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Week 5 MAC Football Preview: Ohio Bobcats at UMass Minutemen

Hello, old friend.

Ohio v Purdue Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Ohio Bobcats travel to Hadley, Massachusetts to take on former MAC member the Massachusetts Minutemen. The Bobcats won both their meetings during the short time the Minutemen were in the MAC. On the season, the Bobcats are 3-1, with their only loss against a surprisingly decent Purdue team. The Minutemen are already 0-5, including a close loss to Tennessee in their last outing.


When The Bobcats Have The Ball

The Minutemen haven’t been particularly good on the defensive side of the ball, giving up almost 28 points per contest. In the air, teams have only gotten slightly over 200 yards per contest, but have thrown for 9 touchdowns with only 1 pick for the Minutemen. Against the run, UMass is giving up 176 yards per game, and 4.4 yards per carry.

However it’s not all doom and gloom for the Minutemen. Against Tennessee they only gave up 319 total yards and against Temple they only gave up 387. There are certainly signs of improvement.

The Bobcats offense has been doing a good job under first year starter Nathan Rourke. Their last outing wasn’t as impressive as some of the other games, but I think that is a testament to how solid the EMU defense is as much as it is a reflection on Ohio’s offense. Also, the Bobcats were without the services of game breaker Papi White, who will also be out this game.

I expect the Bobcats to rely heavily on the running attack, where A.J. Ouellette has been averaging 5.9 yards per game on the season, and letting Rourke make plays as needed. Even though the Minutemen have been getting better, I expect the Bobcats offense to be able to move the ball.


When The Minutemen Have The Ball

The Bobcats have been solid on defense all season, especially against the run. They are only giving up 115 yards a game on 3.4 yards per attempt. They have given up some yards in the air, especially against the Boilermakers and Jayhawks.

Andrew Ford has been having a good season at quarterback for the Minutemen, but the O line has given up almost 5 sacks per contest. The running game has been atrocious, not even averaging 100 yards per game or 3 yards per carry.

While Ford might make a play or two to keep things interesting early, I don’t really see the Minutemen doing much with the football against the stout OU run defense and Ford will be behind the count most of the game. This isn’t really a defense you want to be in 3rd and long against.


Prediction

Ohio is a good football team and UMass is not. In addition, the match ups favor the Bobcats. I’ll be shocked if this is a game past halftime. Bobcats win, 40-14.