Bobcats Target Fourth-Straight Battle For The Bell Win< < Back to
The Battle for the Bell kicks off for the 57th time on Saturday, as the Ohio Bobcats travel to Huntington to square off against the Marshall Thundering Herd.
Ohio Bobcats head coach Frank Solich is looking to keep the Bell in Athens for a fourth-consecutive season, as the Green and White have taken the last three games and lead the overall series 32-19-6.
“This rivalry is important to us,” said Solich. “It’s also important to our fans. A lot of great football players have played in this rivalry; we recognize that, and we want to hold up our end of the bargain.”
Ohio enters this game after a 20-3 loss SEC foe Kentucky. The offense struggled and only posted 233 total yards and failed to get any feet in the endzone. In the first half, starting quarterback Derrius Vick was replaced without completing a pass on six attempts. Redshirt sophomore J.D. Sprague took over for the rest of the game, but the ‘Cats offense still could not get the offense on track.
Senior wide receiver Chase Cochran acknowledged the offensive difficulties and claims that it has been a point of emphasis at this week’s practice.
“We’ve had a great week of practice,” said Cochran. “But we know that Marshall will be no different. Their defensive line is as talented, if not more talented, than Kentucky’s, and we’ll have to pick up those blitzes and execute on the outside.”
Although Solich named Vick the starter under center for Saturday’s game, the veteran pass-catcher isn’t worrying about a quarterback controversy disrupting the offense’s rhythm.
“We have to be prepared for both of those guys,” said Cochran. “We believe in (both) of them to get the job done.”
While the Bobcat’s offense has struggled, the Thundering Herd have been clicking on all cylinders through the first two weeks of the college football, averaging 45 points per game. Senior quarterback Rakeem Cato has led Marshall’s offensive unit to more than 1,100 yards in its first two non-conference wins.
Ohio defensive coordinator Jimmy Burrow and his defense have allowed 17 points per game, but they will have their hands full inside Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Redshirt senior safety Nathan Carpenter and the defense will be trying to slow down the dual-threat quarterback and his offense.
“Any time you’re dealing with a team with explosive talent, you have to make them one-dimensional,” said Carpenter. “I feel like our defense has a lot of schemes to slow them down.”
The Battle for the Bell has been an intense, close matchup over the past two meetings, as only six combined points have separated the two familiar opponents.
As seniors, both Cochran and Carpenter know the meaning of this rivalry, and hope to end their careers without a loss to Marshall.
“To me, this is the biggest rivalry we have on our schedule,” said Cochran. “It’s going to be a packed house, and we’ve been waiting for this.”