Ohio opened up against the Texas State Bobcats at home and went in as a three-touchdown favorite. Three overtimes and a failed two point conversion later, Ohio sits at 0-1 looking ahead to Kansas. Although taking a loss, Frank Solich’s squad played over four and a half hours of football giving us more than a good look at this year’s team. Here are five things we can take away from the week one matchup.
1) The front seven lived up to expectations. The stout front seven for the Bobcats was expected to be the team’s strong point this season and they showed that they can live up to the hype. The Ohio defense posted six sacks on the night and senior Tarell Basham tied the school record for career sacks. Linebackers Quentin Poling, Blair Brown and Chad Moore flew around behind the strong defensive line combining for 26 tackles in the opener.
2) Greg Windham is ready to be the Ohio starting quarterback. Granted it was against the Texas State defense which is mediocre at best, but Windham had himself a day nonetheless. He went 27-45 with 380 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions, looking comfortable in the pocket and working through his progressions well. Tack on 37 yards on eight carries and one could conclude he is the dual threat quarterback Ohio needs.
3) Injuries could play a major role again this season. With starting running back AJ Ouellette going down on the first drive and no optimistic news, Ohio could be down a starter for quite some time. Wide Receiver Sebastian Smith also missed a good portion of the game, although he was expected to be limited coming off a groin injury in camp.
4) Ohio will use the “running back by committee” method. Ohio had five different players with three or more rushing attempts and four of them carried the ball at least eight times. Dorian Brown and Maleek Irons got the bulk of the carries on the inside combining for 139 yards and averaging just over 4.3 yards-per-carry. Windham scrambled well all day and every runner who touched the ball had a carry of at least 10 yards.
5) Pass defense could be this team’s Achilles heel. With new starters across the board in the secondary, everyone in Athens was waiting to see how they would fare in live game action. Texas State QB Tyler Jones answered the questions by going 40-55 with 418 yards and four touchdowns. Ohio will need to develop the secondary fast and hope the defensive line can continue to pressure the quarterback.
Ohio’s next game will be against Kansas, who recently celebrated a win over FCS also-ran Rhode Island, in Lawrence on Sept. 10 at 2:30 p.m. EST.