Sep 7, 2013
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ATHENS, Ohio - The Ohio University football team (1-1) used two fourth-quarter field goals from sophomore kicker Matt Green to surge past visiting North Texas, 27-21, in the Bobcats' home opener Saturday evening in Peden Stadium.
With the score knotted at 21 with 12:51 to go in the game, the Bobcats put together lengthy drives of 55 and 62 yards to set up field goals of 38 and 22 yards to give Ohio the lead. An interception from senior safety Xavier Hughes (Germantown, Md.) sealed the victory for Ohio with 1:02 left in the game.
The contest was witnessed by 24,511 fans, the fifth-largest crowd to ever pack Peden Stadium.
Junior wide receiver Chase Cochran (Lebanon, Ohio) posted a game-high 103 receiving yards on six catches, including a touchdown grab, to lead the Ohio offense, while senior tailback Ryan Boykin (Woodstock, Ga.) rushed for 93 yards on 19 carries and hauled in a 10-yard touchdown pass to pace the `Cats rushing attack.
Senior tailback Beau Blankenship (Norman, Okla.) added 84 yards on 14 carries, while senior wideout Donte Foster (Guthrie, Okla.) grabbed six passes for 59 yards. Senior quarterback Tyler Tettleton (Norman, Okla.) threw for 239 yards and two scores and completed 63 percent (19-30) of his passes on the night.
Sophomore corner Jovon Johnson (Solon, Ohio) led the Bobcat defense after returning an interception for a touchdown and recovering a fumble in the first half. Junior safety Josh Kristoff (Pickerington, Ohio) compiled a team-high 10 tackles for Ohio.
The `Cats held a 442-299 edge in total yards for the contest, including a 203-104 edge on the ground.
Ohio also won the turnover battle (+1) against the Mean Green. The Ohio offense exploded out of the gate, as Tettleton took the opening snap and rifled a 75-yard touchdown pass to redshirt junior wide receiver Chase Cochran (Lebanon, Ohio). It marked Ohio's longest completion from scrimmage so far this season and the 10th longest pass play in program history.
The Bobcats forced a three-and-out from North Texas on the team's first drive, but a fumble by Ohio punt returner Travis Carrie (Antioch, Calif.) gave North Texas possession at their 48-yard line. From there, the Bobcat defense took over, as redshirt senior Nic Barber (Newark, Ohio) forced a fumble from NT tailback Reggie Pegram. The fumble was recovered by Johnson and the `Cats took over at their own 27-yard line.
After two Bobcat three-and-outs and another from North Texas, the Mean Green tied the score at seven after penetrating the Ohio defense with a 10-play, 46-yard drive late in the first quarter. The Mean Green utilized the Wildcat offense to move into the red zone, then utilized three rushes for 15 yards by tailback Antoinne Jimmerson to reach the end zone for the score.
Ohio responded quickly and efficiently with a 10-play, 72-yard touchdown drive that lasted more than five minutes and gave the `Cats a 14-7 lead. More than half of those yards (40) came on the ground, as Boykin provided scampers of 10-or-more yards for the `Cats. The lengthy drive was capped by a 10-yard touchdown pass from Tettleton to Boykin.
The Bobcats immediately added to their lead, as Jovon Johnson added to his superb first half by picking off North Texas quarterback Derek Thompson and returning it 42 yards for a touchdown to give Ohio a 21-7 lead with 12:34 to go in the second quarter.
After a nine-play North Texas drive that stalled at the Ohio 44-yard line, the Bobcats put together a 57-yard march down the field that included a 24-yard pass from Tettleton to Foster and a 26-yard run from Blankenship. However, the `Cats could not convert, as Green just missed a 40-yard field goal attempt with 2:34 to go in the first half. The Bobcats entered intermission holding a 14-point edge (21-7).
Despite North Texas holding an eight-minute edge in time of possession, the `Cats out-gained the Mean Green in total yardage (220-170) in the half and held the visitors to an 0-for-7 mark on third down attempts.
The Ohio offense relied heavily on the ground prowess of Blankenship in the third quarter, as the senior tailback provided 34 of the team's 94 yards of offense in the period. However, the `Cats could not score in the quarter, as Ohio's best scoring opportunity - a 57-yard drive midway through the period - stalled at the North Texas 19-yard line after Ohio failed to convert a fourth-and-one play.
The Mean Green took over on offense with 6:33 to go in the third quarter and started an eight-play, 56-yard scoring drive that tied the game at 21. The drive ended with a six-yard touchdown pass from Thompson to Darnell Smith.
For the second time in the game, Ohio came right back and scored after North Texas put the ball in the end zone. This time, the `Cats put together a 55-yard drive - highlighted by a 26-yard pass from Tettleton to senior Matt Waters (Council Bluffs, Iowa) - that set up a 38-yard field goal from Green. The score gave Ohio a 24-21 lead with 8:08 to go in the fourth quarter.
After the Ohio defense forced a key three-and-out by North Texas, the `Cats put together a clock-killing drive that ultimately earned the Green & White the victory. The drive included an acrobatic 23-yard catch by Cochran that culminated in Green's 22-yard field goal. The Hughes interception on the ensuing North Texas drive clinched the victory for Ohio.
The Bobcats return to action next Saturday (Sept. 14) when the Marshall Thundering Herd invade Athens in the the annual Battle for the Bell showdown. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. inside Peden Stadium.