Football: Refreshed Bobcats Dominate Buffalo At Home 37-14

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It was total domination. It was the best and most complete game for Ohio this year.

And it was just the game Ohio needed.

The Ohio Bobcats welcomed the Buffalo Bulls in for some Wednesday night #MACtion, and sent them back to New York with a 37-14 loss inside Peden Stadium.  

Ohio (5-5, 3-3 Mid-American Conference) dominated in every facet of the game, as they outgained the Bulls 389-134, forced four turnovers, and won the time of possession, holding the ball for over 36 minutes of the game.

“I thought our team played with a great deal of energy, the [time off] helped them,” said Ohio coach Frank Solich after the game. “[The players] were excited about playing tonight and I think it showed. We got off to a pretty good start, which we haven’t always done.”

The ‘Cats were helped immensely by the bye week, as several players such as running back A.J. Ouellette and defensive back Devin Jones were able to rest some injuries and get healthy enough to contribute.

Ouellette—who has been battling an ankle injury—was a difference maker in the game, carrying the ball 29 times for a career-best 155 yards and two touchdowns, both coming in the first half.

“[Tonight] shows an awful lot of his heart, his character, and his toughness,” Solich said of Ouellette. “He is not 100 percent, and I thought he had an excellent game for having limited practice this week.”  

This game was also Ohio’s first real glimpse at the starting backfield, as quarterback Derrius Vick made his first start since suffering a knee injury in just the fourth game of the season versus Idaho, the first game in which Ouellette started at running back.

Vick was a little rusty overall, throwing for 118 yards on just 7-18 passing—the best of which was a long 47-yard completion to wide receiver Chase Cochran down the left sideline during Ohio’s first series of the game. Vick also added 44 rushing yards and one touchdown on 12 carries.

“I hadn’t played in a while, especially at home, so I wanted to get the victory,” Vick said after the game. “Starting off great helped get me in the groove, but in the second half I slumped a little bit on some easy throws, but luckily A.J. was toting the rock and eating the clock.”

The best taste tonight was in the second quarter, when Vick and Ouellette busted back-to-back 20-yard rushes, which pushed Ohio deep into Buffalo territory to set up Ouellette’s second touchdown of the game.

On the defensive side of the football, it was easily the best game they have contributed thus far.

Ohio’s defense held Buffalo to a mere 28 rushing yards, the fourth time the ‘Cats have held the opponent to under 100-yards rushing in a game this season, as well as the second time they have held the opponents to under 50-yards rushing.

And Buffalo (3-6, 1-4 MAC) didn't break the 100-yard mark until there were seven minutes remaining in the game. 

“We wanted to make them one dimensional and stop the run,” said defensive back Ian Wells. “That’s coach Burrow’s philosophy every game, to stop the run and make them pass and we’ll win games. That’s what we did and when they had to pass, we made plays.”

Wells himself contributed several big plays for Ohio, recording four tackles, one sack, and two pass breakups. Solich described his play tonight as “special.”

Linebacker Quentin Poling also continued to show his worth tonight leading Ohio with 9 total tackles and recording his team-leading fifth sack of the season.

Most importantly, the win keeps Ohio’s postseason hopes alive, as Ohio is now just one win away from becoming bowl-eligible for the sixth-straight season.

“We’ll have the chance to take some more time off, which I think will be a benefit to our team,” Solich said. “Coming off that nine-game stretch, we needed the break that we got this past week and I thought that’s why we had so much energy on the field.”