SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) - Louisiana-Monroe had the better storyline and what amounted to a home-field advantage.
What the Warhawks didn't have was an answer for Ohio's Tyler Tettleton or Beau Blankenship.
Ohio jumped out to a big early lead and cruised to a 45-14 victory over Louisiana-Monroe on Friday in the Independence Bowl, putting a damper on the Warhawks' first trip to college football's postseason since moving up to the Football Bowl Subdivision in 1994.
In his postgame analysis, Louisiana-Monroe coach Todd Berry said he saw plenty of effort.
The problem was his guys might have tried a little too hard.
"Guys were trying to make something happen and everybody was trying to make a play instead of playing their responsibilities," Berry said. "There were a lot of busts, not in terms of not knowing how to do something, but in terms of turning a guy loose and obviously that showed."
Tettleton completed his first five passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns to stake the Bobcats to an early 14-0 lead. Louisiana-Monroe was never able to regain its footing.
"Right out the gate they jumped on us and it seemed like we were kind of shell-shocked," Louisiana-Monroe linebacker R.J. Young said.
Ohio broke several Independence Bowl records, including the 31-point margin of victory and 556 total yards.
"It was probably as complete of ballgame as we've played in some time," Ohio coach Frank Solich said. "I think our guys played with great intensity and a great deal of heart. We showed we can play a great game against a really good team like Louisiana-Monroe."
Tettleton finished 14 of 22 passing for 331 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Chase Cochran caught three passes for 162 yards while Tyler Futrell had five receptions for 133 yards. With Tettleton softening the Louisiana-Monroe defense early, Blankenship provided the power offense to seal the game, rushing for 104 yards and an Independence Bowl record four touchdowns.
Tettleton was especially sharp in the first half, completing 9 of 14 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns as Ohio built a 24-7 lead.
Louisiana-Monroe (8-5) struggled in its first bowl game after 19 seasons in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Kolton Browning completed 21 of 39 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw three first-half interceptions.