Ohio Falls Victim To Potent Louisville, 49-7< < Back to
Sunday marked the end of a long nine month wait for a new season when Ohio kicked off against Louisville. But after the clock hit zero on a game that felt like an eternity the Bobcats knew just how good Louisville is, falling to the Cardinals 49-7.
It didn’t take long for No. 9 Louisville Cards to make a statement, as Ohio found itself scrambling to slow their powerful offense from the start. Louisville scored on a 34-yard touchdown from Teddy Bridgewater to a wide open Damian Copeland to go up 7-0. That was four minutes into the game. Four minutes later, Bridgewater doubled the score.
“That was one of the longest afternoons I’ve spent in my career on the football field,” Ohio head coach Frank Solich said in the press conference after the game.
More than four hours after the game began Solich and the Bobcats were handed their worst loss since he came to Ohio nine years ago.
They were dominated from the beginning, and it was visible. The defense had no answer for Louisville’s offensive attack. It took the ‘Cats 44 minutes to force the first Cardinals’ fourth down. An early injury to defensive captain Keith Moore didn’t help things either. The senior linebacker went down early in the first quarter with an ankle injury, and didn’t return all game.
With 15 NFL scouts on hand, and a Bobcats defense that was far from competitive, Bridgewater turned the game into his personal highlight show.
Considered a front-runner for the Heisman Trophy, and widely viewed as one of the best players currently in college, Bridgewater is on a season-long job interview for NFL teams.
It’s fair to say that interview went well. Bridgewater finished with 355 yards and five touchdowns, and completed 25 of his 28 passes on the day. The lone blemish on his record was an interception he threw to Xavier Hughes in the second quarter. But Bridgewater wasn’t alone in his dominance of Ohio. All told the Cardinals amassed 615 yards of total offense, and only punted twice all afternoon.
“We didn’t give them much resistance,” the coach said, while giving Louisville praise. “I certainly think this is one of the best overall team’s we’ve played in my time at Ohio.”
The Cardinals’ defense proved equally as dominate as their offensive counterparts. The ‘Cats couldn’t claw their way out of the early deficit. Ohio was stale on offense. The team struggled to develop any momentum, and finished the first half with just 77 yards of total offense.
Tyler Tettleton struggled mightily against a swarming secondary. He finished the game with just 140 yards, on 11-of-23 passing. But, his job wasn’t made any easier by an offensive line that struggled all day with creating space. The ‘Cats running game was nonexistent, as the line was continually pushed backwards throughout the contest. Two starters, Sam Johnson and Jon Lechner, went down with serious injuries, compounding the problems.
In 2012 Ohio had one of the best running attacks in the country, and the nation’s ninth leading rusher in Beau Blankenship. But Sunday, against a physical Louisville defense, Ohio managed a meager 81 rushing yards for the game.
The Bobcats flashed some momentum on a drive in the second quarter when Tettleton tossed a 36-yard bullet to tight end Anthony Talbert, and marched the offense down the field into the redzone. But, the drive stalled on the 16-yard line and Ohio opted to go for the field goal. The problem is Matt Green pulled the kick left, missing the 31-yarder.
Ohio managed to avoid a shutout in the third quarter on a rushing touchdown by Ryan Boykin, but couldn’t reach the end zone again.
When the clock hit zero, the Bobcats had been thoroughly beaten, but weren’t letting the loss affect their outlook on this season.
“In this business you’ve got to prepare yourself every week,” Solich said. “We never made one game so big that it was devastating that we lost…as tough as [the loss] is on us right now, we’ve got to move forward. We’ve got no choice.”
Ohio returns to action Saturday, at 7 p.m. in Peden Stadium against North Texas.