HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -In a down-to-the-wire finish at Joan C. Edwards Stadium, Ohio Football improved to 3-0 on the season with a 27-24 victory over the Marshall Thundering Herd. A Matt Weller field goal with 97 seconds left put the `Cats ahead for good and a late Jelani Woseley interception sealed the victory.
With the win, Ohio has started 2-0 on the road for the first time since 1976. The victory marks the second straight season in which the Bobcats have opened with three straight wins and also marked the first time Ohio had beaten the Thundering Herd in back-to-back seasons since 1979 and 1980.
Tyler Tettleton moved into fourth place all-time in the Ohio record books for career completions, going 20-of-35 through the air for 200 yards and three touchdowns. The junior quarterback has now completed 342 passes in his career, surpassing Donny Harrison's 334 achieved from 1979-83.
Beau Blankenship led the way on the ground for the Bobcats, rushing 30 times for 107 yards. On the receiving end, Tyler Futrell led all Ohio receivers with five catches for 42 yards and one score.
Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato had an impressive game for the hosts, completing a school record 44 passes on 65 attempts. The sophomore amassed 432 passing yards and three touchdowns.
Cato led the Thundering Herd on two strong drives to open the game. The sophomore quarterback completed 14 of his first 17 passes, throwing for 149 yards and two scores in Marshall's first two possessions of the contest. The Thundering Herd first scored at the 11:08 mark of the first quarter when Cato found Jazz King on a three-yard touchdown strike. Marshall was then able to double its lead at the 6:46 mark, scoring on a five-yard touchdown pass from Cato to Aaron Dobson.
Ohio had two bright spots in the first quarter in the form of big plays, as Kyle Hammonds (Solon, Ohio) returned Marshall's first kickoff for a 41-yard gain and Tyler Futrell (Altoona, Pa.) caught a 23-yard pass up the middle of the field when the `Cats were backed up in their own side of the field. Despite these two big gains, Ohio trailed by 14 at the end of the first quarter.
To begin the second quarter, Ohio showed grit in its first drive. On a drive which spanned from the end of the first quarter through the early minutes of the second, the Bobcats converted three separate third-down attempts en route to scoring their first points of the day. Tettleton (Norman, Okla.) capped off a 16-play, 68-yard drive with a six-yard touchdown pass to tight end Troy Hill (New Kensington, Pa.) to pull the Bobcats within one score at 14-7. The touchdown reception was the first of Hill's career.
Following a 22-yard Matt Weller (Twinsburg, Ohio) field goal which cut the deficit to four at 14-10, Ohio engineered its longest drive of the season to take its first lead of the game. The Bobcats put together a 13-play, 96-yard drive which lasted 3:51 and culminated in a four yard Tettleton touchdown pass to Futrell.
Taking a 17-14 lead into halftime, Ohio held an edge in total offense. The Bobcats ran 47 plays for 255 total yards in the first half compared to Marshall's 34 plays for 212 yards. Ohio also held an edge in time of possession, holding the ball for 16:47 compared to Marshall's 13:13. One of the most notable parts of the first half was Ohio's success on third downs, as the Bobcats were 6-of-9 with their offensive drives on the line.
Marshall (1-2) was able to reclaim the lead with 5:20 remaining in the third quarter when Cato found Gator Hoskins just inside the pylon with a precise 14-yard touchdown pass. The touchdown pass was Cato's third of the evening and following the ensuing extra point, gave the Thundering Herd a 21-17 lead.
Daz'mond Patterson (Plant City, Fla.) made an immediate impact on the next drive, rushing for back-to-back gains of more than ten yards to earn the Bobcats two first downs. Ohio's drive was ultimately stalled at its own 47, however.
The Thundering Herd extended its lead to 24-17 with 14:13 remaining in the game when Justin Haig connected on a 37-yard field goal. This scoring play came at the end of a drive which spanned 63 yards on 11 plays and took 3:57 off the clock.
Facing a fourth-and-four at Marshall's 27-yard line, Tettleton came through in a big way, finding a streaking Ryan Clark (Macedonia, Ohio) down the sideline for a perfectly placed 27-yard touchdown pass. The ensuing PAT--the 132nd of Weller's career--leveled the scores at 24 apiece with 10:43 to play in the contest. Ohio was very clutch on this drive, converting three of a possible four third downs.
With Marshall driving late in the fourth quarter, Larenzo Fisher forced a fumble which was recovered by teammate Nathan Carpenter. Carpenter rumbled ahead 48 yards with the ball, putting Ohio's offense in great field position. Weller was able to give the `Cats the lead for good when he nailed a 38-yard field goal with 1:37 left in the game. Woseley was then able to put the game away, intercepting a Cato pass a minute later at the Ohio 23-yard line.
The Bobcats will next be in action on Saturday, Sept. 22 when Norfolk State comes to Peden Stadium. Ohio and the Spartans will kick off at 2 p.m. This will serve as Ohio's final non-conference game of the season.