Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Ohio cruises, Northern Illinois rebounds


The Ohio football team continued its strong start to the 2012 season with a convincing 51-24 home-opening win over New Mexico State on Saturday.

The Bobcats (2-0), who entered the matchup on the heels of an emotional road win over the reeling Penn State Nittany Lions, were paced offensively by impressive efforts from a pair of talented juniors: quarterback Tyler Tettleton and running back Beau Blankenship.

Tettleton kicked off the high scoring affair with a 6-yard rushing touchdown, and finished the day with 257 passing yards and three touchdowns.

Blankenship, who is second in the Mid-American Conference in rushing yards after two games, added to the Bobcat attack with two touchdowns and a game-high 168 yards on the ground.

The Aggies (1-1) cut Ohio’s lead down to 21-17 following an early second half field goal by kicker Tyler Stampler. But defensive lapses and a crucial interception return for a touchdown led to 24 unanswered third quarter points for the Bobcats.

The Aggies’ biggest highlight of the day came on a 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Akeelie Mustafa late in the third quarter with the game well out of reach.

Ohio has won eight of its last nine games dating back to last season, and travels to Huntington, W.Va. this Saturday to take on the Marshall Thundering Herd.

Huskies rebound

Northern Illinois’ MAC title defense got off to a rocky start after a tough 18-17 loss to Iowa last week, but a solid all-around effort on Saturday in the Huskies’ 35-7 blowout win over Tennessee-Martin helped turn things back around.

Northern Illinois (1-1) was backed by a strong effort from quarterback Jordan Lynch, who ran for three touchdowns and threw for another while totaling 274 all-purpose yards.

Huskies running back Leighton Settle contributed 106 rushing yards, while safety Jimmie Ward tallied a team-high 10 tackles to go along with two passes defended and an interception.

The Skyhawks (1-1), who managed their first ever victory over a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent with a 20-17 win over Memphis on Sept. 1, kept pace with the Huskies on the stat sheet, but struggled to put points on the board against the bend-but-don’t-break Northern Illinois defense.

Tennessee-Martin quarterback Derek Carr threw for 264 yards with a touchdown and an interception but was largely ineffective towards the goal line, converting on just 1-of-4 red zone possessions. Wide receiver Quentin Sims caught 10 passes.

The win marks North Illinois’ 16th straight home victory, a streak that dates back to the 2009 season. The Huskies now travel to West Point for a showdown with the Army Black Knights.

Zips comes up short

Akron’s struggles continued on Saturday, this time in the form of a disappointing 41-38 overtime loss to Florida International.

The Zips (0-2) have now lost  33 of their last 38 games, including 10 in a row dating back to Oct. 1, 2011.

Akron started off strong, jumping out to a 20-7 lead behind the passing attack of quarterback Dalton Williams.

However, the Panthers (1-1) responded with 21 unanswered points, powered on the ground by Jake Medlock’s 141 rushing yards, transforming the game into a shootout.

Williams, who threw for a game-high 313 yards and 5 touchdowns, connected with wide receiver Marquelo Suel from 15 yards out for the go-ahead score with less than two minutes remaining in regulation. But Jack Griffin nailed a 30-yard field goal for FIU as time expired to knot the score at 38-38.

After a missed 45-yarder by kicker Robert Stein on Akron’s first and only overtime possession, Griffin drilled another field goal from 29-yards out to secure the Panthers’ win.

The Zips look to snap their losing streak this Saturday at home against Morgan State.

Daniel Malone can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Daniel_Malone.

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