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Ohio Hosts Wyoming in Battle of 2-1 Teams

OHIOBOBCATS.COM Quarterback Brad Bower will lead the Bobcats against Wyoming on Saturday.
OHIOBOBCATS.COM
Quarterback Brad Bower will lead the Bobcats against Wyoming on Saturday.
OHIOBOBCATS.COM

Sept. 17, 2007

Ohio-Wyoming Game Notes

ATHENS, Ohio - A pair of 2-1 teams will face-off on Saturday when the Ohio football team hosts the Wyoming Cowboys at Peden Stadium.

Both teams are coming off their first loss of the season, with Ohio dropping a 28-7 decision at No. 17 Virginia Tech and Wyoming losing 24-14 at Boise State.

But prior to their losses, both the Bobcats and Cowboys registered impressive wins.

On Kalvin McRae's four touchdowns, Ohio rallied for a 31-23 come-from-behind victory at Louisiana-Lafayette in the second game of the season while the Cowboys stunned Virginia 23-3 in their season opener in front of 31,620 fans at Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium. Like the Bobcats, the Cowboys win was also anchored by their running back, Devin Moore, who ran for 123 yards and a touchdown against the Cavaliers.

Against Boise State, Moore caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Karsten Sween, but was limited to just 27 yards rushing.

McRae also was able to find the end zone in the last contest, diving in from four yards out against the Hokies for his seventh touchdown of the season. But like Moore, McRae was held to his lowest rushing yards total of the season, with 55 yards on 22 carries.

The running game is where the similarities between the two teams end because the Cowboys will showcase a 3-4 defense against the Bobcats, the first time Ohio has seen that formation this season.

The anchor of the 3-4 defense is the four linebackers who must stop both the run and the pass to be effective, and the Cowboys have veterans at each of the four positions.

While the four linebackers have combined for 51 career starts and 62 tackles this season, the leader of the corps is inside linebacker Ward Dobbs. The junior from Fairbanks, Alaska, and Preseason Butkus Award Watch List selection is third on the team with 21 tackles, eight solo, and has also notched a sack and one tackle for loss. Seniors Brandon Haugen, Luke Chase and Sean Claffey join Dobbs as starting linebackers for a Cowboys defense that surrendered just 21 total points before allowing 24 to Boise State.

Those linebackers will have their work cut out for them against McRae and the Bobcats' offense which is looking to rebound after a poor performance against a ferocious Virginia Tech defense.

The Hokies held Ohio to just 114 total yards of offense, its lowest total since the Bobcats mustered 116 yards at Rutgers in 2006.

But the Virginia Tech game has been an aberration thus far in 2007, with quarterback Brad Bower and McRae leading a potent offense. Against Louisiana-Lafayette and Gardner-Webb, the Bobcats totaled 67 points and 848 yards of offense. Bower has thrown for 541 yards with a 128.66 quarterback efficiency rating this season.

While the Cowboys have four veteran linebackers, McRae and the Bobcats offense will look to exploit a Wyoming defensive line that starts three sophomores.

Boise State running back Ian Johnson rushed for 83 yards on 24 carries last weekend while the Broncos totaled 121 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Broncos quarterback Taylor Tharp was able to complete 15-of-30 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns against the Wyoming secondary.

The battle against Wyoming, the first in the two programs' history, will be Ohio's first home game since the season opener against Gardner-Webb.

Ohio's next game will be at home against Kent State for Parents' Weekend. It will be the Bobcats' first game against a MAC opponent.