Football: Ohio Leaves Lasting Impression

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In the first game of a new era at historic Beaver Stadium, the Ohio Bobcats made a lasting impression by beating the Penn State Nittany Lions 24-14.

The Bobcats came into the game as an underdog with high expectations, and they met them. Ohio outgained Penn State by 147 yards and recorded four more first downs than the Nittany Lions did.

“This a great win for our football team, our program, our university and our fans,” said Ohio head coach Frank Solich.

Beau Blankenship, Ohio’s redshirt junior running back, excelled against the vaunted Penn State front seven. Blankenship accounted for 183 total yards, and 111 of them came on the ground against PSU’s loaded defense.

“We took it one play at a time and kept executing,” said Blankenship. “I’m so thankful for the line we have, we’re blessed to have them and I love every single one of them, they opened up holes for me. They make us look good.”

The biggest drive of the game for Ohio came in the fourth quarter. The Bobcats received the ball on their own seven yard line and methodically drove 93 yards for a score against Penn State.

“You know what I thought was the real key (to the game)?” said Solich. “It was us being able to go on a 93-yard drive, 17 plays, that was the real key in the game.”

Jordan Thompson came up with a huge catch on a third down to extend the Ohio drive when it seemed to be failing. Then, Bakari Bussey did the same, coming up with a nice play to reach the first down marker.

Landon Smith also got in on the party, taking a Tettleton pass 31 yards to the PSU five yard line. To cap off the best drive of the game, Donte Foster snagged a nice over-the-shoulder toss from Tettleton for a score. The touchdown gave Ohio a 24-14 lead with 2:55 left in the game.

"It was really good to see all those guys step up and make some plays for us,” said Tettleton.

Penn State and its QB, Matt McGloin, came out hot to start the game. McGloin completed six of seven passes and led PSU near the red zone on his first drive.

However, Ohio’s Gerald Moore forced a huge fumble on a Bill Belton rush attempt when PSU was threatening to score. Keith Moore recovered the ball on Ohio’s 21 yard line.

“It was big,” Gerald Moore said, referring to the forced fumble. “I was happy I was able to make a play and get us off the field and get the offense back out there. That’s how our defense wants to be.”

Ohio opened its first offensive drive with a nine yard pass from Tettleton to Troy Hill, but Beau Blankenship would be stopped on a third-and-one attempt later in the drive. Ohio’s Grant Venham booted his first career punt for 53 yards, landing PSU on its own 10 yard line.

Matt McGloin came out firing again to start Penn State’s second possession, completing 2 more passes. McGloin then failed to complete a third-and-one attempt. Penn State’s Alex Butterworth punted and the ball was downed on Ohio’s 26 yard line.

Blankenship rushed for 10 yards to start Ohio’s second drive and then added on a 28 yard reception to put Ohio on PSU’s 32 yard line.  The drive stalled, and Venham punted again for a Penn State touchback.

Derek Day rushed for 14 yards to open the next Penn State drive. Allen Robinson added on a 28 yard reception from McGloin to put PSU in Ohio territory. Kyle Carter had a huge 15 yard reception for the Nittany Lions, advancing his team to the Ohio six yard line.

McGloin then fired in a six yard touchdown pass to Bill Belton to put Penn State on top 7-0 at the end of the first quarter. Penn State outgained Ohio 184 to 66 in the first quarter, and McGloin threw for 130 of those yards.

Ohio opened its second quarter with a punt that was fumbled by Penn State’s Gerald Hodges, Ohio’s Alphonso Lewis recovered the ball on the Penn State 13-yard line. The Bobcats failed to score a touchdown on the drive, but walked away with a 22-yard Matt Weller field goal. Ohio trailed Penn State 7-3 with 10 minutes left in the second quarter.

