Fans take a selfie before kickoff against Texas State in Peden Stadium on Sept. 3.
DETROIT — Ohio (8-4, 6-2 Mid-American Conference) was a 17-point underdog heading into the MAC Championship Game against Western Michigan (12-0, 8-0 MAC).
But some Ohio students, who traveled from Athens to Detroit, were more than optimistic about the Bobcats defeating the Broncos.
“Game-winning field goal, Louie Zervos,” Daniel Ambrozy, a freshman studying chemical engineering, said for a game prediction. “Walk off in the final seconds.”
Ohio University provided five buses for students to travel to the game. The bus ride was approximately 4.5 hours, and even with finals coming next week, students wanted to show their support.
Caleb Saunders, a freshman studying mechanical engineering, is friends with offensive lineman Adam Notestine and Zervos, and he sits next to Notestine in a calculus class.
“I want nothing more for them to succeed here,” Saunders said.
Ohio hasn’t played in a MAC Championship Game since 2011, losing to Northern Illinois 23-20.
With the Bobcats returning to the MAC Championship, students are enthusiastic about the team’s chance to win the championship.
“It’s kind of what I had in mind when I came here because I knew the sporting teams were really good,” Michael Chaney, a freshman studying sport management, said.
Though Ohio is playing in its first conference championship game in five years, it will have its greatest test against Western Michigan. The Broncos are the only undefeated team in the FBS other than Alabama.
How much offense Ohio can produce will be the deciding factor – its defense is one the best in the MAC, ranking No. 2 in points allowed per game (21.7) behind Western Michigan.
“I think Ohio’s got a really good shot at pulling off the upset tonight,” Chaney said. “Everybody wants to talk about Western Michigan, but nobody’s talking about Ohio at all.”
So, what if Ohio pulls off the upset? What if the Bobcats reach the top of the MAC, something they haven’t done since 1968?
“We are rushing the field,” Saunders said. “Call ESPN right now, upset alert.”