2011 Record: (10-4, 6-2 in MAC)
Head Coach: Frank Solich (50-40 at Ohio, 108-59 All-Time)
Last Bowl Game: 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: beat Utah State 24-23
Four Year Coaching Trend: 7.75 wins, 5.5 losses per year; avg of 5.5 wins and 2.5 losses in MAC play
Big Name Opponent: 9/1 at Penn State
Cupcakes: 9/22 vs Norfolk State, 9/29 at UMass
Out of Conference: 9/8 vs New Mexico State, 9/15 at Marshall
Revenge: 10/6 vs Buffalo, 11/14 at Ball State
Stat to Cheer: converted 47.6% of 3rd downs (14th in the Nation in percentage and 2nd in the Nation with 99 total conversions)
Stat to Fear: gave up 85 tackles for loss; 6.07 per game (last in MAC)
Phil Steele's Returning Starters (Offense: 6; Defense: 8; Specialists: 1)
Key Defensive Returnees: S Gerald Moore (84 tackles), CB Travis Carrie (4 INTs, 49 tackles)
Key Offensive Returnees: QB Tyler Tettleton (28 TD, 10 INT), RB Beau Blankenship (462 yds, 4 TD)), RB Ryan Boykin (430 yds), WR Donte Foster (30 rec)
After going 23-26 in his first four years at Ohio, Frank Solich has settled down and has posted a record of 27-14 over the last three years. More impressive has been their in-conference record as they've gone 19-5 in that same time period. Solich has led Ohio to three straight bowl games.
After the 2010 season, the Bobcats lost a lot of their starters (QB, RB, WR) but they were able to maintain their stature and do one better by winning their bowl game. They also improved their offense by three points per game, rushed for over 30 more yards per game and passed for over 80 yards more than in 2010. The big reason the Ohio offense improved year over year was QB Tyler Tettleton. Tettleton is the son of former major league baseball player Mickey Tettleton. As a first year starter, Tettleton passed for over 3000 yards (at a 64% completion rate) and ran for 621 yards and 10 TD. As a second-year starter Tettleton should be even better. I would look for the Ohio offense to maintain what they did last year. While they weren't the best offense in the MAC, they were consistent.
The Ohio defense is set up to be a strength of the Bobcats, especially the secondary. They return three starters (the only non returning starter moved to WR) including two fifth-year seniors. At linebacker, the Bobcats lost their lynch-pin at MLB but have two strong players on the outside that will help soften the blow. The DL is littered with upper classmen and it will be strong against the rush but it's pass rush will be questionable and in the pass-happy MAC that could be their downfall.
There isn't much reason to think that Ohio won't win the MAC East. Now that Temple is gone, it's toughest competition will most likely belong to Bowling Green. Ohio did lose some questionable games last year to teams that finished with losing records (Buffalo, Ball State) but overall the three conference games they lost (including the Championship game) were by just an average of 2.3 points per game. Look for Ohio to return to the MAC Championship Game for the third time in four years.
2012 Prediction: 10-2
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