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Three-and-Out: What to expect from Ohio Bobcats

By George Thomas Published: October 4, 2013

This week's three-and-out - a look at the Zips opponent - comes courtesy of Jason Arkley, Ohio Bobcats beat writer for the Athens Messenger:

With the Bobcats you know what you’re going to get. Ohio (3-1) isn’t surprising teams anymore in Frank Solich’s ninth year at the helm, but the program is enjoying consistent, steady success with a proven formula.

  • First, Ohio has a quarterback it relies on to make plays when it matters most. Senior QB Tyler Tettleton (147.05 passer rating in 2013) is the program’s all-time leader in passing yards, touchdowns and completions. A dual-threat, Tettleton excels at extending plays by getting outside the pocket and keeping his eyes downfield. A three-year starter, Tettleton remains the Bobcats’ best asset and is 21-9 since 2011 as the starter.

  • Solich’s teams typically strive for a run-pass balance, but that has been complicated by injuries on the offensive line. Ohio will use a fifth different offensive line lineup in five games at Akron, and as of the start of the week had four fifth-year projected starters sidelined with injury. RB Beau Blankenship had a school-record 1,604 yards in 2012, but has managed just 179 yards in four games (3.5 per carry) in 2013 as a result. Ohio expects one, possibly two, of those injured linemen to return, but if not the Bobcats will start three sophomore, a redshirt freshman and a true freshman on the OL at Akron.

  • Defensively, Ohio is ahead of schedule. The Bobcats had just one returning starter in the front seven but have reworked that unit into a solid group; Ohio leads the MAC in rushing defense (143.5 rush yards allowed per game).

  • The real defensive strength is in the secondary. CB Travis Carrie is a sixth-year senior and Ohio’s best pro prospect. Another senior, Xavier Hughes at safety, has three turnovers in four games. Corners Devin Bass and Ian Wells has shown well opposite of Carrie. Ohio ranks ninth in the MAC in passing defense, but that ranking is skewed by a week one match up against Louisville and Heisman hopeful Teddy Bridgewater and a week three win over Marshall and QB Rakeem Cato — who led the nation in passing yards in 2012.

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