Ohio allowed 481 total yards in its game against Pitt on Saturday at Heinz Field, but it still managed to hold the Panthers to 20 points. It didn’t mean much, though, after its offense failed to piece together sustainable drives against Pitt’s aggressive pass rush.
Whose stock rose? Whose stock fell?
The Post’s observations are here:
The running back’s stock continues to rise after he scored another rushing touchdown — Ohio’s only touchdown of the game — on a seven-yard rush. Tuggle only had four carries for 20 yards, but no running back ran over eight yards on a single play.
After two games, the junior leads all running backs with three touchdowns and will likely receive more carries Saturday against Marshall with Julian Ross set to miss time due to an injury.
The wide receiver led Ohio with four receptions for 60 yards, 45 of which came from a deep pass from quarterback Nathan Rourke. Buckner didn’t play a perfect game — he dropped a pass in the end zone on the next play after the deep hookup — but he’s becoming one of Rourke’s favorite targets. He leads the Bobcats with 108 receiving yards after two games.
The redshirt freshman has plenty of room for improvement, but he’s been the most promising player out of Ohio’s young receiving corps thus far.
The offensive line
The offensive line received praise from coach Frank Solich last week, but it took a few steps back against Pitt. It struggled to give Rourke time in the pocket and struggled to open big holes for the running backs. That led to the Bobcats’ worst offensive performance since 2016 when it scored nine points against Akron.
The offensive line wasn’t expected to play at the same level shown last week against Rhode Island, an FCS school, but next Saturday’s performance against Marshall might go a long way toward showing how strong the offensive line will be.
The defensive line
Solich held the defensive line partly accountable for allowing Pitt’s offense achieve the success it had through the air against the Bobcats’ secondary. The defensive line needed to place more pressure against quarterback Kenny Pickett, who set career highs in completions (26) and passing yards (321) and was only sacked once.
Receivers had too much time to find space among Ohio’s secondary, and that’s because Pickett had ample time to move in the pocket. The Bobcats likely won’t face another opponent as strong as Pitt, but its defensive line missed a chance to deliver a statement by adding a few sacks against the Panthers.
Odom recorded one catch for the second consecutive week and didn’t have much of an impact despite being a veteran wide receiver in a young group of wide outs. Pitt’s defense deserves credit for stopping Odom, but he didn’t do much — just one catch for 10 yards — against the Rams last week, too.
The redshirt junior is due for a big game soon. That might come Saturday against Marshall.