Ohio set to battle Miami in 90th Battle of the Bricks

In the 90th meeting between the Ohio Bobcats (5-2, 2-1) and the Miami RedHawks (0-7, 0-3) – otherwise known as the Battle of the Bricks – Ohio will be looking to kick off Halloween festivities with the first-ever Ghost Out. With the unveiling of new uniforms this week, the Green and White will be looking for a victory and to become bowl eligible for the fifth consecutive season.

But Ohio is much more focused on picking up the W at home heading into two away matchups versus the top-two teams in the MAC East. Another blowout victory will help build Ohio’s repertoire in the conference this season, just like the team did in the second half against the Eastern Michigan Eagles last week.

Bobcats head coach Frank Solich hopes that his team carries the success on all three ends – offensive, defensive and special teams – as they had last week.

“That’s what you strive for, to have that kind of operation going for you because that gives you your best chance at success,” Solich said.

However, Solich noticed in blowout wins over the Akron Zips and EMU that Ohio still has problems to fix that have been bothering them all season long.

“Offensively we put a lot of points on the board, still need to run the ball better,” Solich said. “Defensively, we gave up too many total yards in rushing and yards per carry were not good, so those issues need to be continued to be addressed.”

Speicial teams may cause Ohio the biggest problem at Peden on Saturday. The RedHawks sport the No. 4 punter in the nation in yards per punt (averages 47.4 yards per punt) in Zac Murphy, and he’s made a craft out of pinning opponents within the 10-yard line.

Cornerback Travis Carrie, who muffed a punt last time at home in a disheartening Homecoming loss to Central Michigan, will have to be careful with his hands, so he doesn’t cough up the ball deep in Bobcat territory. This will be an interesting matchup to pay attention to on fourth down this Saturday.

With Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton carrying a hot hand into the matchup against Miami after passing for nearly 400 yards and four touchdowns last week, Carrie will need to make sure to pass on the ball to Tett. The quarterback has had recent success because of a plethora of wide outs contributing.

“I’ve just had more opportunities this year, and I’m trying to make the most out of those opportunities,” wide receiver Donte Foster said. “I feel like the guys are really started to key in on their role.”

Foster will have a chance, along with Tettelton, to have their names stand alone in the Bobcats record book in this game. Foster can inch closer to the career touchdown record and Tettleton is only three yards shy of 8,000 career passing yards. He would be the only Ohio quarterback to reach this milestone.

“I’m just proud to be a part of it,” wide receiver Chase Cochran said. “To be on the field with a guy like that who’s arguably the best quarterback to ever come through here, it’s special and we enjoy being a part of it.”

Records come second nature for Ohio, though. That’s not what this team is concerned about, ever. Even with Miami winless this season, interim head coach Mike Bath has been preaching a combative and aggressive offense and defense.

“We’re going to have to prepare very, very hard and prepare well to play a good football game and we have to go out there and win the one-on-one battles,” Solich said.

About the Opponent: Miami RedHawks

Location: Oxford, OH

Founded: 1809

Colors: Red and White

Mascot: Swoop the RedHawk

Enrollment: 18,863

Notable Alumni: 2012 GOP Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan and claymation artist and creator of Gumby and Pokey Art Clokey

Players in the NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Denver Broncos quarterback Zac Dysert

Previous Bobcat Game: 23-20 win at Yager Stadium – Oct. 27, 2012

Key to the Game

Not playing a revenge game – Last season Ohio drove down the field with the game on the line, and with the final call down by three, no timeouts left and the clock about to run out, Tettleton took a sack and the loss with a backfield scramble. The Bobcats’ magical seven-game win streak to start the season was halted, and Ohio finished the season 1-4 from that point on. With last season long behind them, it is now the perfect time to take back the Battle of the Bricks with the possibility of the ‘Cats winning their second straight game.

Bobcats to Watch

Offensively: WR Donte Foster – Donte’s been the receiver with the latest hot streak this season. Over the past two games, Foster has hauled in 20 catches for 261 yards and one touchdown. He’s been able to do it all this season in terms of aiding Tettleton in the long and short game. He’s averaged around 13 yards per reception over the past two games as well, which is a further testament to the balanced job he has been doing for Ohio as of late. Look for him to make some athletic plays on the field against Miami.

Defensively: CB Travis Carrie – In his final Battle of the Bricks, I think we’ll see the Bobcat captain come up with his first interception of the season. But even more of an exciting matchup to watch is the special teams battle between Murphy and Carrie. Murphy leads the MAC in yard per punt and Carrie leads the conference in yards per punt return. Carrie hardly calls any fair catches, and Murphy is notorious for pinning opponents deep in their own territory. This could be one of the better matchups of the season.

Opponents to Watch

Offensively: QB Austin Boucher – As a freshman, Boucher came in to aid an injured Dysert in the 2010 MAC Championship and the GoDaddy Bowl, and came up victorious. He has the experience; he just doesn’t have the tools around him to make anything out of his offense. With Bath being more aggressive in his approach after taking over as interim head coach, Miami may be taking a lot of gambles on Saturday.

Defensively: DB Jay Mastin – The redshirt freshman is second on the team in total tackles with 51 total takedowns this season. He has also been on the good end of two turnovers, coming up with one interception and forcing one fumble. Ohio, with Bath preaching to his secondary to go up in the air and go after the ball, will have to keep Mastin on radar Saturday.

Prediction

Bobcats 56, RedHawks 14 – I think Ohio scores 56 points for the second consecutive week, but this time at home. Bobcats get back at Miami after ending their winning streak last season, carrying momentum into an upcoming heavy MAC schedule.

*Special Note – Wide receiver LaVon Brazill was at practice on Thursday, and he predicted that the ‘Cats would come up with a 35-21 victory.

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