UAB was a nice story, but it was Ohio that rolled in the 2017 Bahamas Bowl. Here are five things that matter.
2017 Bahamas Bowl: Ohio 41, UAB 6
5. Will ANY of these bowls be good?
It’s not the fault of the Bahamas Bowl – it was due for a clunker – but this bowl season is off to a miserable starts, and this game didn’t help.
Conference USA had a few nice moments for a while with Marshall and Middle Tennessee winning, and Florida Atlantic and Louisiana Tech rolling, but FIU and UAB combined for nine points in the last two bowls. Since C-USA has dominated the early part of the bowl season, the spotlight has been on, and it’s been ugly at times.
4. UAB’s nice story ended with a crashing thud
This was all icing for a UAB program just looking to be back among the college football living again after a few years off – just getting here really did matter. But the lines weren’t there to deal with an Ohio team with the talent and the depth to be among the MAC’s best.
Blow this off – it’s still a rebuilding process and it’s still going to be a while before the program becomes a bigger player in the college football world. But for now, 8-5 is more than fine.
3. THAT’S the Ohio we were all hoping to see in the MAC Championship
Akron beat the Bobcats, and it did what it needed to do to get to the MAC Championship, but Ohio really is and was the better team and the better option.
The question going into this was how much the Bobcats were really going to care. As it turns out, a lot.
Even without forcing any turnovers, the defense held UAB on drive after drive after the offense cranked up the early lead. This was an efficient, effective, clinical performance for a good 9-4 season.
But for a team with the talent and experience to do more, it could’ve and should’ve been a great season.
2. This was exactly how the Ohio offense is supposed to work
Start running early, capitalize on field position, convert on every opportunity, turn the game over to the D.
Nathan Rourke – the nation’s leader in rushing touchdowns by a quarterback – didn’t run for any scores, but he completed 12-of-18 passes for 185 yards and two scores, both in the first quarter.
But this was Dorian Brown’s day. His 74-yard touchdown run early in the second put the Bobcats up 20-0 and put the game away. He finished with 152 yards and four touchdowns on just 12 carries, the ground game cranked up 249 yards in all, and Ohio did exactly what it needed and wanted to do.
1. Frank Solich
His second life as the Ohio head coach has been excellent over the last 13 years with 97 wins and four division titles, but he’s never won a MAC Championship and, before this, was just 2-6 in bowl games with the last win coming in the 2012 Independence.
This blowout win doesn’t necessarily blow off everything else, and he still could use a MAC title at some point on the resume, but this was an emphatic bowl victory for the first nine-win season since that 2012 run.
At 73, he’s one of the elder statesmen now among coaches, and he’s been able to turn/build Ohio into a consistently fantastic Group of Five program. No matter how much longer he’s going to coach, this was a sweet win for him and the program.