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Bobcats Set to Tangle with Scarlet Knights

Bobcats Set to Tangle with Scarlet Knights

Sept. 11, 2006

Ohio Football Gameday Central

Frank Solich Press Conference Transcript
Ohio Player Quotes

ATHENS, Ohio - The Bobcats will play their second game of a three-week road stretch on Saturday, Sept. 16 when they take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Kickoff at Rutgers Stadium is slated for 3:30 p.m.

Ohio enters week three after defeating preseason MAC favorite Northern Illinois on Sept. 9, 35-23. The win gave the Bobcats their first 2-0 start since the 1997 season and marked the second straight year in which Ohio has won its MAC opener. Ohio has not been 3-0 since 1976.

Senior quarterback Austen Everson (Brentwood, Tenn.) had a career day against the Huskies. The Bobcat signal caller was 23-for-31 for 322 yards and three touchdowns - all career highs. He is the first Ohio quarterback to throw for more than 300 yards in a game since Sam Vink versus Western Michigan in 1993. Junior running back Kalvin McRae (Decatur, Ga.) outgained preseason All-American Garrett Wolfe of Northern Illinois, 204-196. McRae had 106 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, while posting career-best totals of five catches for 98 yards and a touchdown. It was the seventh 100-yard rushing game of his career.

Ohio's victory at Northern Illinois snapped a 20-game losing streak in games in which the team trailed at the half. The Bobcats were down 17-7 in the second quarter and went into the locker rooom down 17-14. Ohio then outscored the Huskies' 21-6 in the second half, including 14-0 in the third quarter. The last time Ohio won a game when trailing at halftime was against Akron on Nov. 9, 2002. Ohio trailed 10-0 at the break, but won the game, 27-10.

The Bobcats will face their second straight top-five rusher in Rutgers' Ray Rice. Rice is ranked fourth in the nation with 154.5 yards per contest. Northern Illinois' Garrett Wolfe is the country's leading rusher.

Rutgers is 2-0 for the first time since the 2000 season after victories at North Carolina (21-16) and at home versus future Bobcat opponent Illinois (33-0).

The Scarlet Knights' offense has relied heavily on the run, averaging 191.5 yards per game. Sophomore Ray Rice leads the team, and is ranked fourth in the nation, at 154.5 yards per contest. Rice ran for 201 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries against North Carolina. He had his second straight 100-yard day with 108 yards and a score in the win against Illinois. Senior Brian Leonard has run for 35 yards on 11 carries. Leonard ranks sixth on Rutgers' all-time rushing list with 2,387 yards.

Quarterback Mike Teel is averaging 145.0 yards per game through the air. He is 28-for-44 (63.6 percent) with one touchdown and one interception. Brian Leonard has been Teel's favorite target with nine catches for 62 yards. Tight end Clark Harris has a team-best 63 receiving yards and the only Rutgers' touchdown catch.

The Rutgers' defense picked up its first shutout since 2002 (Army, 44-0) last week when it beat Illinois, 33-0. Devra Thompson has eight tackles, while Jama Westerman racked up 2.5 of the Scarlet Knights' five sacks. Rutgers is allowing just 8.0 points per game and limiting opponents to 264.5 yards of offense per game. They have registered six sacks in two games and and forced six turnovers, including four interceptions. Manny Collins has a team-best two picks.

Ohio and Rutgers have met on the gridiron just one time, a 13-0 win for the Bobcats in Piscataway in 1937. The Bobcats are 27-33-4 all-time against teams currently in the Big East. Ohio defeated Pittsburgh last season, 16-10 in overtime, at Peden Stadium.

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