NASSAU, Bahamas — Ohio needed a vacation to take out its anger.
In Friday's thrashing of UAB in the Bahamas Bowl, the Bobcats unleashed every ounce of rage that had been pent up for the last five weeks.
Ohio was dominant on offense and brutally physical on defense, and the end result was a game that was over by halftime. At Thomas A. Robinson Stadium, there was never a reason to doubt as Ohio demolished UAB 41-6.
“Everyone was pretty pissed off about what happened at the end of the season," tackle Joe Lowery said. "Happens, but we had to make the best of it. Which is what we did.”
Ohio looked destined for a Mid-American Conference Championship Game appearance as the season wore on, but two late losses on the road ruined the team's chance at a trip to Detroit. The Bobcats were left with an 8-4 record and a boatload of leftover feelings of what could have been.
The end result was the biggest bowl win in Ohio history and the biggest blowout win from a MAC team in history.
“We knew we were better than an eight-win team," center Jake Pruehs said. "Now we’re a nine-win team. We just wanted to come out and prove we were better than just an eight-win team.”
The now-nine win Bobcats (9-4, 5-3 MAC) dominated from the start with an opening drive that went 11 plays for 75 yards.
“No matter if it’s snowing or if it's super hot, if you go on a drive like that it’s going to be kind of gassing," Pruehs said. "After that, it set a tone for our whole offensive line and our run game.”
That run game was carried by Dorian Brown, who ran through holes big enough to fit the entire UAB (8-5, 6-2 C-USA) defense into. Brown, in for an injured A.J. Ouellette, got the bulk of the carries on the afternoon.
He was named the Offensive Player of the Game for his 152 yards on 12 carries for four touchdowns. The Bobcats, as a whole, outgained the Blazers on the ground 249 to 99.
"I give a lot of props to the O-line as well, because they did a tremendous job blocking and made it easy for me to run the ball," Brown said.
A redshirt senior, Brown was a part of a senior class that had never won a bowl game. In fact, no one on the current roster was around for the last bowl win. The Bobcats hadn't won a bowl game since the 2012 Independence Bowl, a 45-14 victory over Louisiana-Monroe.
In the last two years, the Bobcats lost by a combined seven points to both Appalachian State and Troy. That stung too, just as the losses to Akron and Buffalo did.
Now, Ohio has its third bowl win in school history. There can't be any doubting the win, nothing to look back on with anger or regret. Sure, a MAC Championship is clearly the goal. Lowery mentioned it postgame, just minutes after the Bobcats most satisfying postseason win in five years.
But for now, Ohio can relax and look back at the thumping it just handed out.
“I’ll tell you what, every single year of my life I’ve been just so close to winning a championship," Pruehs said. "This is literally the first year we’ve actually made a mark. Through my time here, we’ve progressed as a team from not going to a bowl game, to losing two bowl games to winning a bowl game. So it’s super special.”