Ohio’s Greg Windham runs the ball around Gardner-Webb’s Devin Mines during a game at Peden Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Ohio got a much needed win against Gardner-Webb Saturday, winning 37-21. The Bobcats’ offense dominated, totaling 517 yards. The team hasn’t tallied that many yards since getting 630 yards against Texas State.
With Ohio’s red zone offense showing improvement – it scored five touchdowns in the red zone – Ohio should be confident as it prepares for Mid-American Conference play.
Ohio’s first MAC opponent will be rival Miami, and the Bobcats will play the RedHawks next Saturday at 2 p.m.
Ohio’s running back depth is depleted, but Bo Hardy doesn’t care
Heading into its game against Gardner-Webb, Ohio was without three running backs in A.J. Ouellette, Dorian Brown and Maleek Irons. Freshman walk on Vinny Emanuele saw more carries, and Papi White was used more in the backfield.
Both Emanuele and White, however, suffered injuries, leaving free safety Bo Hardy to take carries. Hardy led the team in rushing, picking up 65 yards in his debut for the Bobcats.
Hardy, who was initially a running back for Ohio, made the switch to free safety this season. But with Ohio needing someone to fill the backfield, Hardy is more than willing to provide.
Hardy said he’s ready to do whatever the coaching staff asks of him, whether it’s playing safety or playing running back.
“It feels good to feel like I have my teammates’ back,” Hardy said. “To know that they can count on me if someone goes down, it feels pretty good.”
Quinton Maxwell provides depth at QB position
Before Saturday’s game, backup quarterback Quinton Maxwell hadn’t played a down for the Bobcats.
But in the second quarter with Ohio up 14-7, Maxwell got his first snaps for Ohio. He didn’t disappoint, throwing two touchdowns on his first two career drives.
“After I got the jitters out, it felt pretty good,” Maxwell said. “It’s a feeling, and something I won’t ever forget.”
Maxwell’s first touchdown was a 17-yard throw to wide receiver Sebastian Smith, and his second was a 13-yard pass to Kyle Belack.
With Maxwell showing his ability to be comfortable in the pocket, the Bobcats know they have a viable option for their No. 2 quarterback.
“I think we can have some depth at that spot (quarterback),” coach Frank Solich said. “I think that’s somewhat proven today. Maxwell has been a guy who has responded well to pressure.”
Sebastian Smith is Ohio’s best player
Sebastian Smith is going to make plays – it’s just a question of how he will do them.
Smith, a wide receiver for Ohio, is arguably the team’s best player. Smith led the team in receiving yards, picking up 108. It was also his first game in which he scored two touchdowns.
This was Smith’s second-straight game picking up over 100 receiving yards, as he totaled 156 at Tennessee. Smith is set on picking up over 100 receiving yards against Miami, too.
“I hope to do that,” Smith said. “I really hope to do that. I’m going to work to do that.”
Smith is one of Ohio’s premier weapons on offense, and if he continues to play like he has, Ohio’s offense should be in decent shape for the rest of the season.