Ohio Bobcats (4-5, 2-3 MAC)
Peden Stadium, Wed., Nov. 5, ESPNU
By Justin Holbrock
Going a week and a half without playing a football game can be detrimental to football teams that are on a hot streak, but for the Ohio Bobcats and Buffalo Bulls the break in action came at just the right time.
In its last four games, Ohio has given up 121 points and scored just 67. Junior quarterback Derrius Vick was available for only one of those four games.
Now that Vick is back to number one on the depth chart, the ‘Cats look to take advantage of Buffalo, which has had problems of its own during a three-game losing streak. The Bulls are also without head coach Jeff Quinn, who was fired less than a month ago because of the team’s on-field performance.
Neither the Bobcats or Bulls had a game this past Saturday, but both teams fell to conference opponents on Oct. 25. Buffalo dropped its third straight game in the conference with a 20-14 loss to Central Michigan, while Ohio struggled to match Western Michigan’s high-powered offense and fell 42-21 to the Broncos.
The good news for Ohio is that Buffalo has not won a game on the road this year. The bad news—the Bobcats are at risk of having their first losing season since 2008.
In order to avoid a losing season Ohio must win two of its last three games and that all starts with Wednesday night’s game against the Buffalo Bulls.
Coming into this matchup, the Bulls rank third in the MAC in passing offense with 282.9 yards a game. They are also averaging a respectable 30.6 points a game, which begins and ends with junior quarterback Joe Licata, who could have a field day against an Ohio team that ranks 11th in the MAC in pass defense.
Unlike the Bulls, who have scored at least 30 points in a game five times this year, Ohio has only accomplished that feat twice. Ohio continues to show weakness on offense, with injuries and inexperience hampering the Bobcats’ offense.
With Vick back at the starting position under center, it will be interesting to see if he can match the same level of success he had before his knee injury suffered in week four. The junior captain will have this chance to get Ohio’s offense back on track, and what better week to do it than against a Buffalo team that is giving up 33 points a game.
“He [Vick] will start in the Buffalo game. In saying that, he has to continue to show that he’s at 100 percent and performing very, very well,” Solich said.
“Right now, there’s a lot of things that we need to just iron out and put some finishing touches to in order to finish the way we want to finish, Solich said. “I like the way the guys have been practicing. They have got energy on the practice field; they want to improve. They want to get better.”
- Captain Derrius Vick will start at quarterback for Ohio for the first time since Sept. 20
- A victory would give Ohio its third straight home victory over the Bulls
- Ohio has forced three turnovers a game in its last two games
- Ohio fifth-year senior and captain Nathan Carpenter will not play again this season and will seek a medical redshirt for 2014 with the hopes of returning next year for a sixth year
- Freshman starting running back A.J. Ouellette continues to struggle with a high ankle sprain while Daz’mond Patterson is also dealing with an undisclosed injury
- The Bobcats lead Buffalo in the all-time series, 12-8
- Exactly one year ago – Nov. 5, 2013, the Bulls handled Ohio ,30-3
- Quarterback Joe Licata’s 265 yards passing a game ranks third best in the MAC and his 20 touchdowns is tied for second best in the conference
- Buffalo senior defensive back Adam Redden leads the MAC with 12 tackles for a loss
Redden is also tied for first in the MAC in forced fumbles with three
- Running back Anthone Taylor is 49 yards shy of becoming the third player in the MAC to eclipse 1,000 yards this season.