CFN Indy Analysis - Ohio 45, ULM 14
Posted Dec 28, 2012

CFN's thoughts and analysis on Ohio's blowoutof ULM in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl

- V100 Independence Ohio 45, ULM 14

Ohio came out intense and with an attitude needing just three plays to score its first touchdown of the day and never letting up the rest of the way. The Bobcats got two touchdown passes from Tyler Tettleton in the first quarter, highlighted by a 68-yard play to Chase Cochran, and then Beau Blankenship took over the scoring with four short touchdown runs. ULM was still alive in the second quarter on the first of two Kolton Browning touchdown passes, but with a chance to get into the game, he slid instead of dove for a first down, and the team failed to capitalize getting a field goal attempt blocked. It was all downhill from there with ULM turning the ball over four times and Ohio controlling the game throughout.

Ohio: The Bobcats set an Independence Bowl record with 556 yards of total offense. … QB Tyler Tettleton completed 14-of-22 passes for 331 yards and two scores with a pick, and he ran for 34 yards. … RB Beau Blankenship ran 19 times for 104 yards and four touchdowns. … Tyler Futrell caught five passes for 133 yards, and Chase Cochran caught three passes for 162 yards and a score. … Ohio DE Tremayne Scott made five tackles with two sacks and an interception. … LB Keith Moore made nine tackles with a sack and two tackles for loss.

ULM: QB Kolton Browning completed 21-of-39 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns with three picks, and he led the team with 47 rushing yards on 24 carries. … WR Brent Leonard caught seven passes for 76 yards… S Cordero Smith led the team with eight tackles with a pick.

Richard Cirminiello

Welcome back, first half of the season Ohio. Some schools are rusty from the long layoff since the end of the regular season. The Bobcats went the other way, looking rested and recharged in all phases. They performed like the team that began 2012 with seven wins, and beat Penn State in Happy Valley.

Still wondering how Bobcats RB Beau Blankenship got out of Norman, Okla. without an offer from the home team. He's not the athlete that the Sooners typically sign for the backfield, but he would have found some role as OU's version of Nebraska's Rex Burkhead.

Blankenship may get the game ball for scoring four times, but he'll have to share it with linemen John Prior, Jon Lechner, Skyler Allen, Eric Herman and Bryce Dietz. In typical blue-collar fashion, Ohio completely flattened Louisiana-Monroe at the point of attack.

How much better would the Ohio D have been this season if DE Tremayne Scott didn't miss all but three games with a foot injury? The senior—and former All-MAC pick—showed no ill-effects from his time away from the game, assuming squatter's right in the Warhawks' backfield. Actually, the entire Bobcats D played well, holding UL-Monroe three touchdowns below their season average.

Frank Solich has still got it. Don't know if he'd even want it, but it would be nice to see him get one more shot to coach at a more visible program, and with more resources at his disposal.

If it's possible, the 2012 seasons for Arkansas and Auburn got a little worse today in Shreveport. The same Louisiana-Monroe team that was mauled by Ohio, 45-14, beat the Hogs in the opener, and took the Tigers to overtime at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

By Matt Zemek
E-mail Matt Zemek

1) The major problem with Ohio in the second half of the 2012 regular season was that the Bobcats were ravaged by a series of injuries. Members of Ohio's defense fell like dominoes, and head coach Frank Solich's team couldn't stop anyone. Even with a healthier team on the field for the 2012 Independence Bowl, Ohio had to prove that it could regain the spark that had been missing since the middle of the regular season. The Bobcats had to show that their frontline players – especially on the defensive line – could come back from injuries and play with fluidity and strength.

As you could plainly see in Shreveport, La., Ohio answered every question about its readiness. The Bobcats' front seven dominated Louisiana-Monroe's offensive front, setting the tone for the afternoon and consolidating Ohio's momentum every time the Warhawks threatened to rally in the final three quarters of play.

2) Todd Berry was and is one of the best and most heartwarming coaching stories in 2012. This game, however, reminded many college football observers of his lost years in West Point as the head coach at Army. Louisiana-Monroe can be forgiven for being uptight; no one on the ULM roster had previously donned school colors in a bowl game. However, the Warhawks were not prepared for this game on a tactical level, and that's on the coaching staff. The secondary should have been able to adjust to Tettleton's vertical passing game after the first quarter, but Ohio receivers continued to get open well behind the back line of ULM's defense. Ohio's offense embarrassed ULM's defense on the first few plays of the second half, giving the indication that nothing happened in the Warhawks' locker room at halftime of a 24-7 game.

3) The Mid-American Conference is clearly better than the Sun Belt at the moment. Arkansas State, it's up to you to change this reality in the Bowl.

4) In 2012, the Sun Belt trotted out two schools that were making their first bowl appearances in human history. Western Kentucky and ULM both faltered in big moments. Since a team's level of enthusiasm is so often the main determinant of bowl success or failure, it is highly surprising that both WKU and Monroe performed so poorly.

5) Seeing the MAC beat the Sun Belt twice in three days, fans around the country are surely asking, "Okay, MAC, you can beat the Sun Belt, but can your best team beat Florida State when the whole nation is watching?" Had the MAC face-planted in its December bowl games, Northern Illinois would have been able to inhabit its underdog identity in a more natural way. With the MAC excelling in bowl season, NIU might now feel an extra sense of responsibility to the rest of the conference. We'll see how the Huskies handle the MAC's bowl success when they take the field on Jan. 1.

By Terry Johnson
Follow me @TPJCollFootball

It was clear that the Bobcats wanted this one more. Frank Solich and his staff made sure to pay attention to every little detail, including preparing for ULM's rugby-style punts.

After a couple of rocky outings at the end of the season, Tyler Tettleton came back with a vengeance today. He tormented the Warhawk secondary all afternoon with the deep ball, throwing for 332 yards on just 13 completions. Expect to see his name on several preseason watch lists next season.

Yes, teams in the MAC can play defense. OU's D recorded 4 sacks, picked off three passes, and held Louisiana-Monroe to just 313 yards. By comparison, the Warhawk offense went well over 400 yards against Arkansas, Auburn, and Baylor.

Why hasn't a major program snatched up Solich yet? Sure, he didn't meet some lofty (some would say unrealistic) expectations at Nebraska, but Solich has turned Ohio into a perennial contender in the MAC. After leading the school to its first two postseason wins, he deserves another shot at a big-time program.

Despite laying an egg today, watch out for Louisiana-Monroe next year. The Warhawks proved that they could compete with the big boys, toppling Arkansas in the season opener. As long as they can keep Kolton Browning healthy (and upright), there's no reason why they shouldn't win the Sun Belt title in 2013.