Football Drops Season Finale At Ohio, 51-23
Nov. 29, 2013
ATHENS, Ohio - A pair of second quarter turnovers led to 14 points for Ohio which opened up its first half lead en route to a 51-23 win over the UMass football team on Friday afternoon at Peden Stadium. After the Bobcats scored twice on their first two possessions of the game, UMass fought back to pull within four, 14-10, in the second quarter before the game began to slip away. The second quarter momentum swing led to a 31-10 halftime score that the Minutemen were unable to overcome.
UMass finishes the season with a 1-11 overall record and a 1-7 record in the MAC. Ohio improved to 7-5 overall (4-4 MAC) and are bowl eligible for the postseason.
For the second consecutive game, the Minutemen received a yeoman's effort from Shadrach Abrokwah who earned his first career start at running back. The freshman recorded 31 carries for 110 yards on the day. Quarterback A.J. Doyle was 4-for-12 for 109 yards with two interceptions and a touchdown. Tajae Sharpe had three catches for 73 yards and a touchdown.
Ohio was led by Beau Blankenship with 124 rushing yards on 13 carries and one touchdown. Quarterback Tyler Tettleton was 18-of-27 through the air for 243 yards with two touchdown tosses.
The game opened up with the Bobcats scoring in just two plays on their first drive. Blankenship ran through the Minutemen for a 50-yard touchdown scamper to put Ohio up 7-0 just 25 seconds into play.
UMass went three-and-out on its opening possession which led to a five-play, 54 yard scoring drive for the Bobcats which led 14-0 with 10:45 to go.
Six minutes later and UMass was able to get on the board with a 42-yard field goal from Brendon Levengood. The Minutemen followed that in the second quarter with a 45-yard drive capped by a three-yard touchdown plunge from Abrokwah.
After forcing an Ohio punt on the next possession, it looked as if the Minutemen were marching towards another scoring drive. A 34-yard pass from Doyle to Tajae Sharpe started the UMass drive which reached the Ohio 39 yard line. On 3rd-and-9, Doyle was picked off by Travis Carrie who returned the interception 66 yards for a touchdown.
That play was followed up by a muff on the ensuing kick-off which led to a 18-yard scoring drive by Ohio which took a 28-10 lead with 6:23 left in the first half.
The Bobcats finished the first half with a 30-yard field goal to go up 31-10 at the intermission.
UMass started the second half with a 10-point swing thanks to a pair of Ohio turnovers. Kevin Byrne tipped and then intercepted a Tettleton pass. On its first play with the ball, Doyle went deep for Sharpe who managed to make a highlight reel catch between two defenders in the back of the endzone.
On the next kick-off, Jovan Santos-Knox forced a fumble which Rodney Mills recovered giving the Minutemen the ball at the Ohio 23 yard line. That led to a 37-yard field goal by Levengood making the score 31-20 with 11:19 left in the third quarter.
Ohio scored on a four-play, 39 yard drive seven minutes later to go up 38-20 when Tettleton found Landon Smith for a four-yard touchdown toss.
The Minutemen saw another Doyle interception give the ball back to Ohio on the next drive. Tettleton rolled out on the first play and scampered 31 yards to the UMass seven yard line. The UMass defense held the Bobcats to a field goal as Ohio went up 41-20 with 2:34 remaining in the third.
Levengood added his third field goal of the day, a 45-yard conversion, with 12:41 in the fourth quarter to cut the Ohio lead to 12:34.
The UMass defense held tough on the next Ohio drive as the Bobcats got down to the Minutemen's 18 yard line but were held to a field goal to go up 44-23 with 9:13 remaining in the game.
Nearly five minutes later, Carrie picked off Mike Wegzyn for a 30 yard touchdown return giving the final score.