With homecoming billed as “Better than the Best Ever,” Ohio football is off to its best start since 1968, moving to 7-0 on the season with a 34-28 win over the Akron Zips.
Ohio head coach Frank Solich dipped into his bag of tricks on the game’s opening drive.
Wide receiver Landon Smith found quarterback Tyler Tettleton for a 39-yard touchdown on a reverse pass—Tettleton’s first career touchdown reception. Solich first used the play known as "Black 41 Flash Reverse Pass" when Eric Crouch was his quarterback at Nebraska.
Ohio marched down the field on their next drive, going to their bread-and-butter slot-corner route for their second touchdown. Tettleton found Donte Foster open in the back of the end zone for a 13-yard score. With the play, Tettleton passed Boo Jackson for career passing touchdowns with 39.
Akron came out in their patented no-huddle spread offense, however, Ohio’s defense held the Zips third-ranked passing offense in check until the final minute of the half. Akron’s first five possessions looked like this: punt, turnover on downs, interception, punt and punt.
Two Minute Drill
Despite the slow start, the Zips were able to break through at the end of the first half. Akron sprinted 75 yards in just 28 seconds to cut the deficit to 20-7 with 16 seconds left on L.T. Smith’s 19-yard touchdown reception.
Akron kept the momentum going to open the second half. Tyler Williams' 10-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Dalton Williams capped an impressive nine-play, 75-yard drive to bring the Zips to within six.
As the Bobcats have done all season, they responded to adversity with a 96-yard scoring drive in the third quarter, ending on Tettleton’s two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Troy Hill. Running back Beau Blankenship accounted for 78 yards on the drive.
Ryan Boykin added a five-yard rushing score on Ohio’s next drive to give the Bobcats a commanding 34-14 heading into the fourth quarter.
Too Close For Comfort
For the third straight game, the Bobcats allowed their opponent to rally late. Akron cut the lead to 34-28 with two fourth-quarter touchdowns but were unable to recover the onside kick with 1:55 remaining. Boykin then secured the win with a 13-yard run.
Running Backs Shine
Blankenship (108 yards on the ground) rushed for over 100 yards for the sixth time in seven games, while Boykin ran for a season-high 96 yards. Blankenship entered the day as the nation’s third-leading rusher.
A Packed House
Today’s attendance of 25,542 was the second largest crowd in Peden Stadium history, behind this year's opener vs. New Mexico State.
The Bobcats have a much-needed bye week before they travel to Oxford for a rivalry game at Miami. Ohio has won the previous six meetings between the two schools.