Football: Ohio's defense experiences fatigue as it falls in season-opener against Texas State

 

Ohio defensive lineman Tarell Basham tries to get to Texas State quarterback Tyler Jones during its game on Saturday. Ohio lost 56-54 in triple overtime to Texas State. (FILE)

Free safety Kylan Nelson didn’t want to admit that Ohio’s defense was tired; but he had to.

The defense experiencing fatigue was inevitable in a triple overtime game in which Ohio allowed 546 total yards. That led to Ohio losing its season opener to Texas State on Saturday, 56-54.

“I hate to say it, but I think we just got a little tired,” Nelson said. “I really hate to say it. I thought we were in pretty good condition. We went quite a while. I thought we executed pretty well for the most part.”

Ohio does all it can to stay conditioned, whether it’s drinking water during meetings or even practicing in the heat.

“I don’t feel like we weren’t conditioned to play the game today,” Ohio Coach Frank Solich said.

Despite the defense’s fatigue, Nelson was one of the playmakers on defense for Ohio, picking up two interceptions during the game.

Nelson said he was cramping up during the game, yet he didn’t know why.

“Including myself, we had guys who this was kind of like their first game in a long time, or ever,” Nelson said.

Last season he had a hip injury, which caused him to take a redshirt year.

Ohio had many newcomers on defense, particularly within its secondary. Cornerbacks Mayne Williams and London Miller were seeing their first minutes on the field for Ohio. Cornerback Randy Stites and free safety Bo Hardy were seeing their first minutes in new positions; Stites formerly played wide receiver, and Hardy played running back for Ohio.

Ohio gave up 440 passing yards, allowing Texas State to make any play it wanted to, especially down the stretch.

Texas State’s fast-paced offense lived up to the hype running 98 plays. But a double pass that put them up 56-48 in triple overtime pushed Ohio’s defense to its tipping point.

“We knew trick plays were going to come, just didn’t know when,” Nelson said. “Like I said earlier, I hate to say it, but they just got us on that one. It’s sickening.”

On average, Ohio gave up 377.7 yards per game last season. Giving up 546 yards to a team that averaged 416.7 yards per game last season could be sickening, especially since Ohio was fourth in the Mid-American Conference in points allowed per game (25.3) last season.

Nonetheless, the tough loss is something Ohio can learn from.

“Obviously there’s a lot of things to look at, a lot of things to study, lot of things to see that we could have done better,” Solich said. “Hopefully we’re a smart football team and we’ll learn from this.”

@CameronFields

cf710614@ohio.edu

 

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