Ohio Bobcats: Stolen Thunder

Chase Cochran

When playing meaningful games in conference play, Senior leadership is not to be taken lightly and on this evening where the Ohio University Bobcats where hosting the Marshall University Thundering Herd that leadership helped Ohio defeat Marshall for the third consecutive season. A feat not seen in Athens in over 30 years.

After taking a 10-7 lead on a Matt Green 33 yard field goal, the Bobcats found the knock out blow with 5:15 left to play in the first half at Peden Stadium on the campus of Ohio University Saturday night against MAC rival Marshall.

The ensuing kick-off was given to Torain Davis of the Bobcats as if he were knocking on the door of Marshall’s house looking for a handout.

Steward Butler, the return man for the Thundering Herd fumbled the kick and while trying feverishly to gain possession, it bounced into the end zone creating a scrum near the out-of-bounds line in the back waiting for Davis to pounce for an unlikely Bobcat touchdown.

This sequence of 40 seconds, from field goal to kick-off then fumble recovery turned a 7-7 tie game into a 17-7 Bobcat advantage that would never get closer than three points the rest of the way. The Herd put themselves in a corner all night with fumbling issues.

It started on the outset of the opening drive and plagued them the rest of the contest. Ohio turned that good fortune into immediate points and the dividend ended up being paid in full as the final seconds ticked away with a 34-31 victory.

When considering the statistical analysis of the game, the missteps produced by Marshall in the area of penalties and turnovers ruined their chance at pulling off a road victory in conference.  When trying to compete for divisional supremacy any team needs to stay disciplined and avoid the mental errors at all costs.

The Thundering Herd dominated where it does not matter, in the stat column. Marshall threw for more yards, as quarterback Rakeem Cato had a great night through the air going 30-45 for 366 for a 67 percent completion percentage. On the flip side Ohio’s Tyler Tettleton was a workman like 25-38 for 266 and a touchdown, but, he had no turnovers to set them back.

The Herd also ran for more yards at a much better average per carry than the Bobcats as well. Looking deeper into those numbers, Ohio had 60 yards on 36 carries for a 1.7 average.  While Marshall had 116 yards on 34 touches.

All told, the Bobcats were out gained by 147 yards collectively in both the passing and running game. There is without question something to be said for poise under pressure, because on this night the Bobcats showed that poise, even though it won’t show up in the boxscore, which helped Ohio steal the most important stat of the night… the win.