Idaho Vandals (0-2, 0-1)
Peden Stadium 7 p.m. ET
By JUSTIN HOLBROCK
After starting their first three games of the year on the road, the Ohio Bobcats finally return home this Saturday night to square off against the winless Idaho Vandals.
Snapping two very different losing streaks is what’s at stake this week as Ohio looks to overcome its two game drought while Idaho hopes to break its nine-game losing streak that dates back to Oct. 5 of last year.
The Bobcats have now dropped their last two games after a 44-14 thumping to Marshall in which the Thundering Herd gained over 700 yards of offense on the heels of an electric performance by quarterback Rakeem Cato. He threw for 425 yards and four touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Idaho was unable to overcome the offensive attack of Western Michigan as it lost 45-33 to the Broncos.
This game is not only one that the Bobcats should win, but it’s also one that they must win. Ohio can’t seem to find it’s identity on offense, and what better way to find it than facing a Vandals team that is notorious for letting opposing offenses dominate.
Idaho has not won a football game since Sept. 28 of last year and has also given up at least 40 points a game 10 times over the past two seasons.
This game could give the Bobcats’ offense the confidence it needs as no Ohio running back has gained 50 yards rushing in a single game since its week one matchup against Kent State.
Before resuming MAC play on Oct. 4., the Bobcats have to be able to translate passing yards into touchdowns. Starting quarterback Derrius Vick has thrown for at least 200 yards in two of his three games, but the offense has yet to score higher than 17 points in a single game.
The Cats’ defense could also use a rebound week after giving up 257 yards rushing and 448 yards passing to a superior Marshall squad. With that being said, expect to see Ohio’s defense come out more determined than ever to make up for last week’s game and show its potential.
“We just expect that this will be a very good football game,” head coach Frank Solich said. “After being in the game this long, I know that there’s nobody on your schedule that cannot beat you, so this is not a game to be overlooked by any means.”
The Bobcats have not lost a home opener since Sept. 5, 2009 when they fell 23-16 to the Connecticut Huskies in front of a sold-out crowd
Derrius Vick threw his first interception of the year last week
The last time these two teams faced off was back in 1976. Ohio shut out the Vandals 35-0
Ohio has not played a team from the Sun Belt since 2012 when the Bobcats defeated Louisiana-Monroe, 45-14, in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl
Junior Safety Devin Jones ranks fifth in the NCAA in passes defended
Redshirt freshman Linebacker Quentin Poling leads the team with three sacks, which ranks 28th in the country
Idaho has only won a total of four games since 2011
The Vandals have only played two games this season because their week one matchup with Florida was postponed due to inclement weather
Idaho joined the Sun Belt last year but has yet to win a game in the conference
Freshman quarterback Matt Linehan threw for 362 yards on 27-of-41 passing last week against Western Michigan
He also threw 324 yards in Idaho’s season opener and is the first freshman quarterback in school history to throw for back-to-back 300-plus yards
Two of Linehan’s wide receivers once played quarterback. The first is Justin Podrabsky, who converted to tight end. The other is senior Joshua McCain who leads the team with 15 catches for 221 yards and three touchdowns