Updated Sat, Jun 8, 2013 1:18 pm
In mid-May, Ohio began replacing the turf at Peden stadium. After 11 long seasons the field installed in 2002 was torn up and replaced. During those 11 seasons that field hosted some of the more memorable games in Bobcat Football history. In honor of the old turf, here is a countdown of the top-10 games played at Peden Stadium over the past 11 seasons.
No. 10. Buffalo - Sept. 28, 2002
Months after installing the new field at Peden Stadium, the Bobcats notched their first win on the turf. After starting the season with four straight losses Ohio came home and beat the Buffalo Bulls in a thriller 34-32. Ohio went on to win just two more games on their home turf that season and finished the home season with a 24-21 loss to Marshall.
No. 9. Kent State – Oct. 1, 2011
A week after suffering his first loss as a starter, redshirt sophomore quarterback Tyler Tettleton led Ohio to a close victory over Kent State. Trailing 7-3 with less than four minutes until halftime, Tettleton marched the ‘Cats down the field hooking up with LaVon Brazill for the go-ahead touchdown. The Bobcats and Tettleton didn’t look back, winning 17-10.
Tettleton threw for 276 yards and two touchdowns, giving him 12 on the season and putting him eighth all-time on Ohio’s single-season leaderboard. The win also marked Ohio’s first victory over Kent State since 2008 and the first time Ohio started a season 4-1 since 1997.
No. 8. Buffalo – Oct. 6, 2012
After starting the 2012 season 5-0, the Bobcats had a scare in Week 6. The Buffalo Bulls came in and gave the ‘Cats a run for their money jumping out to 14-0 early lead on the road. But Ohio was very opportunistic, recovering three fumbles and getting a spark from Daz’mond Patterson’s kickoff return for a touchdown to turn the tides and rally to a 38-31 victory.
The win improved Ohio to 6-0 for the first time since 1968 and made them the first bowl-eligible team in the country. It also helped the ‘Cats crack the AP Top-25 the following week at No. 25 after improving to 7-0.
No. 7: Miami (Ohio) – Nov. 24, 2007
It’s always special when Miami and Ohio meet in the Battle of the Bricks. But in 2007 the ‘Cats pulled out a win that stands out in the 105-year-old rivalry. Trailing 17-7 at halftime in the final game of the season, Ohio mounted an impressive comeback. Led by stellar defensive play and a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown Ohio rattled off 32 points in the final 27 minutes to win 38-29.
The game marked the end of Kalvin McCrae’s career at Ohio. The Bobcats’ all-time leading rusher managed 112 yards on the ground, more than half of Ohio’s total 199 yards in his 21st career 100-yard game. It also marked the first home win against Miami since 1999 and the second win in what became a six-year winning streak against the RedHawks.
No. 6. Marshall – Sept. 17, 2011
Donning their fresh, new black uniforms, the Bobcats took to the Peden turf to lay a beating on their rivals from Huntington, W.Va.. The ‘Cats 44-7 rout of the Marshall Thundering Herd brought The Bell back to Athens for the first time since 2000.
Ohio got it done both offensively and defensively. Making only his third career start, Tettleton threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns, while connecting with 11 different Bobcats receivers. The Green and White swarm on defense forced six turnovers including two Travis Carrie interceptions.
No. 5: Kent State – Sept. 24, 2005
In Solich’s Mid-American Conference debut, he orchestrated a game plan that overwhelmed the Golden Flashes. Ohio jumped out to an early 21-9 lead at halftime thanks to two rushing touchdowns by McCrae. The sophomore ran for 200 yards on the day, setting the tone for Solich’s ground-and-pound offensive attack that became a staple for the next two seasons. Backup running back Voncarie Owens added 139 yards and two second half scores to hold off a surging Kent State offense.
Not to be outdone by the running backs, Ohio’s defense intercepted Kent State six times, including twice in the fourth quarter while the Golden Flashes were pushing for a comeback. It was one of the lone bright spots in Solich’s inaugural season. The ‘Cats finished the year 4-7 and just 3-5 in the conference, but the Kent State win marked the beginning of a new era in Ohio Football
After taking down the Penn State Nittany Lions on the road to start the 2012 season, Ohio returned home to the safe confines of Peden Stadium. The ‘Cats took down the New Mexico State Aggies 51-24 in their home opener before a record crowd of 25,893 fans – the largest ever to pack the seats at Peden.
