Huskies Escape Bobcats on Senior Night

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Throughout the 2014 season, the Ohio Bobcats have had issues beating themselves in several of the five losses, as numerous missed opportunities have plagued the team.

The story remained the same on Tuesday night, as Ohio had two missed field goals, a turnover on downs, and two turnovers in opponents’ territory as the Bobcats dropped a tough game to Northern Illinois 21-14.  

After the Huskies had scored the go-ahead touchdown, the ‘Cats appeared poised to drive and tie. However, senior receiver Landon Smith fumbled after a catch at the NIU 43 yard line, and the Huskies recovered, sealing the seven-point win.

“It’s definitely disappointing,” Ohio coach Frank Solich said after the game. “I think the way we were in the game, playing good defense at times…it seemed like we had the game somewhat in sight the whole time.”

The Bobcats (5-6, 3-4 Mid-American Conference) led the Huskies (9-2, 6-1 MAC) in most offensive statistical categories, outgaining NIU 344-325, outrushing NIU 203-141, and winning the time-of-possession 33 minutes to 26 minutes.

But the ‘Cats just couldn’t overcome the missed opportunities.

On Ohio’s second drive of the game, the ‘Cats put together a nice 10 play, 43-yard drive into NIU territory before stalling at the Huskies 28-yard line. It set up a 46-yard field goal attempt by Josiah Yazdani that fell short to keep the game scoreless.

Then, to begin the second half with the game tied at 7-7, Northern Illinois fumbled at their own 46 which was recovered by Ohio’s Casey Sayles, giving the Bobcats good field position. However, on Ohio’s first play quarterback Derrius Vick rolled to his left and had his pass intercepted by NIU.

The Huskies raced down the field and scored in just seven plays as Jordan Hare hit Akeem Daniels for a 32-yard screen to put NIU up 14-7 early in the third quarter.

“It was a big drive because they got points off the drive,” Vick said after the game. “I should have just ran or threw it away and just accepted that the defense won that play.”

Ohio had its chance to answer, putting together another long drive before once again stalling at the NIU 28. Yazdani came on for another 46-yard field goal attempt, which was once again left short to keep the ‘Cats deficit at 14-7.

Solich admitted after the game that he second-guessed himself for attempting the field goals.

“Very much so,” he said. “[Yazdani] had kicked them very well in pregame, and was making them from that distance. We felt he had the leg, but he just missed them.”

After forcing an NIU punt on the next possession, the ‘Cats appeared to gain some momentum, and put together another nice drive into NIU territory.

Facing a second-and-three from the NIU 31, Vick handed off to Oullette three straight times on second, third, and fourth downs, but Ohio wasn’t able to get a push and turned the ball over on downs, still trailing 14-7.

The ‘Cats finally did answer on their next possession, driving 78 yards before Vick hit Ouellette with a seven-yard slant pass in the end zone to tie the game at 14-14 with just under nine minutes left in the game.

And then the NIU offense showed their talent, moving the ball right down the field in just 2:50 after Hare found a wide-open Chad Beebe for an 18-yard touchdown to put the Huskies up for good 21-14.

“This definitely hurts,” said Ouellette after the game. “I wanted to win this one for the seniors.”

Ouellette carried the Ohio offense for much of the game, picking up 127 yards on 25 carries, including a nifty 12-yard touchdown run that gave Ohio its first score of the game.

On the defensive side of the football, the Bobcats held their own, as they allowed just 141 rushing yards to the Huskies, a team that coming into the game had averaged just over 260 rushing yards per game.

Now for the Bobcats, it’s back to business, as their dwindling bowl game fate will be decided next Tuesday night with the 2014 Battle of the Bricks with the Miami RedHawks.