Last season, Ohio's season began to fall apart with a three-point loss to a big conference underdog in an October match-up.
Could the same thing be happening to Ohio in 2013? Maybe or maybe not, but their 26-23 loss at home to Central Michigan will make their quest to win the Eastern Division title much harder. In fact, it could be said now that Ohio won't win the division unless they win both at Buffalo and then at Bowling Green in successive weeks next month. Certainly, if they don't, they'll need help.
Several turnovers derailed Ohio scoring opportunities in the first half. Couple that with the points that Central Michigan left on the field, and you come to the indisputable conclusion that Ohio could have (and maybe should have) won this game.
But credit Cooper Rush and the Chippewas for their resiliency. They allowed Ohio to take a 17-13 lead after building their own 13-3 lead early in the third quarter. That lead for CMU could have been larger, but two missed field goals kept Ohio within ten points. Late in the third, Tyler Tettleton hit Troy Hill with a five-yard touchdown pass to bring the Bobcats to within 13-10. On their first play of the fourth quarter, the Bobcats took the lead when Chase Cochran took in a Tettleton pass and raced for a 69-yard score.
The two teams traded touchdown blows from that point. Rush led CMU on a 75-yard drive that ended with a 7-yard completion to Saylor Lavallii for a score. After the missed extra point kept CMU's lead at 19-17, Ohio scored on a 78-yard drive, which was capped by a one-yard run from Ryan Boykin.
With a 23-19 lead, Ohio forced the Chips into a 4th-and-13 after four plays. CMU coach Dan Enos chose to punt, and incredibly, Ohio fumbled away the return at their own 39. Rush took the ball and drove those 39 yards and pitched another scoring pass, this time to Courtney Williams, for the winning 26-23 margin.
OU could not navigate into field goal range in the final 22 seconds.
Central Michigan is now 3-4 overall and 2-1 in MAC play, while Ohio drops to 4-2 (1-1). Central takes their two-game winning streak back to Mount Pleasant for a game next Saturday against Northern Illinois. Ohio plays at Eastern Michigan next week. Will Ron English be there to greet them?