ATHENS, OH—Players all handle losing games differently and some games are easier to swallow than others. The losses that are hardest to take are the ones in which mistakes greatly contributed to the final outcome.
That’s why Marshall’s 34-31 loss to Ohio stings a little more than the average loss.
Marshall players know without four turnovers and some crucial penalties the final result could have been much different. On the night, Marshall tallied 485 yards of total offense to Ohio’s 331. The Bobcats were limited to just 58 yards rushing in the game. But Ohio won the turnover battle and was able to convert key third downs to keep drives alive.
“We just can’t shoot ourselves in the foot and have that many missed assignments,” knows quarterback Rakeem Cato.
Cato threw an interception in the fourth quarter after Marshall came up much needed defensive stop, trailing 31-24 with just over 7:00 to play in the game. Cato was trying to hit Demetrius Evans on a timing route, but Evans slipped down and the Ohio defender was standing right there to make the easy pick.
“It was a bad play. That’s all on me,” Cato said, taking the blame for the interception.
It was hardly the only mistake Marshall made on the night. The Herd fumbled on back to back drives in the first half and the backbreaker may have been the botched kickoff return that Ohio recovered in the endzone for a touchdown.
“We can’t turn the ball over and that one kick return is unacceptable,” Doc Holliday reiterated, clearly frustrated following the game.
To compound the mistakes, Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton came out in the second half and was nearly perfect. Tettleton methodically led his team up and down the field chewing clock and converting key third downs.
“He’s one heck of a football player,” said linebacker Billy Mitchell. “He can do things with his legs we’re not used to seeing and that really make it tough on coverage.”
Tettleton finished the night 25-for 38 for 264 yards and a touchdown.
“He made plays when he had to and we couldn’t get off the field,” said Holliday.
Ohio was 11-of 13 on third down conversion attempts on the night and it controlled time of possession by more than nine mintues.
It’s hard enough to beat good teams when everything goes right and it is nearly impossible to do it when they’re given points on the scoreboard through mistakes and turnovers.