Ohio fell to 1-1 with the loss, while UT remained perfect at 3-0. The Bobcats never led, but they were nipping at the Vols heels throughout the game. Ohio trailed 7-6 after one quarter and 14-12 at intermission. It was a 21-19 Volunteers lead after three stanzas, and . . .
I “thought it was a good football game. Thought both teams played hard, played for four quarters,” Ohio head coach Frank Solich said. “A lot of things in the game that could of went different for both teams that would of made a difference in the game. I really am proud of the way our kids battled for four quarters and putting themselves in a good position to win the game.”
Tennessee jumped out to a 7-0 lead 38 seconds into the game on Alvin Kamara’s 20-yard run.
Ohio managed just one TD on the day, and that came in the third period. Kicker Louie Zervos, however, kept the ‘Cats close with a series of field goals. The first came midway through the first period. Ohio answered UT’s score on the next drive, driving 54 yard on 13 plays for a Zervos’ 38-yard field goal.
With 23 seconds left in the first quarter, Zervos kicked a 29-yard field goal to make it a 7-6 game. The score was setup by a Randy Stites interception.
The Vols struck again on their possession, taking a 14-6 lead. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs led Tennessee 68 yards down the field on 10 plays. Jalen Hurd finished with a one-yard run.
Sebastian Smith and Windham connected on a 42 yard pass on Ohio’s next drive, but the visitors couldn’t punch it in the end zone. Zervos hit another field goal, this one 30 yards, to make it a 14-9 game.
The Bobcat defense forced a three-and-out on the next drive, which allowed for Windham to drive 51 yards to set up a Zervos field goal. Tennessee led 14-12.
Ohio received the kickoff in the second half, but both teams went three and out for five straight drives. Joshua Dobbs ended the stalemate when he ran for 13 yards and a Tennessee touchdown with 4:57 left in the third period, expanding the UT lead to 21-12.
Ohio scored its only touchdown of the day on the next drive, led by a Windham to Smith 37 yard pass. With the touchdown, Ohio was within a field goal reach at 21-19. Tennessee, however, added a final score at 11:07 of the fourth quarter when Dobbs hit Josh Malone with a 20-yard pass to cap an 11-play, 90 yard drive.
““I don’t think we’ll be beating ourselves up. We went in there and we scored points with field goals,” Smith said. “We worked on what we could. My teammates fought hard the whole game, I’m proud of them. I think we gave them our best shot.”
Ohio returns home next Saturday (Sept. 24) against Gardner-Webb for a 2:00 p.m. kickoff. It is also Parents Weekend.
Windham: 23-for-46, 230 yards, one touchdown and nine carries for 39 yards. Smith: nine receptions for 156 yards. Reid: four receptions for 29 yards and one touchdown. Poling: 14 tackles Zervos: 4-for-4