2007 Ohio Bobcats

Posted Jan 21, 2008

2007 Ohio Bobcats Season Game-By-Game Recaps and More

Ohio Bobcats

Recap: Although more was expected of the Bobcats than just mediocrity, a second straight non-losing season is evidence that Frank Solich's blueprint for success is working.  While the offense reached new heights, scoring 30 points in eight games, the defense often gave away those gains, yielding 30 points and more than 400 yards a game.  What shouldn't be lost in the Bobcats' fourth place tie in the division is that they beat the East's two best teams, Bowling Green and Miami, ringing up 38 points in each win.        

Offensive Player of the Year: RB Kalvin McRae

Defensive Player of the Year: DE Landon Cohen

Biggest Surprise: The offense reached a level of production and balance that hasn't been seen in Athens in quite some time.  Finally approaching Solich's vision for the attack, the Bobcats were rarely stopped in the second half, leaning heavily on McRae, but also getting surprising results from an improving passing game.      

Biggest Disappointment: Close losses to Wyoming and Toledo could have easily gone in the win column, propelling the Bobcats to a second straight bowl game.  In both cases, Ohio got sloppy at the end of the game, frittering away opportunities to take a couple of nail-biters.           

Looking Ahead: At this stage of the rebuilding process, Solich and the Bobcats can ill afford to go back backwards by slipping back below .500.  Although it'll be a bear replacing McRae, the staff is excited about turning the offense over to Theo Scott, a multi-faceted quarterback who'll be getting back most of his top pass-catchers.

- 2007 Ohio Preview
2006 Ohio Season

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 7-5
2007 Record: 6-6

Sept. 1 Gard.-Webb W 36-14
Sept. 8 at UL Laf. W 31-23
Sept. 15 at Va Tech L 28-7
Sept. 22
Wyoming L 34-33
Sept. 29 Kent State L 33-25
Oct. 6 at Buffalo L 31-10
Oct. 13 Eastern Mich W 48-42
Oct. 20 at Toledo L 43-40
Oct. 27
at Bo. Green W 38-27
Nov. 2 Temple W 23-7
Nov. 7 at Akron L 48-37
Nov. 24
Miami Univ. W 38-29

Nov. 24
Ohio 38 ... Miami University 29
Ohio only gained 199 yards of total offense, but got help from two key interceptions to finish the year 6-6. Kalvin McRae ran for a one-yard score and Andrew Mooney caught touchdown passes from two and 17 yards out after Miami started off the scoring with a one-yard Thomas Merriweather touchdown run and a three-yard Chris Givens catch for a 14-7 lead. And then the Ohio defense stepped up with two interceptions leading to the McRae run and Mooney's second score. The RedHawks were held time and again over the final 31 minutes with Nathan Parseghian hitting five field goals for the team's final 15 points, but Joshua Abrams returned a kickoff for a score midway through the fourth to stay comfortably ahead.
Player of the game: Ohio safeties Steven Jackson and Todd Koenig combined for 24 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and three broken up passes
Stat Leaders: Miami University - Passing: Daniel Raudabaugh, 21-44, 223 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Cory Jones, 25-103. Receiving: Dustin Woods, 6-75
Ohio - Passing: Brad Bower, 4-10, 77 yds, 1 TD
Kalvin McRae, 24-112, 1 TD. Receiving: Andrew Mooney, 3-47, 2 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The loss to Akron last week ruined Ohio's realistic chances to go to a bowl, but the team closed out with a nice defensive game against Miami to close out strong. The offense might not have moved the ball much, but it didn't matter with the way the defense held time and again in the second half as the RedHawks couldn't get the ball in the end zone. This could've been a great year had the close losses to Wyoming and Toledo gone the other way, but it still wasn't too bad.

