Tennessee Volunteers vs. Ohio Bobcats: game preview

Keys to the game

  • This may not be the right game to have Jonathan Crompton practice his passing. The Ohio Bobcats' secondary appears to be an interception machine.
  • Ohio's offense should be no match for Tennessee's defense, which should spend a great deal of time in the Bobcats' backfield on Saturday.

Schedule and Animated Drive Charts

Ohio Logo
Connecticut Huskies 9/5/09 loss 16 - 23 coverage
@ North Texas Eagles 9/12/09 win 31 - 30 coverage
Cal Poly-SLO Mustangs 9/19/09 win 28 - 10 coverage

 

FULL SCREEN VERSION

Wow. Lotso punts for Ohio against the Huskies, but somewhat surprisingly, Connecticut's defense is currently ranked 20th in the nation. Yet, the Huskies are not quite Monte Kiffin's defense, either, so you'd think that Ohio would have at least as much trouble scoring points against Tennessee. Figure 13 points or fewer.

FULL SCREEN VERSION

 

Yikes, that's a lot of green. The Bobcats won this game despite getting out of the gate with two punts, a fumble, an interception, and another fumble. Why'd they go for two after the TD in the second overtime? Maybe because a roughing the passer penalty changed the post-TD field position from the three yard line to the two? I don't know. In any event, the two-point conversion was good, and it ended the game with the Bobcats up by one.

FULL SCREEN VERSION

 

Well. Just like last week, the drive chart program has an unidentifiable opponent and simply defaults to the NCAA FCS logo. This time, it's Cal-Poly, but the relative weight of the text in each team's end zones is characteristically unbalanced. Note Cal Poly's second drive. That's right, two interceptions returned for touchdowns in the last two games for Ohio.

National Unit Rankings

Now on to the national rankings, with the caveat that Ohio has only played three games and really, what can we know after three games anyway?

Category National
Rank
Actual National
Leader
Actual Conf
Rank
Mid-American
Conference Leader
Actual
Rushing Offense 95 103.33 Air Force 344.33 6 Northern Ill. 208.00
Passing Offense 79 199.67 Texas Tech 444.33 8 Toledo 313.00
Total Offense 104 303.00 Texas A&M 589.50 8 Toledo 442.33
Scoring Offense 75 25.00 Houston 50.00 4 Northern Ill. 29.67
Rushing Defense T-110 204.33 Oklahoma 40.67 10 Akron 119.00
Pass Efficiency Defense 9 83.10 Arizona St. 64.46 2 Eastern Mich. 79.69
Total Defense T-41 312.67 Arizona St. 149.50 2 Central Mich. 300.00
Scoring Defense 52 21.00 Oklahoma 4.67 4 Central Mich. 15.33
Net Punting 45 37.29 Georgia 47.36 4 Ball St. 40.00
Punt Returns 76 6.11 Louisiana Tech 45.50 9 Central Mich. 21.14
Kickoff Returns 71 21.13 Arizona St. 50.75 6 Western Mich. 26.15
Turnover Margin T-12 1.33 Arizona St. 4.00 1 Northern Ill. 1.33
Pass Defense 8 108.33 Eastern Mich. 78.00 2 Eastern Mich. 78.00
Passing Efficiency 54 128.91 Notre Dame 186.14 3 Buffalo 157.60
Sacks T-92 1.00 TCU 5.50 9 Temple 3.50
Tackles For Loss T-62 5.67 Oklahoma 11.33 4 Temple 7.50
Sacks Allowed T-93 2.67 La.-Lafayette .00 9 Toledo 1.00


Observations

Offense. Not so good. They're averaging just over 100 yards on the ground, just under 200 yards through the air, and right smack dab on 25 points per game. They're allowing a lot of sacks -- 2.67 per game -- and tackles for loss -- 5.67 per game.

Defense. Uh-oh. The Bobcats defense only averages one sack per game, but they're very good against the pass in spite of it (9th in PED and 8th in PD). Fortunately for the Vols, they're not so good against the run (110th). Who wants to carry the football?!

Special teams. Sortakinda average on punts and nothing special on either punt or kickoff returns.

Players to watch for

Category Player National
Rank
Actual
Rushing Chris Garrett T-97 56.33
  Gary Fortune   18.33
Passing Efficiency (Min. 15 Att./Game) Theo Scott 49 137.76
Total Offense Theo Scott   124.33
  Chris Garrett   56.33
Receptions Per Game Taylor Price T-38 5.67
Receiving Yards Per Game Taylor Price 43 82.33
  Terrence McCrae   38.67
Interceptions Gerald Moore T-19 .67
  Patrick Tafua T-70 .33
  Errik Ejike T-70 .33
  Kenny Jackson T-70 .33
  Melvin Payne T-70 .33
Punting (Min. 3.6 Punts/Game) Matt Schulte 59 39.41
Punt Returns (Min. 1.2 Ret./Game)      
Kickoff Returns (Min. 1.2 Ret./Game) Chris Garrett 78 21.57
Field Goals Matt Weller T-38 1.33
Scoring Matt Weller   6.33
  Taylor Price   6.00
  Riley Dunlop   4.00
All-Purpose Runners Chris Garrett 80 115.33
  Taylor Price   87.67
Sacks Lee Renfro   .33
  Dak Notestine   .33
Tackles Noah Keller T-4 13.00
  Lee Renfro T-23 10.00
Tackles For Loss Noah Keller T-40 1.50
  Lee Renfro T-56 1.33

 

Observations

Running backs. Nobody here to get too worked up about. Chris Garrett is tied for 97th in the nation, but he's only getting 56.33 yards per game.

Quarterbacks. Theo Scott appears to be a fairly efficient passer, ranked 49th in the nation. For the sake of comparison, Jonathan Crompton is 84th.

Receivers. Scott's favorite target appears to be Taylor Price, who's getting 82 yards per game.

Defense. Uh-oh. More Moore. Not UCLA's Rahim Moore, but Ohio's Gerald Moore, who's tied for 19th in the nation in interceptions with two. The Bobcats also have four other guys who have intercepted a pass and are therefore ranked nationally. No wonder their pass defense ranks 8th in the nation.

Also, watch out for linebackers Noah Keller and Lee Renfro. Keller's averaging 13 tackles per game and is ranked all the way up at 4th in the nation. Renfro isn't far behind with 10 per game and a rank of 23rd. For comparison's sake, Eric Berry is 90th with 8 per game.

Special teams. There doesn't appear to be anything special about Ohio's special teams.

Conclusions

  • If the Vols had any notion of using this game to boost Jonathan Crompton's confidence by giving him practice reps throwing the ball, they might want to reconsider against a defense that is surprisingly ball-hawkish for the MAC. On the other hand, Tennessee should be able to run the ball fairly well, especially if they're able to get past LBs Keller and Renfro.
  • Monte's defense should spend a lot of time in the backfield and should have little trouble stopping the Bobcats from moving the ball.
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