Football: Ohio looks to continue solid play in the MAC as it prepares for Eastern Michigan

 

Ohio’s Greg Windham runs the ball down the field during a game against Bowling Green at Peden Stadium on Saturday. (FILE)

For Ohio, beating conference rival Bowling Green was relieving.

The Bobcats beat the Falcons 30-24 last Saturday.

Now, the Bobcats have another challenge –– and it’s equally as important.

Ohio’s next opponent will be Eastern Michigan (4-2, 1-1 Mid-American Conference), a team that is similar to Ohio in its toughness. The Bobcats will play the Eagles at 2 p.m. at Peden Stadium.

“They’re not the old Eastern Michigan at all,” running back Bo Hardy said.

No, Eastern Michigan isn’t at the bottom of the conference anymore. Despite being ranked No. 3 in the MAC West division, it is one of four teams in the conference that is two games above .500.

Hardy said the Eagles have one of the better defenses the Bobcats have played against, but he still thinks the Ohio (4-2, 2-0 MAC) offense will be able to execute well.

The Bobcats offense has the potential to be overlooked due to its lack of consistency. But with most of Ohio’s running backs coming back from injury –– with the exception of week one starter A.J. Ouellette –– the offense should be efficient and methodical.

“It’s always good when you have the guys that can execute at a high level and can kind of put the defense on their heels,” Hardy said. “With Papi (White), he kind of likes to split out a little bit, which kind of changes up our offense.”

With Ohio’s offense getting back to full strength, the return of the running backs could be beneficial for the Bobcats as they continue conference play.

And as for the defense? Well, it just plans on continuing to do what it has done for the offense: get the ball back.

“Really, I’m not too worried about the offense, I know they’re going to take care of their business,” cornerback Mayne Williams said. “Really, I’m worried about the defense. No matter what the offense does we gotta pick those guys up.”

Ohio’s defense is one of the best in the MAC, leading the conference in interceptions (nine), turnovers (16) and it is No. 4 in points allowed per game with 26.2. The Bobcats also lead the nation in sacks with 25.

The Bobcats did their customary after-practice huddle Wednesday, kneeling as an energetic Greg Windham gave the team a reminder: don’t get lazy.

Ohio lacked energy at Wednesday’s practice, not finishing warmups well and struggling to focus.

But the Bobcats don’t have time to lack energy, especially when being energetic is one of their best qualities.

“We’re trying to think about the bigger goal, which is to win the MAC championship,” Hardy said. “Greg was talking about (how) we gotta take it one week at a time, we gotta be 1-0 each week and he just wants us to execute at a high level.”

 

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