When coach Al Golden and the football team face off against Ohio tonight, they’ll participate in a pivotal Mid-American Conference game whose winner will likely represent the MAC East in the conference championship game.
The Bobcats (7-3, 5-1) are currently tied with the Owls for the division lead. Each team has one game left after tonight’s matchup, so the winner would control its own destiny going forward. If the Owls win, a victory over Miami-Ohio next week would clinch the division title. If the Bobcats win, a win over Kent State next week would clinch the division title.
Against Temple, Ohio could play without senior quarterback Boo Jackson. Jackson, who leads the team with 1,477 passing yards and 14 passing touchdowns, was involved in a bar altercation last week and suffered a bone fracture under his eyelid. Jackson is listed as questionable for the game.
Senior wide receivers Terrence McCrae and Steve Goulet lead the team in receiving yards. McCrae has 26 catches for 403 yards, while Goulet has 21 receptions for 335 yards.
The Bobcats have the second-best rushing offense in the MAC at 177.6 yards per game, but most of the yardage doesn’t come in the conventional form. Junior quarterback Phil Bates leads the team with 423 yards, mostly out of the wildcat formation. Senior running back Vince Davidson has collected 390 rushing yards on the year. Jackson is third on the team with 315 rushing yards.
Ohio’s offensive line might pose problems for the Owls. The unit has allowed only 10 sacks on the year, which is the 15th lowest mark in the nation.
The Bobcats’ defense suffered a huge blow earlier in the season when senior linebacker Noah Keller tore a ligament in his toe. The preseason All-American candidate led the team with 154 tackles last season. In his place, redshirt-junior linebacker Jay Edwards has collected 43 tackles.
Senior linebacker Chad Clemens leads the team with 62 tackles. Redshirt-senior defensive end Stafford Gatling leads Ohio with 13 tackles-for-loss, including 6.5 sacks. Senior safety Donovan Fletcher leads the team and is second in the conference with five interceptions.
Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.