Photo Cred: Ohio Athletics

7 Bowls in 11 Seasons

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2005 Athens welcomed Frank Solich to the Ohio University Athletics program. In his 10 year span, Solich has completely revamped the football program. He turned a consistent losing program into a team that has churned out seven bowl appearances, the first two bowl wins in school history, back-to-back bowl victories, five straight bowl appearances, and six straight seasons of bowl eligibility.

In his second season, Solich took the ‘Cats to the GMAC Bowl, currently known as the GoDaddy Bowl. Unfortunately, Ohio lost to Southern Mississippi, 28-7. Two seasons passed until their next bowl appearance in 2009 in the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl. 2009 was also the season Ohio took the Mid-American Conference Eastern Division Title. Again, it was another bowl loss for Ohio to rival Marshall, 21-17.

The Bobcats made a second straight bowl appearance in the New Orleans Bowl in 2010, but they couldn’t pull out the win against Troy in the 48-21 loss. This bowl appearance marked the program’s fifth bowl appearance and third appearance in five seasons.

2011 was the year for the Bobcats. Ohio grabbed their first bowl win in school history in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl against Utah State, 24-23. This was the fourth straight bowl appearance in six seasons. The 2011 team set 47 school records, won six of the team’s last seven games and had a league-best 11 players on the MAC All-Conference teams. In addition, Solich picked up his 100th career victory.

2012 was just as great of a year for the ‘Cats. In 2012, Solich led Ohio to its best start to a season since 1968 as the Bobcats opened the year 7-0. Ohio earned a spot in all three major college football polls for the first time in school history – Associated Press, USA Today and the Bowl Championship Series standings. They travelled to the Independence Bowl and picked up their second straight bowl victory over Louisiana-Monroe, 45-14. Ohio placed six individuals on the 2012 MAC All-Conference teams.

2013 record-wise was not the best year compared to the two preceding seasons, but the ‘Cats still managed to make their fifth straight bowl appearance. It wouldn’t be a three-peat as Ohio picked up a 37-20 loss to East Carolina in the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl. Ohio earned six slots on the 2013 MAC All-Conference with Devin Bass and Travis Carrie both earning spots on the All-MAC First Team.

2014 was the first season since 2009 where the ‘Cats didn’t see postseason play but still earned bowl eligibility. Four Bobcats earned spots on the All-MAC team, including Daz Patterson, Lucas Powell, Jovon Johnson and Tarell Basham. It was the season where the rising freshmen in A.J. Ouellette and Quentin Poling first stepped foot in Peden.

This youthful squad made their impact this season as the ‘Cats are now heading to their sixth bowl in seven seasons and seventh bowl in 11 seasons. Five Bobcats earned second and third team honors from the Mid-American Conference, including Ian Wells, Poling, Powell, Mike McQueen, and Sebastian Smith. Ohio also had three players earn MAC Player of the Week honors, including Nathan Carpenter, Poling, and Josiah Yazdani. Two players were recognized as MAC Defensive Player of the Week by Poling and Carpenter.

Solich has gone 80-60 here in Athens. Come Saturday, he and the ‘Cats will look to increase that win column by one and bring home Ohio’s third bowl victory.