In 116 years of football somehow, in a conference known for producing statistical anomalies at the quarterback position, the Ohio Bobcats had failed to produce even a memorable signal caller. Heading into the 2011 season, the team’s 117th year of existence, the Bobcats’ best quarterback was a player known as "Boo" Jackson. "Boo" never amassed more than 2,400 yards, or 19 touchdowns in a single season. Still the El Camino college transfer worked his way to the top of the ‘Cats career touchdowns leader board with 38, despite playing in only two full seasons. He was No. 3 all-time in team history with 4,446 career yards, behind only Sammy Shon (5,412) and Anthony Thornton (5,119)…I’m sure you remember those two.
Then 2011 happened, and seemingly overnight everything changed.
That season an unknown quarterback by the name of Tyler Tettleton launched an all-out assault on the Ohio record books. In his first season as the ‘Cats starting QB, the right-hander tossed 3,302 yards and 28 touchdown (both single-season records), setting 12 total records while leading Ohio to its first ever bowl victory.
Overnight Bobcats' history had changed. They suddenly had a great MAC quarterback of their own.
Now entering his third season behind center the redshirt senior is already owner of the Bobcats’ records for career yards (6,274), career touchdowns (46), and career passing efficiency (143.0). All told the programs only QB to toss for 3,000 yards in a season already owns seven school career records, with more to fall after this season.
Tettleton wasn’t supposed to be this good. At 6 foot even, and just a two-star prospect coming out of high school in his native Oklahoma, the Bobcats were the only FBS program to offer him a scholarship. Tettleton, the son of former MLB catcher Mickey Tettleton (you know, the guy who’s power surge in 1989 was credited to…Fruit Loops. Huh!?), wasn’t supposed to be more than just another Ohio quarterback. Now he's arguably the best Ohio football player ever.
In two short seasons as the leader of the Bobcats, Tettleton has led the program to its only two bowl victories in school history, and has seen the ‘Cats turn into a perennial MAC powerhouse. In 2012 he elevated the ‘Cats to a Top-25 ranking, executed the team’s single biggest victory in its long history, and had the team's second best single-season passing total...and that was a down year.
Injuries plagued Tettleton last season, seeing his numbers slip across the board. But back and ready for his final season, he is poised to add to his legacy as THE greatest football player in school history.
Known for his incredible decision making abilities (18 TD's to just four INT's in 2012) Tettleton can make plays with his arm, and on the ground. In 2011 he added 658 yards and 10 scores on the ground, and if he can remain fully healthy this season, should see those numbers return.
The only real thing left for Tettleton to prove however is the one piece of hardware that has alluded him during his spectacular two-season run: A MAC Championship ring. In 2011 Tettleton had the Bobcats up 20-0 at halftime, before dropping to NIU 23-20. Last season he led Ohio to a 7-0 start, before losing four of its last five regular season games and slipping to third in the MAC East. Tettleton and his longtime friend and former high school teammate Beau Blankenship will get one last chance at capturing a MAC Championship this fall.
But even if they fall short, there's no denying the fact that Ohio finally got the MAC worthy quarterback it deserved.