Ohio is coming off a close loss to Mid-American Conference opponent Central Michigan.
The Bobcats had played even with the Chippewas for much of the game Saturday, but they failed to respond to a late touchdown reception by Kalil Pimpleton and lost 30-27. With the loss, the Bobcats have fallen to a 1-5 record overall and 1-1 in their conference schedule.
After one matchup at Peden Stadium following three consecutive games on the road, Ohio will travel again in Week 7, this time to face MAC East opponent Buffalo (2-4, 0-2 MAC).
The Bulls have yet to beat a conference opponent this season but have proven to be capable of holding their own, such as when they lost to then-No. 16 Coastal Carolina by just three points.
Ohio coach Tim Albin addressed the media Monday to discuss Ohio’s loss to Central Michigan, its upcoming game against Buffalo and how it can adjust going forward. Here’s what The Post learned from Albin’s seventh weekly press conference:
Similar looks on defense
Albin pointed out similarities between Buffalo and Central Michigan’s defense in terms of players on the defensive line and the teams’ nickel packages.
“There’ll be a lot of similarities for our guys up front,” Albin said. “There’s going to be some good carryover going into the Buffalo game.”
The Bulls boast defensive talents such as linebacker James Patterson, defensive end Taylor Riggins and defensive tackle George Wolo. Much like the plan going into the game against the Chippewas, Albin knows the Bobcats offense can’t be one-dimensional and rely too heavily on the run game. The Bobcats need to keep the Bulls defense off balance with effective passing.
Running back depth
One thing Ohio and Buffalo have in common is depth in the running backs room.
Four running backs have taken carries for the Bobcats this season. De’Montre Tuggle and O’Shaan Allison have received the majority of snaps thus far, but Jake Neatherton and Sieh Bangura both received significant time against the Chippewas.
Bangura had arguably Ohio’s biggest play against Central Michigan when he ran for a 40-yard touchdown on his first career carry.
Buffalo has a deep pool of rushers itself. Kevin Marks, Dylan McDuffie and Ron Cook all have over 300 rushing yards on the season, and Marks and McDuffie have both recorded five touchdowns apiece. Albin recognized the style of the Bulls’ run game and compared it to the Bobcats’ own run-heavy offense.
“I compare their style and identity like I do ours,” Albin said.
Man coverage and secondary
Albin said Ohio played more man coverage against Central Michigan than it did against Akron a week prior. Even though Ohio progressed by containing running back Lew Nichols in the second half, not every play went its way. Central Michigan made big receptions in the final two quarters that paved the way for Ohio’s fifth loss of the season. Albin wants the cornerbacks to have a “short memory” and move onto the next play.
“We’re going to play aggressive back there,” Albin said. “We’re going to play man coverage. We’re going to have a pass interference from time to time. You just can’t have four of them like we did versus Duquesne.”
Tariq Drake was one of Ohio’s biggest contributors to the secondary Saturday. The safety picked off Central Michigan quarterback Daniel Richardson twice, thanks to his speed and range. His ball hawking came in handy while the secondary was missing contributors like fellow safety Michael Ballentine, who exited in the third quarter due to an injury.
Hot hand at quarterback
Saturday was the first time all season Ohio had one quarterback under center for an entire game. Armani Rogers, in his first start for Ohio, continued with a full-time signal calling role after playing the entirety of the second half against Akron.
Albin said Rogers earned the start due to the production he brings on offense but also said fellow quarterback Kurtis Rourke will also be receiving reps in practice. Albin believes utilizing both quarterbacks gives Ohio its best chance to win.
“It’s kind of like what we’ve done at running back,” Albin said. “You know, who gets hot: De’Montre’s been hot before, O’Shaan’s been hot before, A.J. Ouellette’s been hot before.”