GAME 1 - Ohio vs. Hampton | Athens, Ohio | Peden Stadium | Sept. 2, 2017 | 7:00 p.m. ET
Venue Peden Stadium
Playing Surface Field Turf
Series vs. Hampton 0-0
Talent Jim Barber (PBP), Jerod Cherry (Analyst)
Ohio Radio Ohio IMG Sports Network
Talent Russ Eisenstein and Rob Cornelius
Websites OhioBobcats.com, HamptonPirates.com
FIRST AND 10
-The 2017 campaign marks the 123rd season of intercollegiate football at Ohio.
-This marks the second straight year Ohio opens the season at home, hosting Hampton for the first matchup in the series between the two schools.
-Head Coach Frank Solich is third in All-Time career MAC wins with 88. He will need 20 more wins to tie Ohio legend Bill Hess for No. 2 on the list.
-The game will be carried live on ESPN3 and can also be heard on the Ohio/IMG Sports Network with Russ Eisenstein "The Voice of the Bobcats" calling the action and Rob Cornelius as color-analyst.
-Head Coach Frank Solich is the third-longest tenured head coach in the NCAA behind Kirk Ferentz (1999, Iowa) and Gary Patterson (2000, TCU).
-Ohio is the only program in the NCAA to have had the same head coach, offensive and defensive coordinator over the last 12 years.
-Ohio returns 17 starters for the 2017 season including eight on offense, six on defense and three specialists.
-Ohio has been bowl eligible the last eight straight seasons making appearances in seven bowls over that span.
-The Bobcats made it back to the Marathon Mid-American Conference Championship game last season for the first time since 2011. Ohio dropped a hard-fought loss to No. 17 Western Michigan, 29-23.
-The Bobcats appeared in their seventh bowl game in eight years facing Troy at the 2016 Dollar General Bowl in Mobile, Ala.
-Ohio had five players named to watch lists prior to the season - RS Senior TE Troy Mangen - Mackey Watch List, RS Sophomore Kicker Louie Zervos - Groza Watch List, Senior OL Jake Pruehs - Rimington, Overland Watch Lists, RS Senior DL Cleon Aloese - Polynesian Watch List, RS Senior LB Quentin Poling - Reese Senior Bowl Watch List.
-Ohio welcomes two new coaches on the sidelines - Assistant Coach Pete Germano - DL and Assistant Coach De'Angelo Smith - CB.
OHIO IN SEASON OPENERS
Ohio is 7-5 under head coach Frank Solich in season openers during his previous 12 seasons. Ohio also enjoys a 4-2 advantage in season openers at Peden Stadium under Solich. Ohio lost its season opener to Texas State last season, 56-54 in triple overtime at Peden Stadium on Sept. 3, 2016.
Ohio and Hampton meet for the first time in the two schools history on the football gridiron.
VERSUS THE MEAC
Ohio will face a current member of the MEAC for only the second time in school history. Ohio beat Norfolk State on Sept. 22, 2012, 44-10 at Peden Stadium.
1-2 RB PUNCH
Ohio returns its top two rushers from the last two seasons in RS senior Dorian Brown, who led the Bobcats with 825 yards last season, and RS sophomore A.J. Ouellette, who led Ohio in rushing the previous two seasons - 2015, 687; 2014, 785.
SCOUTING THE PIRATES
Hampton is under fourth-year head coach Connell Maynor and is coming off a 5-6 campaign last season in the MEAC. The Pirates dropped their last two games of the season last year against Norfolk State, 17-10 and at Coastal Carolina 26-7.
The Hampton offense averaged 19.4 points per game last season. They racked up 3,806 yards of total offense including 1,396 on the ground and 2,410 through the air. Senior running back Yahkee Johnson returns after leading the Pirates rushing attack last season with 763 yards and four touchdowns. Under center will be senior Brandon Cox who saw action in five games last season throwing five passes for 30 yards and rushed for 51.