Nov. 7
Akron 48 ... Ohio 37
In a wild shootout with each team trading punches throughout, Alex Allen ran for three short touchdown runs and Chris Jacquemain connected on touchdown passes from 32 yards out to Jabari Arthur and 22 yards to Kris Kasparek in the second half. Ohio kept pace with a 54-yard Kalvin McRae touchdown run early, and three Brad Bower touchdown passes, including two to Andrew Mooney, but 14  points in the final 3:35 on the Kasparek catch and a one-yard Allen run helped Akron pull away. Akron outgained Ohio 419 yards to 359.
Player of the game: Akron RB Alex Allen ran 14 times for 96 yards and three touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Akron - Passing: Chris Jacquemain, 14-23, 197 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Alex Allen 14-96, 3 TD. Receiving: Jabari Arthur, 8-129, 1 TD
Ohio - Passing: Brad Bower, 17-37, 239 yds, 3 TD
Kalvin McRae, 21-109, 1 TD. Receiving:
Chido Nwokocha, 6-51
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
The defense couldn't come up with any big plays against Akron, but it did do a good job on third downs. The offense could never take control, with Kalvin McRae struggling to find room to move after a big early run. Brad Bower was able to keep pace with the Akron offense by cranking out some yards through the air, but when the team needed scoring drives late to keep up, Bower couldn't come through. Now the team gets two weeks off before facing Miami University, and while finishing 6-6 would be nice, it might not be enough for a bowl game. The Bobcats needed to beat the Zips.

Nov. 2
Ohio 23 ... Temple 7
Ohio ran for 219 yards with Kalvin McRae leading the way with 151 yards and a 30-yard touchdown, and Michael Braunstein connected on field goals from 47, 43 and 19 yards. Temple only gained 209 yards of total offense, with WR Bruce Francis getting 101 of them, and a 42-yard touchdown catch to pull within three in the first half. Ohio owned the second half, holding on to the ball for close to 12 minutes in the fourth quarter, with two of Braunstein's field goals and a 22-yard Vince Davidson touchdown run. Temple's Alex Joseph made 18 tackles.
Player of the game: Ohio RB Kalvin McRae ran 28 times for 151 yards and a touchdown, and caught a pass for seven yards
Stat Leaders: Ohio - Passing: Theo Scott, 7-12, 94 yds
Rushing: Kalvin McRae, 28-151, 1 TD. Receiving: Andrew Mooney, 5-55
Temple - Passing: Vaughn Charlton, 17-25, 161 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Jason Harper, 14-40. Receiving:
Bruce Francis, 8-101, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Ohio has been playing its best football of the season, especially on offense, over the last few weeks, but it's too little too late. After a dominating win over Temple, it's still in the hunt for a bowl bid, and it'll get it if the defense continues to play as well as it did against Temple and if Kalvin McRae continues to rumble. It helps when Theo Scott and Brad Bower are throwing the ball efficiently, but for now, the offense is controlling games on the ground. This is the Ohio that won the East last year.

Oct. 27
Ohio 38 ... Bowling Green 27
Kalvin McRae ran for 200 yards and scored from three, one and nine yards out in the first half for a 21-10 lead, but Bowling Green came back with a 12-yard Anthony Turner touchdown run to pull within one. And then the Bobcat defense took over with a 58-yard Kris Luchsinger interception return for a score. Dan Macon took a pass 43 yards to a touchdown to pull the Falcons within eight, but a turnover led to a 27-yard Bobcat field goal in the final minute to finally end the threat.
Player of the game: Ohio RB Kalvin McRae ran 42 times for 200 yards and three touchdowns, and caught three passes for 17 yards
Stat Leaders: Ohio - Passing: Theo Scott, 12-17, 166 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Kalvin McRae, 42-200, 3 TD. Receiving: Kalvin McRae, 3-17
Bowling Green - Passing: Tyler Sheehan, 19-41, 249 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Willie Geter, 14-90. Receiving: Freddie Barnes, 8-89. 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Ohio went back to being Ohio football against Bowling Green. Run Kalvin McRae, run him again, and run him again. Theo Scott stepped in and had a nice day throwing the ball, but the Bobcats controlled the game by running it, holding on to the ball for 35:23, and taking advantage of almost every opportunity. Bowling Green turned it over four times, Ohio turned it over once. That turned out to be the difference.

