By Pete Nakos
OhioBobcats.com Feature Writer
ATHENS, Ohio -- Sitting in front of media members at Peden Stadium, Quentin Poling gave everyone a thumbs up. Tears began to form in his eyes as he held the thumb for a few seconds before excusing himself from the press conference. On Wednesday night, Poling completed one of his last wishes as a member of the Ohio football team.
"I wanted a big senior night, I did," he said while fighting back tears. "I wanted to crush these guys. I didn't want to leave here with a loss."
He sure didn't leave without a loss as he helped lead the Bobcats to a 38-10 win over Toledo. On the first play of scrimmage for the Rockets, Poling sacked Logan Woodside, setting the tone for the rest of the game.
For a game that many thought would be a high-scoring affair, Poling and the Ohio defense held Toledo to a season-low 10 points. Toledo could only cough up 57 rushing yards.
Poling finished the night with 12 tackles, including three tackles for loss, bringing his career total of tackles for loss to 44.0, a program record.
He's always been known for his style of play—-gritty, disciplined and vivacious. He's had his share of injuries—-and played through them.
Poling's the type of football player that head coach Frank Solich hopes all his players will be. When Solich was asked about his redshirt senior linebacker's emotions, he caught himself short for words.
"He gives football everything he's got," Solich said. "He loves the game, and it shows in how he plays, prepares and leads. And to play your last game at home is an emotional thing for a player."
"He's got the whole makeup that you look for. He's been able to keep himself on the field and play through injuries that most guys would not be on the field with. I'm just so proud of him and what he's been able to accomplish through his career here and what he's meant to this football team."
Poling is from Gomer, Ohio, a town with a population of just 102 people. He wasn't the highest touted recruit when he entered Athens, but now, five years later, he'll tell you bluntly that his career goal is the play in the NFL.
When a media member asked him what Solich is like before a game, Poling paused for a second. Because for as much respect the coach has for the player, the same is reciprocated.
"He's just worried about us playing to our top potential," he said.