But the Herd couldn't keep Tettleton under wraps all game. He went 25 of 38 for 266 yards in yet another interception-free game, but I boil his performance down to one play - that crazy shovel pass on third-and-8.
When defenders chased him to the right sideline, I was convinced he would have to accept a sack or throw it away - until he made that underhand softball toss to Matt Waters for 10 yards and a first down. When he let the ball loose, I knew the Herd was fried.
That helped turn a three-and-out into an 18-play, 75-yard drive that gobbled up 81/2 minutes and put Ohio up 31-17 with 12 minutes left. It also helped limit the Herd offense to 79 official snaps, while the MU defense played 35 minutes, 39 seconds.
The defense didn't have a good day, but this particular exchange must be chalked up to Tettleton's genius.
"I was on the opposite side of the field. I honestly thought he was past the line of scrimmage," said linebacker Derek Mitchell. "That was an impressive play by him - his eyes were downfield the whole time and he is a playmaker ... Praise to that man."
"You let him outside of the pocket and he keeps plays alive," said defensive end Jeremiah Taylor, who was injured and watching from the sidelines. "He made a funky pass to complete a first down, and it was hard [to take]."
The Herd has a similar challenge this week in Tech QB Logan Thomas, who may not be as crafty but is 6-foot-6, 254 pounds and will take a hit. And Thomas needs a big game after struggling against Alabama and East Carolina.
Good question. Shoot, Mark Snyder might have kept Butler at home for the upcoming Virginia Tech trip, back in the day. As it is, I'm not sure Butler gets another kickoff return this year.
To recap, Butler didn't move up to field a kickoff on the fly, mishandled an odd bounce, turned around to pick up the ball and instead booted it into the end zone. Ohio's Toran Davis helped himself to a cheap touchdown, chasing down the loose ball.
That was the pivotal play of the game, it says here. That gave Ohio a 17-7 lead, with 10 points coming in a 7-second span. And it looked really, really bad for Butler and the Herd.
Shuler, who catches an occasional punt, rose to Butler's defense. "That was a play you can't even explain," Shuler said.
A few minutes earlier, Holliday didn't sound so forgiving. Butler's usage bears watching next weekend and beyond.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5140, dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.