#80 Ohio Football 2013 Preview

Ohio Bobcats

Overall Rank: #80
#3 Mid-American

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Ohio got off to a 7-0 start in 2012, which included a win at Penn State. Then they quickly felt the effect of a handful of injuries and lost four of their last five games and gave way to Kent State and Bowling Green in the Mid-American Conference East Division. The Bobcats did end the season on a high note, easily taking care of Louisiana-Monroe in the Independence Bowl.

2012 Record: (9-4, 4-4)
2012 Bowl: Independence Bowl vs. Louisiana-Monroe (W 45-14)
Coach: Frank Solich (59-44 at Ohio, 117-63 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Tim Albin, Gerry Gdowski
Defensive Coordinator: Jimmy Burrow

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Beau Blankenship, RB, 1,642 yards
Passing: Tyler Tettleton, QB, 2,844 yards
Receiving: Donte Foster, WR, 659 yards
Tackles: Keith Moore, LB, 98
Sacks: Keith Moore, LB, 2.0
Interceptions: Keith Moore, LB, 2

Other Key Returnees: RB Ryan Boykin, WR Chase Cochran, TE Troy Hill, OT John Prior, OT Ryan McGrath, CB Travis Carrie, S Josh Kristoff

Key Losses: WR Bakari Bussey, WR Tyler Futrell, LB Alphonso Lewis, LB Jelani Woseley, DL Carl Jones, DL Corey Hastings, K Matt Weller

If the offense can get, and stay, healthy, Ohio will be one of the more potent scoring squads in the MAC. However, that has not been the case in the spring and summer and the Bobcats could easily go back to the disappointment of the end of last season if some of the major injuries linger into the fall. Quarterback Tyler Tettleton did not miss any starts, but he was among the injured Bobcats by the end of last season. As a result, his numbers were down in 2012. Yet, he still threw for 2,844 yards and 18 touchdowns. More impressively, Tettleton threw just four interceptions. Tettleton has the potential to be the best quarterback in a conference full of quality signal callers. Donte Foster is the top receiver on the team after catching 59 passes for 659 yards and eight touchdowns. Chase Cochran is a big play threat who averaged over 17 yards per reception as a sophomore. Ohio should be just as potent on the ground as they are through the air. Behind a suddenly experienced offensive line, Beau Blankenship should be in for another great season. The back rushed for 1,604 yards and 15 scores in 2012. The return of Ryan Boykin, who was one of the many offensive players who ended their season early, should keep Blankenship fresh. He will not need to carry the ball 312 times this time around…assuming Boykin remains injury free.

The defense is coming off of a strong season, but there are not many players on this team that played much of a role in the team’s success in 2012. The biggest concern is on the front line where junior nose tackle Antwan Crutcher will have to turn into a leader after playing in a reserve role during the rest of his time in Athens. Freshman end Tarrell Basham is brimming with potential, but the lack of experience and depth in the front four is a huge concern. Senior linebacker Keith Moore is back and will likely lead the Bobcats in tackling again this year. However, he will be surrounded by inexperience too. Cornerback Travis Carrie missed all of the 2012 campaign and Jamil Shaw was injured for the year in the opener. Those two should be starting from day one and will be joined by returning strong safety Josh Kristoff in what could be a very, very good secondary.

The Bottom Line:
The offense can lead Ohio to a bowl game, and probably will, but the defense has to find some playmakers in the front seven. There is some talent around, but experience is needed and the Bobcats may have some tough times early in the year while Coach Frank Solich finds those defensive difference makers. The secondary will not play up to their potential if the front four fails to get consistent pressure in the opposing backfield. The result will likely be a lot of fun, high scoring games. If that is the case, Tettleton and company will not have a problem coming out on the winning end of quite a few of those shootouts and taking Ohio to another bowl.

Projected Bowl:  Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 203.31 (27th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 241.46 (53, 7)
Total Offense: 444.77 (33, 4)
Scoring Offense: 31.69 (42, 4)
Rushing Defense: 159.38 (59, 6)
Pass Defense: 229.00 (55, 6)
Total Defense: 388.38 (55, 4)
Scoring Defense: 24.77 (46, 4)
Turnover Margin: 1.15 (7, 2)
Sacks: 1.92 (66, 6)
Sacks Allowed: 2.08 (71, 10)


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