2. KEYS TO THE SEASON
Biggest Key To The Ohio Offense
Just play loose and free like it did late in the year. The Frisco Bowl performance by the Ohio offense in the 27-0 win over San Diego State was … fun.
The defense did its part by flying around and shutting down the Aztec attack, but it was the offense that took the game over right away and made it a breeze.
There weren’t any penalties, there was an almost perfect offensive balance, and there wasn’t any drama whatsoever. There’s a whole lot of turnover, and fumbles – a problem over the first half of last year – will be a bit of a concern again with the new backs, but maintaining the Frisco Bowl energy and keeping up the sharpness – even with all the new starters – should lead to another big year.
Biggest Key To The Ohio Defense
More third down stops, and that starts with more of a pass rush. The Bobcats get pressure from several spots, but there isn’t an established killer who can live behind the line. No matter what, the D has to do a better job of getting off the field.
The Ohio defense allowed teams to convert on 44% of their third down chances, allowing five teams to hit on 50% or more of their tries. The defense did get better as the season went on, and time of possession wasn’t a problem, but the lack of third down stops proved costly in the close losses to Cincinnati and Miami University.
Key Player To A Successful Season
RB Julian Ross, Soph.
Ohio star quarterback Nathan Rourke takes a lot of shots – running the ball 134 times with 15 touchdowns – and 1,306-yard, 12 touchdown running back AJ Ouellette is done.
The Bobcats always find runners who produce, but the leading returning running back – Jake Neatherton – came up with just 81 yards. It’ll be a rotation to try replacing Ouellette, and yeah, Rourke will get his carries, but the less he has to do, the better.
Key Game To The Ohio Season
at Buffalo, Oct. 5
The East – once again – is the far easier of the two MAC divisions, and the tough divisional game against Miami University is at home. Buffalo will take a big step back from last season’s juggernaut, but it’ll still be dangerous enough to take the East again.
Ohio won 52-17 last season, but the Bulls still had the division all but wrapped up. This time around, it’s the MAC opener on the road and the tone-setter for the season.
– Ohio Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2018 Ohio Fun Stats
– Penalties: Opponents 60 for 538 yards – Ohio 42 for 437 yards
– Time of Possession: Ohio 33:32 – Opponents 26:28
– Average Yards Per Play: Ohio 7.2 – Opponents 5.6