Dec. 5, 2010
ATHENS, Ohio-The Ohio football team will face the Troy Trojans (7-5, 6-2 Sun Belt) in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana (Louisiana Superdome) on Saturday, Dec. 18 at 9 p.m. ET (8 p.m. CT) on ESPN.
"I am elated for our student-athletes, coaches, university and fans," said Ohio Director of Athletics Jim Schaus. "This being our third bowl in five years is a testament to the growth of our football program. New Orleans is a spectacular city, the Superdome is a great football venue and the 18th is a convenient date for Ohio fans. I encourage all Bobcats everywhere to come join the fun if they can."
The Bobcats went 8-4 overall and 6-2 in the MAC this season. Entering the last week of the regular season, the program began receiving votes in both the USA Today Coaches Poll and the Associated Press Poll. Ohio racked up seven-straight wins in 2010, largely due to a rushing attack that piled up 25 touchdowns on the ground, a total that ranked second in the league. The Bobcats also feature a quarterback-wide receiver tandem that has rewritten several of the school's records. Senior wideout Terrence McCrae's TD catches against Buffalo were the 18th and 19th of his career, the most in school history. McCrae also has nine touchdown catches this season to tie the school's single-season mark, a record that he tied last year after tight end Andrew Mooney did the same in 2008. Senior quarterback Boo Jackson, already the program's all-time leader in completion percentage (.602), pass efficiency (134.4), total offense per play (6.13) and passing yards per attempt (7.6), now has 35 career touchdown passes, breaking Cleve Bryant's (1967-69) all-time record. He also stands third in passing yards (4,237) and completions (337), fourth in touchdown responsibility (45) and sixth with 560 pass attempts. He has also tied the single-season school record for touchdown responsibility (23) that quarterback Theo Scott set last season.
Ohio boasted seven selections on the All-MAC teams, led by first-team right tackle junior Joe Flading. Flading, a third-team All-MAC selection last year, has played the most snaps of any lineman (699) and leads the squad in average grade (1.89 out of 2.0), pancake blocks (62) and decleaters (14). Defensively, senior cornerback Julian Posey leads the MAC and is tied for fifth nationally with 12 pass breakups.
"The traditions in New Orleans are very rich," said Ohio senior safety and captain Donovan Fletcher. "The opportunity to play a bowl game there makes the experience even more memorable. Troy is an exceptional team and competing against them will be a challenge that I know our team is looking forward to."
The Bobcats have four previous bowl appearances: the Sun Bowl versus West Texas State in 1962, the Tangerine Bowl versus Richmond in 1968, the GMAC Bowl versus Southern Mississippi in 2006 and the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in 2009. The game will also be the Bobcats' 28th appearance on the ESPN "Family of Networks" during head coach Frank's Solich's five-year tenure in Athens.
The Trojans clinched a share of their fifth-consecutive Sun Belt regular season title with a 44-7 win at Florida Atlantic on Saturday. Troy will bring a high-powered offense to the bowl matchup, as it ranks first in the league in pass efficiency (136.99), scoring (32.92 points per game), passing offense (288.17 yards per game) and total offense (441.08 yards per game). Senior wideout Jerrel Jernigan is the Sun Belt's leader with 6.17 catches and 165.08 all-purpose yards per game, while racking up a league-best 13.68 yards per return. On the defensive side, the Trojans also top the conference in sacks (2.92 per game) and are also first in punt return average (12.16). Individually, redshirt sophomore defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi leads the league with 17.5 tackles for loss.
Ohio is one of four Mid-American Conference (MAC) schools that will participate in postseason bowl games this year as invitations were extended Sunday afternoon. Miami (GoDaddy.com Bowl), Northern Illinois (uDrove Humanitarian Bowl) and Toledo (Little Caesars Pizza Bowl) will also represent the league.
This year also marks the first time in conference history that the MAC will have at least four schools playing bowl games in three consecutive years. In addition, the MAC has sent four or more teams to bowl games in five of the last seven years.
"We are extremely excited for the bowl invitations to our four MAC institutions," said Dr. Jon Steinbrecher, commissioner of the MAC. "Our conference placed three teams in our primary agreements with the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, GoDaddy.com Bowl and uDrove Humanitarian Bowl. We were also able to garner an at-large selection in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. I strongly feel that this reflects on the competitive nature of our conference and I congratulate all of our universities, coaches and student-athletes for their efforts this year."
The MAC record for bowl appearances is five, which happened in consecutive years (2008, 2009) and only three times (2004, 2008, 2009) in conference history.
The complete MAC bowl schedule is as follows: All times are Eastern.
Dec. 18: uDrove Humanitarian Bowl - Boise, Ida.
5:30 p.m. ET - ESPN
Northern Illinois (10-3, 8-0 MAC) vs. Fresno State (8-4, 5-3 Western Athletic Conference)
Dec. 18: R+L Carriers Bowl - New Orleans, La.
9:00 p.m. ET - ESPN
Ohio (8-4, 6-2-0 MAC) vs. Troy (7-5, 6-2 Sun Belt Conference)
Dec. 26: Little Caesars Pizza Bowl - Detroit, Mich.
8:30 p.m. ET - ESPN
Toledo (8-4, 7-1 MAC) vs. Florida International (6-6, 6-2 Sun Belt)
Jan. 6: Go Daddy.com Bowl - Mobile, Ala.
8:00 p.m. ET - ESPN
Miami (9-4, 7-1 MAC) vs. Middle Tennessee State (6-6, 5-3 Sun Belt)