Ohio University players Amos Ogun-Semore, left to right, Bryce Houston, and Kaieem Caesar celebrate after the Bobcat’s season opener at Peden Stadium on Saturday, September 1, 2018. Bobcats defeated Howard University 38 – 32. (Haldan Kirsch/WOUB)

Ohio Football Welcomes Bowling Green For Homecoming Bout

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It’s Homecoming weekend on the bricks of Athens and the Ohio Bobcats (3-3) are prepping for battle with the Bowling Green Falcons (1-6) in a crucial Mid-American Conference matchup.

Their record is a perfect reflection of an up-and-down first half of the season for Ohio. That was never more apparent than last Saturday when the Bobcats dropped their first MAC contest of the year 24-21 to Northern Illinois. Despite scoring the fewest points all season on the Bobcats, NIU rode a punishing ground attack to victory. The Huskies ran for 255 yards and three touchdowns, including a career-high 169 yards from QB Marcus Childers.

“Sometimes your coverages will dictate that your quarterback has a better chance to run the ball. At times it’s scrambling or designed runs, which they did both of,” Ohio head coach Frank Solich said at his weekly press conference. “They used a lot of power and schemes in terms of running the ball and they just scrambled at times. We were doing a lot of slanting and sometimes that can open up a gap.”

Ohio will have a great chance to get their own rushing game revved up again after averaging 1.4 yards per carry in Dekalb. Bowling Green just fired head coach Mike Jinks after blowing the lead in a 42-35 loss to Western Michigan, moving his BG record to 7-24. Jinks’ former squad is statistically the worst rushing defense in the country, allowing 325.1 yards per game on the ground. To put that into perspective, BG is 130th and giving up 53 more rushing yards per game than the 128th ranked team, UMass.

On top of the rushing, BG is 129th in points allowed giving up 47.6 points per game. So naturally, Jinks was relieved of his duties and replaced by the guy overseeing the defense, Carl Pelini. Pelini was on Solich’s first coaching staff from 2005-07 and will try to right the Falcons ship in Peden Stadium.

“Carl and I go back a ways, obviously he did a really good job for us when he was here. He was their defensive coordinator and now their head coach, so I don’t expect they’ll change much defensively,” Solich said. “I’m sure Carl was able to run the defense the way he wanted it to be run. I don’t see any real hard change along those lines.”

The defense explains six losses in seven games, but the offense has hummed along all season behind a pair of sophomores and senior WR Scott Miller. The speedy wideout has jumped to the top of the MAC in receptions (42), receiving yards (106.7 per game) and touchdowns (6).

Miller has built a strong connection with QB Jarrett Doege, a sophomore from Lubbock, Texas. Doege leads the MAC in passing touchdowns (18) and is second in passing yards (266.3 per game). Lining up alongside him will be RB Andrew Clair, a third team All-MAC selection as a freshman and the sixth leading rusher in the conference (69.9 yards per game).

The Falcons average 27.3 points per game but they are tied with Ohio for the fourth most touchdowns scored in the MAC. Prepare for points on Saturday as Ohio looks for their third Homecoming victory in the past four years.

Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. and you can catch all of the action on ESPN3 or on WOUB 1340 AM.