The Ohio and Miami rivalry — the Battle of the Bricks — means a lot to alumni, fans and students.
Bowling Green week, however, means more for the players.
The Falcons have come away victorious against the Bobcats every year since 2011, often in blowout fashion.
“Miami is the rivalry, but Bowling Green has been more of a rivalry in my career,” offensive lineman Troy Watson said. “They beat the heck out of us my freshman year. It was real cold up there, I remember it like it was yesterday.”
Watson, a redshirt senior, has never beaten Bowling Green.
Bowling Green, in the four matchups after Ohio’s 2011 win, have beaten the Bobcats by a combined score of 166-51.
“(I’m) thinking more along the lines of a win for us would put us 2-0 in the MAC,” Watson said. “That’s what we’re trying to get towards. Beating them would obviously feel great. They’ve taken it to us a couple years in a row.”
Unless there’s a six-year senior roaming campus, no Ohio University undergrad was on campus for a Bobcat win over the Falcons. But that’s not to say the game Saturday is irrelevant.
Five of the last seven years, either Bowling Green or Ohio has represented the MAC East Division in the MAC Championship game. Bowling Green won the title in 2013 and 2015.
“Our guys want to win a MAC championship,” coach Frank Solich said. “You don’t win a MAC championship without winning MAC games, so there is a great deal of incentives in itself to put yourself in a position to play in the MAC Championship Game.”
With MAC championship hopes radiating from the Bobcats this season, they won’t have a better chance to deal a fatal blow to a conference rival than when the Falcons come to Peden Stadium.
With Bowling Green at 1-4 this season and already one loss in conference play, the Falcons are already one game behind the Bobcats. With a victory Saturday, the Bobcats could jump to two games ahead of the team that’s haunted them for years. And with the tiebreaker, the lead will grow to an almost insurmountable three-game lead, as Bowling Green lost to Eastern Michigan in the West Division.
“I wouldn’t call it a hatred,” Watson said about playing Bowling Green. “I obviously have respect for them as an opponent. … But I certainly feel animosity towards them. I’m ready to go out there and beat them just as bad as I want to beat everybody else.”
With a win against the team it couldn’t beat, Ohio would launch itself to the front of the MAC East. And more importantly, vanquish demons of years past.
“I have a feeling of what it’s like to line up against someone wearing orange,” Watson said. “And it’s never felt good. Every time I’ve walked off that field, I’ve had a bad taste in my mouth. I’m treating it different in the same that I wanna get revenge. I’m treating this the same as I want to get this win and go 2-0 in the conference.”