Preview: Ohio Takes On Central Michigan< < Back to
The Ohio Bobcats (3-2, 1-0) will return to Mid-American Conference play on Saturday afternoon as they travel to Mount Pleasant to take on the Central Michigan Chippewas (2-3, 0-1).
Head coach Frank Solich and his team opened the season with a tight conference win at Kent State, where redshirt junior kicker Josiah Yazdani hit the game-winning field goal as time expired.
“Getting a MAC win right at the beginning of the season was great,” Solich said. “We now have a win under our belt, and I think that it is very important for us.”
Last season, the Bobcats hosted the Chippewas in a matchup they were favored to win, but after a fatal muffed punt late in the fourth quarter, it was Central Michigan who came away with the narrow 26-23 upset.
“Last year’s loss was tough to take,” Solich said. “That game could have been wrapped up but it just was not.”
This time around, the green and white look much different than they did a season ago with redshirt sophomore, J.D. Sprague, at the helm. Sprague completed his first career start last week against Eastern Illinois with 212 all-purpose yards and two rushing touchdowns. Redshirt senior wide receiver Chase Cochran feels that his new leader will be ready for his first full MAC game.
“He always prepares well,” Cochran said. “That’s something that all of our quarterbacks do a great job with. We believe in him, because he’s always fired up, and that is what we need from our QB.”
At his weekly press conference on Monday, Solich explained that he was impressed with Sprague’s composure and his game-management skills, but wanted to see his young quarterback be more effective when throwing the deep ball. Ohio’s receiving core knew that there would be a little bit of a learning curve after only one start.
“There were a few things with my routes and his throws that were just a little bit off,” Cochran said. “We worked on it a lot in practice on Monday and Tuesday. We are starting to understand each other better, and I think it’s going to get better.”
On the defensive side of the ball, the Bobcats will find a Central Michigan offense that does one thing many programs have done away with over the last few years: huddle before each play. The Chippewas are known for their ground game, which averaged just under 130 rushing yards and chewed up more than 30 minutes of possession per contest over the first half of the season.
“Most teams are running at a fast pace,” Solich said. “They are going to try to play power football. They want to run for first downs and beat us up defensively.”
Kickoff inside Kelly/Shorts Stadium will be at 3:30 p.m. and will be aired online on ESPN 3.
“On any given day, any team can win,” Cochran said. “You have to be prepared. The teams that win a MAC championship are the ones that execute week in and week out.”