Ohio’s 27-26 loss to Buffalo on Saturday began with promise and ended in disaster. It failed to reach the end zone in the final three quarters while Buffalo’s offense marched downfield and scored often.
Sure, the Bobcats started the game by scoring touchdowns on their first three drives, and quarterback Armani Rogers scored one of those touchdowns on a 99-yard run. But three good drives don’t make up for three quarters of hushed offense. In addition, the defense allowed the Bulls to play catch-up and score a game-winning field goal.
Here are the standout performances from Saturday and what they mean for Ohio going forward:
The redshirt freshman has become a frequent sight on the field this season. Parodie has appeared in every game since Ohio’s loss to Duquesne and shows promise in a young cornerbacks room.
Parodie notched his first career interception against the Bulls, picking off quarterback Kyle Vantrease in the first quarter and getting the Bobcats offense back on the field after just two minutes of game time. The Bobcats have struggled to get interceptions this year — recording four through seven games — but Parodie helped bolster those numbers Saturday.
Ohio’s linebacker corps has been one of the definitive units on defense this season. Against Buffalo, four of Ohio’s top tacklers were linebackers. Bryce Houston, Cannon Blauser, Jeremiah Wood and Jack McCrory combined for 33 total tackles and two tackles for a loss of three yards.
Houston set a new career-high in tackles against the Bulls, recording 15 total tackles and a tackle for loss. Houston is the crux of the Bobcats linebacker corps this season, and he leads the team in tackles. Combined with fellow starter Cannon Blauser, the redshirt junior is a dominant force among the front seven.
The Bobcats started off so well. They came out swinging and scored touchdowns on their first three drives Saturday to end the first quarter with a 21-0 lead. Rogers even set the record for the longest rushing touchdown made by a quarterback in Football Bowl Subdivision history after pulling out a 99-yard run.
But the offense burned out as quickly as it ignited. Ohio didn’t score again until Stephen Johnson kicked a 33-yard field goal in the third quarter, and it never scored a touchdown after its third drive of the game.
Ohio ran up the score early, but it wasn’t able to sustain that production through even the first half. It ranks 11th in the MAC for scoring offense, averaging 20.3 points per game. If Ohio wants to improve during the last half of its regular season, it needs to have a consistent and reliable scoring offense.
Rogers’ passing took a step back Saturday. The redshirt fifth year passed for just 75 yards on 10 attempts while Ohio leaned back on its run game to drive the offense downfield.
The quarterback isn’t entirely to blame. The Bulls’ pass rush often overwhelmed the offensive line Saturday, which frequently put Rogers under pressure. He was only sacked once, but Rogers more often than not lacked ample protection while in the pocket.
Rogers is capable of posing a threat in the air as much as on the ground. He showed that potential in Ohio’s loss to Central Michigan when he passed for 190 yards. But Rogers can’t pass if he’s under pressure while trying to make a decision.