ATHENS - A first loss of the season is tough for any team to swallow.
But for Ohio University this week, it's doubly tough.
That's because for Frank Solich's football Bobcats, they have had to concentrate on a short week of preparation for Eastern Michigan tonight at Peden Stadium - coming on the heels of a narrow 23-20 setback at Miami of Ohio just five days ago that dropped them out of the top-25 national rankings.
"We've moved on," said Solich. "One game does not define a season. I know how hard it is to go undefeated. Those teams are not only good, but lucky."
Solich noted, though, that the toughest challenge for the 7-1 Bobcats now is having to playing three Mid-American Conference games in 12 days. After the EMU Eagles visit Peden Stadium for a 6 p.m. kickoff tonight (ESPNU), Bowling Green comes to town next Wednesday to tangle with the 'Cats at 8 p.m.
"That's a little rough," he said. "We have to recognize what this challenge is."
Schedule/ Results for Ohio
- Sept. 1: Ohio 24, Penn State 14
- Sept. 8: Ohio 51, New Mexico State 24
- Sept. 15: Ohio 27, Marshall 24
- Sept. 22: Ohio 44, Norfolk State 10
- Sept. 29: Ohio 37, Massachusetts 34
- Oct. 6: Ohio 38, Buffalo 31
- Oct. 13: Ohio 34, Akron 28
- Oct. 27: Miami (Ohio) 23, Ohio 20
- Nov. 1: Eastern Michigan, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
- Nov. 7: Bowling Green, 8 p.m.
- Nov. 14: at Ball State, 8 pm.
- Nov. 23: at Kent State, TBA
First up for OU, however, is 1-7 Eastern Michigan with the Bobcats hoping to bounce back from the devastating defeat at Miami against an Eagle squad they have triumphed over seven of the last eight times they have met.
Of course, what OU would like to do first and foremost as usual is run the ball tonight, led by tailback Beau Blankenship who ranks eighth in the nation in rushing, having already eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark at 1,025.
Meanwhile Bobcat quarterback Tyler Tettleton continues to be an efficient passer, connecting on 60.4 percent of his passes for 1,645 yards and 12 touchdowns with only one interception. His favorite targets have been wide receivers Donte Foster with 31 catches for 323 yards and five TDs, and Bakari Bussey with 23 receptions for 226 yards.
For Eastern Michigan, "they have a running game and they try to build off that with some throws," said Solich. "That's their style of offense and the style of quarterback they have right now."
For EMU, Bronson Hill is ''a very good running back," said Solich. "They like to run the ball. That's what they want to do.
"If you don't control that some, then he's going to have very good statistics. So we need to actually slow him down and need to control the running game. Try to force them into the throwing game and how well we do that will determine how well we slow them down."
Eastern Michigan's other top offensive threat is 6-2, 253-pound tight end Garrett Hoskins, the team's leading receiver with 31 catches for 477 yards and three TDs.