Nov. 7, 2012
Since 2006 the Ohio University football team has won a league-best 54 games. The 2012 senior class contributed to 39 of those victories.
Prior to the arrival of this year's senior class, the Ohio football team had been to just one bowl game in the previous 30 years.
But since 2008 this year's senior class has compiled a list of memories prior to this year that would be enough for any program to hang their hat on for decades to come. There was the three straight wins against Temple, four wins against arch-rival Miami, three straight bowl appearances, two Mid-American Conference East Division Championships and victory in the 2011 Famous Idaho Potato, which handed the Bobcats their first-ever bowl victory - just to name a few of these memories.
Not bad for a senior class that was ranked originally ranked 90th in the country according to Rivals.com.
"It's going to be really tough losing this guys," said junior captain Tyler Tettleton. "The leadership these seniors have provided over the past couple of years is the main reason we've been able to have so much success. I think they've set a great example for those, who are in this program and I just think it will trickle down to some of the younger guys on the team."
Prior to this season, the rest of the league had taken notice of the Bobcats success as Ohio was selected as the preseason favorite to win the 2012 MAC Championship.
Other teams may have flinched due to the heighten awareness of their program, but not this team. All Ohio did was reel off seven straight wins to open the 2012 season as it jumped out to its best start since 1968.
Along the way, Ohio defeated Penn State in front of over 95,000 fans inside Beaver Stadium. It then went on to post wins over rival Marshall and conference triumphs over Massachusetts, Buffalo and Akron, which led to a Top 25 ranking in both the Associated Press and USA Today Poll. The Bobcats also made an appearance in the Bowl Championship Series standings.
"After the Penn State win, I could really tell that there was a buzz among the team on campus," said offensive lineman Eric Herman. "You could just feel it."
On Wednesday night, the 2012 senior class, a class that has played a significant role in the recent success of the Ohio University football team will take the field at Peden Stadium for the final time.
"The past couple years have really flown by," said senior captain Gerald Moore. "You always can't wait for the season to begin and then once you're in the middle of the season, you don't really get a chance to cherish it."
Ohio Football is not just a local story anymore. This season, much of the college football world has taken notice of the Bobcats' success as they have been featured in the USA Today, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, The Boston Globe and on numerous national radio shows.
"It's so crazy to see all the excitement on campus - people really care," said senior defensive end Corey Hasting. "Sometimes students will come up to us on campus and say `great game' or `good luck' and it just makes you feel good knowing you have the support of the student body behind you."
In 2012, Ohio University football fans have flocked to Peden Stadium in record numbers. In the home-opener against New Mexico State a school-record 25,893 fans passed through the gates.
"Being able to see the growth of this University and our fan base has been so exciting," Herman said.
Although this group of seniors has experienced a tremendous amount of success, one thing has still alluded the Bobcats - A MAC Championship.
"We're such a goal oriented team and we still have a lot of things we are hoping to accomplish," Moore said. "We're just going to keep fighting, so that we bring home that MAC Championship."
The Bobcats were close last year as fell to Northern Illinois in the closing seconds of the 2011 MAC Championship, which brought about the team's motto of UNFINISHED BUSINESS.
Through 10 weeks of the college football season, the `Cats goal of winning the MAC Championship is still within the grasp of this year's senior class - a goal this group of seniors is still extremely focused on accomplishing.
"This is a group that got the big picture," said head coach Frank Solich. "They understood what we wanted to get accomplished with our program and they set about doing from the first day in which they stepped on campus."
All goals aside, when these 19 seniors take the field for the final time on Wednesday night, Senior Day will serve as a moment of reflection for a senior class that has registered more wins than an class in school history.
"Senior Night is going to be rough because I have so many memories," Herman said. "Ohio University is my home and it always will be. I still remember playing in my first home game against Connecticut. I was so excited, I jumped offsides on my first-ever snap. It's crazy to think how fast time goes."