The Ohio Bobcats (8-2, 5-1) exploded for over 500 total yards and shut down one of the Mid-American Conference’s most potent offenses to hand the Toledo Rockets a 38-10 defeat. It may not be a done deal, but it sure looks like Green and White could fill the seats of Ford Field in early December once again.
Despite eye-popping numbers coming in, Toledo and Ohio certainly didn’t look like the conference’s best scoring teams in the first half. They combined for five turnovers, three of which committed by the Bobcats, and combined for just 17 points. The Rockets were held to their lowest scoring mark in an opening half this season.
The Rockets were held to their lowest scoring mark in an opening half this season.
Both touchdown drives in the first half were quick ones. Some bruising runs from junior running back A.J. Ouellette – the last of the drive a six-yard touchdown – ended a six-play drive that gave Ohio a 7-0 lead toward the end of the opening quarter. After Ouellette coughed it up nearly a quarter later, Woodside marched the Rockets 79 yards on four plays, finishing the drive with a 34-yard strike to Diontae Johnson in the north end zone of Peden Stadium.
Toledo is a second-half team; the Rockets outscored opponents by over 60 points entering Wednesday’s game.
It didn’t matter to the Ohio sideline.
With two run-heavy scoring drives in the first six minutes out of the locker room, Ohio held the upper hand by 11 points in the third quarter.
Had it not been for a victory formation on Toledo’s 19-yard line, the Bobcats would have scored on all five of their possessions in the second half.
Though he carried the rock six times in the first two quarters, senior running back Dorian Brown’s impact in the second half allowed Ohio to cruise it’s way to victory. Brown recorded a career-high 212 yards on Ohio’s visit to Toledo last year. In his final game in Athens, he contributed 142 yards to the 393 total for the night. The highlight coming on Brown carry up the gut 62-yards untouched for a score to make it 24-7 in favor of Bobcats.
Brown attributed his performances against Toledo to being “an underdog.” However, Ohio head coach Frank Solich said, “teams he plays against don’t feel like an underdog” because “they know his power, they know his explosiveness.”
And for the rest of the Ohio offense, Wednesday night’s performance on the ground was no secret.
“We did what we said we were going to do. We believe in how our offense operates and I believe we backed it up,” Ohio senior center Jake Pruehs said. “We pride ourselves on ground and pound football. Everyone knows it’s coming. They kept saying ‘We’ll see you in a few weeks.’ We kept saying ‘Who cares? We just ran for 400 yards on you.’”
The Bobcats got Toledo behind the chains, whether by sacking Woodside, which they did four times, or more often, creating negative plays elsewhere. Penetrating up front and limiting the effectiveness of the Rocket’s rushing attack were key facets of the defensive gameplan.
“[Toledo’s] going to have a throwing game. They’re going to complete passes,” Solich said. “We wanted to not let them establish a running game that was going to be hurtful to us, and I think that worked out fairly well.”
The win notches Ohio back-to-back victories against Toledo for the first time since 1968.
As big as the win may be, Tuesday’s game against Akron will truly determine whether or not the Bobcats can book a trip to Ford Field. The Bobcats now have a one-game advantage on the Zips in the MAC East Division standings, but an Akron win would give them the head-to-head tiebreaker and leave the Zips in control of their own destiny.
Ohio hopes to build on its success against the Rockets when it travels to Akron, Ohio on Tuesday, November 14th. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at InfoCision Stadium.