AKRON — Ohio picked up its first win of the season 34-17 against Akron on Saturday afternoon at InfoCision Stadium.
They weren’t perfect, but the Bobcats cleaned up their performance and avoided many of the frequent mistakes that plagued them in their first four losses. They’re now 1-0 in Mid-American Conference play, and coach Tim Albin earned his first win at the helm in enemy territory.
Here are The Post’s fast reactions to Ohio’s win against Akron:
Improvement in the front seven
Ohio’s run defense was one of its biggest weaknesses in its first four games, allowing an average of 283.5 yards per game before Saturday.
While they weren’t perfect, the Bobcats showed significant improvement in stopping the run Saturday. They held the Zips to sufficiently low rush yardage, including just four in the first quarter. Dual-threat quarterback DJ Irons was forced to rely mostly on his arm and was frequently sacked and pressured, led by a tandem of Bryce Houston, Cannon Blauser and Will Evans. The rest of Akron’s running back corps failed to find much daylight thanks to strong tackling and stuffing the line of scrimmage on Ohio’s part.
Untimely penalties were another common mistake that often held Ohio back in its losses. Against Akron, it won the penalty battle.
The Bobcats committed only two penalties for 20 yards on Saturday, beating out the Zips’ six penalties for 65 yards. Ohio proved it can replicate the clean play it demonstrated against Syracuse in Week 1, and it will rest easier knowing it didn’t shoot itself in the foot with avoidable penalties.
Getting it done on the ground
Ohio finally found success in the run game that it prides itself on, gaining over 300 yards against Akron.
De’Montre Tuggle got the most carries and looked the best he’s had all season. He consistently found holes through Akron’s defense and was a reliable force in getting the Bobcats down the field. His best run of the game was a 63-yard carry down Akron’s right sideline to bring the Bobcats to the Zips’ 24-yard line, and he later rushed in for a late touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Armani Rogers — known for his rushing skills — took the reigns in the second half, helping lead Ohio down the field with his legs and rushing in for two touchdowns.