My first thought while watching Ohio get completely dismantled by the Marshall Thundering Herd, 44-14, was that it's a good thing this game was played in Huntington, because a performance like this from the Bobcats at Peden would make it difficult for the fans to even hang around until half time.
My second thought was how does head coach Frank Solich keep his team focused for next week after a brutal beating that seemed to expose every weakness in the Bobcats' game. If the offense looked anemic against Kentucky, it was downright comatose against Marshall- at least through the first half. Quarterback Derrius Vick had an alright game—he completed 18 of 29 for 200 yards, ran for 51 more, a threw a pick and a touchdown—but Solich decided to pull Vick and give J.D. Sprague some reps for the second straight week. Sprague went 4 for 8 for 60 yards and a touchdown, although Marshall's defensive starters had long since been pulled when Sprague came in.
One of the few bright spots was A.J. Ouellette, who continued to shine with a four-carry, 37-yard day (good enough for second most rushing yards on the team, sadly). Daz'mond Patterson struggled for 36 yards on 10 carries, although he didn't get much help from an offensive line that was bullied all game. The receiving corps managed little, and most of what they did came after Ohio was already down 41-0.
Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato has been playing so well at Marshall for so long that to some fans, it feels like he made his debut in a leather helmet. Today was not Cato's best game—he completed one less pass than Vick in the same number of attempts, and threw an interception—but he still threw for 425 yards and four touchdowns.
Ohio's defense was completely manhandled. The much-heralded defensive line was pushed around all day, giving up 257 rushing yards and putting little to no pressure on Cato. The fact that Ohio's defensive backs led the team in tackles shows how much the defense spent time chasing receivers and Steward Butler, who rushed for 119 yards.
Perhaps the only Bobcat who had a truly great game today was punter Mitch Bonnstetter, who punted seven times for 309 yards. Obviously if you're using your punter this much in a game, it's never a good sign—but credit where credit is due. Punters are often an afterthought, but the Bobcats legitimately had a horrendous punting unit last year. Bonnstetter has been a big pickup for Ohio.
As Forrest Gump would say, "That's all I have to say about that." It was a terrible day for Bobcat coaches, players, and fans alike. I'm trying to push this game from my mind, and hopefully Solich is successful in doing the same with his players as Ohio prepares for its first home game.
Oh, and the Bell is staying in Huntington, for the first time in four years.