TUCSON, Arizona– Ohio played its final game of the season Friday, and it savored every last second.
The Bobcats came back from behind three times to beat the Cowboys 30-27 in overtime at the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl. The game was close for all four quarters, but the Bobcats barely faltered. They were in the zone until time ran out.
When Wyoming marched downfield with a 40-yard run and scored a touchdown on its first drive, Ohio answered on its first drive. A targeting penalty called on Wyoming's Kolbey Taylor gave Ohio a first down and set it up to score on a 34-yard pass from quarterback C.J. Harris to Jacoby Jones.
"We knew that they ran a lot of man and one on one," Harris said. "We knew that our one-on-one guys were going to win those situations.I just saw Jacoby one on one and (thought) 'I just got to give him a shot' and (he) came down with it."
Harris and the Bobcats made many big plays against the Cowboys, something they struggled to do on Dec. 3 in the Mid-American Conference Championship. 103 of their 184 passing yards came on plays that were 15 yards or more, and 114 of their 201 rushing yards came on gains of 10 yards or more.
After the touchdown, the Bobcats made the gutsy decision to go for two. They'd thought about the play multiple times this season, but were waiting for the right look.
The Bobcats got the look Friday, and it paid off.
"There's a lot of things that go into that, but running it at the right time is very critical, and it worked out for us," Ohio coach Tim Albin said.
The two-point conversion gave Ohio its first lead and was part of the reason why it was able to stay in the game. After Sam Wiglusz muffed a punt to put Wyoming back in the red zone and score another touchdown, Ohio was much better off because of the two-point conversion.
Another reason why Ohio was able to play so close to Wyoming was, once again, because of its defense. It made important stops at all the right times, including two sacks on third down that forced Wyoming to punt.
The Cowboys were only 2-for-7 on third downs in the second half. Meanwhile, the Bobcats were 4-for-9. That's still 44%, but it gave them the edge.
Every play, yard and second mattered Friday, as it took a 56-yard field goal from Nathanial Vakos with four seconds left to send the game into overtime.
The defense earned another huge stop, forcing Wyoming to settle for a field goal on its first possession in overtime.
The Bobcats finished the game as they started it, and with a complete 10-yard pass, this time to Tyler Foster, in the back of the end zone. They won their fourth-straight bowl game and earned the fourth 10-win season in program history.
Albin has said all season that his team takes each game as they come. In Tucson, the Bobcats took each play one by one as well. The player who did this especially well was Harris, who won the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl MVP award.
"I'm very proud to be able to go out there and do it for this team," Harris said.
It was almost the perfect end of the season for the Bobcats, who have shattered expectations this season. They didn't get their win in the MAC Championship, but they got a well-deserved win in their bowl game Friday.