ATHENS, Ohio - The Ohio University football team (7-5, 4-4 MAC) wrapped up the 2013 regular season with a 51-23 win over visiting Massachusetts (1-11, 1-7 MAC) Friday afternoon on Senior Day at Peden Stadium.
With the victory, Ohio finishes the regular season two games above the .500 mark, ensuring the program a winning record for a fifth-straight season.
Ohio’s senior class shined on both the offensive and defensive sides of the Ball in the Bobcats’ home finale. Cornerback Travis Carrie (Antioch, Calif.) returned a career-best two interceptions for touchdowns in the contest and made four tackles on the afternoon. It marked the first time since a Sept. 9, 2005, game against Pittsburgh (Dion Byrum) that an Ohio defensive player returned two picks for touchdowns in a game.
Offensively, senior running back Beau Blankenship (Norman, Okla.) rushed for a game high 124 yards and a touchdown, while Ryan Boykin added 27 yards and a score on six carries. Quarterback Tyler Tettleton (Norman, Okla.) threw for 243 yards and a pair of scores.
Redshirt senior wideout Donte Foster (Guthrie, Okla.) posted a team-high 89 yards on six catches to punctuate Ohio’s strong set of senior performances.
Ohio led the game from start to finish and dominated the game statistically. The Bobcats held a 461-290 advantage in total yards, including a 246-137 edge in the passing game. The Green & White also made 22 first downs in the game and held a 4-3 edge in the turnover battle.
The Bobcats put the ball in the end zone on their first drive of the game, as the Green & White manufactured a 2-play, 65-yard sequence that took just 35 seconds off the clock. The drive culminated with a 50-yard touchdown run by Blankenship, which marked the senior’s longest rush of the season.
After Ohio forced a UMass three-and-out on the first Minutemen possession, the Bobcats continued their hot start with another long march down the field. Tettleton found Foster for a 25-yard completion, then Blankenship raced for another sizable run of 15 yards to enter the UMass red zone. The drive ended with a 2-yard touchdown pass from Tettleton to redshirt junior wide receiver Chase Cochran (Council Bluffs, Iowa) to make it 14-0 Ohio with 10:45 to play in the first quarter.
Massachusetts answered with a drive of 49 yards late in the first half that stalled at the Ohio 25 yard line. After a 42-yard field goal attempt sailed through the uprights, the Minutemen pulled within 11 of the Bobcats at 14-3 with 4:41 to go in the opening quarter.
The Minutemen then forced a fumble by Tettleton on the Bobcats’ next drive and took over at the Ohio 49-yard line. UMass took advantage of the Ohio miscue, and moved down the field with an 8-play, 45-yard touchdown drive that pulled the Minutemen within four (14-10) with 12:32 remaining in the second half.
After another Ohio drive stalled and UMass moved the ball into Bobcat territory, Carrie made a crucial defensive play to quell the Massachusetts rally. On a third down and nine play from the Ohio 34, Carrie picked off a pass from UMass quarterback A.J. Doyle and returned it 66 yards for his second career touchdown. The play pushed Ohio back in front by 11 (21-10) with 7:08 to go in the half.
Ohio then executed another important defensive play on the ensuing kick-off, when freshman Sebastian Smith (Columbus, Ohio) recovered a fumble by Trey Dudley-Giles at the UMass 18-yard line. Ohio capitalized on the turnover and extended its lead to 18 (28-10) after a six-yard touchdown run from Boykin with 6:29 to go in the half.
After a late field goal drive that included a 30-yard run from Blankenship, Ohio entered the half ahead, 31-10. The good kick from Josiah Yazdani (Albany, Ohio) made the freshman a perfect 10-for-10 on the year this season. The Bobcats outgained the Minutemen 293-160 in the half, including a 165-81 edge in passing yards.
UMass posted the first score of the second half to move back within two scores of the Bobcats (31-20). With 11 minutes to go in the third quarter, Doyle found Tajae Sharpe for a 38-yard touchdown reception that was upheld after an official review.
Ohio built its lead back to 18 (38-20) late in the third quarter, as the Bobcats put together a 39-yard touchdown drive that included a 19-yard pass from Tettleton to Foster and a four-yard strike to junior wideout Landon Smith (Girard, Ohio) for the score.
Yazdani improved his perfect streak to 12 with a pair of short field goals (24, 25) quarters to keep Ohio in front by 21 at 44-23 at the 9:13 mark of the fourth quarter. The Bobcats added their final touchdown of the game (51-23) on Carrie’s second interception returned for a score against the Minutemen.