Ohio Football Runs Over Ball State in Big Win< < Back to
On Ohio’s 40-yard line, quarterback JD Sprague lined up behind his center Lucas Powell for the snap. After the exchange, Sprague ripped a pass down the right hash, where Jordan Reid had lost his man and was streaking towards the end zone.
The 60-yard touchdown put Ohio up 21-3 on the first play of the second quarter. It was Reid’s longest reception of his career, and set the Bobcat offense on cruise control on the way to a 48-31 victory over Ball State on senior night.
The ‘Cats (7-4, 4-3) picked up their second-consecutive victory in the win over the Cardinals (3-8, 2-5), and Ohio conceivably all but clinched a spot in bowl game. Ohio’s offense had six total touchdowns on the night, three through the air and three on the ground.
“We just executed,” Sprague said. “[Coaches] called the plays, and we executed.”
Sprague got the nod as over Derrius Vick. Sprague lit up the stat line in the rout over the Cardinals, posting a 218.2 passer rating on the evening. He dazzled the fans of Peden Stadium with his touch, dropping in four passes over 35 yards, two of which went to Reid.
“[Sprague] handled the game the way we wanted him to,” head coach Frank Solich said.
A quick slant from the seven-yard line was Sprague’s second touchdown toss on the evening. The play, Reid’s second touchdown catch, came with 4:08 left in the first half. It gave Ohio a 28-3 lead and Reid his first multi-touchdown game of his career.
“I just wanted to do everything in my power to send [the seniors] out with a bang,” Reid said.
Sprague finished the night 15 of 22 for 275 yards and three touchdowns. Solich was more than pleased with the play of his quarterback.
From 4:08 left in the second quarter to 1:40 remaining in the third quarter, the two teams alternated scores six consecutive times.
“I think a lot of credit should go to their staff and their players,” Solich said. “I thought they hung in there and did a great job.”
Ultimately, it was a seven-yard touchdown to Sebastian Smith with 8:49 left in the game that sealed it for the Bobcats.
Reid displayed a career night with four catches for 112 yards. Smith, Ohio’s usual leading receiver was mostly the focus of Ball State’s attention. The Cardinal defensive backs were physical with Smith all night, some times a bit too physical. Yellow penalty flags were surrounding Smith all game, and the receiver drew two pass interference calls while committing one of his own.
Early on, Daz Patterson looked strong on the ground for Ohio, but left the game in the first half with a knee injury and did not return. That opened the door for AJ Ouellette to take over the game. Ouellette carried the ball 22 times for 121 yards and two touchdowns. With 121 yards, Ouellette set the Ohio team high for rushing yards in a game this season. With 332 rushing yards, the Bobcats ran for over 300 yards in consecutive games.
“Anyone that was in there was popping 10 or 12 [yards] a carry,” Ouellette said.
He carried the pile well, churning out extra yards after contact and finishing the night with 5.5 yards per carry.
“What a team guy,” Solich said. “Never once did he show any signs of disappointment or not being a team guy. He’s as good as they get as far as being a team guy.”
As far as the rest of the season goes, Ohio should end up in a bowl game, but the Bobcats do not seem to have a preference as to where they will play. At least, they aren’t admitting to it.
“We will go to whichever one they put us in,” Sprague said.
“I’m going with the players on this,” Solich said.
Solich, Sprague and company all commented on the fact that they are just looking forward to the next game.
Ohio will go on the road to face Northern Illinois in DeKalb, Illinois, on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.