Photo Cred: Calvin Mattheis | Ohio Athletics

Ohio Football Preps for Western Michigan’s Talented Offense

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A 2-3 Western Michigan football team comes to Peden Stadium on Saturday for a showdown with the Bobcats, but Ohio players and coaches aren’t putting any stock in that losing record.

That’s because the Broncos had one of the toughest non-conference schedules and their three losses have come against top competition.

The Broncos took on the No. 7 Michigan State Spartans—once ranked as high as second—in week one and lost 37-24. Higher than two is one, and the Broncos played the top-ranked team in the country, too. The Broncos traveled to Columbus and left Ohio Stadium with a 38-12 loss. Their third loss came against the Georgia Southern, a tough Sun Belt team that was 9-3 last year and has averaged 46.5 points game in its last four games.

The Bobcats (5-1, 2-0) are throwing their opponents record out the window, and along with it goes all the statistics.

“You can’t look at their stats at all,” Ohio head coach Frank Solich said in Monday’s press conference. “I don’t think they’re relevant because of the quality of teams they’ve played on their schedule.”

All that means the Bobcats have had to hit the film to learn about the Broncos, and there’s plenty to see.

All around Western Michigan is a physical team, with plenty of talented players, especially on offense.

Sophomore running back Jarvion Franklin had a stellar freshman campaign with 1551 yards and 24 touchdowns on the ground, and he’s off to another great season with 86 carries and 437 yards for a 5.1 average. At 6-foot-0 and 220 he’s a powerful back that’s aided by big offensive line that both blocks and moves well.

Junior quarterback Zach Terrell heads the well-balanced offensive attack, and he’s got two very talented targets in junior wide outs Daniel Braverman and Corey Davis. Despite the stiff competition, Braverman’s 56 receptions and 658 receiving yards rank second and sixth, respectively, in the FBS. And last year Davis carved up the Bobcats’ defense for 212 yards.

Those are some of the few stats that aren’t deceiving about the quality of the Broncos, but the Bobcats still don’t need that to gauge their opponents. A 42-21 loss to the Broncos is 2014 is a good enough reminder.

“We know how good they are,” defensive coordinator Jim Burrow said. “They showed us that last year.”

And Western Michigan is even better in 2015, Burrow said.

A talented offense will meet up with stout Bobcats defense on Saturday, but sophomore linebacker Quentin Poling is calling the Broncos the defense’s first big test.

Per usual, the Bobcats focus will be on stopping the ground game and forcing the Western Michigan into predictable passing situations. The problem with that is the Broncos can air it out just as well.

On the other side of the ball, the Bobcats have a chance to score on a defense that has been beat up this season. Strength of schedule aside, the Broncos have allowed an average of more than 42 points a game.

Sophomore receiver Brendan Cope believes the key to keeping that trend going is an up-tempo offensive attack from the Bobcats, and a mistake-free game.

“This season we’ve been able to do whatever we wanted offensively as long as we’re not shooting ourselves in the foot with penalties and missed assignments,” he said.

Just like the defense’s focus is on stopping the run, the Bobcats’ offense will look to establish the run game early.

The first half of the season has been good the ‘Cats. Starting at noon on Saturday, Ohio will look to start the second half of the season with another win.