Updated Sun, Sep 9, 2012 3:58 pm
Updated Sun, Sep 9, 2012 3:58 pm
In front of a record crowd at Peden Stadium, the Bobcats throttled the New Mexico State Aggies 51-24. 25,893 people witnessed a Bobcat victory in a potential turning point in Ohio Football history.
“It was a great crowd. Our student body was tremendous. It’s a huge advantage to the players to be at home when you have that kind of a crowd. I hope it keeps up, we‘ll keep trying to play good football. Hopefully we’ll keep filling the stadium up,” said Ohio head coach Frank Solich.
If Ohio can sell out a game against a relatively obscure opponent like New Mexico State, Solich’s hope of filling the stadium up every week seems attainable. A new era of Ohio football may have just begun.
Ohio running back Beau Blankenship rushed for 174 yards on 27 carries in the game. Blankenship has now rushed for 277 yards in two games.
“He’s done a lot of great things in two games. We’re really working him and he’s responded well to it. He’s done a great job holding on to the football…He shows his physicality every time he runs and I think that gives our players energy,” said Solich, about Blankenship.
In arguably the biggest play of the game, Nathan Carpenter sealed the game for Ohio in the third quarter with an interception that he took to the house for six. Carpenter's score put Ohio ahead 38-17.
“I got that pick and we expanded our lead even more. That really put the dagger in the heart for them (New Mexico State) and tore their confidence down,” said Carpenter.
The beginning of the game was pretty evenly matched. Ohio lead 21-14 at half time.
“I wasn’t overly pleased with the first two quarters. I thought they ran the ball a little too well against us early on and that was a little frustrating because I knew that they had a very good throwing game and if they got the running game going, they could be tough to handle,” said Solich.
New Mexico went three and out on its first offensive possession of the game.
Ohio came out of the gates hot on in its first offensive drive. Troy Hill had a big 36 yard reception from Tyler Tettleton to put Ohio on New Mexico State’s six yard line. Tettleton then ran in a touchdown on the next play.
New Mexico State answered on its next drive with a 75 yard scoring drive to tie the game. The Aggies’ Tiger Powell was big on the drive. He ended the possession with a two yard touchdown to tie the game at 7.
Ohio moved the ball well on its next drive; Tettleton completed an 11 yard pass to Donte Foster for a nice first down. Beau Blankenship had a few solid carries, but the drive stalled and Grant Venham punted the ball, downing the Aggies on their own 11 yard line.
Ohio defensive tackle Kendrick Davis came up with a huge sack for Ohio on the Aggies' next possession. The Bobcats forced a punt.
Ohio’s lines, both offensive and defensive, have really stepped up this season.
“That’s where it all starts. You’re not going to get much done if you have really good, skilled athletes and nobody to get it done in front of them,” Solich said. “We know that, we’ve recruited to that. I think we got excellent players on both sides of the ball, on the line. I think it shows, it’s a game for the first half and then we kind of wear them down a little bit. Usually that comes with the upfront people.”
Beau Blankenship started off Ohio’s next drive with five straight rushes. Tettleton then connected with Donte Foster for a 28 yard touchdown to cap off the seven play, 49 yard drive.
After two big tackles by Devin Bass and Corey Hasting, the Aggies’ Andrew Manley completed a big first down pass to keep the next drive rolling for New Mexico State. Then, Manley connected on a 49 yard pass to Austin Franklin for a score. New Mexico State tied the game up at 14 on the drive.
On the following Ohio drive, Tettleton completed a pass to Bakari Bussey, who fumbled the ball. New Mexico State’s Desmond Anaya recovered the fumble. The turnover gave the Aggies the ball in Ohio territory. New Mexico State’s Tyler Stampler missed on a 42 yard field goal attempt to end the drive.
Ohio took over after the miss. Beau Blankenship put the team on his back during the next possession. He recorded 12, 23 and 33 yard gains on the drive. The Ohio running back scored on the 33 yard run to put Ohio up 21-14.
The Bobcats forced the Aggies to go three and out again on the next drive. Ohio took over and was rolling offensively. Tettleton rushed up the middle to advance to the Aggies’ 9 yard line. He briefly went down with an injury, but did not miss a play due to a penalty that gave him time to recover.
