Dec 19, 2011
By Tom Symonds
Trailing 23-17 with 2:21 remaining in the season, Ohio Football put together a nine-play, 61-yard touchdown drive to win the first bowl game in program history at the 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
A fourth-down completion from Tyler Tettleton to LaVon Brazill set up the game-winning score, a one-yard rush by Tettleton to the corner of the end zone which gave Ohio a 24-23 victory over the Utah State Aggies.
Not only was Ohio's victory on Saturday the first bowl victory in program history, but it also marks head coach Frank Solich's 50th win at Ohio and the first time an Ohio Football team has won 10 games since 1968.
Tettleton completed 19 of 26 passes on the night, throwing for 220 yards and two touchdowns. Saturday's game marked the 11th time he'd thrown for at least 200 yards or more. The sophomore quarterback now ranks seventh all-time in career passing yards at Ohio, with 3,430.
Brazill and kicker Matt Weller also set records of their own. LaVon is now tied with Terrence McCrae in Bobcat program history with 19 career touchdown receptions and is currently the single-season record holder with 74 catches. Weller's field goal with 9:52 remaining in the third quarter cemented him as Ohio's single-season leader in points scored with 121. He surpassed former Bobcat running back Kalvin McRae, who accounted for 120 points during the 2007 season.
The Aggies were led by a very strong running attack which combined for 345 yards. Two Utah State players rumbled for more than 100 yards on the ground, with Michael Smith accounting for 157 yards and two touchdowns while Robert Turbin carried 20 times for 102 yards.
Utah State nearly got on the board on its first drive of the game but the Aggies were denied by a strong Bobcat defensive stand. The final play of a 73-yard drive came to a grinding halt when Nic Barber stood strong to prevent Robert Turbin from crossing the goal line on a fourth-and-one rushing play.
Ohio (10-4) inherited possession at its own one-yard line following the stop. The `Cats ran two plays to set up a third-and-eight from their own three. This play gave Utah State its first score of the game, as a mishandled snap by Tyler Tettleton led to a safety.
The Aggies (7-6) capitalized on their next possession as well, putting together a nine-play, 50-yard drive that ended in a three-yard touchdown pass from Adam Kennedy to Tarren Lloyd. After the PAT was up and through, Ohio trailed 9-0 with just over three minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Ohio answered back before the half, putting together a seven play, 56-yard drive to score a touchdown to pull within two at 9-7. Tettleton threw a 26-yard pass to freshman tight end Derek Roback, who beat his man down the far sideline and caught the pass perfectly in stride before diving past the pylon for his first-career touchdown.
The teams began the second half on an offensive tear, scoring on four of the first five drives of the third quarter. The Aggies scored on runs of 63 and 11 yards by Smith but the Bobcats answered in turn, scoring on a 32-yard field goal by Matt Weller and a 44-yard touchdown reception by Brazill.
Utah State held a 23-17 lead deep into the fourth quarter as the teams traded possessions but were not able to change the score line. Ohio was able to take the lead with 13 seconds remaining, edging ahead after a one-yard touchdown rush by Tettleton and Weller's ensuing PAT. Crucial on this drive was a 13-yard fourth-down completion from Tettleton to Brazill, during which the wideout leapt over tight coverage to haul in a drive-extending catch and set up the Bobcats at the one-yard line.