KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Ohio never led on the scoreboard, but the Bobcats certainly made a game out of it against Tennessee at Neyland Stadium on Saturday.
Ohio (1-2) trailed 14-12 at the half, but it had outgained the 15th-ranked Vols (3-0) with 200 yards to UT’s 155, and the Bobcats had 11 first downs to Tennessee’s 9.
The Vols turned up their offense in the second half, unleashing quarterback Josh Dobbs in the run game to seal a 28-19 victory.
But Tennessee’s offensive line adjustment for the game — which involved shifting center Coleman Thomas to right tackle, starting Jack Jones at guard and sitting left tackle Drew Richmond — did not have the desired effect.
Dobbs was sacked three times, and Ohio all-time sacks leader Tarell Basham said the Vols’ offensive line adjustment played into the Bobcats’ favor.
“They do shuffle their guys around on the O-line, so maybe a guy who is used to playing center or guard comes out to tackle and he’s not ready for some of the edge pressure and moves in so much space,” said Basham, who padded his school record with his 21st career sack. “That gave us the ability to put some pressure on the quarterback.
“It was nice to put some pressure on the quarterback, (and) I felt like the pressure we put on the quarterback helped the secondary.”
Tennessee fumbled five times, but the Vols recovered all of them.
Basham said the Bobcats felt they let an opportunity slip away by not recovering any of the fumbles.
“For a defense, loose balls, we want to recover those, (and) that makes a big difference in the game,” Basham said. “If you look at the stats in any college football game, turnovers definitely play a big role. Those loose balls, any of those being turnovers, could have been a difference to this game.”