Monday, September 1, 2008

Bobcats play well, but come up short

Richard Anderson photo
Ohio quarterback Theo Scott looks to get outside Saturday against Wyoming.

By Richard Anderson

The Wyoming Cowboys were fortunate to come up with a 21-20 victory on Saturday and they acknowledged that fact on several occasions after the game.

But what about Ohio? How about losing to the Cowboys two years in a row -- by one point each time.

Yet, Bobcats head coach Frank Solich came away feeling pretty good about his team … not that he felt good about the loss.

“It was a hard-fought second half by both teams. We had our opportunities,” Solich said. “The game was filled with opportunities for us in all aspects, whether you look at special teams, defense or offense. Some of those we capitalized on and played very good football. We made a few errors and mistakes that were very costly along the way. I think that was across the board and that goes for us coaches too. As we look at it, we will look at it, analyze it, learn from it, and try to get better. I love the heart of our players. There are a lot of good signs coming from this game. But it was a tough loss for these guys in an opening game.”

In last year’s game, the Bobcats took advantage of seven Wyoming turnovers and ran back a kick for a touchdown. On Saturday, the Bobcats had two interceptions and also ran back a kick for a score.

It was their own mistakes that Solich felt were costly for them in this game. Ohio fumbled three times and lost one and quarterback Theo Scott threw a costly interception in the fourth quarter that Wyoming safety Quincy Rogers picked off on the 9-yard line.

“Turnovers hurt us, bottom line,” Solich said. “We put the ball on the ground too much, had an interception and Wyoming is a team that can capitalize on those mistakes.”

The Bobcats also had two costly facemask penalties late in the game that enabled the Cowboys to run some valuable time off of the clock. Ohio had 12 penalties in the game for 115 yards.

“Obviously the two face mask penalties were very costly to us, but we had other costly plays in the game as well,” Solich said. “If we can get things corrected and make fewer errors, I think we will be a pretty good football team this season.”

The Cowboys came away from the game thinking the Bobcats are already a pretty good football team … much better than people had given them credit for.

“I take my hat off to the Ohio Bobcats, they played very well and we were one point better than them,” Wyoming head coach Joe Glenn said.

What kept the Bobcats in the game was an aggressive defensive and a sharp, short passing game. Scott was on target for much of the way, completing 26 of 35 passes for 224 yards and one score.

“I thought he played well for a good share of the game,” Solich said. “There were some plays that he would have liked to have over, but when you look at the overall game, he made a lot of plays for us, threw the ball well, scrambled at times and made plays that way. He did an awful lot of good things for us.”

Solich said that because Wyoming has a good run defense -- one of the best in the nation -- they had to air it out. He was pleased with the results.

“We wanted to take advantage of our personnel, thinking that it would be the best way to move the ball,” he said. “We have some good receivers that played very well today, I thought. We made some big plays in the throwing game, and I think throughout the season, we will continue to make those big plays.”

Taylor Price was not only outstanding for the Bobcats, but he had a record-setting day with 14 catches for 149 yards. His 14 receptions set an Ohio school record.

“Taylor Price played very well today. Not only did he make great catches, they were big catches that resulted in first downs,” Solich said.

Price said he was a little surprised to hear that he had that many catches.

“Coming into the season, we were trying to find ways to get me the ball and a couple of our tight ends the ball and make things happen with our playmakers,” Price said. “I wasn't counting the receptions; I was just letting the ball come to me. If there were a couple big third down or fourth down situations, I knew that I was going to come down with it.”

When it was all said and done, Solich said the Bobcats did a lot of the things necessary to win, but they didn’t do quite enough.

“It is obvious that some of our play I liked,” he said. “We were able to have an efficient passing game and we developed a few runs off of it. We were able to control the ground game except for one drive over the course of the game, and that's what we set out to do. There were a lot of things that we accomplished, but we just came up short on the scoreboard. There were a couple of plays that we would have liked to have done differently that would have helped.”

It doesn’t get any easier for Ohio, as it now has to prepare for top-ranked Ohio State Saturday in Columbus.

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