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Bobcats Trample Herd in Battle for the Bell
On a night in which Ohio’s offense exploded for 559 yards and five touchdowns, kicker Matt Weller could have single-handedly defeated Marshall.
Weller tallied 14 points on three field goals and five extra points and in the process, tied the school record for career field goals as Ohio defeated the Thundering Herd 44-7.
While Weller shined in the kicking game, Ohio’s defense kept Marshall off the scoreboard by forcing six turnovers, all of which came before half time.
Ohio cornerback Omar Leftwich intercepted Marshall’s Rakeem Cato on the first drive of the game to set up a two-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Tettleton to LaVon Brazill.
Interceptions from Xavier Hughes and Travis Carrie, along with two fumble recoveries from Nathan Carpenter led to 27 more points and a 34-7 halftime lead for Ohio.
“We kept pushing and played four quarters of good football,” Ohio coach Frank Solich said. “That’s maybe as good a game as we’ve had for quite some time here.”
For the third-consecutive week, Ohio dominated the second quarter. In just three weeks, the Bobcats have scored 64 second-quarter points.
The constant flow of turnovers forced by the Bobcat defense allowed Ohio’s offense to reach 30 first downs for the first time since 2001.
In his third start at quarterback, Tettleton completed 20 of 29 passing attempts for 285 yards and four total touchdowns. Tettleton also added 53 yards on the ground.
“I feel like I’ve adjusted really well and the guys up front give me a great chance,” Tettleton said. “When we give our playmakers the ball it gives us a good chance to put it in the end zone.”
Turnovers also allowed Ohio to win the battle for time of possession by nearly 13 minutes and keep Marshall’s defense on the field.
Nathan Carpenter and Travis Carrie each forced two turnovers in the win.
With around 65 family members and friends in the stands, Carpenter’s two fumble recoveries helped Ohio earn the win against his brother George, a linebacker for Marshall.
“They’ve got a young quarterback so we knew he was going to throw the ball up,” Carpenter said. “He did that a few times tonight and our defensive backs came away with the ball.”
The win was Ohio’s first against Marshall since 2000, bringing the bell back to Athens for the first time in 11 years.
Ohio moves to 3-0 for the first time since 1976.
“It’s tremendous for our players and coaches. I’m glad to see them rewarded with that kind of start,” Solich said. “We’ve got a couple days to enjoy it before we go back to work. 3-0 is nice, but there’s a lot of games left to be played.”