College Football News Preview 2021: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Ohio season with what you need to know.
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players | Keys To The Season
– What Will Happen, Win Total Prediction
– Ohio Bobcats Schedule Analysis
– Ohio Bobcats Previews
2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015
Ohio Bobcats College Football Preview 2021: Offense
– It’s not like the Bobcats had a ton of time to work. They only played three games, but they were a strong three offensive performances. With that said, two of the games were against Akron and Bowling Green – you and a few good friends could crank up 300 yards against those two last year.
Nine starters are back for a team that you know what it’ll do. It’s Ohio. It’ll be solid, the running game will work, and the passing attack will be efficient.
– There are two excellent quarterback options who can both move. Kurtis Rourke – former Ohio star Nathan’s brother – did more with the passing game last season, but former UNLV super-recruit Armani Rogers was better for the ground attack. They’ll both get plenty of work behind a solid line that gets back four starters but loses all-star center Brett Kitrell.
– The receiving corps will be more than fine. Isiah Cox is a big play threat who averaged over 20 yards per catch on his seven grabs – he led the team in 2019, too, averaging 17 yards per catch – and the rest of the group is just fine despite losing big-time playmaker Shane Hooks to Deion Sanders and Jackson State.
The tight end combination of brothers Adam and Ryan Luehrman can both play.
The running back situation is even better with the 1-2 punch of De’Montre Tuggle and O’Shaan Allison. They’re both around the same size and can each bring the burst, but Tuggle is the star of the show. The quarterbacks are a big part of the fun, too.
NEXT: Ohio Bobcats College Football Preview 2021: Defense
4. Ohio Bobcats College Football Preview 2021: Defense
– Like the offensive side, there’s a big “yeah … but … ” to the great defensive performance of 2020. There were only three games and playing Akron and Bowling Green would make any D look great.
However, there really is talent on this group to go along with a whole bunch of experience. There needs to be a pass rush, though, after coming up with just four sacks in the three games.
– The defensive front loses top playmaker in the backfield Austin Conrad from one end, but the rest of the front four returns. There’s not a ton of beef – 300-pound Kyle McCracken is the main man on the nose – but again, there has to be a pass rush. At the very least there will be a good rotation.
– The back seven has to replace Jared Dorsa in the middle, but Jamison Collier – the team’s leading tackler with 19 stops – returns at one safety job. There’s not a lot of size overall and the run defense has to be stronger, but the secondary will hold up just fine. It’ll be a lot better if there’s a pass rush.
NEXT: Ohio Bobcats College Football Preview 2021: Top Players
Ohio Bobcats College Football Preview 2021: Top Players
Best Ohio Bobcats Offensive Player
RB De’Montre Tuggle, Sr.
The former JUCO transfer cranked out 644 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2019, and he turned into a nice receiver, too. Last year he dominated in his three games of work averaging 7.6 yards per carry with 403 yards and six scores – and he was used on kickoffs, too. He hit Central Michigan with a kick-six and for the year averaged 45 yards on his four returns.
2. WR Isiah Cox, Sr.
3. QB Kurtis Rourke, Soph.
4. QB Armani Rogers, Sr.
5. RB O’Shaan Allison, Jr.
Best Ohio Bobcats Defensive Player
S Jarren Hampton. Sr.
The 5-10, 197-pound veteran got in a little work in his first few years, and then he turned it on as a junior with 71 stops and five broken up passes. He didn’t get a shot to do too much in three games last year with 11 stops, but he’s going to be the main man in a secondary full of terrific safeties.
2. DE Will Evans, Sr.
3. LB Keye Thompson, Jr.
4. S Jamison Collier, Jr.
5. DT Kylen McCracken, Jr.
Top Incoming Ohio Bobcats Transfer
OT TJ Jackson, Sr.
Ohio didn’t do much in the transfer world, and it didn’t need a whole lot of help for the offensive front, but it’s getting a 6-6 massive-bodied blaster for the interior. He got in a few starts for Virginia Tech and can play tackle or guard – but he’ll be stronger inside.
NEXT: Ohio Bobcats College Football Preview 2021: Keys To The Season
Ohio Bobcats College Football Preview 2021: Keys To The Season
Ohio Bobcats Biggest Key: Offense
Get the passing game going to go along with the great ground game. In 2019, for the most part, if the running game wasn’t cranking up over 250 yards the offense wasn’t working. There wasn’t much of a need to do much through the air in the three games of last season, but quarterbacks Kurtis Rourke and Armani Rogers have to do more than hit the big deep ball. However …
The Bobcats were 1-6 in 2019 when they didn’t average eight yards per pass. Last year they lost to Central Michigan in the one game when the downfield passing attack was sort of working.
Ohio Bobcats Biggest Key: Defense
It would be nice if the run defense could be a rock. It’s not like Akron or Bowling Green made things all that interesting last year – although the Zips made it a wee bit close – but the two respective running games were able to rumble for over five yards per carry. Central Michigan was able to hit four yards per pop.
Two years ago the defense struggled to consistently hold down the better ground games, and this year it’s going to get Louisiana early on to go along with Syracuse and Northwestern.
Ohio Bobcats Key Player To A Successful Season
DE Will Evans, Sr.
The veteran defensive end is more of a big linebacker at 6-2 and 242 pounds, and now he has to use his experience and quickness to be more of a pass rusher.
One of the team’s top leaders, he’s the main man for the locker room, but he only has 4.5 sacks in his 36 games. He’ll get behind the line and come up with a slew of tackles for loss, but the team needs a sacker.
Ohio Bobcats Key Game To The 2021 Season
at Buffalo, Oct. 16
The MAC schedule isn’t all that bad. There’s no Ball State or Western Michigan from the West, the dates with Toledo, Miami, Kent State and Central Michigan are at home, and the road games at Akron and Bowling Green are more than manageable.
Buffalo has been great over the last few years, but Ohio has been able to win the last two meetings going back to 2017. Win this year, and the East might be there for the taking if the Bobcats can hold serve at home.
2020 Ohio Bobcats Fun Stats
– 4th Quarter Scoring: Ohio 7 – Opponents 3
– 4th Down Conversions: Opponents 4-of-11 (36%) – Ohio 0-for-1
– Interceptions Thrown: Opponents 5 – Ohio 0
NEXT: Ohio Bobcats College Football Preview 2021: What Will Happen, Season Prediction
Ohio Bobcats College Football Preview 2021: What Will Happen, Season Prediction
Ohio is Ohio.
Frank Solich and his staff will put together another wonderful season, the running game will be terrific, and the team will manage to get through game after game when it looks like it’s the best team in the MAC.
But it’s Ohio, so the brain cramp will eventually come, it’ll be yet another year without a conference title – the last one was 1968, by the way – and then it’ll be off to a bowl game to close out the season with a win.
So what if Ohio avoided that misfire along the way? What if it could win all of the close games?
Set The Ohio Bobcats Regular Season Win Total At … 7.5
The team will be rock-solid. The lines are great, the skill parts are as good as any in the MAC, and with 17 starters back, there’s more than enough experience to be relatively sharp even with just three games of work last year.
The first month doesn’t matter – the non-conference games aren’t that big a deal here, and Ohio will probably go 1-3 anyway. However, the MAC slate isn’t bad thanks to the East part of the slate. Buffalo will be rebuilding, the Kent State and Miami games are at home, and the Bowling Green and Akron dates are on the road.
Solich has the team, the slate, and the parts in place to get to the MAC title game for the first time since 2016. He’s been to four of them since taking over Ohio in 2005 and has yet to win one.
This year might finally be his breakthrough with the program.