Ohio-Rutgers Preview: Bobcats Facing First Road Test

I have been in college for three weeks now and I have yet to have one exam. Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton is in the same boat, but many didn't expect that to be the case. Most folks, including myself, had Tettleton scheduled for his first test last Saturday against Marshall but it turned out to be anything but. The Thundering Herd gave Tettleton the text book and let him consult with his defense on every question.

I promise you I won't call every game this season a test for Tettleton but I am fairly certain that this weekends match-up between Ohio and Rutgers will be a true test for Tettlteton. The Bobcats will travel to Piscataway to face a Big East team that currently ranks 14th in the nation in points allowed per game (Ohio ranks 12th). Ohio has similar statistical merits defensively and they have played one more game but the level of competition they have faced has been sub-par.

Luckily for the Bobcats, Rutgers' offense has yet to do anything noteworthy. And when I say anything, I mean anything. Even though it is just a two game sample size, the Scarlet Knights do not have a single running back that has averaged at least four yards a carry. One thing that isn't effected by the small sample size is the fact that the three Rutgers backs that have carried the ball at least 17 times this season are all in their first year of playing. I guess because they've played just two games they are effected by the sample size. Or maybe not. I wish that statistics class wasn't full.

After a decent freshman year Chas Dodd is back as the starter and he had a pretty good game in Rutgers' extremely close loss to North Carolina two weeks ago. That said, 18 of his 34 completions and 173 of his 356 passing yards have gone to one player: Mohamed Sanu. Sanu posted numbers that you'd expect from a second or third receiver during his first two seasons - they actually regressed last season as Dodd made the transition to starter - but his quick start leads me to believe he's going to have a breakout year. However, with the lack of a running game and a singular passing game, Ohio should be able to contain Rutgers' offense.

This game will be a battle of two of the nation's best defenses - at least statistically - but when it comes time to score, Ohio's offense is more balanced both in a passing/running split and where those passes go. I think that Tettleton will continue to impress as the starting quarterback of this team and I wouldn't be surprised if Ryan Boykin has another good game after his breakout performance against Marshall, especially if the game is close in the fourth quarter and Ohio just needs to eat clock - it seems like Boykin can be extremely effective getting four, three and then four yards at a time to pick up first downs.

My prediction: Ohio 24, Rutgers 12.

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