|ESPN Ohio 24 vs Utah State 23|
Tyler Tettleton. He is one tough man as he led the Bobcats to a 24-23 come from behind victory in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. He is certainly not the most physically imposing quarterback out there, but he is tough. He was running for his life and still made plays all over the field, including two huge plays that sealed the win. He faked a Tebow play, and ran around right end for the game winning score. For Utah State, running back Michael Smith had 131 yards, averaging over 13 yards per carry. He also scored two touchdowns.
Utah State MVP: RB Michael Smith- There was a chance he was going to score every play as he had a great game. Despite the loss, it was a memorable final game for the senior.
Ohio MVP: QB Tyler Tettleton- The tough, gritty QB passed for 220 yards and ran incredibly hard for his 31 rushing yards. He scored the game winning touchdown and he is the MVP. Tyler, I am a fan.
We picked Ohio to win. We are currently 2-0
Offense: Ohio will look to bounce back from blowing a 20-0 lead in the MAC Championship to Northern Illinois. The offense is strong, averaging 31 points a game. The Bobcats will bring a balanced attack to Boise, as they average over 200 yards a game through the air and on the ground. QB Tyler Tettleton has had a very strong year, passing for over 3000 yards and rushing for over 600. He will be put in many spread shotgun/pistol formations and has that dual threat that will be very helpful. RB Donte Harden is an athletic, big play back, who is only 61 yards from reaching 1000 on the year. When Tettleton goes to the air, he will look for WR Lavon Brazill. The senior, who has over 1000 receiving yards and will leave Ohio with most school receiving records. An experienced offensive line has proved to be instrumental and will surely have an effect on this game. Utah State brings the 6th best rushing attack in the nation as it heads into Idaho. They put up 34.5 points a game and rush for 278 yards. The leader of the running backs is Robert Turbin. The 5'10'' junior has nearly 1500 yards and has rushed for 19 touchdowns. Michael Smith has been an excellent complement to Turbin as he averages 7 yards a carry. Adam Kennedy is the quarterback and he will look to receivers Matt Austin and Stanley Morrison. This offense brings big play ability and will certainly need a few in this game.
Defense: Ohio has had a very solid defensive unit all year. They will be tested, and are led by MLB Noah Keller, the heart of this defense, who will be playing in his final game for the Bobcats. The secondary has had some trouble, but they have been very good against the run. DT's Neal Huynh and Carl Jones will be key in controlling the middle. Though Utah State has the ability to go through the air, the key matchup in this one will be the Aggie run game against the Bobcat run defense. Utah State will also focus on stopping the Ohio rushing attack. The unit has been suspect, giving up over 28 points a game. Linebacker Bobby Wagner is by far the leading tackler with 140 of them. He, along with fellow linebacker Kyle Gallagher, anchor a defensive unit that must play solid defense if the Aggies want to win.
The pick: I like Ohio to win this game. I think they are more balanced overall than the Aggies and that they will bounce back from their collapse in the MAC title game. If you agree or disagree let me know why by tweeting me @bowlseason or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org . I'll post them if you send them.
Jason Arkley of The Athens Messenger answered some questions for us about Ohio.
BS: After winning their last 5 regular season games, the Bobcats lost a tiebreaker to Northern Illinois. Being so close to a MAC Championship, but falling short, how would assess the season overall?
Jason Arkley: Right now, unsatisfying. Ohio worked, talked, and aimed for 12 months for the MAC Championship game. To get there, to have the game in hand, and then to give it away...big time gut check coming up for the Bobcats. Will they be able to get back up and compete after travelling cross country for what is essentially a road game?
BS: Tyler Tettleton took over as QB for a very balanced offense. Who are the other guys around him that make the offense work?
Jason Arkley: Ohio offense is pretty balanced. Nice mix of run/pass with lots of Pistol formations and option read plays. RB Donte Harden has big-play ability out of the backfield and is a threat on kick returns. WR core is pretty good. WR LaVon Brazill now owns most single-season and career Ohio receiving records. WR Riley Dunlop underrated as a guy who goes over the middle. WR Donte Foster doesnt have great numbers, but good size/ability. Veteran o-line has helped tremendously this season.
BS: The defense was very strong, giving up only about 22 points a game. What do they need to do to be successful in the bowl game, and who are the key players?
Jason Arkley: Defensively, senior MLB Noah Keller is the heart of the defense. Relentless in pursuit, Keller is like having a coach on the field. Against USU, I think tackle combination of NT Neal Huynh/DT Carl Jones has to play well in controlling the middle. Ohio has been good against the run almost all season, it's the one-on-one match-ups in the back end of the secondary that have been problematic late in games.
BS: If you could choose one player to have a breakout performance in the bowl game, who would it be?
Jason Arkley: RB Donte Harden. Established player, but hasn't had too many big games this year. Think he's poised to have a big game, he gets overlooked a lot by opposing defenses who have been zeroed in on controlling Tyler Tettleton at QB.
Thanks a lot to Jason Arkley. Check his work out at www.athensmessenger.com and follow @JArkley_ACMOhio