Hampton gave up 24.5 points per game, 1,749 rushing yards and 1,996 passing yards to its opponents last season. The Pirates top returning tackler is senior linebacker Steven Smith who racked up 61 tackles including 36 solo stops. He also led the team with 10.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and 10 quarterback hurries.
SCOUTING THE BOBCATS
Ohio is under head coach Frank Solich who returns to the sidelines for the Bobcats for the 13th season in 2017. Ohio wrapped up the 2016 season with its eighth straight year of bowl eligibility and trips to the 2016 Marathon MAC Championship game and the 2016 Dollar General Bowl. Ohio returns 17 starters and 54 total letter winners last season including eight starters on offense and six on defense.
Ohio averaged 26.3 points per game last season and racked up 2,350 yards rushing and 3,142 yards passing. RS sophomore quarterback Quinton Maxwell started seven games last season for Ohio and threw for 1,247 yards and eight touchdowns. He had an efficiency rating of 131.77. The top receiver returning for Ohio is RS junior Papi White who caught 41 passes for 672 yards and a team-high six scores. White also had the longest reception of the season last year - 75 yards. Ohio returns their top running back from last season in RS senior Dorian Brown who rushed for 825 yards and four touchdowns. Also back is RS junior A.J. Ouellette who got injured in the first game last season. Ouellette had 687 yards and six scores as the top rusher for Ohio in 2015.
Ohio is coming off a banner year for their defense after the 2016 squad set the single-season records for team sacks and tackles for loss, while ranking fifth in the NCAA against the run. Ohio held opponents to 22.6 points per game, 1,462 rushing yards and 3,581 passing yards. Ohio returns two of its top three tacklers from last season in RS senior linebackers Quentin Poling and Chad Moore. Poling ranked second on the squad with 110 tackles including 67 solo stops. Poling also had 13.5 tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks, five pass breakups and three forced fumbles. Moore had 97 total tackles, 50 solo stops, 6.0 tackles for loss, a sack, two interceptions, eight pass break ups and three forced fumbles. The Bobcats also return RS sophomore safety Javon Hagan who had a breakout freshman year, earning MAC Freshman of the Year honors. Hagan was ranked fifth on the squad with 53 tackles and had three tackles for loss, three interceptions and six forced fumbles.
AN OHIO WIN WOULD...
- Give Ohio a 1-0 start for the eighth time under head coach Frank Solich.
- Move Ohio to 2-0 against the MEAC.
- Give Ohio a 1-0 lead over Hampton in the all-time series
- Move Frank Solich to 146-86 all-time and 89-67 at Ohio.
- Move Ohio to 10-3 in home openers under head coach Frank Solich including going 6-1 the in their last seven seasons.
Tarell Basham was drafted 80th overall by the Indianapolis Colts, making him the first Bobcat drafted since 2014. Basham is also the second-highest draft pick under Frank Solich. Blair Brown was drafted 148th overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars, making it the first time since 1972 that Ohio had multiple draft picks in the same season. Casey Sayles signed a free agent contract with the LA Rams after the draft.
CONSISTENCY AT THE TOP
Head coach Frank Solich begins his 13th season at Ohio University this fall. Solich's 12-year reign as head coach has become a rarity in today's college football landscape. Only three football bowl sub-division coaches have longer tenures with their current team.
Ohio is the only the team in the country that has kept its head coach, offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator in place for the past 10 seasons.
1. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa 1999 18
2. Gary Patterson, TCU 2000 17
3. Frank Solich, Ohio 2005 13
Mike Gundy, Okla. State 2005 13
Kyle Wittingham, Utah 2005 13
AN IMPRESSIVE COACHING TREE
Ohio head coach Frank Solich sports an impressive coaching tree of former assistants, who are now head coaches in Division I College Football.
Head Coach (Current School) Years Under Solich
Craig Bohl (Wyoming) (1998-2002)
Turner Gill (Liberty) (2003)
Derek Mason (Vanderbilt) (2005-06)
Lance Leipold (Buffalo) (2001-03)
ZERVOS NCAA RECORD
RS sophomore kicker Louie Zervos kicked his 26th field goal of the 2016 season against WMU, which set the NCAA record for most field goals by a freshman placekicker. Zervos finished the season with 29 and was named First Team All-MAC and named to the Freshman All-American Team by USA Today.