After the Ohio field goal, McGloin came out firing again for Penn State. The Nittany Lions’ QB had already thrown for more than 150 yards and a touchdown with nine minutes left in the second quarter.  However, Alphonso Lewis broke up a pass for the Bobcats that resulted in a PSU punt.

Ohio opened the next drive with a first down reception by Donte Foster. Tettleton hit Mario Dovell for a 19-yard gain to put Ohio on Penn State’s 45 yard line.

The Bobcats were then stopped on a third a two rush attempt by Tettleton. Matt Weller proceeded to miss a 44-yard field goal attempt for Ohio, putting PSU on its own 27 yard line to start its drive.

Penn State failed to get a first down and Alex Butterworth punted 35 yards, downing Ohio on its own 18-yard line with 3:38 left in the first half.

Ohio failed to move the chains on the drive and then Venham’s punt was blocked by Nyeem Wartman and recovered by PSU on Ohio’s 18 yard line.

Matt McGloin led a three play scoring drive that ended in a 14 yard touchdown pass to Matt Lehman. Penn State added on to its lead, making the score 14-3.

Ohio failed to score again on the last possession of the half and went into the locker room down by 11 points; the score was 14-3 in favor of Penn State.

The two key plays of the half revolved around red zone turnovers. Penn State’s Gerald Hodges fumbled a punt reception on his own 13-yard line, but Ohio failed to get a touchdown and scored only a field goal.

Venham had his punt blocked by PSU’s Wartman on Ohio’s 18-yard line. The Nittany Lions capitalized on the red zone turnover and scored on a 14-yard Matt Lehman touchdown soon after.

Ohio opened the second half on its own 18 yard line. Tyler Tetttleton completed a 13 yard pass to Tyler Futrell to get the drive rolling. Tettleton then hit Blankenship for a 10 yard gain. The drive continued smoothly for Ohio after some carries from Blankenship. Then, in a strike of luck, Landon Smith hauled in a batted pass from Tettleton and took it 43 yards to the house.

Ohio started the second half with some nice tempo and energy. The Bobcats look renewed after the half.

Penn State’s first possession of the second half appeared to be an effective one. McGloin was rolling on all cylinders again.  He went five for nine on the drive, but was stopped on a fourth-down attempt by the Ohio defense.

Ohio took over possession of the ball on its own 30. The Bobcats marched down the field with some poise. Receiver Chase Cochran rushed the ball for 11 yards on a nice reverse play. Then Blankenship rushed a few times for solid yardage.

In a huge play, Tettleton hit Ryan Clark for 33 yards to get to get to the PSU 18 yard line. Then, Tettleton completed a 12-yard pass to Blankenship that put Ohio in scoring position. Tettleton rushed for two yards and then punched in a touchdown on a QB keeper. Ohio took the lead from Penn State; the score was 17-14 in favor of Ohio.

Penn State threatened on its following possession, but ended up punting to Ohio.

The Bobcats had the ball at the end of the third quarter, at mid-field. Ryan Clark then made a huge play on a reception from Tettleton to get the first down and advance into enemy territory for Ohio. The Bobcats were threatening to score, but were held on a third down attempt and then Weller missed another field goal.

In the Bobcats next possession, they went on the aforementioned 93-yard touchdown drive. Tettleton got everyone involved.  Tettleton, Thompson, Bussey, Smith and Foster all contributed heavily in the scoring drive.

The game was iced by Jelani Wosely, the Ohio outside linebacker came up with a huge interception with under two minutes left, and it was the dagger.

Ohio kept its poise throughout the game, even when the crowd of 97,186 was at their loudest and even when they trailed 14-3 at half.

The Bobcats proved to a national audience that they can compete with a loaded team, on hostile ground.  According to Vegas, it was an upset, but don’t tell Beau Blankenship that.

“In our minds, I don’t think it was (an upset), we go in to every game thinking we are going to win,” said Blankenship.

The Bobcats next game is in Athens on September 8. Ohio will take on New Mexico State in its 7 p.m. home opener.