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Vonnie Watkins (17) DE position on Ohio University's Football team runs back to the sideline at Peden Stadium in Athens Ohio, Octo. 28, 2023

Football: Penalties, run game inefficiency cost Ohio the Battle of the Bricks

Ohio (6-3, 3-2 Mid-American Conference) couldn't have asked for a better start in its 30-16 loss against Miami, but by the end of the game made too many mistakes to have a chance to win the game.

According to Ohio Coach Tim Albin, not one of Ohio's singular mistakes cost Ohio the game. In reality, Ohio's inability to run the ball combined with the mistakes Ohio made with penalties on both sides of the ball, made sure the outcome was all but decided early in the fourth quarter.

Ohio's initial troubles started when the team committed back-to-back penalties on its fourth drive of the game to bring up a 1st-and-25 situation. Needing too many yards to move the chains, Ohio started a streak of scoreless drives that lasted until the fourth quarter.

"There were the two best defenses in the league that were out there tonight and we're not going to be able to have that many penalties," Albin said. "I think we had four false starts... and the holding piece of that, so again it's very difficult when you're playing a great defense to have those mistakes."

Despite all of the struggles Ohio's offense had in the second and third quarters, Ohio's defense had held up well enough to give the team a chance in the second half. That was until Ohio's defense committed a pass interference penalty and roughing the passer penalty on third and sixth to give Miami a fresh set of downs. After a long run from Rashad Amos, Ohio committed another roughing of the passer penalty just two plays later leading to a Miami touchdown.

"It's always frustrating to do penalties," Ohio Linebacker Bryce Houston said. "It's just little discipline things that we have to be able to correct and be able to work on in order to make those penalties go away."

Possibly the most frustrating of Ohio's penalties came on a fourth and 1 penalty with 6:56 to go in the game. Ohio finally grabbed momentum having ended Miami's 30-0 scoring run and seemingly forced a punt after stopping Miami short of the sticks on third and 2. However, Ohio jumped offside and kept Miami's drive alive. The Redhawks only gave the Bobcats the ball back with 33 seconds to go in the game.

As much as Ohio's penalties put it in third-and-long situations, the team still had third and short opportunities but failed to convert. On its second series out of halftime, O'Shaan Allison was tackled at the line of scrimmage on third and 1, forcing the team to punt.

Ohio's next offensive drive was derailed by more struggles on both third and fourth and short situations. After a Kurtis Rourke eight-yard run on 2nd-and-10, Ohio needed two yards in two plays to move the chains. Sieh Bangura only managed one yard on third down while Rourke was tackled for a loss of five yards on fourth down.

According to Albin, Ohio's struggles in short-yardage situations had to do with vertical distortion from Miami.

"We just didn't get enough push, and it's a momentum killer," Albin said. "The fourth down... we were just not able to convert. It takes a lot of wind out of your sails. It's like they had the perfect defense called, there's physical matchups in there and they got vertical distortion."


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