Football: Ohio's fumble recovery helps seal game

 

Bradd Ellis celebrates with his team after his pick six during Ohio’s game against Eastern Michigan on Sept. 23. (FILE)

 

BOWLING GREEN – Quentin Poling knocked the ball out of James Morgan’s grasp. Then cornerback Bradd Ellis knocked it out again.

Ellis was given the fumble recovery on the stat sheet, but he won’t take credit for it. Until Poling told him that defensive end Trent Smart recovered the ball, Ellis didn’t know who made the play.

He just knew that Ohio had turned the momentum in its favor.

The Bobcats had prime field position in the fourth quarter, the ball spotted at the Falcons’ 20-yard line. A.J. Ouellette scored a touchdown, and the Bobcats took the lead.

The Falcons scored a touchdown after that, but the Bobcats maintained the lead Saturday and won 48-30 in Doyt L. Perry Stadium.

“I just knocked it loose again and then I’m on top of the pile, and the whole (offensive line) is on top of me,” Ellis said. “About 1,200 pounds, I don’t want to do that anymore.”

Before Poling and Ellis helped swing momentum toward the Bobcats, the defense struggled to defend the Falcons’ rushing attack.

The Falcons had 184 rushing yards at the half. Their elusive backs, Andrew Clair and Josh Cleveland, regularly ran through the second level of Ohio’s defense.

But in the second half, Ohio held Bowling Green to 45 rushing yards. The Bobcats figured the Falcons’ run game out later, and, at that point, the Falcons — a team that relied on its deft backs in the first half — had lost the game.

“As players, coaches, we just need to do a better job of figuring it out early,” Poling said.

Had the Ohio figured out the Bowling Green offense earlier, it would have won the game with ease.

Bowling Green was ready to win again after last week’s upset over Miami, and gave Ohio (5-2, 2-1 Mid-American Conference) a second conference loss on the season.

But the Bobcats made the necessary adjustments on defense to win.

“They gave us their best shot,” Ellis said.

Along with the fumble Poling forced, the Bobcats forced three other turnovers: one was another fumble, and two were interceptions, including one Ellis returned for a touchdown in the second quarter.

Creating more turnovers — something the Bobcats hadn’t done much before playing the Falcons — was a point of emphasis. Bowling Green was ranked No. 2 in the MAC for turnover margin before Saturday.

Aside from being 16 yards away from allowing 200 rushing yards in the first half, the Bobcats’ defense showed its resiliency. It wasn’t going to let the Falcons finish what they had fought for.

“It’s good for morale, good esteem,” Poling said. “We just need to keep proving to ourselves we can do it.”

 

 

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