Oct. 20
Toledo 43 ... Ohio 40
A wild game with a 42-point fourth quarter ended on a 40-yard Alex Steigerwald field goal with no time left to give Toledo the win. Down 11 with just under seven minutes to play, Ohio rallied to tie it with a 40-yard Michale Braunstein field goal and with 1:45 to go, a 36-yard Andrew Mooney touchdown catch followed up by the two-point conversion. Two of the nation's most productive backs were on display, and they didn't disappoint, as Ohio's Kalvin McRae ran for 182 yards with touchdown runs from 65, 65 and 6 yards out, and Toledo's Jalen Parmele running for 243 yards scoring touchdowns from one yard and 45 yards away. In the end, Ohio's 560 yards of total offense were offset by seven turnovers.
Player of the game: Toledo RB Jalen Parmele ran 26 times for 243 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Ohio - Passing: Brad Bower, 9-17, 163 yds, 1 TD, 4 INT
Rushing: Kalvin McRae, 25-182, 3 TD. Receiving: Taylor Price, 3-69, 1 TD
Toledo - Passing: Aaron Opelt, 17-33, 176 yds, 1 TD
Jalen Parmele, 36-243, 2 TD. Receiving: Stephen Williams, 7-90

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
Ohio is going to hurt after this loss to Toledo. The Bobcats can't seem to win in the Glass Bowl, but its their own fault with Brad Bower throwing four interceptions and too many promising scoring drives killed by turnovers. Kalvin McRae ran like the Kalvin McRae of last year, getting room to move, and now the offense will likely revolve around him more until the quarterbacks settle down. With a lot of help, the East is still winnable, but a win at Bowling Green has to kick off a big next month.

Oct. 13
Ohio 48 ... Eastern Michigan 42
Ohio got out to a 28-0 lead helped by two Kalvin McRae touchdown runs, and then held on for deal life as EMU stormed back with 14 points in each of the last three quarter. Andy Schmitt threw four touchdown passes including two to Jacory Stone, and the defense got into the act with a 80-yard Derrick Hunter fumble return for a touchdown late in the second half. Tyler Jones caught two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, including a five-yarder with just over a minute to play, but the Bobcats recovered the onside kick. The two teams combined for 935 yards of total offense, and 19 penalties.
Player of the game: Ohio RB Kalvin McRae ran 32 times for 170 yards and two touchdowns, and caught two passes for 14 yards.
Stat Leaders: Ohio - Passing: Brad Bower, 18-29, 232 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Kalvin McRae, 32-170, 2 TD. Receiving: Taylor Price, 5-83, 1 TD
Eastern Michigan - Passing: Andy Schmitt, 20-28, 210 yds, 4 TD
Andy Schmitt, 15-55. Receiving: Jacory Stone, 9-62, 2 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
This isn't last year's Ohio team. Last year's squad would've gotten up on a team like Eastern Michigan and stomped it into the ground with the running game. This year, it took a 28-0 lead to hold off the offensively challenged Eagles, and even though the offense worked almost perfectly, there wasn't nearly enough production from the defense for a second straight week. Road trips to Toledo and Bowling Green will mean two more shootouts to gear up for.

