By Zach Walker
Ohio Bobcats vs East Carolina Pirates
Monday – December 23 – 1 PM
Tropicana Field – St. Petersburg
How They Got There
The Ohio Bobcats might just as well be happy to be in a bowl, because they really tailspun the last third of the season, losing three straight games, in very one-sided contests (123 points allowed to only 16 points scored) before finishing their season with a win against UMass, 51-23. The East Carolina Pirates lost two games in the first half of their schedule in very close matches (15-10 to Virginia Tech/ 36-33 in overtime at Tulane), then railed off five wins in a row before losing the finale at Marshall 59-28.
How do they play?
Ohio Bobcats: Actually, both of these teams are rather similar offensively. The Bobcats signal caller is Tyler Tettleton, and he has got some fight in him. He’s a 63 percent passer with 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions. The Bobcats one-two punch combo at running back of Beau Blankenship and Ryan Boykin has combined for over 1200 yards and 12 ground touchdowns. Defensive end Tarell Basham (great name for a pass rusher) had six and a half sacks on the season and is going to have to bring the heat against the Pirates’ dangerous quarterback Shane Carden.
East Carolina Pirates: The Pirates are exactly like the Bobcats, if the dial was turned up a couple levels higher. Shane Carden had a fantastic year, 71 percent completion percent is unreal, 3800 yards through the air, and 32 passing touchdowns and 10 ground scores. He’s a serious problem to plan against, then factor in his favorite target. A 6 foot tornado, Justin Hardy caught 105 passes for 1218 yards and eight touchdowns. The running back, Vintavious Cooper, fell five yards short of a 1000 yard season, but had 12 total touchdowns (11 rush/1 receiving).
Prediction: Well, to start, I think 75 points will be scored in this game, and it’s going to be a fantastic showing of offense between two very good quarterbacks. I think it’ll be: East Carolina 42 – Ohio 38