Football: Ohio guts through sloppy day, beats Kent State

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The Ohio Bobcats (4-1, 1-0 Mid-American Conference) have made it past the first obstacle on their way to what they hope is a MAC Championship season.

Sophomore quarterback Tyler Tettleton came up big for the ‘Cats with 276 yards and two touchdowns, leading them to a 17-10 win over conference foe Kent State (1-4, 0-1 MAC).

This game was a big one as far as confidence goes for Ohio after losing last week to Rutgers, eliminating their undefeated record and leaving the team without a win over a BCS school.

Tettleton kept a fairly clean slate, throwing no interceptions and completing 67 percent of his passes.

His touchdown pass to Ryan Boykin put Ohio up 17-7 and was the metaphorical nail in the coffin for the ‘Cats as Kent failed to make up the difference.

Boykin has had to fill in at running back with starter Donte Harden still out with an injury. Boykin stepped up today finishing with 123 total yards to go with the touchdown.

“Nobody on Kent’s team cares if Donte goes down,” said Harden. “I’m happy I’m doing an all right job filling in for him.”

The initial lead was built when Tettleton hit his favorite target LaVon Brazill for a four-yard score. The Tettleton-to-Brazill scoring play is becoming all too familiar for Ohio’s opponents. That touchdown was the fifth such connection in as many games for the Bobcats.

The only flub in Tettleton’s performance today came in the form of a fumble early in the second leading to a score for Kent State. The Golden Flashes scored on a one-yard run to put them up 7-3 in the second, but the ‘Cats made up for it through steady offense and stellar defense.

Nathan Carpenter was a standout for the Ohio defense today, coming up with ten tackles, a sack, and an interception. The Bobcats’ defensive backfield needed the help with injuries to Omar Leftwich and Xavier Hughes.

“We’ve got some good depth here with the DBs,” Carpenter said. “Everyone stepped up and they did their job.”

Although the ‘Cats didn’t beef up their run defense as they hoped, allowing 140 yards and a score, the Golden Flashes’ passing game was held in check. Ohio allowed only 117 yards and no touchdowns.

Solidity on offense and defense were of great benefit to the ‘Cats considering their early play on special teams. Kent State managed to block an Ohio kick and a punt just a series later.

Not much bad news can come from a conference win, but that wasn’t the case for Ohio. Early in the first quarter, Omar Leftwich and defensive lineman Neal Huynh went down on back-to-back plays. Both injuries could be season-ending according to early reports.

“I know these guys will do everything they can in terms of getting treatment and whatever it takes for them to get healthy,” head coach Frank Solich said on the team’s growing injury list. “We’ll take a good team to Buffalo.”

As bittersweet as it is with injuries, a win is a win for the Ohio Bobcats as they keep their conference record clean heading into a matchup with Buffalo next week.