Updated Thu, Mar 29, 2012 8:36 pm
For any Bobcat fan looking for some positive news in the wake of former head basketball coach John Groce bolting for Illinois, the 2012 Ohio Football schedule was released on Thursday, placing the Bobcats in four nationally televised contests.
Ohio starts its 2012 season in State College, Penn. against Penn State on Sept. 1. The game serves as a monumental event, marking the first time in 46 years a season will start with a head coach other than Joe Paterno leading the Nittany Lions onto the field. Former New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien was hired as Penn State's coach on January 6, 2012.
After the trip to Happy Valley, the Bobcats return to Athens for their home-opener at Peden Stadium against New Mexico State, a team they thrashed on the road last season, 44-24.
Ohio will look to duplicate last year’s performance against long-time rival Marshall on Sept. 15, when the Bobcats travel to Huntington, W. Va. Ohio dominated the Thundering Herd in a 44-7 blowout. Quarterback Tyler Tettleton threw for 279 yards and three touchdowns in the win.
The Bobcats round out their non-conference schedule with a game on Sept. 22 against Norfolk State on Parents’ Weekend.
The University of Massachusetts joined the Mid-American Conference as a football only member in 2011, with 2012 serving as its first year in conference play. Massachusetts' Sept. 29 game against Ohio will be its first MAC game. UMass plays its home games at Gillette Stadium, which also serves as the home of the New England Patriots.
Ohio returns home for a two-week stretch with games against Buffalo and Akron. The Zips are the Bobcats’ Homecoming opponent.
The Battle of the Bricks will take place in Oxford, Oh. this year, as the Bobcats travel to face the Redhawks on Oct. 27. Ohio beat its conference rivals last season, 21-14.
Ohio’s final four games will all be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks. The Bobcats host Eastern Michigan on Thursday, Nov. 1 on ESPNU and Bowling Green on Wednesday, Nov. 7 on ESPN2. Ohio hits the road for its final two games, against Ball State on Wednesday, Nov. 14 on ESPN2/ESPNU and concludes the regular season against Kent State on Friday, Nov. 23 on ESPNU/ESPN3.
The 2012 MAC Championship game will be held in Detroit, Mich. at Ford Field, the home of the NFL's Detroit Lions. Ohio finished the 2011 season 10-4 overall and 6-2 in conference play.
Ohio is coming off of its first bowl game victory in school history, a win over Utah State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, and hopes to reach another MAC Championship in 2012.
Spring football practices kicked off on Tuesday, March 28 and will continue through Saturday, April 21. Spring practice concludes on April 21 with the annual Green vs. White spring game.