Ohio did something last night that they had not done in its first five home games; beat the spread. For most of the uneventful second half it looked like it would be the single most boring half of football ever, but we still were able to learn some things.
Tyree Jackson will turn Buffalo around in the next two seasons. Buffalo fans, I know this season hasn’t been the best for you. Last year you had Ohio at home and smacked the Bobcats around so a 24-point loss couldn’t have been fun but know that you guys have the quarterback of the future. Listed at 6’7 245lbs this man is a physical freak who understands his skill set. He reads the field well and knows what to do when no one comes open; run the ball. He was careful with the football against the top defense in the MAC and only made one mistake early on when under pressure and throwing on the run. Let him settle in and watch him grow.
Ohio may have found the next, dare I say, Tettleton. Bobcat fans gasp collectively. Redshirt freshman quarterback Quentin Maxwell now has a few starts under his belt and with Greg Windham hurt, there isn’t much pressure on him to impress right away. That sense of security has allowed him to flourish as he was 13-23 for 236 yards with two touchdowns. He also ran the read option well and carried the ball nine times for 50 yards. With the MAC East Division title just one win away for the ‘Cats, ball security will be a major focus if they hope to win in Detroit against Western Michigan.
The MAC East is all but clinched for the Bobcats. All Ohio is waiting on now is a loss from Akron or a win themselves and they will be rowing a boat along side Western Michigan to Detroit for the MAC Championship game. With the Zips next contest against struggling Bowling Green, if Ohio can’t manage to beat Central on Nov. 15 the East will come down to the final week when Akron and Ohio meet at Peden Stadium in the final week of the season.
Special teams are finally turning around for Ohio. Early in the season Ohio was struggling on special teams, primarily on kickoff coverage. Last night Ohio was able to block a field goal at the end of the first half and Brad Ellis was able to pop the ball out on a kickoff to get Ohio the ball in great field position.
If Ohio wants beat the Broncos, they need to capitalize off of turnovers. Ohio was able to force two turnovers and dominated the field position game all night, but was not able to do much with the extra possessions. Javon Hagan returned his interception 59 yards into the Buffalo red zone but Ohio was forced to kick a field goal after failing to pick up a first down. When Ellis forced the fumble and Ohio took over on the Bulls side of the field, again Ohio took just three points. Western Michigan is averaging nearly 50 points a game, and although Ohio’s defense should keep the game manageable, the offense will need to reach the endzone when these opportunities present themselves.