Football: Ohio ready for challenge against No. 15 Tennessee

Football: Ohio ready for challenge against No. 15 Tennessee


Quarterback Greg Windham hands the ball off to Dorian Brown during a game against Texas State at Peden Stadium on Sept. 3. (FILE)


Wednesday afternoon, rap songs such as Desiigner’s “Panda” and Drake and Future’s “Jumpman” echoed around Peden Stadium.

The reasoning?

Ohio (1-1) wanted noise, and a lot of it, as it prepares to play at No. 15 Tennessee (2-0) on Saturday afternoon. Neyland Stadium, where Tennessee plays, is the nation’s fifth-largest college football stadium and can hold over 102,000 people.

Expecting Saturday to bring noise, the Bobcats brought in a DJ — Athens-based Aaron Thomas, known as DJ A-roc — who provided the music for free for a second straight year.

“We’re just trying to get adjusted to get a feel for what it is to feel like playing in front of 100,000 people,” running back Maleek Irons said.

And with the stadium’s physical size also comes its ability to get noisy. Tennessee fans broke the record last season for the loudestdecibel ever recorded at Neyland.

Ohio is coming off a 37-21 win against Kansas, a much needed confidence booster from its Week 1 triple-overtime loss against Texas State.

Playing against a Southeastern Conference team that has two potential 2017 NFL Draft first-round draft picks on its offense isn’t scaring Ohio off.

It’s making them giddy for a potential upset.

“You beat a No. 15 team, you’re doing something right,” cornerback London Miller said. “We trying to beat the best, and you are the best once you beat the best.”

And what if the Bobcats do beat the No. 15 team in the country?

“We can’t lose to nobody,” Miller said. “We won’t lose to nobody else after that.”

Led by running back Jalen Hurd, Tennessee’s run-heavy offense has given its first two opponents — Appalachian State and Virginia Tech — fits. In its first two games, Tennessee has run for 366 yards, and it has thrown for 283 yards.

Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs will also be tough for Ohio’s defense to contain. Dobbs is a dual-threat quarterback, and looks to beat teams with his throwing and running abilities.

The Bobcats aren’t worried about the Volunteers rushing attack, however, as they have allowed 66 rushing yards per game this season.

“We got a great D-line and great (linebackers),” Miller said. “I’m not even worried about that to be honest.”

Ohio held Kansas to 1.7 yards per rush in last Saturday’s game, and it held Texas State to 2.5 yards per rush.

The Bobcats practiced Wednesday with the live DJ, but the music at Peden won’t compare to the noise at Neyland.

But for someone like Miller, a junior college transfer from Mt. San Jacinto College (San Jacinto, California), having his team play in front of 100,000 people will mean a lot; Miller, however, won’t be able to play because of a tendonitis injury.

“It means a lot, especially coming from a junior college,” Miller said. “You go from playing in front of maybe 20 people, and that’s all friends and family. And then you go, you know this is the biggest stage there is, you playing in front of 100,000 people.”



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