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Ohio University Redshirt Freshman, Will Kacmarek (87) catches the ball and runs for a big gain agianst Buffalo at Pedan Stadium on November 1, 2022.

Football Column: Ohio played its most complete game at the perfect time

Despite the fact that Ohio was 5-3 overall and 3-1 in the Mid-American Conference heading into Tuesday’s game against Buffalo, it had not authored a complete performance yet this season.

In its first win, Ohio allowed Florida Atlantic back into a game that should have been won easily and only ended up hanging on for a three-point win. Then it played two poor games in blowout losses to Penn State and Iowa State and finished its non-conference schedule by allowing 52 points to Football Championship Subdivision Fordham.

When MAC play started, Ohio still had questions to answer. It allowed 736 yards of offense to Kent State, gave up 34 points to an Akron team that is one of the worst in the Football Bowl Subdivision and then saw its offense, one of the best in the MAC through six games, put up a couple of disappointing performances in wins over Western Michigan and Northern Illinois.

In every game so far this season, there has been at least one major hole in Ohio’s performances, but that all changed against Buffalo.

The offense, outside a pair of drives on either side of halftime, was fantastic. It was a return to form for the Bobcats. They scored 45 points thanks to a rebound game from quarterback Kurtis Rourke, and a passing attack that continues to dice through MAC defenses. Ohio ranks first in the conference in yards per play, yards per game and passing yards, and second in passing touchdowns.

However, Ohio’s defense put up the most impressive performance Tuesday. Buffalo scored 24 points, which may not seem that low until you take a closer look at how those points were scored.

Seven of them came on a pick six, so Ohio’s defense actually only allowed 17 points. A second touchdown came after a shanked punt at the end of the first half that gave Buffalo the ball on the Ohio 35-yard line.

Buffalo’s third and final touchdown of the night came after a Julian Ross fumble gave it the ball on its own 44, which means that Buffalo’s two touchdown drives totalled just 91 combined yards.

Additionally, prior to a 78-yard Buffalo drive in the fourth quarter that ended in a fumble once the game was already out of hand, Ohio only allowed 182 yards.

A quick look at the score might not suggest it, but Tuesday was an absolutely dominant performance from the defense, who also forced three turnovers and sacked Buffalo quarterback Cole Snyder six times.

The only phase that might warrant some criticism is the special teams unit, mostly due to the shanked punt in the second quarter. But they also made plenty of plays, as punter Jack Wilson had two punts downed inside the 20, one of them inside the five. In addition, kicker Nathanial Vakos continued his excellent season, hitting all seven of his kicks.

All three parts of Ohio’s roster had shown, at different times this season, that they were capable of excellence. But on Tuesday night, they all did it in the same game for the first time this season.

After the win, Ohio sits in first place in the MAC East and controls its own destiny for a spot in the MAC Championship game. After each game this season, there have been questions about Ohio, but they were all answered on Tuesday.


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