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          ***** NCAA Football Preview - Ohio University Bobcats *****
 
 By Lucas Gulotta, Associate College Football Editor
 
 Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
 
 2012 SEASON IN REVIEW: Ohio was on track to be a BCS buster in 2012 after it
 won its first seven games with impressive road victories at Penn State and
 Marshall highlighting the early season run. Partly due to injuries making the
 Bobcats very thin, coach Frank Solich's squad could not sustain its initial
 momentum and lost four of its final five games. The team failed to return to
 Detroit for the MAC Championship game, but it did manage to earn a bowl
 invitation for the fourth consecutive year.
 
 The Bobcats also took down New Mexico State (51-24), Norfolk State (27-24),
 Massachusetts (37-34), Buffalo (38-31) and Akron (34-28) during their
 impressive start. The chase for perfection ended with a 23-20 loss at Miami-
 Ohio. Although Ohio looked to have cured its problems the next week while
 completing a 45-14 rout of Eastern Michigan, it suffered three straight losses
 to Bowling Green (26-14), Ball State (52-27) and Kent State (28-6) to conclude
 the regular season.
 
 Solich improved to 4-6 in bowl games as he guided Ohio to an easy, 45-14
 decision over ULM in the Independence Bowl.
 
 "We were a beat down football team toward the end of the season," said Solich.
 "We had our share of injuries and we had four games in 19 days in November, so
 it all kind of hit us. The preparation for the bowl game, there was enough
 time in there for our guys and I think they really got refreshed. We seemed to
 be hitting on all cylinders when we won the game."
 
 The Bobcats have secured a bowl game win in each of their past two seasons but
 still seek their first conference title since 1968. Solich has a 117-63
 overall record including his tenure from 1998-2003 at Nebraska. He led the
 Cornhuskers to the 1999 Big 12 title and was also the MAC Coach of the Year in
 2006.
 
 2013 ANALYSIS:
 
 OFFENSE: Even though they dealt with injuries to key players at basically
 every position, the Bobcats still produced 31.7 points per game and ranked
 33rd in the FBS with an average of 444.8 yards of total offense per outing.
 Solich had great balance on the offensive side of the ball thanks to his
 standout quarterback and tailback.
 
 Senior quarterback Tyler Tettleton has stood out as a leader at Ohio since he
 became the starter prior to the 2011 campaign. As a sophomore, he threw for
 3,306 yards with 28 touchdowns against 10 interceptions and took the Bobcats
 to within a field goal of winning the MAC Championship. His overall production
 was not as great due to the fact he missed one game with an abdominal injury
 and attempted 46 less passes. Tettleton did cut down on his mistakes (18 TDs
 to four INTs) in 2012 while increasing his career rushing numbers (886 yards,
 15 TDs).
 
 Senior tailback Beau Blankenship stole the show in Athens last season, ranking
 10th in the FBS and third in the MAC in rushing with 1,604 yards and 15
 touchdowns on 312 carries. Blankenship gained some steam near the conclusion
 of the regular season with 306 yards and 3 TDs on 50 carries over a two-game
 span against Ball State and Kent State, both of which participated in the
 postseason. Senior Ryan Boykin also got a chance to shine when Blankenship was
 limited with injuries. He gained 445 yards on 74 carries for the season and
 delivered a breakout performance versus EMU with 128 yards and two total
 touchdowns.
 
 The receiving corps has a few quality options with senior Donte Foster
 highlighting the group. Foster returns after pacing the squad with 4.9 catches
 and 54.9 yards per game last year. Junior Chase Cochran will be expected to
 take on a bigger role after reeling in 22 catches for 377 yards and four
 scores in 2012.
 
 The bright side of all of the injuries last season is that a handful of
 offensive linemen gained valuable experience. The Bobcats are very strong on
 both edges with senior tackles John Prior (6-6, 303) and Ryan McGrath (6-6,
 298) back as starters.
 
