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Independence Bowl 2012: Ailing Offense Will Fail Ohio vs. LA-Monroe

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Independence Bowl 2012: Ailing Offense Will Fail Ohio vs. LA-Monroe
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"Whatever you can't do, I can't do better."

That may as well be the motto for Ohio against Louisiana-Monroe in the 2012 Independence Bowl on Friday.

While Louisiana-Monroe managed just 17 points in regulation against Florida International to close the regular season, Ohio has scored 14 points or fewer in two of its last three games, including a measly six points against Kent State.

What should be particularly troubling for the Bobcats is the fact that they've allowed 27 sacks this season (tied for 84th in the nation, via CFBStats.com), while the Warhawks are coming off a six-sack performance against Florida International. 

This isn't likely going to be a high-scoring game, given both squads have struggled offensively lately, so every advantage on defense will be pivotal in edging out a victory.

The Warhawks are also riding a wave of momentum, and they've played well in big games this season, including beating Arkansas to start the season and barely losing to Auburn and Baylor by three points and five points, respectively.

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As for the Bobcats, their biggest game of the season was against Kent State, and that ended in a 28-6 loss.

And while junior running back Beau Blankenship could have a big game against the Warhawks, he's rushed for a combined 403 yards and three touchdowns in his last three contests, and that didn't stop the Bobcats from losing all of those games.

How is this possible? Well, Ohio has had trouble converting third downs and finishing drives all season long. The Bobcats rank 48th in third-down conversion rate and 86th in red-zone scoring percentages (field goals and touchdowns).

This was particularly evident in the recent losses to Kent State and Bowling Green, converting a combined 11-of-35 third-down attempts and scoring on 4-of-7 drives that made it to the red zone.

Quite simply, Louisiana-Monroe generally takes advantage of its scoring opportunities better than Ohio does.

The Bobcats could very well limit the Warhawks on Friday, but it won't matter because they won't score enough to come away with the victory.

 

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