Oct. 6
Buffalo 31 ... Ohio 10
Buffalo got 183 yards from James Starks, who started off the scoring with a one-yard run, and ended Ohio's hopes with a 72-yard touchdown dash with just over two minutes to play. The Bull defense allowed a four-yard Kalvin McRae touchdown run to tie it at seven, but scored the next ten points on a one-yard Brandon Thermilus run and a 43-yard A.J. Principe field goal to take the lead for good. Ohio was outgained 397 yards to 276.
Player of the game: Buffalo RB James Starks rushed for 183 yards and two touchdowns on 36 carries, adding an 18-yard reception.
Stat Leaders: Ohio - Passing: Theo Scott, 12-24, 93 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Kalvin McRae, 24-96, 1 TD. Receiving: Chido Nwokocha, 5-45
Buffalo - Passing: Drew Willy, 10-19, 118 yds
James Starks, 36-183, 2 TDs. Receiving: Naaman Roosevelt, 6-61

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Ugh. Everything that worked so well last year, with a tough, timely defense, good running game, and clutch plays when needed, aren't there this year. Kalvin McRae isn't able to get going like he did in 2006, and the passing attack still isn't remotely good enough to pick up the slack. Losing to Buffalo on the road is really, really bad, but losing at home to Eastern Michigan next week would be far worse. The four-game slide has to stop now.

Sept. 29
Kent State 33 ... Ohio 25

Eugene Jarvis tore off 230 yards with touchdown runs from 35 and 26 yards out, and Nate Reed nailed four field goals in the upset win over Ohio. The Bobcats pushed hard in the fourth quarter with Theo Scott touchdown passes of 14 and 13 yards to Andrew Mooney, but their final drive stalled. the Golden Flash defense held Ohio to 88 rushing yards. The two teams combined for 28 penalties, with Ohio committing 17 for 170 yards.
Player of the game: Kent State RB Eugene Jarvis ran 30 times for 230 yards and two touchdowns, adding two catches for 14 yards.
Stat Leaders: Kent State - Passing: Julian Edelman, 12-25, 169 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Eugene Jarvis, 30-230, 2 TDs.  Receiving: Shawn Bayes, 3-48, 1 TD
Ohio - Passing: Theo Scott, 16-24, 161 yds, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Kalvin McRae, 16-74, 1 TD. Receiving: Taylor Price, 6-75

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
17 penalties against Kent State? 17?! There's no reason for that, and there's also no reason to get outrushed 233 yards to 88. Everyone and half the student body set up to stop Kalvin McCrae, but on the plus side, QB Theo Scott emerged as a possible real deal. He completed 16 of 24 passes for 161 yards with two touchdowns, giving the Bobcats a real, live passing threat.

Sept. 22
Wyoming 34 ... Ohio 33
Down 30-20 in the fourth quarter after a Jameson Hartke interception return for a touchdown, Wyoming got a four-yard Wynel Seldon touchdown run and answered a field goal with a five-yard Michael Ford touchdown catch with just over two minutes to play. Ohio's final drive never got going, and UW had held. The Bobcats got four Michael Braunstein field goals and a 94-yard kickoff return from Chris Garrett to make up for an offense that was held to 37 rushing yards. The Wyoming offense rolled for 441 yards and got two Karsten Sween touchdown passes along with two second half touchdown runs from Devin Moore, but turned the ball over seven times.
Player of the game: Wyoming RB Devin Moore rushed for 198 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries, and had four catches for five yards.
Stat Leaders: Wyoming - Passing: Karsten Sween, 26-36, 174 yds, 2 TDs, 4 INTs
Rushing: Devin Moore, 19-198, 2 TDs. Receiving: Greg Bolling, 6-47
Ohio - Passing: Brad Bower, 14-28, 227 yds, 1 TD, 2 INTs
Kalvin McRae, 16-57. Receiving: Matt Donahue, 4-113
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... That Ohio stayed alive as long as it did against Wyoming with Kalvin McRae being completely shut down shows just how strong the defense was. With consistent pressure into the backfield and a ball-hawking day from Michael Mitchell and the defensive back seven, the Bobcats managed to overcome the offensive woes by bending, but rarely breaking. The Bobcats aren't going to win many when the running game isn't going, but the MAC schedule isn't that bad over the next several weeks. Even so, to win, the O line has to be far stronger.

