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Ohio guard Walter Offutt tries to shake off a Michigan defender during the Bobcats' 65-60 win against the Wolverines in Friday's second-round game in the NCAA Tournament on March 17, 2012. (FILE)

The top 10 most impactful games Ohio has played in the last decade

The last decade has featured plenty of unforgettable moments for Ohio athletics.

Which memory had the greatest impact? Maybe it will be from the Bobcats’ NCAA Tournament appearances in 2010 and 2012. Maybe it will come from the football team, which has racked up four bowl victories, but has been overshadowed by a Mid-American Conference Championship drought.

Other sports had just as impactful highlights, too, and we tried to rank them by the weight of the impact they had on their respective program and the school.

Here are the top 10 most impactful games Ohio has played in the last decade.

1. Men’s Basketball | 2010 NCAA Tournament win over Georgetown

The highlights, photos and celebrations will be replayed on any future broadcast if Ohio ever returns to the NCAA Tournament.

Coach John Groce and star forward D.J. Cooper etched their names into Bobcats history when Ohio upset No. 15 Georgetown 97-83 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. 

The Hoyas had everything in their favor. They were ranked 15th in the nation, had made the tournament for the fourth time in the last five seasons and secured a comfortable No. 3 seed in the 2010 tournament.

Groce, however, had built the Bobcats into one of their best teams in program history. That was enough to boost Ohio to its first NCAA Tournament win since 1983 and pull off what was perhaps the biggest upset in program history.

It didn’t take long for Ohio to do it again.

2. Men’s Basketball | 2012 NCAA Tournament win over Michigan

This time, the Bobcats upset the Wolverines, who entered the tournament as the fourth seed and were ranked No. 18 in the nation.

Cooper led Ohio again with a 21 points in a 65-60 win that was the first of three wins in the tournament. 

The win also set Groce up for his departure with the Bobcats. With two NCAA Tournament appearances — a golden resume for a MAC coach — Groce left Ohio for a job with Illinois the next season. 

3. Football | 2012 Ohio defeats Penn State

Ohio’s biggest football win of the decade didn’t come in the postseason.

The win came in Week 1 of the 2012 season when the Bobcats stunned the Nittany Lions with a 24-14 victory at Beaver Stadium. 

Tyler Tettleton and Beau Blankenship combined for over 550 yards and helped Ohio defeat Penn State in its first game of a new season since former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted of child sex abuse.

The win stands as one of coach Frank Solich’s best moments with the Bobcats, who finished the season 9-4 and secured a trip to the Independence Bowl. 

4. Men’s Basketball | 2012 win over South Florida for Sweet 16 bid

Ohio continued its prolific run in the 2012 NCAA Tournament when it defeated South Florida 62-56 to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

The Bobcats hadn’t won multiple NCAA Tournament games since 1964.

At that point, the records didn’t matter. Ohio won the hearts of college basketball fans across the nation, and the Bobcats were the biggest underdogs left in the tournament.

5. Women’s Basketball | 2015 MAC Championship

When Bob Boldon became coach of the Bobcats in 2013, Ohio had only one season with a record above .500 in its past six seasons.

Three seasons later, however, the Bobcats were MAC Champions. Ohio defeated Eastern Michigan 60-44 and advanced to its first NCAA Tournament since 1995 and its third tournament appearance in program history.

The Bobcats haven’t finished with a record below .500 since, and Boldon’s success has turned Ohio into consistent competitors for the MAC title.

6. Men’s Basketball | 2012 loss to UNC in Sweet 16

The Bobcats will always remember the 2012 season with its two wins against Michigan and South Florida, but some people may have forgotten how close they were to add another incredible upset to the season.

Ohio was knocked out of the tournament against the top-seeded UNC in a narrow 73-65 overtime loss. 

The Bobcats were a few missed shots away from pulling off one of the biggest upsets in tournament history and may never come that close to cracking the Elite Eight again, but the season will always be remembered in program history books.

7. Baseball | 2015 MAC Championship

Rob Smith has transformed the baseball program since he coached his first season with the Bobcats in 2013.

The Bobcats had only two NCAA Tournament appearances in the 41 seasons before Smith’s tenure. Now, they have two in the last seven seasons.

The first appearance came in 2015 when Ohio went 27-17 and defeated Ball State in the MAC Championship, its first title since 1997. 

Two of Ohio’s players — Tom Colletti and Mitch Longo — later continued their baseball careers with minor league teams in MLB.

8. Football | 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Solich had led Ohio to three bowl appearances in his six seasons with the Bobcats, who had been 0-5 in prior bowl games.

Ohio finally snapped the skid in 2011 with a 24-23 win over Utah State on the blue turf at Boise State’s Bronco Stadium.

That set up the Bobcats for six more bowl appearances in the next seven seasons, one of the most consistent periods ever in program history.

9. Volleyball | 2014 MAC Championship

Deane Webb began his coaching tenure at Ohio with a bang.

After going 23-6 in his first season, the Bobcats delivered with a MAC title — their ninth in program history — in his second year. 

Since then, Ohio has cooled off and has gone 64-60.

10. Baseball | 2017 MAC Championship

Ohio was the fifth seed in the MAC Tournament with a respectable 13-11 record. 

That didn’t stop them from winning four straight games en route to Smith’s second MAC title, which came after the Bobcats rallied in the championship game for six runs in the eighth inning to win 7-4.

Honorable mentions

  • Football | 2012 Advocare V100 Independence Bowl
  • Softball | 2014 MAC Championship
  • Wrestling | Cody Walters finishes 7th place at NCAA Tournament in Madison Square Garden in 2016
  • Men’s Basketball | Jaaron Simmons drops 38 points vs. Akron in 2017
  • Football | 2017 Bahamas Bowl
  • Football | 2018 Frisco Bowl
  • Women’s Basketball | 2019 win vs. Miami
  • Women’s Basketball | 2019 first win of WNIT


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