Aug 20, 2013
By Alex Marcheschi
OhioBobcats.com - Staff Writer
Ohio Football gave #BobcatNation a taste of the big time last year when it earned a top-25 ranking in the Associated Press Poll, USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll and the Bowl Championship Series Poll after starting the season, 7-0.
However, the ranking was short-lived as the Bobcats stumbled in their eighth game at Miami, losing the game and the ranking as injuries plagued the team. Ohio would then go on to lose three of its next four games to close out the regular season.
Although Ohio did claim its second-consecutive bowl win, the finish to the regular season left a bad taste in mouth of the Bobcats, and as a result, the team is even hungrier to succeed this season.
The official motto for the season is "Finish, No Regrets." The motto was selected by the team's Unity Council, a group that was put together to establish leadership among the team.
"Just finish, no regrets. Just get it done and don't look back. Don't have any regrets. Don't think, `Oh, I could've done this better,'" said Ohio running back Beau Blankenship. "That game was a turning point in our season, so it springs from that a little."
"That game" that Blankenship referred to is the aforementioned Miami game on Oct. 27, 2012. It was a deflating loss, and in no way did it ruin the season.
But it did effectively end a momentous roll that the Bobcats were riding.
The Bobcats aren't dwelling on what could have been.
It's exactly where the "Finish, No Regrets" motto stems from. Redshirt senior cornerback Travis Carrie missed all of last season after having shoulder surgery, but he and other players can see the benefits that are derivable from the disappointing end to last season. He has a strategy that involves using last season to help improve the current one.
"(Last season) will help us sustain that long run coming up this year," Carrie said. "If we can keep our focus on the main goal, I think that chance we had last year will be even greater this year."
Blankenship is on board with Carrie. The two are both captains this year and they are both instrumental to the success of the team. Their job is to lead, and they do a great job of it.
"It was kind of unfortunate the way (the end of last season) happened. There was just a bunch of injuries and we couldn't stay healthy," Blankenship said. "But, I think the silver lining is that a bunch of people got playing time and they are probably going to be playing this year."
Experience is invaluable - it will help Ohio win. But the "Finish, No Regrets" motto extends beyond simply winning and losing games.
It's an attitude that embodies everything the team does.
"It's more than just no regrets as far as wins and losses. It's no regrets on the field. Leaving regrets on the field is when you're going to lose games," said redshirt senior defensive end Ty Branz. "We want to leave every game with no regrets, knowing that we gave everything we had. When you go and play with no regrets, and let the chips fall where they may, good things happen."
Branz summed it up well, but his fellow defensive lineman Antwan Crutcher put it in terms that are unmistakably poignant.
The Bobcats are on a mission this year.
"We're trying to finish, because we believe we can win the MAC Championship, be undefeated, be ranked and win a bowl game," Crutcher said. "If we finish, and finish strong, we won't regret our season."
Alex Marcheschi will serve as the OhioBobcats.com staff writer during the 2013-14 season. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @BobcatFeatures.