ZERVOS GOES CAREER LONG
RS sophomore kicker Louie Zervos kicked a 51-yard field goal against Buffalo, a career long. The kick was the 10th-longest field goal kicked in Ohio history and was the deepest kick in the MAC this season. Zervos earned his third MAC East Player of the Week honor for his play against Buffalo.
TEAM SACK RECORD
Ohio had a banner year in their defensive front setting a Ohio school record with 44 team sacks in 2016. They also set the school record with 104 tackles for loss. Basham set single-season sack records 11.5 and the Bobcats career sack record 29.5.
2016 POST SEASON AWARDS
Ohio landed 10 players on the post season All-MAC list including senior DE Tarell Basham named MAC Defensive Player of the Year and RS freshman S Javon Hagan being named MAC Freshman of the Year. The full list of post season awards is below:
Tarell Basham - MAC Defensive Player of the Year, All-MAC First Team, All-MAC First Team (Phil Steele)
Blair Brown - All-American (Pro Football Focus), All-MAC First Team, All-MAC First Team (Phil Steele)
Michael Farkas - All-MAC Third Team, All-MAC Third Team (Phil Steele)
Javon Hagan - MAC Freshman Of The Year, All-MAC Second Team, All-MAC Second Team (Phil Steele)
Quentin Poling - All-MAC First Team, All-MAC First Team (Phil Steele)
Jake Pruehs - All-MAC Third Team, All-MAC Third Team (Phil Steele)
Casey Sayles - All-MAC Third Team, All-MAC Third Team (Phil Steele)
Sebastian Smith - All-MAC Third Team, All-MAC Third Team (Phil Steele)
Troy Watson - All-MAC Second Team, All-MAC Second Team (Phil Steele)
Louie Zervos - Freshman All-American (USA Today), Freshman All-American (College Insider), All-MAC First Team, All-MAC First Team (Phil Steele)
Ohio landed two first time honors when the Mid-American Conference announced its post season all-conference awards. Senior DE Tarell Basham and RS freshman S Javon Hagan earned Defensive Player of the Year and Specialist of the Year, respectively. It marked the first time that Ohio had won either award.
2016 MARATHON MAC CHAMPIONSHIP
-The Ohio (8-5) football team gave No. 17 Western Michigan (13-0) all they could handle and had the ball driving in the final minute, but ultimately dropped a 29-23 loss to the Broncos in the 2016 Marathon Mid-American Conference Championship game in front of a record crowd (45,615) at Ford Field on Dec. 3.
-RS senior Greg Windham (Tampa, Fla.) came off the bench for Ohio to go 14-30 for 214 yards and passed for three touchdowns in the game including throwing a 67-yard pass to RS sophomore running back Papi White (Seminole, Okla.). White finished the game with two catches for 98 yards.
-After going down 23-7 at the half, Ohio held WMU to its lowest second-half point total of the season and posted 16 points of its own. The Bobcats also held WMU to its lowest total offense number of the season (404) and its lowest rushing total (114) of the season.
-RS junior cornerback Bradd Ellis (Lebanon, Ohio) and RS sophomore cornerback Kylan Nelson (Lexington, Ky.) each picked off a pass from WMU quarterback Zach Terrell, which marked his first multiple turnover game of the season.
-Ohio had the ball with just over a minute to go in the game, driving the field, but Windham tried to connect with senior wide receiver Sebastian Smith (Columbus, Ohio) and was picked off by WMU's Robert Spillane, ending the game. Smith was the top target for the Bobcats catching four passes for 52 yards.
-RS senior safety Toran Davis (Lithonia, Ga.) and RS senior linebacker Blair Brown (Moreno Valley, Calif.) each had 11 tackles to lead the defense with six solo stops apiece.
Ohio head football coach Frank Solich announced March 3 the addition of three key staff members who have joined the Bobcats program.
