Going into Saturday's game, there were two main questions the Ohio Bobcats had to answer. Those questions were:
1. Could they contain Kentucky's powerful offense?
2. Could they score enough points against a defense that gave up 400 yards to UT-Martin?
When the game finally came to an end, the answers to those were:
1. They struggled to find a footing in the first quarter, but held the offense in check for the rest of the game
Ohio lost to the Kentucky Wildcats 20-3, but it wasn't even that close. The Bobcats' offense was unable to get any sort of momentum, with even the normally unflappable Josiah Yazdani missing a field goal.
Derrius Vick was absolutely awful, failing to complete a pass in six attempts. He managed to pick up 21 yards on the ground, but his play was so poor overall that Frank Solich replaced Vick with backup J.D. Sprague in the second quarter, reigniting a quarterback battle that appeared to be snuffed after Vick's play last week against Kent State. Sprague was better than the man he replaced, but was hardly great, completing 13 of 25 passes for 143 yards and rushing for 20.
It also didn't help that Ohio couldn't pick up yards on the ground. Fumbles weren't an issue this time around, but the Bobcats were outrun by the Wildcats 232 yards to 74.
The Wildcats came roaring out of the gates, driving 75 yards on 10 plays. After the Bobcats went 3-and-out, Kentucky drove 80 yards on 8 plays, scoring on a 53-yard run by Stanley Williams. Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles was as good as advertised, completing 17 of 31 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown and running for 59 yards.
Outgained 187-22 in the first quarter, the Ohio defense settled in after that and the Bobcats actually outgained Kentucky 215-201 over the last 3/4 of the game. It didn't translate into points, however, with Ohio still getting outscored 6-3, with each team missing a field goal.
If there are any bright spots for Bobcats' fans, it's the play of the defense, particularly the line. But this should have been a closer game, even if the Wildcats were favored to win.
Now the Bobcats must turn their focus to a tough Marshall team, as they travel to Huntington for Saturday's Battle for the Bell.