Photo Credit: Joe Medlen

Ohio Football Heads into Akron Looking to Capture MAC East Title

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It’s simple for the Ohio Bobcats (8-2, 5-1) Tuesday night when they face the Akron Zips (5-5, 4-2): win and you’re heading to Detroit.

The Bobcats have a chance to win the Mid-American Conference East Division and clinch a spot in the MAC Championship Game for the second year in a row. After handing the Toledo Rockets (8-2, 5-1) their first MAC-loss of the season in a 38-10 beat down, the Bobcats enjoyed the win and went right back to work with a calm demeanor.

“Sometimes too much hype can lead to you not playing well,” Solich said. “If your energy is going to be there, it’s going to be because of how you led yourself into the game. That’s all you can ask for from your players; that they have good energy and play smart football. If you have talent, good things are going to happen.”

That good energy and smart football were crucial in the Rockets final tally of 10 points against the Bobcats’ defense. The team finally got to the quarterback consistently: four total sacks — three of them by senior linebacker Quentin Poling — along with two forced turnovers.

The defense paved the way for the offense to do what it does best, break the opposing team’s will on the ground. The Bobcats ran Toledo out of Peden Stadium on a season-high 393 yards rushing yards, a testament to the guys up front.

“I’ve seen it happen on many occasions; an offensive line or defensive line taking over a game,” Solich said.  “That’s what you look for when you’re building your team. I think there’s a wear down approach that occurs.”

That same ground-and-pound approach will be critical Tuesday night, especially on the road against a team who’s rushing defense has been very generous, as the Zips have allowed 186 rushing yards per game. This is an Akron team that Ohio has been successful against in the past, but they need to keep that same focus the team has had since it’s last loss to Central Michigan.

“It’s a confident football team, but they’re confident because they know what they want to get done and how to get it done,” Solich said.  “I have no worries about this football team and their approach to the final games we have. They will approach it with a positive attitude and a great mind.”

The Bobcats can walk away from Akron Tuesday night with an opportunity to heal the wounds Detroit left with them from a season ago.

Kickoff at Infocision Stadium is set for 7 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN2.