By Fred Skott @Fskott
The hot air and humidity were almost as suffocating as the air attack Cardinal Heisman Trophy candidate, Teddy Bridgewater, put on display Sunday at Papa John’s Stadium on the campus of Louisville. Completing 23 passes for 355 yards and 5 TD’s on the afternoon, Bridgewater kept the Bobcats on their heels with an array of pass plays and high percentage running calls.
While receiving good protection in the pocket as well as on designed roll outs the Cardinals piled up the yards and the points, en route to a 49-7 victory. The Bobcats allowed the Cardinals to dictate pace and that was a recipe for disaster.
Coming into this contest against a top 10 school in the nation, Ohio University needed to work the medium passing game and open some holes for Senior running back Beau Blankenship. On this day, neither happened. By halftime Louisville had went out to a 28-0 lead and rendered the Bobcat running game useless.
On 28 attempts OU gained 81 yards for 2.9 average. Coach Solich knew his Bobcats would need a clock chewing performance that would see Teddy Bridgewater standing on the sidelines chomping at the bite to get in… that never happened. Even Senior quarterback Tyler Tettleton couldn’t get anything going, finishing a pedestrian 11-23.
Louisville held possession like they were Ebenezer Scrooge at Christmas, for 37 plus minutes they insisted Ohio University keep their defense on the field, converting a whopping 13 third down conversions on 16 tries for a 81 percent success rate. Those totals lead to 615 yards on 71 plays. 199 of that was on the ground for a clip of 5 yards per carry.
The only stat Louisville gained victory they would have rather lost was being flagged for 11 penalties resulting in 90 yards, that was the one bright spot for the boys from Athens Ohio, as they played a very disciplined game only committing 2 penalties for 10 yards.
Coach Solich and crew need to use this game as a reminder what can happen when visiting a worthy opponent, these games require exceptional execution, without it you might as well stay home.
No one enjoys getting beat this way, no matter who you are. The main take away from this contest needed for future home or road games will be to stay focused on delivering the type of execution needed to win in all environments. Whether that be a national ranked opponent or not.
The small things in the end amount to a tremendous sum, by winning on first down you put yourself in better possession to keep drives going on 3rd down. When you are staring at 2nd and seven or longer the percentages are against you. To win the war you must win the battles, a lesson the Ohio Bobcats learned the hard way on Sunday.