Ohio Football Frank Solich
Ohio head coach Frank Solich pleads with an official during the Bobcats’ 24-21 loss to Miami on November 6, 2019. PHOTO: Ben Weilgopolski/WOUB

Ohio Football: Takeaways from the Bobcats Loss to Miami

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ATHENS, OH — There’s no real way to sugarcoat what happened on Wednesday night in Peden Stadium. Ohio had a chance to get a huge leg up on the rest of the MAC East by beating a Miami team that hadn’t won in Athens since 2005 and squandered it.

Here are a few of my takeaways from the loss.

An Unfortunate Trend

At this point, a late-season let down is almost expected of the Bobcats every year and it’s not an unfounded fear. Wednesday night was just another in a long line of season-altering games that the Bobcats have had in the 2010s. As a matter of fact, I’ll give you a quick list of all the times it’s happened this decade:

  • 2010 – A 28-6 loss to a 4-7 Kent State team keeps OU out of the MAC title game.
  • 2011 – Bobcats blow a 20-0 halftime lead to NIU in the MAC title game.
  • 2012 – The 23rd-ranked Bobcats lose to 3-4 Miami to end their undefeated season. They would go on to lose four of their last five games.
  • 2013 – Losing 26-23 to Central Michigan on Homecoming after muffing a punt with less than three minutes to play.
  • 2016 – The triple-overtime loss at home to a Texas State team that would finish the season 2-10.
  • 2017 – Back-to-back losses to Akron and Buffalo to close the season and prevent a trip to the MAC title game.
  • 2018 – A 30-28 loss to Miami in Oxford sandwiched by three blowout wins before and after. The loss would cause them to lose the eventual MAC East tiebreaker to Buffalo, a team they beat 52-17 the next week.

The 2019 loss to Miami just adds to this list. The worst part is that the Bobcats dominated the game against the RedHawks in almost every facet. 

It could be argued that the Bobcats have been the most consistently good team in the last 10 seasons of MAC football, yet they have no hardware to show for it. Another year goes down the tubes thanks to one bad night. Hopefully, this trend gets left in the 2010s.

Winning on the Field but Losing on the Scoreboard

As I mentioned earlier, the Bobcats put up all the numbers that you would expect from a winning team. They outgained Miami by 96 yards, they had the ball for nearly 13 minutes longer than Miami and they ran 26 more offensive plays throughout the course of the game.

For all intents and purposes, the Bobcats defense played their best game of the season and the offense was able to move the ball well for the bulk of the game. 

Ohio certainly turned in a performance on Wednesday night that would result in a win more times than not and that is what makes the loss all the more painful. The game was right there for them to win and they simply didn’t.

Miami forced two turnovers and had three big plays on offense. That was enough for them to win.

Record Fan Turnout

As soon as this game was announced back in the spring, the athletic department made it clear that they wanted this game to be the first midweek MACtion sellout. While they fell short of a sellout on Wednesday night, they couldn’t have asked for much better when it was announced that over 20,000 people were in Peden Stadium on a cold Wednesday night.

I marveled for much of the game on not only that number, but at how many of those were students. In all my years coming to games and now covering them, I had never seen such a student turnout for a weeknight game.

No doubt some of that was due to the school announcing that one student in attendance would be award free tuition for the spring semester, but the students were loud and engaged for the entire game.

As someone who has lamented for years the “tradition” of watching students file out en masse after the 110’s halftime show, it was nice to see such support for the entirety of a huge game for the Ohio football program. Unfortunately, they were not rewarded for their support with a victory, but props to the students that showed up and showed out on Wednesday night.