Sept. 15
Virginia Tech 28 ... Ohio 7
Virginia Tech's defense dominated, allowing just five first downs and 114 yards of total offense, but the Bobcats were ahead 7-0 in the second quarter on a four-yard Kalvin McRae touchdown run. That was the only fun Ohio would have all game, as Tech reeled off 28 unanswered points on touchdown runs from Kenny Lewis, Tyrod Taylor and Branden Ore, and then Kenny Lewis put it well out of reach on a 44-yard  scoring run. Ohio converted just three of 17  third down chances.
Player of the game: Virginia Tech LB Vince Hall had 14 tackles, three tackles for loss and a pair of sacks..
Stat Leaders: Ohio - Passing: Brad Bower, 9-16, 70 yds
Rushing: Kalvin McRae, 22-55, 1 TD. Receiving: Kalvin McRae, 6-26
Virginia Tech - Passing: Tyrod Taylor, 18-31, 287 yds
Branden Ore, 18-82, 1 TD. Receiving: Josh Morgan, 6-119
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Despite how it looked against LSU, Virginia Tech's defense is one of the best in the country. Ohio simply isn't equipped to get the offense going smoothly when Kalvin McRae can't get going on a consistent basis. Brad Bower wasn't able to loosen up the Hokies at all with almost nothing going deep, but still, despite all the problems, the Bobcats were in the game until late. The O line will have to be more productive against Wyoming next week.

Sept. 8
Ohio 31 ... UL Lafayette 23
Ohio got two of Kalvin McRae's four touchdowns in the fourth quarter as it was able to take the lead for the first time on a 23-yard dash and then put it away on a grinding drive that culminated in a 13-yard scoring run. UL Lafayette cranked out 534 yards of total offense, mostly due to QB Michael Desormeaux, who threw for two touchdowns and accounted for 335 yards, but couldn't get the momentum back in the fourth quarter with one drive stalling and another stopped by a fumble. Ohio kept pace early as McRae took a pass 44 yards for a first quarter touchdown and cut the ULL third quarter lead to three on a five-yard run to spark a 21-3 second half run.
Player of the game ... Ohio RB Kalvin McRae ran 20 times for 84 yards and three touchdowns and caught three passes for 52 yards and a score
Stat Leaders: UL Lafayette - Passing: Michael Desormeaux, 16-26, 234 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Tyrell Fenroy, 24-136  Receiving: Derrick Smith, 4-99
Ohio - Passing: Brad Bower, 17-28, 264 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Kalvin McRae, 20-84, 3 TD  Receiving: Chris Garrett, 4-25
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The defense had major issues with the UL Lafayette running game and didn't do much of anything to slow down the attack until the fourth quarter. That's why RB Kalvin McRae was so valuable, as he did a little of everything to keep Ohio in the game before taking over in the fourth quarter. Brad Bower came up with a good, efficient day throwing the ball, and now he'll need to be even better with a trip to face an angry Virginia Tech team ahead.

Sept. 1
Ohio 36 ... Gardner-Webb 14
Ohio blocked three punts and got two Kalvin McRae touchdown runs on the way to the easy win. A 34-yard Chido Nwokocha touchdown catch early in the third quarter gave the Bobcats a 21-0 lead before Gardner-Webb finally got on the board with a 33-yard Tyson Petty scoring grab. Devin Campbell threw two touchdown passes for DW.
Player of the game ... Ohio RB Kalvin McRae ran 24 times for 142 yards and two touchdowns and caught a pass for ten yards
Stat Leaders: Gardner-Webb - Passing: Devin Campbell, 18-27, 202 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Phillip Peoples, 6-36  Receiving: Devaughn Flagler, 7-51, 1 TD
Ohio - Passing: Brad Bower, 15-25, 180 yds, 1 TD
Kalvin McRae, 24-142, 2 TD  Receiving: Chido Nwokocha, 3-52, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The special teams and running game gave Ohio the walk-in-the-park win over Gardner-Webb. Kalvin McRae was Kalvin McRae, but most importantly for the rest of the season, the passing game wasn't bad as Brad Bower had a nice day and several receivers got involved. The Bobcats need to keep generating big plays from several areas, and McRae needs all the help he can get.