 DEFENSE: Ohio had the fourth best defensive unit statistically in 2012 with
 allowed averages of 388.4 yards of total offense and 24.8 points per game. It
 was very sporadic throughout the course of the year as it had some
 surprisingly poor showings against the weaker offenses of Massachusetts,
 Buffalo and Ball State to go along with stifling displays against Penn State,
 Bowling Green and Kent State.
 
 Linebacker Keith Moore was the heart and soul of the defense last season with
 a team-best 98 total tackles, which is 28 more than anyone else on the roster
 registered. He will have just as much pressure on him to perform in his final
 tour of the MAC being one of just two returning starters on the defense.
 
 The front four is going through a transitional phase which will force Solich
 to rely on a deep group of newcomers. Tony Porter (6-1, 307) and Tarell Basham
 (6-4, 250) could both see action as true freshmen due to the lack of depth on
 the line.
 
 The secondary will be a little more consistent. Senior cornerback Travis
 Carrie is ready to return after missing all of last season due to injury.
 Carrie led the team with four interceptions in 2011. Jamil Shaw is expected to
 start at the other corner after missing all of 2012 after suffering a season-
 ending injury in the opener at Penn State. Junior strong safety Josh Kristoff
 is the second-leading tackler (60 total) among returners.
 
 SPECIAL TEAMS: Oklahoma State transfer Matt Green will take over the place
 kicking duties for the graduated Second-Team All-MAC selection Matt Weller.
 Green has a strong enough leg to handle the kickoff duties as well as attempt
 field goals from over 40 yards away. Grant Venham showed promise last season
 as a freshman while starting at punter.
 
 The return game is going to be given a boost by Carrie's return. He averaged
 12.5 yards per punt return and took one back to the house in 2011. Sophomore
 running back Daz'mond Patterson led the squad last year with 582 kick return
 yards and a touchdown on 24 attempts.
 
 OUTLOOK: Ohio has a slim chance of jumping out of the gate the way it did last
 season due to its difficult road opener at Louisville. It has a very
 manageable schedule the rest of the way though, and the Bobcats are poised at
 making a run at the league title.
 
 "It is always the goal to win every game and get to the MAC Championship,"
 said Blankenship. "I feel like we would be disappointed if we didn't get
 there. It's a long season, but that is definitely the end result we want."
 
 After visiting the Cardinals for their opener, the Bobcats play three in a row
 at Peden Stadium against North Teas, Marshall and Austin Peay. They then begin
 their quest for Detroit at Akron. The rest of Ohio's list of MAC opponents
 consists of Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Miami-Ohio, Buffalo, Bowling
 Green, Kent State and UMass. Solich's unit is picked to win the East Division
 and will have no excuse not to as it avoids playing Northern Illinois, Ball
 State and Toledo during the regular season.
 
 A 10-win year with a MAC Championship is certainly within reach for Tettleton
 and company. The new personnel on the defensive side of the ball need to mesh
 together quickly and with all the turnover, any injuries could be devastating.
 Ohio's all-conference caliber positional players on the offensive side of the
 ball should make it a very tough matchup each and every Saturday.
 
 
 
 08/19 11:45:42 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
7:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR
 
Final
WAS 3
STL 4
 
Final
CLE 0
TOR 5
9th
DET 5
ANA 1
 
8th
BOS 4
BAL 2
 
6th
KAN 5
MIN 4
 
5th
CHC 3
CIN 0
 
1st
OAK 0
HOU 0
 
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
MIL
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
ATL
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
NYY
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
SEA
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
CWS
8:10pm Tonight
LOS
ARI
8:10pm Tonight
COL
PHI
8:40pm Tonight
SDP
SFG
Final
TOR 87
BRK 94
1st
LAC 26
GSW 24
 
7:00pm Tonight
IND
ATL
9:30pm Tonight
OKC
MEM
1st Intermission
STL 2
CHI 0
 
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
CLB
9:30pm Tonight
COL
MIN
7:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR