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Ohio Win Sets up MAC East Showdown with Temple

Nov. 21, 2009

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ATHENS, Ohio - The Ohio Bobcats kept their hopes of another Mid-American Conference East Division title and a MAC title game alive with a 38-31 win over Northern Illinois Saturday afternoon at Peden Stadium.

The win improved the Bobcats to 8-3 overall and 6-1 in the conference and give the school its 200th MAC victory all-time.

The Bobcats offense was energized early, scoring on their first two touches of the game and posting a 14-0 lead in the first five minutes of play.

Senior quarterback Theo Scott (Long Beach, Calif.) connected with junior wideout LaVon Brazill (Lantana, Fla.) on a 27-yard pass to complete a three-play, 45-yard drive set up by a 64-yard return by senior Chris Garrett on the opening kickoff.

After forcing a punt just six plays later, the Bobcats scored their seventh non-offensive touchdown of the season with a record-setting return from Brazill. Brazill caught Huskie punter Mike Salerno's kick at the Ohio nine-yard line and returned the ball 91 yards for his fourth career punt return for a touchdown. The score is the longest in school history, eclipsing senior Chris Garrett's (Utica, N.Y.) 88-yard touchdown return against Western Michigan in 2006.

Northern Illinois scored on a 23-yard connection from Chandler Harnish to Kyle Skarb at the 4:02 mark in the first quarter.

The Huskies tied the score at 14 apiece in the second quarter, capping a 7-play, 62-yard run with a one-yard rush from junior tailback Chad Spann.

The Bobcats struck first in the third quarter, taking 17-14 lead behind a 28-yard field goal from Matt Weller (Twinsburg, Ohio).

The Huskies took advantage of an Ohio miscue, as a fumbled punt return set up the Huskies at the Ohio 12-yard line. Two plays later, another one-yard touchdown run from Spann gave the Huskies their first lead of the game.

Ohio scored again before the close of the third quarter, with Scott connecting again with Brazill for a nine-yard touchdown.

Harnish connected with March Lewis on a 26-yard pass into the end zone to put the Huskies back on top.

The Bobcats regained the lead on the next possession, as Scott connected with senior Taylor Price (Hilliard, Ohio) for a seven-yard score in the air with 5:38 remaining in the game.

Big plays from Ohio's defense denied the Huskies.

Seniors Patrick Tafua (Midway City, Calif.) and Lee Renfro (Burnside, Ky.) made a stop on fourth down and to leave Northern Illinois one yard short.

Ohio junior Julian Posey (Cincinnati) came up with a 41-yard interception return for a touchdown with just a minute and a half remaining to give the Bobcats a 10-point lead.

Northern Illinois kicker Mike Salerno connected on a 28-yard field goal in the final minute to account for the final margin of 38-31.

Ohio will host MAC East foe Temple on Friday at 11 a.m. The game will be televised nationally by ESPNU.