OU opens season on the road

KENT, Ohio -While most of the nation’s college football programs are staying at home and opening their seasons against an underwhelming non-conference opponent, Ohio University and Kent State will meet at 6 p.m. today at Dix Stadium in a Mid-American Conference contest.

An optimistic OU fan would look at the statistic that OU has won its last three conference openers. An optimistic Kent State fan would note the Golden Flashes haven’t lost a home game to Ohio since 2008.

Indeed, this game is rated as a near-even matchup with Kent State installed as a field goal favorite.

Ohio coach Frank Solich is going for his 125th victory in his coaching career and also his 67th as the head coach of the Bobcats, which would move into sixth place on the all-time Mid American Conference coaching wins list, surpassing former Kent State coach Trevor Rees.

“I believe our team is anxious to get the season started,” said Solich. “They’ve been a team that’s been enjoyable to work with from spring ball to summer conditioning through fall camp.”

Ohio is coming off a 7-6 campaign that ended with a 37-20 loss to East Carolina in the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl. That represented the final game for a group of seniors that led the Bobcats to the first two bowl victories in the school’s history including quarterback Tyler Tettleton and running back Beau Blankenship.

How well their replacements perform this season will go a long way in determining Ohio’s level of success.

Junior Derrius Vick is listed on the Ohio pregame depth chart as the starting quarterack following a battle in fall camp with sophomore JD Sprague. Vick has made one start in his Bobcat career and will get immediately battle-tested as Kent State won last year’s meeting at Peden Stadium , 44-13.

The receiving corps returns lone senior flanker Chase Cochran, who accounted for 689 yards last year. Other candidates include Cam Wilson, a transfer from Iowa and Landon Smith, who was forced by injury to sit out most of 2013.