July 6, 2012
The following is the third installment of a 12-part series, previewing each of Marshall's opponents for the upcoming football season.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -
Revenge will surely be on the mind of Marshall when it faces Ohio in the 56th edition of the "Battle for the Bell" rivalry here on Sept. 15.
The Bobcats are coming off a tremendous season in which they recorded their first bowl victory with a 24-23 win over Utah State in The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. One of Ohio's 10 wins, the most since 1968, came at the expense of Marshall in a 44-7 triumph over the Herd at Peden Stadium in Athens, Ohio.
This season, the game will take place at Joan C. Edwards Stadium, where Marshall has won the past seven meetings. Despite Ohio leading the all-time series 30-19-6, the Bobcats have not won in Huntington since 1977.
Frank Solich enters his eighth season as head coach at Ohio and has won the Mid-American Conference East Division three times in the past six years. He returns eight of 11 All-MAC players, including junior quarterback Tyler Tettleton, who owns 11 of the 47 school records that were set last season. Tettleton had his way with the Marshall defense last season, completing 20-of-29 passes for 285 yards and three touchdowns.
The 6-foot, 200-pound Tettleton accounted for 38 of Ohio's 48 offensive touchdowns as a sophomore, 28 passing (a school record) and 10 rushing. The dual-threat quarterback ran for 658 yards, helping the Bobcats rank 24th in the nation with 196.4 rushing yards per game.
With Solich having the luxury of an experienced quarterback, he can turn his attention to filling needs at inside linebacker, offensive tackle and wide receiver, all of which lost significant playmakers. Ohio also returns senior kicker Matt Weller, who made 25-of-34 attempts including six field goals of 40 or more yards last season and was named the MAC Special Teams Player of the Year.
Offensive Player to Watch
Tight end Jordan Thompson could be Tettleton's top target this season. The 6-4 senior caught 24 passes for 258 yards, an average of 10.8 yards per catch in 2011. As a three-year starter, Thompson has been labeled what every tight end hopes to become -- dependable.
Defensive Player to Watch
Safety Gerald Moore is one of three starters returning to the Bobcat secondary. He ranked second on the team with 84 tackles last season and joins fellow fifth-year senior cornerback Travis Carrie as the anchors to a defense that ranked 32nd in the NCAA in points allowed (22.1).
Who will replace All-MAC wide receiver LaVon Brazill? He was taken in the sixth round of the NFL Draft and had 1,146 yards receiving in 2011, nearly twice as much as second-leading receiver Riley Dunlop (586).
Who will emerge as the starting running back? Beau Blankenship and Ryan Boykin, who shared backup duties last season, will fight to replace Donte Harden, who led the team with 986 yards on the ground.
How will the OU defense fare without All-MAC linebacker Noah Keller? Returning starters Alphonso Lewis and Jelani Woseley will try to fill the hole left by the departed Keller who led the team with 116 tackles.
Quote to Note
"Coming off the season we had, everybody's wanting to get out here and pick up where we left off and keep developing. There's a lot of confidence out here."
- Frank Solich, Ohio coach
Sept. 1 at Penn State
Sept. 8 vs. New Mexico State
Sept. 15 at Marshall
Sept. 22 vs. Norfolk State
Sept. 29 at Massachusetts*
Oct. 6 vs. Buffalo*
Oct. 13 vs. Akron*
Oct. 27 at Miami (Oh)*
Nov. 1 vs. Eastern Michigan*
Nov. 7 vs. Bowling Green*
Nov. 14 at Ball State*
Nov. 23 at Kent State*
* Mid-American Conference