Bowling Green head coach Dave Clawson says his team will face a 'steady, stable' Ohio University football team.
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BOWLING GREEN -- The Ohio University football team that invades Doyt Perry Stadium for a game against Bowling Green Wednesday night doesn't feature a high-power aerial circus for an offense or a lights-out defense.
Instead the Bobcats are sound in all three phases of the game, an approach that has them at the top of the Mid-American Conference's East Division.
In fact, with a little help Ohio can claim the East Division title with a win over the Falcons in this contest, which will be shown to a national television audience starting at 8 p.m.,
The Bobcats, who are 7-3 overall and riding a three-game winning streak that has them 4-2 in MAC play, have the attention of BGSU football coach Dave Clawson because of their consistency.
Ohio at Bowling Green
Time: 8 p.m.
Radio: 1470 AM, 99.1 FM
Records: Ohio is 7-3, 4-2 MAC; BGSU is 4-6, 2-4
Series: BGSU leads 36-24-2
Favorite: Ohio by 6 1/2
Notes: The Bobcats could potentially win the MAC East Division title with a victory over BG and a Miami loss to Western Michigan. ... The Falcons need to win this contest and the season finale at Buffalo if they wish to become bowl-eligible. ... BG senior wide receiver Kamar Jorden needs 82 yards receiving to reach 1,000 this season. He would become the first player in school history to reach that mark twice in his career. Jorden also enters the game ranked eighth in career catches with 163, 13 behind Stan Hunter (1982-85) in seventh place. ... Sophomore BooBoo Gates has 32 kickoff returns for 873 yards, both third on the Falcons' single-season list. Gates needs 13 returns to surpass the record 44 by Roger Williams in 2009, and he needs 82 yards to top the single-season mark Williams set in 2007. Gates currently averages 27.3 yards per return, which will be a single-season record if it continues. ... Ohio's quarterback, Tyler Tettleton, is the son of Mickey Tettleton, who played for the Detroit Tigers from 1991-94. ... One of the Bobcats' starters on the offensive line is redshirt junior Eric Herman from Central Catholic. ... Senior punter Paul Hershey is a Fremont Ross graduate who originally went to the University of Toledo before transferring.
"They are a steady, stable program," Clawson said of Ohio. "They play very well consistently.
"In a lot of ways, they are a model for what we want to do at Bowling Green."
"They've been very smart, because they too take a very long-term approach to their program," Clawson said of Ohio. "They resisted the urge to play a lot of freshmen in the years where they were struggling, and now they're seeing the benefit of it -- they are a much older, more experienced football team."Clawson pointed out that OU coach Frank Solich, now in his seventh season with the Bobcats, was just 23-26 in his first four years there. The reward has come in the past three seasons, when Ohio has won 17 MAC games -- the only school that can match that total is Northern Illinois, which has 18 -- and is on the verge of advancing to the MAC Championship for the second time.
The Bobcats depth chart entering Wednesday's contest bears that out. Ohio has five senior starters on offense along with a pair of juniors, and the 11 starters on defense include three seniors and seven juniors.
It's interesting to note that there are just eight freshman on the Ohio two-deep, and only one -- free safety Josh Kristoff -- is a starter.
In comparison, BG has just five seniors and four juniors among its 22 starters, and has 19 freshmen on the two-deep, including three starters.
Among the players to watch for OU on offense are sophomore quarterback Tyler Tettleton, who has completed 192-of-303 passes for 2,451 yards and 22 touchdowns with just six interceptions; senior LeVon Brazill, who has caught 49 of those passes for 835 yards and nine scores; and senior running back Donte Harden, who has carried the ball 117 times for 725 yards and two TDs.
The defense is led by senior linebacker Noah Keller, who has 74 tackles this season.
It's also interesting that, of the Bobcats' 22 starters, only three have not redshirted at one point in their career.
"When you are able to build depth like that, and your kids have that extra year in the weight room and that extra year of maturity, what you get is a very stable football program with mature players who have had to wait to play -- but are ready to play," Clawson said.
"I think that's one of the main reasons that, over the last three seasons, Ohio has been such a consistent football team."
Clawson said it's a formula he is using at Bowling Green, which last season endured a 2-10 season and this year are 4-6, including 2-4 in MAC play.
"Maybe there are times that, if you played a true freshman, it would fill a need and help get you through a two- or three-week stretch," Clawson said.
"But I think the upside of [redshirting] is what you see in their program.
"In this league, teams have been been up and down. They have been very stable because every year they roll out a lot of seniors and juniors."
Contact John Wagner at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.
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