Tettleton unleashed for 257 yards and two touchdowns, but the breakout game belonged to his high school teammate, running back Beau Blankenship, who amassed 168 yards on the ground and finding the end zone twice on the night.
No. 3: Temple – Nov. 2, 2011
In one of the more exciting games in Peden Stadium history, Tettleton engineered a last-minute drive that remains etched in Ohio Football history. The game was a tight back-and-forth battle up to the final minutes. Ohio and Temple traded score for score, entering halftime notched up at 14 apiece. The Owls came out on top in the second half, and with less than five minutes left in the game took a 31-28 lead.
Starting from their own 22-yardline the Bobcats marched down the field on the back of Tettleton. After throwing a 50-yard bomb on the second play of the drive, five plays later with 1:41 on the clock, the quarterback hooked up with receiver Donte Foster in the end zone for the go ahead score. The pass gave Tettleton three passing touchdowns on the day, giving him 20 on the season and moving him into a tie for Ohio’s single season record. The ‘Cats’ defense locked the Owls down and held on to win the game 35-31.
With the win the ‘Cats became bowl eligible for the third straight season and took sole position of the MAC East Division. Ohio rode the momentum from the come-from-behind victory, winning its next three games and claiming the MAC East Division outright. After a loss to the Northern Illinois Huskies in the MAC Championship Game, Ohio won its first ever bowl game in Boise, Idaho, beating Utah state 24-23.
No. 2. Pittsburgh – Sept. 9, 2005
The Solich era in Athens started off with a bang as the ‘Cats shocked the Pittsburgh Panthers in overtime. It wasn’t Ohio’s day offensively, with only three of its 16 points coming from the offense. Instead, the glory went to Ohio cornerback Dion Byrum, who started off the Bobcats’ scoring with a 38-yard interception return for a score in the first quarter to tie the game after Pitt returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown.
Ohio held a 10-7 lead until seven seconds remained in the game when Pitt tied the game up with a field goal. In the first period of overtime, Byrum shined again. The senior cornerback jumped Panther quarterback Tyler Palko’s pass and sprinted 85 yards home for the game-winning Bobcat score.
Fans rushed the turf to celebrate Solich’s first win as the head coach at Ohio University. The “Fightin’ Frankies” picked up two more wins in 2005, giving Solich a 4-7 record in his first season at the helm. After the season, Byrum earned All-American honors from the American Football Coaches Association.
No. 1: Akron – November 16, 2006
A year removed from a 25-3 drubbing at the hands of the Zips, Ohio entered this game with a chance to win the MAC East Division for the first time in school history. The game wasn’t pretty, but Ohio slugged it out with the Zips in a defensive showcase. The two teams combined for just 480 total yards and were a collective 7-for-28 on third down conversions. Midway through the second quarter Ohio broke a scoreless tie on a three-yard scamper by McRae putting the ‘Cats up 7-0. With 3:13 left in the half, backed into their own end zone, the Zips botched a punt snap. Ohio linebacker Matt Muncy recovered the loose ball, scoring on the play to put Ohio up 14-0 at halftime. The ‘Cats held on to win the game 17-7 behind a smothering defense that held Akron to negative four yards rushing.
With the win Ohio claimed the MAC East Division title for the first time since winning the MAC outright in 1968. After beating Miami in the final game of the regular season Ohio went on to lose to Central Michigan 31-10 in the MAC Championship Game. After losing to Southern Mississippi 28-7 in the GMAC Bowl, Ohio finished with a 9-5 record. But the foundation had been laid. In just his second season at the helm, Solich led Ohio out of FBS obscurity to its first conference division title, and its first bowl appearance in 38 seasons.
*Correction: The article orginally incorrectly listed the Oct. 2, 2004 game between Ohio and the University of Kentucky at No. 10. In fact that game was played on the road and not in Athens, Ohio.