Solich announced the addition of De'Angelo Smith (cornerbacks) and Pete Germano (defensive line) as assistant coaches and the appointment of Ryan Bainbridge as Director of Player Personnel and High School Relations.
Pruehs Named To Outland/rimington Trophy Watch List
The Football Writers Association of America announced its 2017 Outland Trophy Watch List on Thursday, with 81 standout interior linemen from all 10 Division I FBS conferences represented. Included on the list was Ohio senior center Jake Pruehs (North Olmstead, Ohio).
This marks the second watch list Pruehs has been selected to. Earlier this summer he was selected to the Rimington Trophy watch list. Pruehs has started in 25 games during his career at Ohio including starting in all 14 games last season at center. In 2017, Pruehs anchored the offensive line which gave up just 19 sacks through the season and averaged 26.3 points per game and 392.3 yards per game including 167.9 rushing yards per game. Helped lead the Bobcats to the MAC East Title and the 2016 Marathon MAC Championship game against Western Michigan.
ZERVOS NAMED TO GROZA WATCH LIST
The Palm Beach County Sports Commission announced today its 2017 Lou Groza Award Watch List and included on the watch list is Ohio redshirt sophomore kicker Louie Zervos (Tarpon Springs, Fla.). As a freshman in 2016, Zervos set the MAC single-season record with 29 field goals made, which was also a NCAA record for made field goals by a freshman placekicker. Zervos converted 29 of 35 field goal attempts last season and drilled a season-long 51-yard field goal. Zervos helped lead Ohio to a MAC East Title, a Marathon MAC Championship Game appearance and an invite to the 2017 Dollar General Bowl.
MANGEN NAMED TO MACKEY AWARD WATCH LIST
The Friends of John Mackey have released the 2017 John Mackey Award Preseason Watch List, given annually to the most outstanding collegiate tight end. Included for the second-straight year is Ohio's senior tight end Troy Mangen (Union, Ohio). Mangen started in all 14 games for Ohio last season and caught 15 passes for 145 yards and with one touchdown reception. Mangen averaged 9.5 yards per catch and had two catches for 20-plus yards in 2016.
ALOESE NAMED TO POLYNESIAN COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST
The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame announced Aug. 10 the 2017 Watch List for the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award. Included on the list was Ohio football redshirt senior defensive lineman Cleon Aloese (Pago Pago, A.S.). The award is presented annually to the most outstanding Polynesian college football player that epitomizes great ability and integrity. Aloese played in all 14 games last season and ranked seventh on the team with 36 tackles including 14 solo stops. He also had one sack and nine tackles for loss.
POLING NAMED TO REESE SENIOR BOWL WATCH LIST
Ohio redshirt senior linebacker Quentin Poling (Gomer, Ohio) was named to the Reese's Senior Bowl 2018 Watch List announced the organization on Aug. 24. Poling was one of 18 Mid-American Conference players named to the watch list. Poling, a First Team All-MAC selection last season, was second on the team with 110 tackles, including 67 solo stops. He had 13.5 tackles for loss including four sacks. He also logged four quarterback hurries, five pass breakups and three forced fumbles. Poling, now in his second year serving as team captain has racked up 268 career tackles for the Bobcats.
SOLICH MOVES INTO THIRD IN MAC CAREER WINS
Head coach Frank Solich moved into third in MAC Career Head Coaching Victories. Solich needs 27 more wins to move into a tie with Bill Hess for second all-time in MAC Career Coaching wins.
Most MAC Head Coaching Wins, Career
1. 110, Herb Deromedi, Central Michigan, 1978-93
2. 108, Bill Hess, Ohio, 1958-77
3. 88, Frank Solich, Ohio, 2005-present
AMONG THE BEST IN THE MAC
Ohio's 83 wins since 2006 are the second most victories by any school in the Mid-American Conference during that period. Northern Illinois is the only school that has more wins.
1. Northern Illinois - 91
2. Ohio - 83
3. Central Michigan - 76