Ohio Football Notebook: Coming Home< < Back to
There is no place like home.
That’s what the Ohio Bobcats (1-2) are thinking this week, as they finally prepare for their first home game of the season after playing three-straight on the road to begin the season.
“It’s a great feeling,” senior safety Thad Ingol said. “We have some of the best fans in the country, and it’s always fun playing in Peden [Stadium].”
The ‘Cats are also ready to see Athens decked out in their green-and-white, and hear the buzz about the team again.
“On campus, the rest of the student body isn’t as into the season yet,” Ingol said. “It’s like the season hasn’t started for OU yet because the students haven’t got to see us in person yet, so they’re talking about other games instead. Hopefully once we get home, everybody will be talking Bobcats.”
When the fans finally get into Peden Stadium for the first time in 2014, the Bobcats are hoping they will bring the same energy that has led them to one of the best home records in not only the MAC but in all of college football over the last several years.
Since 2009, the Bobcats are 24-7 at Peden, which equates to a .774 winning percentage, one of the best in the FBS over that span.
“There is such a thing as a home field advantage,” Ohio coach Frank Solich said at his press conference Monday. “We’ll be glad to get back to having that.”
OFFENSE LOOKING FOR A JOLT
The Bobcats are hoping that the return home this weekend will help spark their offense, which has been very much lackluster to begin the season.
Through three games, the Bobcats are averaging 345.7 total yards per game, which ranks them 100th in the FBS in that category. Add that to the meager 11.3 points per game average, which places Ohio in a tie for 122nd out of 125 total teams.
Perhaps the biggest area of concern for Ohio has been the inability to establish a consistent run game, which has been a big part of Ohio’s success in recent years. Junior running back Daz’ Patterson stands as Ohio’s leading rusher with just 149 yards on 41 carries through three games.
“It always seems like we’re just one man away,” Patterson said after practice on Monday. “Whether it’s a mistake on my part, or a missed block or something like that. It always seems to be so close. It’s been a struggle.”
It could work in Ohio’s favor on Saturday, as their opponent—the Idaho Vandals—rank 97th in the FBS in rushing defense, allowing an average of 196.5 yards per game.
DEFENSE LOOKS TO BE BACK ON TRACK, TOO
After two strong showings against Kent State and Kentucky, the Bobcat defense appeared much-improved from the previous season, and their experience showed.
However, that appearance changed on Saturday, as the defense was picked apart by Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato as the Thundering Herd rolled its way to a 44-14 victory over the ‘Cats.
Marshall put up over 700 yards of total offense, including 425 yards on the arm of Cato alone.
Safety Thad Ingol says the defense knows what it needs to do to get back on track.
“First and foremost we need to stop the run,” he said, “and then be able to contain the pass. I believe a great defense always comes with stopping the run, so that’s priority No. 1.”
Ohio allowed just 31 rushing yards in the season-opening win at Kent State, but allowed a combined 489 rushing yards in the losses to Kentucky and Marshall.
“When you allow [the running game] to get going it allows [teams] to throw better than what they maybe would have thrown,” Solich said on Monday. “Consequently [Marshall] was able to run it, able to throw it, and they made individual plays against us, which is troublesome.”
“We feel good about the fact that we have good personnel on defense, we’re experienced on defense, and we can play better than what we’ve played.”