Sept. 1 – Gardner-Webb

Sept. 8 – at UL Lafayette
Offense: The nation's seventh best rushing team two years ago, and 11th best last year, ULL will run more than ever with the return of two-time 1,000-yard back Tyrell Fenroy, speedy Deon Wallace, and running quarterback Michael Desormeaux. The receivers aren't used much, but they're experienced enough to make plays when they get the chance. The offensive line isn't deep, but the starting five will end up fine. The team will hope for around 2,500 rushing yards, and around 60% completion percentage throwing it.
Defense: New defensive coordinator Kevin Fouqueir won't change too much from one of the Sun Belt's better defenses. Five starters return, along with a few others with starting experience, to form a solid run defense that needs to be tighter against the pass. The secondary will give up completions, but it's not going to get beaten too often. The front seven should be great with a nice blend of talents and depth to form a good rotation almost everywhere. If ULL doesn't lead the league in run defense, it'll finish second.

Sept. 15 – at Virginia Tech
Offense: Can Tech win a national title with a mediocre offense? It was 99th in the nation in total offense, but it did a great job of taking advantage of all the breaks generated by the defense. Eight starters return, led by ACC Player of the Year candidate Branden Ore at running back, but he needs the line to be healthy for a full season, and better. The passing game has good pieces, but it has to be far more consistent considering there are four talented senior receivers returning. Quarterback Sean Glennon had a good off-season, and now it has to translate into better production.
For two years in a row, Tech has led the nation in total defense, and last season, was number one in scoring defense allowing 11 points per game. There's no reason the D can't be even better with eight starters returning led by the 1-2 linebacking punch of Vince Hall and Xavier Adibi. Corner Brandon Flowers is emerging as one of the best in the nation, "Macho" Harris is a good defender on the other side, and the line is loaded with size, quickness, depth and experience. As good as things were, and will be, it's not like the D played a who's who of offensive machines, so the overall numbers might be a tad bit overrated, but make no mistake about it; this is a special defense.

Sept. 22 - Wyoming
Offense: The offense wasn't consistent and did nothing against the good teams (averaging 8.5 points against Boise State, New Mexico, TCU and BYU), but there's plenty of hope for a big turnaround with a good pair of backs in powerful Wynel Seldon and speedy Devin Moore, a strong receiving corps with Michael Ford, Hoost Marsh, and emerging deep threat Greg Bolling, and a great quarterback situation with three possible starters led by rising star Karsten Sween. The one issue could be the offensive line that returns just two starters and has question marks at guard.
Defense: The Cowboys had a terrific, unnoticed defensive season finishing ninth in the nation in total defense. However, it struggled at the end of year, for the second straight season, and now it has some holes to fill. The linebacking corps, with four great starters and a slew of good reserves for the 3-4, will be among the best in the league, and while there aren't any returning starters up front, they're big. Corners Julius Stinson and Michael Medina should be excellent, but the star safeties of last year have to be replaced.

Sept. 29 - Kent State
The Kent State offense was all pass, no run in 2005 (and it was really no run). It was all run, little pass in 2006. Now the ground game should be even stronger with the 1-2 rushing punch of Eugene Jarvis and Greg Keys along with the mobility of QB Julian Edelman. Four starters return to a line that needs to be better in pass protection, and a go-to receiver has to emerge with the loss of WR Najah Pruden. In the end, it'll all come down to Edelman. If he's playing well, the offense will shine.
Somewhat quietly, Kent State had one of the MAC's best defenses last season getting into the backfield, and to the quarterback, on a regular basis, while getting a phenomenal statistical season out of the secondary. CB Jack Williams and SS Fritz Jacques are good defenders to build around, but the rest of the secondary is a question mark. The front seven, in KSU's 3-4, should be excellent led by tackle Colin Ferrell and the Buck, the hybrid of end and linebacker, Kevin Hogan, should be one of the MAC's top pass rushing terrors. The D won't be as good as last year, but it won't be bad.

