampler 38-yard field goal to start the second half, but Matt Weller answered that with a 37-yarder of his own that made him the all-time leading scorer in Ohio history.

Blankenship made it a two-score game with a 5-yard touchdown run and only 14 seconds later, Nathan Carpenter broke on an Andrew Manley pass, intercepted it and made an easy return down the sidelines for a 22-yard touchdown.

“We didn’t play on them running a lot of outs,” Carpenter said. “I knew it would be a quick throw and I read the quarterbacks eyes and made a play.”

Landon Smith broke several tackle to complete a 40-yard touchdown reception with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter to open up a 45-17 Ohio advantage.

“Especially in the second half, that’s where we’ve made huge strides and come together and put it all together and hopefully we can just keep going that,” Tettleton said.

The Aggies answered with a 91-yard A. Mustafa kickoff return, but they were shut down on offense, totaling just 206 yards of offense in the game.

With the backups playing on offense in the fourth quarter, Ohio added two more scores, Weller field goals of 25 and 26 yards.

Ohio was in a battle with New Mexico State in the first half, but never trailed. Tight end Troy Hill a 41-yard catch that set up a 6-yard Tettleton run on the Bobcats’ first possession for a 7-0 lead.

But New Mexico State answered back by driving 75 yards for a score, capping things off with a Tiger Powell 2-yard run.

Early in the second quarter, Donte Foster went up and made a grab for a 28-yard touchdown that put the Bobcats back on top, but the Aggies needed only 1:42 to tie it again when Manley found a wide open A. Franklin for a 42-yard touchdown.

Blankenship busted consecutive runs of 23 and 33 yards, the second for a touchdown, to put Ohio up for good, 21-14, with 4:54 left in the first half.

After forcing a three-and-out, the Bobcats had a chance to add to their lead, but their drive stalled after moving inside the Aggies’ 10-yard line and Weller had a 28-yard field goal attempt blocked as time expired.

“There were a few adjustments but nothing that was just dramatic,” Solich said. “It was just a matter of really executing much better. We were not happy with how we executed in the first half. (The players) went out with a determination of playing much better football. They were frustrated going in at halftime and we as coaches were frustrated because we wanted to play better.”

Tettelton completed 15 of 23 passes with Foster his main target, making five grabs for 57 yards.

After carrying 31 times last week against Penn State, Blankenship had 27 rushes in three quarters of work this week.

Manley, who threw for 322 yards in New Mexico State’s season-opening victory against Sacramento State, was just 12 of 24 for 132 yards. The Bobcats registered six sacks in the game. Powell led the Aggies in rushing with 41 yards on 14 attempts.

“You’re always looking to play perfect ball,” Solich said. “… We didn’t play perfect against Penn State, but we played good. We didn’t play perfect today but we played good. You’re always searching for that perfect game, but I don’t know if it’s ever there, but that’s what we’re striving to be. We’ll keep getting better as the season goes on.”

Ohio travels to Marshall for its next game at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

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 Ohio vs. New Mexico State

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