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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, Nov. 1, 6 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Peden Stadium (24,000) -- Athens, Ohio. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: EMU 1-3, OU 4-0. Away Record: EMU 0-4, OU 3-1. Neutral Record: EMU 0-0, OU 0-0. Conference Record: EMU 0-4, OU 3-1. Series Record: Ohio University leads, 16-11.
GAME NOTES: Fresh off their first loss of the season, the Ohio University Bobcats host their Mid-American Conference rival Eastern Michigan Eagles in a Thursday night affair at Peden Stadium.
Eastern Michigan seemed to be gaining momentum with a close loss to Toledo and a victory over Army, before being shut down by the Falcons in a 24-3 loss to Bowling Green. The loss ended the Eagles' chances of going to a bowl game. Coach Ron English's team is the only team in the West Division without a win in league play.
Ohio had its dreams of a perfect season ruined last week as it suffered a heartbreaking 23-20 loss to Miami-Ohio. Coach Frank Solich's team was on an eight-game winning streak and ranked in the top 25 heading into last week. The Bobcats will try to break back into the rankings while battling for position in the East Division. Ohio is tied for third place and one game out of the lead. The Bobcats will go back to the MAC Championship game if they win out as both teams in front of them in the standings, Bowling Green and Kent State, are coming up on their schedule.
This will be the 29th meeting between these programs. Ohio holds a 16-11-1 edge in the all-time series after winning seven of the last eight encounters. The Bobcats won 30-17, in Ypsilanti in the last meeting between these teams on Oct. 2, 2010.
Through its first five games, EMU managed only 263 yards and 15.4 points per game. The struggles seemed to be over as the Eagles have tallied 95 points and 1,191 yards over their next two games, but Bowling Green swarmed EMU and held it to just 178 yards of total offense and three points.
Bronson Hill served as the catalyst of the two-game outburst as he produced huge numbers to spark the Eagles' offense. Hill had never rushed the ball more than four times in a game in his career before compiling 283 yards and four touchdowns on 28 rushes against Toledo. The sophomore proved his outburst was not a fluke his next time out picking up 185 yards and a TD on 26 carries versus Army. Hill was finally held down last week by the Falcons, limiting him to 57 yards on 13 carries.
Tyler Benz had his two-game streak of 300 passing yards or more end last week as he went 11-of-24 for 114 yards with an interception against Bowling Green. The junior quarterback has tossed at least one interception in four straight games. Despite being held in check by BGSU, Benz can be dangerous to opposing secondaries if given enough time in the pocket.
Garrett Hoskins is the primary weapon in EMU's passing attack. His season totals of 31 receptions and 474 yards are more than double the combined statistics of the team's second and third leading receivers.
The Eagles' defense has struggled all season long, surrendering 490.9 yards and 37.5 points per game. The biggest concern for coach English has to be the rush defense, which ranks last in the FBS, as opponents are averaging 302.4 yards against EMU this season.
Donald Coleman, Justin Cudworth, and Blake Poole are all tied for the team- lead with 62 total stops. Coleman, who is an NC State transfer, showed his value against Michigan State with 19 total tackles. EMU needs its defenders to start making plays to improve its turnover margin, which is minus-0.75 per game.
The Bobcats have one of the top offenses in the MAC, ranking third in rushing (210.4 ypg) and fourth overall (450.1 ypg). Ohio totaled 465 yards of total offense last week and yet again avoided any turnovers. Ohio is incredibly efficient with only three total turnovers on the season.
Junior quarterback Tyler Tettleton has guided the mistake-free attack by passing for 1,645 yards and 12 TDs with just one interception in seven games. He has completed 60.4 percent of his attempts (131-of-217) and produced a trio of rushing touchdowns as well.
Tettleton keeps the opposition guessing consistently by spreading the ball around evenly. Nine different Bobcats have at least 100 receiving yards with Donte Foster leading the pack with 323 yards and five TDs on 31 receptions.
The Bobcats have relied heavily on Beau Blankenship to move the chains this season. The junior tailback is third in the MAC in rushing with 1,025 yards on 214 carries. Blankenship has been slowing down as the season wears on. After rushing for 100 yards or more in his first five games, Blankenship has surpassed the century mark in just one of three games.
Ryan Boykin has emerged a viable number two option in OU's rushing attack. Boykin has picked up 234 yards and three scores on 35 attempts in the team's past three games.
The Bobcats were a strong team defensively early in the season, but opposing coaches seemed to have figured out how to attack them. Ohio gave up 511 yards to Massachusetts, which has an average of just 236.1 yards per contest against its other seven opponents. Ohio is holding opponents to an average of 23.5 ppg, which is the third lowest in the MAC.
Junior linebacker Keith Moore has been the heart and soul of the defense and has recorded a team-best 68 total tackles. Neal Huynh is an aggressive lineman and has compiled six tackles for loss. Jelani Woseley has made seven tackles for loss and two of the team's seven interceptions.
Ohio should be able to bounce back at Peden Stadium, where it has won six in a row and 20-of-27 since the start of 2008. The Bobcats may have cost themselves a chance at being a BCS buster last week, but they are still a viable contender for the MAC Championship. The Eagles are not going to be able to slow down the Bobcats, but their offense may be able to keep them in the game if Hill's motor gets started early.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio University 35, Eastern Michigan 21
10/31 10:44:49 ET