Oct. 6 – at Buffalo
Offense: The overall offensive production improved from ten points per game to 18.33. Now the attack has to be more consistent and explosive, and that all comes from the offensive line. It's a big, experienced line that has to give the promising skill players a chance to do their thing. UB can win with QB Drew Willy and RB James Starks, but they haven't had any chance to show what they can do with no time or room to work. Naaman Roosevelt has to be used somewhere. If he's not the starting quarterback, he'll provide a boost to a mediocre receiving corps.
Defense: Last year was a big transition year with several young players getting time as the scheme was switched from a 4-2-5 to a 4-3. Size is sacrificed for speed almost everyone, but there are big backups at tackle. Now the production against the run has to be better. Getting into the backfield won't be an issue as UB could be among the MAC's leaders in sacks and tackles for loss led by senior Trevor Scott on the end. The secondary has the potential to be far better if safeties Kareem Byrom and Mike Newton, along with rising corner Kendric Hawkins, can spend all their time trying to make plays against the pass instead of always having to deal with the run.

Oct. 13 - Eastern Michigan
Offense: EMU's defense hasn't been productive in years, but if there's not a major improvement this year with ten starters returning along with a slew of experienced depth, it might never happen. Junior Daniel Holtzclaw is a superstar middle linebacker who'll be the one the rest of the defense revolves around. Tackles Jason Jones and Josh Hunt can't stop the run, but they're regulars in opposing backfields. As long as the corners and ends start to produce, and the experience and quickness at all spots makes up for a general lack of size, things should be better after finishing 116th in the nation against run and 98th in total defense.
Defense: New offensive coordinator Scott Ispohording has his work cut out for him despite getting seven starters back along with a ton of experienced depth. The supposed wide-open offense was awful with no ground game from the running backs and even less of a passing attack with quarterbacks Andy Schmitt and Tyler Jones basically running, running and running some more. The line should be better with three returning starters and a decent interior, but the offense won't go anywhere unless Pierre Walker, or possible Jones, turns into a reliable tailback. The loss of top receiver Eric Deslauriers means the passing game will be spread out among several options with the hope for former quarterback Dontayo Gage to turn into a true number one.

Oct. 20 – at Toledo
Offense: Injuries hit the offensive line last year and killed the production and the consistency. With John Greco back at left tackle and a slew of big redshirt freshmen, the front five should be better and could be fantastic is David Perkins and Jerry Aguwa return to their pre-injury form. The spread offense should improve with quarterback Aaron Opelt looking better and Clint Cochran healthy again after a knee problem. The receiving corps is big, fast, and so far, disappointing. That could quickly change considering all the interesting targets. Jalen Parmele and DaJuane Collins form a good 1-2 rushing punch that needs to stay healthy with the off-the-field issues of Richard Davis and Scooter McDougle.
Defense: Defensive coordinator Tim Rose has done a good job over the last two years using a flexible 3-4 alignment that occasionally morphs into a 4-2-5. Now it has to be better after getting bombed on by everyone over the first half of last year and only produced once the schedule lightened up. Seven starters return along with plenty of depth, especially up front, and now there have to be more big plays and more pressure into the backfield. Greg Hay and Keith Forestal form a strong 1-2 linebacking punch, while the safety tandem of Tyrrell Herbert and Barry Church is among the best in the MAC.

