The Bobcats pulled away late for a 36-24 victory Saturday night against the Idaho Vandals to improve their record to 2-2.
The game initially got off to a slow start for the Bobcats. After forcing a three-and-out; Daz'mond Patterson fumbled on Ohio's second play. But the defense again shut down the Vandals, and the Bobcats responded by driving 79 yards on 5 plays for a touchdown.
The Vandals seemed poised to respond on their subsequent drive, moving 51 yards on 16 plays. But an interception by Quentin Poling kept the Vandals off the board.
By this point Patterson had been replaced by A.J. Ouellette. Ouellette- a walk-on, true freshman- entered the game and put on a performance that was undoubtedly his best yet. He finished the night with 130 yards on 27 carries with 2 touchdowns. He led Ohio to a field goal on the team's third possession and punched the ball in himself on the fourth, and just like that Ohio was up 17-0.
The Vandals appeared to be on their way to being buried again. But Matt Linehan stepped up and practically carried the Vandals 76 yards on 15 plays to cut the deficit to 17-7. Linehan is one of the few bright spots on a struggling team, and despite a few interceptions in the game's dying embers, he finished the night 33 of 55 for 353 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Vandals came close to making it 17-14 but the Bobcats held strong on four plays in side the 8, and Idaho came up empty, much to the delight of crowd as they began their halftime exodus.
Quarterback Derrius Vick was solid for the Bobcats, picking up 68 yards through the air and an additional 86 on the ground. But head coach Frank Solich replaced Vick with J.D. Sprague. Sprague had a rough first drive but led the Bobcats to a field goal on his second drive, with the help of a 45-yard Chase Cochran reception.
But Linehan had also found his groove. He connected with Joshua McCain for a 34-yard touchdown and then a field goal to cut the Bobcat lead to 20-17 entering the final quarter. The Bobcats seemed to be teetering on the brink of a disappointing loss.
It was in the fourth that Ouellette and Quentin Poling- two players who had played well all game for the ‘Cats- came up big again. Poling picked off Linehan twice, almost scoring on one return, and Ouellette chewed up the clock and scored again as Ohio pulled away for a 36-24 victory.