Marshall Game 3: Ohio
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the sixth in a series of previews on West Virginia and Marshall football opponents.
Checking them out
It's tough to figure out how good the Bobcats have been over the last two years (seven conference losses), but this much is certain: They have had Marshall's number, and the Bell to go with it.
They flat-out pounded a mentally unprepared Herd 44-7 two years ago in Athens. It was beyond painful for MU fans to watch their team commit six turnovers and give up 564 total yards.
Last year, two late turnovers and a field goal sealed the Bobcats' 27-24 victory. One thing about that Ohio team: It had 15 fifth-year seniors, about as many as Marshall sometimes has in three years.
This time, Solich has 19 fifth-year players, including QB Tyler Tettleton. Tettleton has terrorized the Herd in two games, throwing for 485 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions. He can run a little bit (16-88 vs. MU), but 5-foot-8, 202-pound Beau Blankenship (1,604 yards, 15 TDs) will get most of that action. Donte Foster (59 receptions, 659 yards, eight TDs) is Tettleton's top returning target.
Two big names anchor the offensive line, left tackle John Prior and left guard Jon Lechner. In 2012, Prior scored 51 "pancakes" and 24 "de-cleaters" - shoot, it's just impressive when a school compiles those statistics.
Defensively, it only seems Travis Carrie has been around since the Brian Knorr era, but he missed the entire 2012 season with an injury. Keith Moore grew into the middle linebacker role, being named the defensive MVP in Ohio's 45-14 win over Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl.
In May, Ohio installed a new surface to replace its old FieldTurf. According to the OU website, the turf system features a 2-inch pile height, an artificial root zone and a mixture of sand and rubber infill, and is similar to surfaces used at Cincinnati and Michigan State. ... A sign that Ohio is still very much in the MAC: It is offering season-ticket packages as low as $4.50 a game. ... Whatever the method, the Bobcats drew a school-record 25,893 in their 2012 home opener. ... Tettleton became the first OU passer to top 2,000 yards in consecutive seasons, and did so with 18 TDs and just four interceptions in 2012. ... Odd stat in this era: All eight of the Bobcats' regular-season wins in 2012 came against teams that failed to make or were banned from the postseason.
Sept. 1 (Sun.) at Louisville DNP
Sept. 7 North Texas DNP
Sept. 14 Marshall W, 27-24
Sept. 21 Austin Peay DNP
Oct. 5 at Akron* W, 34-28
Oct. 19 at Eastern Mich.* W, 45-14
Oct. 26 Miami (Ohio) * L, 20-23
Nov. 5 (Tue.) at Buffalo* W, 38-31
Nov. 12 (Tue.) at Bowling Green* L, 14-26
Nov. 19 (Tue.) Kent State* L, 6-28
Nov. 29 (Fri.) Massachussetts* W, 37-34
* Mid-American games