Ohio takes care of business against Idaho, Buffalo rolls over Norfolk State

By Victor Pusateri

Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014 in Akron, Ohio at InfoCision Stadium. (Phil Masturzo/Akron Beacon Journal/MCT)
Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014 in Akron, Ohio at InfoCision Stadium. (Phil Masturzo/Akron Beacon Journal/MCT)

Coming off of a crushing loss to Marshall in week three, Ohio took care of business and defeated winless Idaho on Saturday 36-24.

The win moves the Bobcats (2-2) into a three-way tie for first place in the East Division of the Mid-Atlantic Conference along with Bowling Green and Buffalo.

Ohio dominated for most of the game, as the Bobcats jumped out to an early 17-0 lead five minutes into the second quarter. However, they allowed the Vandals to cut the deficit to 20-17 heading into the fourth quarter. Matt Linehan allowed the Vandals to stay in the game, as he totaled a game-high 353 passing yards along with two passing touchdowns.

However, in the fourth quarter, Ohio managed to put the game away. The Bobcats intercepted Linehan twice and iced the game with a powerful rushing attack led by the tandem of A.J. Ouellette and Derrius Vick.

Combined, Ohio ran the ball 47 times for 272 yards compared to only 64 yards on 28 attempts by Idaho. Oullette accounted for 132 yards and two touchdowns while Vick had four rushes for a total of 86 yards (21.5 yards per carry).

Along with their running game, the Bobcats also held the advantage in time of possession and forced turnovers.

Ohio’s methodical rushing attack wore a significant amount of time off the clock allowing the Bobcats to nearly double the Vandals’ time of possession, controlling the ball for 39 minutes compared to Idaho’s 21.

To compound the problem, Linehan threw three interceptions for the day, as he was forced to throw 56 times due to a struggling rushing game.

In comparison, Ohio only turned the ball over once. While its quarterback J.D. Sprague only threw for 165 yards, he didn’t turn the ball over once.

Ohio will next face Eastern Illinois at home on Saturday.

Buffalo trounces Norfolk State

Nine days after getting embarrassed on national television by Baylor, Buffalo put on a clinic against Norfolk State en route to a powerful 36-7 victory.

With 10:15 left in the first quarter, the game was tied 7-7. But the Bulls methodically scored 29 unanswered points behind strong play from quarterback Joe Licata and a defensive unit that shut down the Spartans on offense.

Norfolk State was outplayed on both sides of the ball by Buffalo. The Bulls accumulated 431 total yards, accounted for five touchdowns and did not turn the ball over once.

On the ground, Buffalo rushed for 169 rushing yards and were led by their leading rusher Anthone Taylor who had 28 carries for 116 yards.

Licata finished 13-25 for 229 yards with three passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown. Devon Hughes led the receiving corps with five receptions for 120 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

On defense, Buffalo held the Spartans offense to 215 total yards. The Bulls’ one hiccup came in the first quarter, when they allowed a 68-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Isaac White from quarterback Terrance Ervin.

After that score, the Buffalo defense allowed two more completions of a total of 31 yards for the rest of game and held Norfolk State under 100 passing yards. The Bulls defense also forced two Spartan turnovers in a suffocating display.

Buffalo will face Miami (Ohio) on Saturday in its first conference game of the season.

Victor Pusateri can be reached at [email protected]