Ohio might have a hard time watching its defensive film.
In its 28-26 loss to Duquesne on Saturday, Ohio’s defense was riddled with penalties and missteps that only wasted time on the clock. Six defensive penalties in the second half killed Ohio’s attempts to stop Duquesne.
In the Dukes’ first drive of the fourth quarter, Ohio was penalized five times. In total, those penalties added up to 24 yards put in the Dukes’ lap. Free first downs do not get opponents off the field, and it further hampered Ohio’s ability to put a stop to Duquesne’s offense.
Duquesne ended its drive with a field goal, but it took almost eight minutes off the clock. Had Ohio not given up so many penalties, Duquesne’s drive might’ve ended far earlier. Ohio only had one chance to tie the game with fewer than three minutes on the clock.
Ohio’s (0-2) defense squandered multiple chances of beating Duquesne on Saturday. Ohio gave up 362 total yards, which isn’t a pretty stat even when ignoring that it allowed 194 passing yards from quarterback Darius Perrantes in his first start with Duquesne.
Ohio coach Tim Albin attributed a lack of three-and-outs as one of the team’s biggest problems Saturday. Ohio only recorded two three-and-outs against Duquesne, and they did little to hamper the offense.
“It’s tough,“ Albin said. “We’ve bent, and today that was obvious. We were behind the chains, meaning offensively they were 2nd and five to 2nd and two more times than what you’d like. And then we did get to a 3rd down and long, we had three huge penalties on third down.”
The Bobcats’ struggles with penalties are new this season. They appeared disciplined against Syracuse in its season opener, and didn’t receive a single defensive penalty. That wasn’t the case against the Dukes. The Bobcats were penalized seven times for 76 yards just on defense.
“We just need to be more disciplined,” defensive tackle Kai Caesar said. “We had penalties in the back, we had penalties in the front. Those are things that we do work on in practice, and we just need to stay true to our technique and our game.”
The Bobcats had three pass interference calls that eventually led to scoring drives by the Dukes. Albin wants to see aggressiveness from his defensive backs but also wants them to trust their technique to avoid pass interference calls. Albin was also critical of himself and the defense for a lack of playmaking.
“I don’t think we played out defensively,” Albin said. “But we’ve got to find a way to get some three-and-outs and find a way to get some turnovers.”
Ohio’s defense stumbled Saturday. Seven defensive penalties were the nail in the coffin for its performance against Duquesne. It struggled to contain rushing attempts, passing attempts and it was only made worse by the lack of discipline that led to its high penalty count.
How it plans to fix its penalty problem has yet to be seen, but it needs to work out a solution fast.