ATHENS, Ohio -The last time Ohio's football team started out the season 4-0 was in 1976, when Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford were the presidential candidates.
Thirty-six years and nine elections later, the Bobcats have a chance to equal that feat today when Norfolk State visits Peden Stadium for a 2 p.m. contest that marks Ohio's last non-conference game of 2012.
Ohio has been impressive in opening the season with road wins at Penn State (24-14) and Marshall (27-24) with its home-opening 51-24 win over New Mexico State sandwiched in between.
The Cats have not cracked the top 25 in either national poll, but are receiving votes in both the Associated Press poll of sports writers and the USA Today coaches poll. Ohio is one of 31 major college football programs who go into the weekend undefeated. The Cats are the only Mid-American Conference member not to have tasted defeat in 2012.
Today's contest would have been a battle of 3-0 teams had Norfolk State not lost a 37-36 overtime decision to Howard last Saturday. The Spartans were attempting the extra point kick that would have sent the game into double overtime when it was blocked. Norfolk had opened the season with a 24-0 win over Virginia State and followed it up with a 31-24 victory at Liberty.
Norfolk State played at West Virginia University last year and actually led the eventual Orange Bowl champions at halftime, 12-10, before WVU exploded for 45 second-half points and a 55-12 win.
While ESPN's GameDay won't be in Athens today for the first meeting between the Bobcats and Spartans, Sports Illustrated will as SI is planning on featuring the Cats in an upcoming issue. It also is Parents Day on the Athens campus.
This has the makings of a record-setting day, especially for Ohio junior quarterback Tyler Tettleton. He needs four touchdowns to set the school's career record for touchdown passes. Plus, he is fourth on two career passing lists -touchdowns and yards. Should he throw four TD passes today and/or complete passes for 235 yards, he will into the top three of those categories.
Tettleton isn't the only Bobcat who could put his name in the record book. Running back Beau Blankenship is looking to become the first Bobcat to rush for 100 or more yards in four straight games. The last to do so was Kalvin McRae in 2007.
This game could be billed as the battle of the quarterbacks as Norfolk State signal-caller Nico Flores has thrown for 542 yards and four touchdowns while completing more than 60 percent of his passes.
Ohio begins Mid-American Conference play next Saturday, traveling to new league member Massachusetts in a 3:30 p.m. game at Gillette Stadium.