Bobcat Football Takes Out Southeastern Louisiana 35-14

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Facing an FCS opponent can usually warrant two outcomes – a heartbreaking loss, or a confidence-building victory.

Senior quarterback Derrius Vick threw a career-high 327 yards and the Bobcat defense held its opponent to two scores for the second week in a row as Ohio (3-0, 0-0) beat Southeastern Louisiana 35-14, giving the Bobcats more than enough confidence.

Vick’s status was uncertain coming into Saturday’s game after being injured against Marshall a week before. With JD Sprague also banged up from the showdown with The Herd, it was thought possible that third-string quarterback Greg Windham could get significant playing time.

Instead, Vick played all but four-and-a-half minutes and came through for the Bobcats. With 115 yards on the ground for Ohio and 58 of them coming on one play, there was extra weight on Vick’s shoulders.

He wasn’t afraid to go for the big plays. Though his throws weren’t accurate at times, Vick got the job done.

“He had the one turnover, and the one interception,” coach Frank Solich said after the game. “But he had touchdown passes; he showed calmness.”

Vick placed a great deal of trust in his receivers, and put them in jump-ball situations frequently.

He may be a dual-threat quarterback, but the Lions had other plans for him. Whenever Vick tried to scramble, he couldn’t shake defenders in open space.

Southeastern Louisiana’s speedy defense forced Vick to use his arm more, removing the option to scramble when in trouble, which he tends to favor.

With Sprague still injured, Vick gained confidence with his performance at the right time. The defense, though, should have even more confidence.

Ohio’s defense continues to keep the team in games and in the lead. The Bobcats held the Lions to 100 yards of offense in the first half. The Lions offense picked things up in the second half, but it was too late to make a comeback.

“I think a lot of the plays they had were self-inflicted plays on us making mistakes,” safety Toran Davis said. “It was us making mistakes that led to them driving in the second half.”

When the Lions made it to Ohio’s one-yard line on the opening drive of the second half, the Bobcat defense woke up and took the ball back. Davis forced a fumble on a run up the middle and fellow safetyDevin Jones recovered at the one-yard line.

The Lions rarely made it to the red zone, though. Ohio did a good job of keeping the opposing offense in check and eliminating big plays. The lone exception may have been SLU’s second touchdown.

Donovan Isom threw a 38-yard bomb to Dylan Bossier in double coverage, and Bossier maneuvered between the Bobcat defenders and pulled it down in the end zone. The play gave the Lions momentum with 11 minutes left in the game.

But then Papi White took it away with a 58-yard run down the right sideline on the opening play of the ensuing drive.

“That was a critical play at a critical time,” Solich said. “Papi found a crease, and he accelerated through that crease.”

With 132 all-purpose yards, White found his role in a deep Ohio backfield as an explosive play maker.

The game served as a checkpoint for the Bobcats as they now have their first 3-0 start since 2012. And with monumental performances coming from offensive players and the defense as a unit, Ohio readies for their road game against Minnesota on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.