Updated Sat, Sep 22, 2012 11:39 pm
Updated Sat, Sep 22, 2012 11:39 pm
Coming off an electrifying win over Marshall and facing FCS (Football Championship Subdivison) opponent Norfolk State, some people were worried that the Bobcats would overlook the Spartans as they prepared for MAC play.
That was not the case as Ohio rolled past the Spartans, defeating them 44-10 in front 23,673 fans, the sixth highest attendance in Peden Stadium history. It was a nice showing from Bobcat fans against a relatively obsure opponent.
With starting quarterback Tyler Tettleton ruled out before the game nursing a “side” injury, redshirt freshman Derrius Vick stepped in and was stellar in his first career start.
Vick didn’t know he would be starting until game day. Solich and the coaching staff decided it would be best to rest Tettleton and get Vick some playing time.
The redshirt freshman threw for 199 yards and four touchdowns as Ohio dominated Norfolk State. The Bobcats are now 4-0 for the first time since 1976.
Vick could not have asked for a better beginning to his first start.
Norfolk State running back Brendon Riddick fumbled on the first offensive play of the game and Ohio safety Gerald Moore recovered it at the Norfolk 22-yard line.
It didn’t take long for Vick to throw his first career touchdown pass, he found Donte Foster on his second pass attempt of the game for a 10-yard touchdown.
“I was a little nervous obviously, but after the first play I felt good,” said Vick.
After forcing the Spartans to punt on their second possession, Ohio’s Ryan Clark gave the offense excellent field position by returning the punt 30 yards to Norfolk State’s 30-yard line.
Vick and the offense scored three plays later when Beau Blankenship took a swing pass from Vick and rumbled 24 yards for a touchdown to give the Bobcats an early 14-0 lead.
Minutes later, Matt Weller connected on a season long 49-yard field goal with 6:29 remaining in the first quarter for a 17-0 lead.
The defense, as it did all game long, stifled the Spartan offense preventing them from finding any type of rhythm, while causing five turnovers to give the Bobcat offense great field position.
Coming into the season, Vick was known more for his athletic ability more than his arm, but he showed his development as a passer on Saturday.
“It was crucial, in terms of preparing him for what may happen this year, he's got confidence now,” said Solich, referring to Vick’s experience in the Norfolk State game.
On Ohio’s fourth possession, he eluded the Spartan pass rush, stepped up in the pocket and found tight end Derek Roback for a 46-yard catch to set up a Blankenship two-yard touchdown that put the Bobcats up 24-0 late in the opening quarter.
Solich was pleased with Vick’s performance and his progression as player.
“He’s a student of the game and nothing seems to bother him…he’s real comfortable now,” said Solich.
Meanwhile, the defense stifled the Spartan offense, preventing them from getting into any type of rhythm, while causing five turnovers.
The Spartans inserted backup quarterback Jake Basmagian at the end of the first quarter after starter Nico Flores was ineffective. He drove the offense to the Bobcat 30-yard line but came up empty-handed when kicker Everett Goldberg missed a 48-yard field goal.
The Bobcat offense continued to have their way with the Spartan’s defense, which could not stop the 'Cats' spread attack. Vick tossed his third touchdown of the game, this one to Jordan Thompson from 15 yards out, for a 31-0 lead.
Weller added a 40-yard field goal to end a dominant first half for the Bobcats.
The Bobcats capitalized on a muffed punt by Spartan returner Randy Maynes early in the third quarter.
Vick and Foster hooked up for their second touchdown of the game, this one on a beautifully lofted throw from Vick to the corner of the end zone to give the Bobcats a 41-0 lead.
Redshirt freshman cornerback Devin Bass and redshirt sophomore safety Thad Ingol both recorded their first career interceptions in the game. It was a great day overall for the Ohio defense, as middle linebacker Keith Moore led them to a stellar performance.
“1-0 each week is our theme, that's our motto,” said Moore.
From there, the Bobcats cruised to victory. The only downfall of the game was kicker Matt Weller’s performance; Weller missed three out of six field goals on the day.
“He’s gone a little bit more in spurts this year than what he has in previous years…There was a couple he just didn’t hit well…That’s just not him,” said Solich.
Even though the game was a blow out, Ohio learned that it has a trustworthy and capable backup quarterback in Derrius Vick. Vick had no trouble leading the team and hitting his targets.
“It was impressive that he was able to go in and operate our no-huddle offense with the pace that he did and in the manner that he did,” said Solich.
The victory gave Tettleton some rest and allowed others to prove themselves.
The heavily favored Bobcats will head to Foxborough, Mass. next Saturday afternoon to face the Massachusetts Minuteman, who have yet to win a game this season.
Beau Blankenship takes a swing pass from Derrius Vick 24 yards to the house for a touchdown against Norfolk State on Sept. 22, 2012.
Tettleton smiles as Derrius Vick led Ohio to a 44-10 victory over Norfolk State in his absence on Sept. 22, 2012
Frank Solich looks on as Ohio defeated Norfolk State 44-10 on Sept. 22, 2012.