Ohio’s drive stalled and Matt Weller’s field goal attempt was blocked to end the half. Ohio took a 21-14 lead into half time.
Ohio went three and out on the first possession of the second half; Venham then punted to the Aggies. Jordan Thompson kicked the live, punted ball out of play for a 10 yard penalty.
The Aggies made a 37 yard field goal on their next drive, cutting Ohio’s lead to four. Ohio led 21-17 after the score.
Ohio opened up the next drive with a 50 yard pass from Tettleton to Tyler Futrell. Blankenship then added on a five yard run to advance the Bobcats to the Aggies' 20 yard line.
Matt Weller capped off the drive with a 37 yard field goal to make the score 24-17 in favor of Ohio. The field goal made Weller Ohio’s all-time leading scorer.
“It’s an honor…it’s humbling,” said Weller on his accomplishment.
New Mexico State punted and Ryan Clark returned it 38 yards to the New Mexico State 32, but it was backed up five yards after an illegal substitution.
Beau Blankenship capped off Ohio’s scoring drive with another score. The Ohio running back rumbled in for a five yard touchdown. It was his second score of the game. Ohio led 31-17 after the touchdown.
It is clear that Ohio is a team that can hurt opponents both ways on offense. Tettleton has the passing game on point; he was 15 for 23 for 257 yards and two touchdowns against the Aggies. Blankenship is a reliable force on the ground.
“You can’t just focus on one aspect of our game; you’ll have to game plan for passing and running,” said Blankenship.
Ohio's next score was the Carpenter "pick six."
Antwan Crutcher and Blake Jones then recorded back-to-back sacks on New Mexico State's next possession to force the Aggies to punt on the following drive. Ohio really stepped it up on defense in the second half.
Landon Smith scored on a 40 yard touchdown reception on Ohio’s next drive. Smith has now scored on at least a 40 yard play in back-to-back games. Ohio led 45-17 after the score.
New Mexico State’s Akeelie Mustafa returned Ohio’s following kickoff for a tocuhdown. Mustafa’s score made the score 45-24.
Tyler Tettleton was taken out of the game after the Mustafa touchdown. Derrius Vick came in for relief and recorded his first collegiate snap at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Vick looked good in his first collegiate action.
“I thought he did a very good job for his first time on the field. He’s shown promise in practice,” said Solich.
Freshman running back Daz’mond Patterson also entered the game for Ohio in the fourth quarter. Patterson looked like an explosive playmaker, he appeared to be a bright spot in Ohio’s future.
Matt Weller added on another field goal at the end of the drive that saw the freshman running back get some touches, the score was then 48-24 in Ohio's favor.
Ohio's Kyle Hammonds also got in on the rushing party in the fourth quarter, ripping off a 45 yard rumble. Matt Weller added on yet another field goal at the end of the drive. That was the last score of the game as Ohio went on to defeat New Mexico State 51-24.
Ohio has shown some serious mental toughness in its first two games by coming back to beat Penn State in hostile territory and then putting the Aggies away in the second half of this week’s game.
“That’s something that we always start with (mental toughness). We hope that we are a mentally and physically tough football team every year, because if you’re not, you’re going to struggle. You can’t not have mental toughness and physical toughness and expect to win football games,” said Solich.
Many questioned whether Ohio would show signs of a Penn State hangover against the Aggies. The hangover was not evident; the Bobcats proved that they know how to win.
“I think we kept a level head, not getting too high on the win last week. I think we came out and executed and I think it showed,” said Blankenship.
Ohio takes on Marshall in its next game. The Bobcats will play the Thundering Herd on September 15.
Solich knows what to expect from Marshall.
"It (the Marshall game) should be a great game; those games have been very physical football games, every one that we’ve played. We expect that will be the case when we go there next weekend," said Solich.
The Bobcats have started the season 2-0 and hope to continue their winning streak. The Marshall game will be a character test for Ohio as it looks to be a physical game in hostile territory.
While the game will be difficult, Solich has faith in his team.
“I think they (the Bobcats players) have a good understanding of what it takes to win football games, week after week,” said Solich.