Updated Tue, Nov 6, 2012 3:04 pm
The anticipation is building for Wednesday night’s nationally televised matchup between Bowling Green and Ohio, two of the top teams in the Mid-American Conference.
Both are coming off victories over Eastern Michigan and are currently tied for second in the MAC East Division with a 4-1 record. Both are in control of their own destiny.
Ohio received some help from Buffalo last week, as the Bulls defeated Miami, the only team standing in the Bobcats’ way of winning the division. Bowling Green, on the other hand, has only Ohio and a formidable Kent State team standing in their way.
The Ohio offense regained its strength last week against the Eagles, scoring its most points since week two and rushing for a season-high 304 yards. The odds are they will have a more difficult time against Bowling Green.
The Falcons’ defense has been the foundation behind their five-game winning streak, allowing only 33 points in that stretch. They are currently ninth in the nation with 15.2 points allowed per game and first in the MAC in total yards allowed.
“They're really physical. They remind me a lot of Penn State,” Tyler Tettleton said. “We're going to have our hands full, but at the same time, we're playing really good football right now.”
Bowling Green also features one of the top pass rushers in the nation in Chris Jones. The senior defensive tackle leads the nation with 11.5 sacks this season and will put a lot of pressure on the Bobcat’s senior-laden offensive line.
“They have a good group up front, so we're really excited to go up against them and see how our offense will do,” Tettleton said. “Going up against a good defense like that, it's a test and we kind of want to see where we're at against a defense like that.”
The senior class has an opportunity to sweep the Falcons all four years and add to their 35 total wins they’ve accumulated in their four years on the field. By the time they graduate, they will have the most wins in program history.
Tettleton also continues to inch closer to another Ohio career record. He is 82 yards from surpassing Sammy Shon’s 5,412 passing yards mark set in 1981. Tettleton will chase that record without one of his top receivers, Landon Smith.
The sophomore receiver injured his ankle on a 14-yard pass play during the Eastern Michigan game, which will likely require surgery. Coach Frank Solich said Smith is likely done for the season.
“(Smith’s injury’s) a huge loss,” Tettleton said. “Anytime you see a guy go down, it sucks and it hurts. It's hard to see him go, and I'm going to miss him a lot.”
The Bobcats are 19th in the nation in rushing, and Beau Blankenship and Ryan Boykin have been huge assets this season. With Smith’s absence, the Bobcats are expected to rely on the rushing game a little bit more.
Kickoff at Peden Stadium is at 8 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN2. The Bobcats will be sporting the black uniforms to match the stadium blackout.
“It's going to be an electric environment, so we're really excited to play in front of anybody, especially a blackout,” Tettleton said. “It's going to be a lot of fun.”