Ohio has five games remaining in its regular season schedule. After losing a 27-26 heartbreaker to Buffalo and falling to 1-2 in Mid-American Conference play, the Bobcats’ room for error is slim if they want to qualify for the MAC East division title or a bowl game.
In its last Saturday game of the regular season, Ohio will host Kent State (3-4, 2-1 MAC). Despite coming off a 64-31 loss to Western Michigan, Kent State sits at the top of the MAC East standings heading into Week 8 and boasts the best total offense in the conference. Its total defense, on the other hand, is ranked last in the MAC, which could give Ohio’s offense the opportunities needed to sustain drives.
Ohio coach Tim Albin addressed the media Monday to discuss Ohio’s loss to Buffalo, its upcoming game against Kent State and what it needs to bring Saturday to stop a robust opposition. Here’s what The Post learned from Albin’s eighth weekly press conference:
Offense revolves around Crum
Kent State quarterback Dustin Crum will be one of the most dangerous signal callers Ohio takes on this season. Ahead of Saturday, he’s completed 58.7% of his passes for 1,513 yards, eight touchdowns and has been intercepted just twice.
Albin recognized Crum’s ability to perform in a run-pass option offense to complete his throws.
“He has been lights out with the passes under 10 yards,” Albin said. “And then he can create with his feet.”
Albin made note of Western Michigan’s ability to shut down Crum with its pass rush. Crum was sacked five times against the Broncos, three of which occurred in the third quarter. Albin cited Western Michigan’s successful pressure on Crum as the primary difference maker in its win.
Get the ball in the air
Ohio relied heavily on its run game against Buffalo, recording 271 yards on the ground compared to just 75 yards passing from quarterback Armani Rogers. The Bobcats have enough rushing talent and a strong offensive line to be able to lean on their run game, and the strong winds at UB Stadium played a factor in limiting passing Saturday. Regardless, Albin doesn’t want Ohio to be as one-dimensional against Kent State.
“I think that we have to get the ball in the air more than what we did against Buffalo,” Albin said. “As an offense, we’ve got to give our guys more opportunities to keep it more balanced.”
Ohio mixed its run and pass games efficiently against Central Michigan on Oct. 9. Rogers’ 190 passing yards were almost matched by the team’s 179 combined rushing yards. Going forward, Albin wants to see similar success from both elements of the Bobcats offense.
Keeping production alive on offense
The Bobcats scored touchdowns on each of their first three drives against the Bulls. After that, all their offense could muster was a field goal in the third quarter. However, the minimal scoring didn’t arise from a lack of opportunities.
The third-quarter field goal could have been a touchdown, had Rogers’ pass to Ryan Luehrman not been voided due to a pass interference penalty. The Bobcats fumbled on two consecutive plays in the fourth quarter, and the latter was recovered by Buffalo. Running back Sieh Bangura was stopped a yard short of converting on third down during the Bobcats’ final drive.
Albin wants Rogers to have a cleaner pocket going forward so that he has the option to go to his second read and help the offense produce.
“Offensively, we’ve got to protect our quarterback better,” Albin said. “Armani did an unbelievable job on getting some balls off under some extreme distress up front.”
Praise for Parodie
Despite missing players due to •injury, members of Ohio’s secondary have stepped up week after week. In the loss to Central Michigan, safety Tariq Drake picked off quarterback Daniel Richardson twice. Against Buffalo, cornerback Roman Parodie had his turn in the spotlight.
The redshirt freshman recorded his first career interception in the opening quarter against the Bulls and has participated in every game this season since Ohio’s loss to Duquesne in Week 2. Albin anticipates Parodie will be a vital asset on Ohio’s defense as he develops.
“I’m very excited about his future,” Albin said. “He’s got length, he’s got a great smile and he’s got a great personality. I think he’s a student of the game. It’s important to him. He really works on his technique.”