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Grant Traylor: Bobcats struggle on 3rd down

Sep. 13, 2013 @ 12:37 AM

In looking at Ohio's offense this season, the numbers just don't really add up.

The Bobcats have continued their offensive balance at a pretty good clip, amassing 357 yards per game with 142 on the ground and 215 coming through the air.

Yet, the Bobcats only have three offensive touchdowns on the season to show for their efforts.

Marshall coach Doc Holliday offered a pointed answer when asked about what Ohio's struggles might be.

"One of their biggest struggles was playing a great football team in Louisville to open the season," Holliday said. "When they had to find a way to get it done last week against North Texas, (Ohio quarterback Tyler) Tettleton found a way to get it done for them."

On that note, Holliday is exactly right.

Tettleton found a way to engineer two lengthy scoring drives in the final 10 minutes that led to a pair of field goals which proved to be the difference in last week's 27-21 win over North Texas.

However, other than those two drives, the Bobcats had stalled out in the middle of the home opener against the Mean Green.

Ohio led 21-7 at the break, but that was attributed to Jovon Johnson's interception return for a score early in the second quarter.

The problem for the Bobcats has been converting third downs.

In two games, Ohio has converted just 10 of 29 third-down opportunities -- a 34.5 percent conversion rate that ranks 89th nationally.

And the struggles weren't just against Louisville, either.

Ohio was 5 of 15 against the Cardinals, but followed it with a 5 of 14 performance against North Texas last week.

On the other side of the football, Marshall struggled mightily in getting third-down stops a year ago -- a fact that was never more evident than the loss to Ohio when the Bobcats went 10 of 20 on third down.

Marshall has done much better this year on third-down defense, allowing opponents to convert only five of 26 attempts on the season -- a 19 percent conversion rate that ranks seventh nationally.

THUNDER IN THE MOUNTAINS: Marshall University Alumni Association and the Big Green Scholarship Foundation are hosting an event-filled weekend on the road for next week's Virginia Tech matchup.

On Friday, Sept. 20, the day starts with a superball golf tournament, which tees off at noon at Draper Valley Golf Course. Cost is $300 per team and the tournament is limited to 20 teams. Registration starts at 11 a.m. and patrons get free drinks and snacks.

Following golf, there will be a Marshall University Fan Party at Macado's in Radford, Va., from 6 p.m. until closing. There will be music, dancing, food and beverages.

Other Friday events include a wine tasting at Attimo Winery, located in Christiansburg, Va., for $10 per person and a Day Spa event at Body Balance Spa in Blacksburg, Va.

The signature event will be a Saturday, Sept. 21, tailgate party, which gets started at 10 a.m. on the tennis court beside Cassell Coliseum. Tickets are $25 and include two drink tickets.

For more information, contact the Marshall University Alumni Association at 304-696-2901.

Grant Traylor covers Marshall football for The Herald-Dispatch. He can be reached by E-mail at gtraylor@herald-dispatch.com or by phone at (304) 526-2860. Follow him on Twitter (@GrantTraylor).



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