The Ohio Bobcats took the lead early and never looked back in the 2012 Independence Bowl, besting the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks, 45-14.
The Warhawks closed the gap to 14-7 early in the second quarter, but a late, 10-point barrage gave Ohio a 24-7 buffer at halftime. The Bobcats promptly marched the ball down the field to start the second half, extending that lead to 31-7, and at that point, the game was effectively over.
Louisiana-Monroe showed some plucky resolve, but ultimately, it was unable to execute as precisely as the opponent. Turnovers and a general plague of sloppiness undid the Warhawks from beginning to end.
Let's take a closer look.
What They're Saying
Dave Tuley, aka "Tuley the Tout," forecasted a good game from Ohio. The Bobcats were 7.5-point underdogs, which had Tuley salivating:
2 of my bowl "best bets" (1-0 so far, 70% ATS last 4 years) go today w/ Ohio +7.5 & Rutgers +2 (from VFV Bowl Podcast) forums.viewfromvegas.com/user/Discussio…— Dave Tuley (@ViewFromVegas) December 28, 2012
The Vegas handicapper improved his "best-bet" record with the Ohio win-and-cover. As mentioned in the tweet, Virginia Tech bettors could be in trouble; Tuley's got his money on Rutgers.
CBSSports.com's Eye on Football blog was quick to acknowledge Beau Blankenship's Independence Bowl record with this tweet:
Blankenship sets an Independence Bowl record with his 4th rushing TD of the game, putting Ohio up 45-14 14:52 4Q— Eye on College FBall (@EyeOnCFB) December 28, 2012
Finally, USA Today writer George Schroeder mixed sentiment and snark nicely with this tweet about OU's dynamic backfield:
As Ohio wins big eagle trophy, still cool to see former Norman (OK) North High teammates Tettleton/Blankenship in the, um, OU backfield.— George Schroeder (@GeorgeSchroeder) December 28, 2012
Junior quarterback Tyler Tettleton was the catalyst, finishing with 331 yards and two touchdowns on only 14 completions. In addition to a few feats of mobility, Tettleton displayed a strong, poised, accurate downfield arm, completing a number of deep passes.
Most notably, he hooked up on frequent occasion with unsung receiver Chase Cochran. The sophomore entered the game with only 19 receptions and 215 yards on the season. He almost matched that total in one game, racking up 162 yards, including a 68-yard touchdown in the first.
Running back Beau Blakenship capped off a fine junior season nicely, too, finishing with a bowl-record four rushing touchdowns. He wasn't asked to do much in the open field, but down around the goal line, the stocky bruiser was infallible. He tacked on 104 yards for good measure as well.
Louisiana-Monroe struggled with turnovers all day. Particularly quarterback Kolton Browning, who enjoyed a fine junior season, but threw three interceptions on the afternoon.