Ohio 44 … at New Mexico State 24

Posted Sep 3, 2011

Week 1 CFN Fearless Prediction - Ohio at New Mexico State

2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 1 - Ohio at NMSU

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Sept. 3 Ohio 44 … at New Mexico State 24
CFN Analysis: The Ohio secondary might have gotten picked apart, but the offense was almost perfectly balanced with 211 yards through the air and 241 on the ground, and the offense took advantage of every opportunity. Tyler Tettleton got the call in place of Phil Bates, and he came through with two touchdown passes and 40 rushing yards with two scores. No, the air show wasn't anything impressive, and LaVon Brazill only got the ball in his hands three times, but the offense came through while the defense stuffed the NMSU running game cold. The pass rush was strong, led by Nic Barber's two sacks, and the linebackers were excellent, and now the D gets a week off against Gardner-Webb before facing Marshall.

Andrew Manley threw the ball as well as expected, bombing away for 362 yards and two scores, but he got drilled way too often and he didn't get any help from the ground game. The Aggies finished with just six net yards thanks to a porous line that couldn't get anything going and couldn't keep Ohio out of the backfield. Donyae Coleman had a great game with 14 tackles and a fumble recovery, but the NMSU defense needs to find more playmakers and has to generate some semblance of a pass rush. That's going to be tough against Minnesota.

(AP) LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- Ohio used a balanced rushing attack, gaining 241 yards, and its defense held New Mexico State in check for a 44-24 victory in the teams' season opener.

Donte Harden led Ohio with 81 yards on 15 carries and quarterback Tyler Tettleton ran for 42 yards and two TDs.

Tettleton took over the game in the second quarter, scoring on a 1-yard run and throwing a 7-yard scoring pass to Riley Dunlop. In the third quarter, Tettleton tossed an 8-yard TD pass to Donte Foster and scored on another 1-yard run.

Tettleton completed 16 of 28 passes for 153 yards.

New Mexico State rushed for just six yards.

New Mexico State quarterback Andrew Manley threw for 362 yards and two touchdowns. Taveon Rogers scored on a 97-yard kickoff return.

Ohio (0-0) vs. New Mexico State (0-0) Sept. 3 8:00 GamePlan/ESPN3
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Here's The Deal … There are games that shape a program, and for New Mexico State, this is one of them. Under head coach DeWayne Walker, the Aggies have spent the last few years trying to dig their way out of the Hal Mumme era, and after going 5-20 in two years, they have to come out on the right side of every winnable home game possible. The first half of the season is nice and soft, and a win over Ohio would show that NMSU might finally be ready to turn things around.

Ohio has firmly established itself as a MAC power with the ability to battle for the East title each and every year and with bowl bids always on the table. This year isn't going to be any different as Frank Solich's club has just enough talent and just enough experience to come up with another good season, and with Gardner-Webb up next and with only no games against any 2010 bowl teams until the season finale against Miami University, coming up with a win in Las Cruces should send the Bobcats on their way to another good year.

Why Ohio Might Win: Ohio should be able to run without a problem. The offensive line was okay last year, and now it has the potential to be great. All five starters are back from a line that should be fully jelled, and it should be able to pound away at will on a defensive front that didn't do much against the run – with the Aggies finishing 111th in the nation – and now it gutted with key loses. Top end Donte Savage is gone for the year with academic problems, and tackle Augafa Vaaulu is out after also failing to do enough in the class room. Throw in the loss of key reserve Tommy Stuart to a knee injury, and a promising front four suddenly appears to be a big problem. Ohio won't have to do anything crazy; it should be able to stay conservative and do enough to keep the chains moving.

Why New Mexico State Might Win: It's not like Ohio is going to run away and hide in this game. This should be a good Bobcat offense and the line will be tremendous, but there's little explosion and the passing game needs to be settled with a Phil Bates not exactly a pure passer. On the other side, New Mexico State is far better equipped to bomb away if needed with Andrew Manley a good enough passer to push the Bobcat secondary. The 2009 Hawaii Gatorade Player of the Year is a pro-style bomber who can put the ball all over the field, and while the Bobcat secondary is big and strong, it can be beaten by the better passers. Is Manley ready to be one of those passers? Ohio isn't going to generate too much pressure on him, and he should have time to push the ball down the field.

What To Watch Out For: NMSU will be without to of its key players on the line, Savage and Vaaulu, and will Ohio be without its defensive star? Senior linebacker Noah Keller came into last season as one of the front-runners for the MAC Defensive Player of the Year honor, coming off a 155-tackle 2009, and he was phenomenal over the first three games making 26 tackles with a sack before getting knocked out for the year after suffering a foot injury against Ohio State. Now he's having problems with a bad hamstring, while the situation has become even worse for the linebacking corps with starter Eric Benjamin likely out with a knee injury. If NMSU has any semblance of a running game, it should be able to take advantage of the injuries.

What Will Happen: Is Phil Bates healthy? The Ohio starting quarterback has been sick for the last week, and even if he can play he's not likely going to be 100%. The Bobcat offense is going to be a bit ragged, but it'll be just good enough to pound away to keep control of the game. NMSU doesn't have the offensive talent to do much against a good Ohio defense, even if it's a wounded one.

CFN Prediction: Ohio 37 ... New Mexico State 20
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: Ohio -7.5   O/U: 52
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