Published Mon, Oct 10, 2011 2:04 pm Dateline
Updated Mon, Oct 10, 2011 7:04 pm
Weren't watching the football game Saturday? Let us be your eyes. Here's what we saw on the field during Ohio's 38-37 loss to Buffalo in New York. Tyler Tettleton passed for 203 yards and a touchdown but the 'Cats gave up over 500 yards in the loss.
Sights from the Sidelines
Injury Bug Bites Again
This should come as no surprise to anybody, but this Ohio football team is hurt. Heading to Buffalo we already knew defensive lineman Neal Huynh and cornerback Omar Leftwich would not play. Then Curtis Meyers got sick on game day to thin an already ailing defensive line, and before all the fans (and there were not many) could get settled in their seats, defensive lineman Carl Jones and safety Xavier Hughes were out of their pads with ice and wraps on their shoulders. With five starters out on defense, coaches had to substitute in some younger, less experienced players.
Let's not put all the blame on the younger guys, there were a lot of missed plays and tackles by veteran defensive players also, but there isn't a substitute for experience and the Bobcats were missing a lot of it on Saturday.
Harden Healthy = Game Changer
Donte Harden had not played since the first half of the Marshall game because of a groin problem. Although he was practicing, coach Frank Solich said he kept him out of the last two games because, "he didn't have his explosiveness." Against Buffalo Harden played--explosively. Harden had 14 carries for 89 yards, good for nearly 6.5 yards per carry and a touchdown. Number eight also caught four passes for 27 yards and returned a kickoff 67 yards to set up Ohio on the UB 20-yard line, a drive which he finished off with his lone touchdown scamper. Harden demonstrated the ability to cut, hit the holes with speed and confidence and make defenders miss. Plus, Harden showed he has the explosiveness to get on to the field and make things happen when he's on it. He has a skinny pair of legs, so staying healthy could remain an issue, but if he keeps playing he is another big-play threat for the Bobcats' offense.
Big Play Bobcats
Speaking of big-play threats, the Ohio offense lived on the big plays against Buffalo. A 67-yard kick return by Harden set up the Bobcats on the Bulls' 20-yard line, Tyler Tettleton ran for a 40 yard score, and LaVon Brazill found pay dirt on a 67-yard reverse. Ohio lived on and survived because of the big play against Buffalo, something that this team has done all year. The only thing missing was the vertical, deep-pass to stretch the secondary.