Oct. 27 – at Bowling Green
Offense: The offense went from being all-pass, no-run in 2005 to being a running team last year thanks to mobile quarterbacks in Anthony Turner, and early on, Freddie Barnes. Now there's a battle between Turner and Tyler Sheehan for the starting job with the hopes of balancing things out. The backfield should be excellent with the addition of JUCO transfer Eric Ransom to go along with power of Chris Bullock and Dan Macon. All-star center Kory Lichtensteiger leads a a good line that should get better and better as the year goes on. The one area of development will be receiver with some deep threats needing to emerge to go along with mid-range possession-target Corey Partridge.
Defense: Bowling Green might not always be a brick wall on defense, but it will do whatever it can to make plays all over the field. Last year this was a break-but-don't bend defense giving up points, but not yards. Now it needs to stiffen. With an emphasis on speed and quickness, the front seven will be flying around looking to get into the backfield to dictate the tempo, while the solid secondary will benefit. There might be problems against the better power running teams with a new set of tackles and smallish linebacking corps, but that'll be offset by the big plays ... at least that's the hope.

Nov. 2 - Temple
Offense: There was a little bit of improvement; the offense averaged 10.92 points per game after averaging 9.73 in 2005. There's plenty of experience and a major infusion of talent at running back and receiver, but can any of them play? The attack will rely on several true freshmen all over the place while praying for a major, major improvement on the offensive line. The quarterback situation is solid with Adam DiMichele and Vaughn Charlton each good enough to start after seeing plenty of time last season. Whatever happens, the offense will average more than a nation's worst 215.67 yards per game.
Defense: The good: The D improved giving up nine fewer yards and four fewer points per game than in 2005. The bad: The Owls were 117th in the nation in total defense and 118th in scoring D. The 2008 version should be tremendous once all the freshmen and sophomores are crusty veterans, but for now, there's good competition at almost every spot with no sure-thing starter. The defensive line should be far better with an instant infusion of talent, while the back seven has potential, especially at linebacker, to make a big jump in production. It would be nice if a true shut-down corner could quickly emerge with the hope that JUCO transfer Tommie Williams will be that guy. Don't expect miracles, but the overall numbers should improve.

Nov. 7 – at Akron
Offense: The offense was a major disappointment last season with almost no production from a veteran offensive line and too much of a reliance on the passing game. Now the running game, with a good 1-2 punch of Dennis Kennedy and Andre Walker, should provide more pop, but the the line, with four new starters, has to be far better. The quarterback situation will be unsettled going into the fall with Carlton Jackson, Chris Jaquemain, and Sean Hakes all in the race. The receiving corps is fast and experienced, and now everyone has to play beyond their talent level to help out whoever the new passer will be.
Defense: The 3-3-5 defense of Jim Fleming was excellent last year, and it should be even better with eight starters returning and the right pieces in place. To run this type of defense, you need big linemen. Check. The Zips have 300-pounders in a rotation at tackle and big size at the other two spots. You need playmaking linebackers. Check. Three starters return with excellent depth to rotate in. You also need a secondary to hold it's own. Not a problem. Four starters return in the back five led by veteran corners Reggie Corner and Davanzo Tate.

Nov. 24 - Miami University
Offense: It's all about the offensive line. The front five was hit by injuries last season and the whole machine broke down with no running game, an obscene amount of sacks, and not enough of a passing game. Now the line is experienced with decent depth, the running backs should be solid as long as Brandon Murphy is over his ankle problems, and Mike Kokal has the potential to be the MAC's most effective all-around quarterback. And then there's the receiving corps. With Ryne Robinson gone, there's no proven number one receiver, but there's a boatload of speed on the outside in Dustin Woods and Armand Robinson. While they'll make big plays, someone has to become a go-to guy.
Defense: There were huge concerns about the defense going into last season with only two returning starters, but the lumps taken against the run and against way too many mediocre offenses should pay off in a return to the days when MU had one of the MAC's best defenses. While just six starters are back, there are more than enough promising options at several positions to create good overall competition and have more depth than there's been in a long time. The pass rush needs to be better with Craig Mester needing to get back to form to help out junior end Joe Coniglio. Joey Hudson and Clayton Mullins form one of the MAC's best 1-2 linebacking punches, while the secondary should be one of the team's strengths led by speedy corner Jerrid Gaines and veteran safety Robbie Wilson.


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