College Football Record For Most Passing Yards In A Game College Football Week #10: Where Is Frank Solich?

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College Football Week #10: Where Is Frank Solich?

Ever wonder what happened to Frank Solich?

You remember the guy: He was the coach at the University of Nebraska for six seasons. He was the loyal lieutenant who took over the Cornhuskers from Tom Osborne, proof positive that it’s never a good thing to have someone take over from The Guy. After compiling a 64-19 record as Nebraska’s head man, Solich was harshly and controversially fired from the Bayou Bridges side. (Okay, no, it wasn’t Beau Bridge; it was Bill Callahan looking like Bridge.)

Solich took a year off, then took over the moribund football program at Ohio University in 2005 (which, if you allow the digression, is a long way from Ohio State University, if not geography, to prestige). Jim Grobe turned Ohio into a good-not-great MAC team after an 0-11 program in 1995, but Grobe jumped to Wake Forest after the 2000 season (and let’s face it, he didn’t have the greatest record. Ohio: 33-33-1). Between Grobe and Solich came four-year-old Brian Knorr, who returned what Grobe did to the tune of 11-35. Solich took over last year and went 4-7.

Things got better in 2006. Ohio is 6-3 overall and 4-1 in the always-exciting MAC, currently tied with Kent St. in the MAC East (and they own the tiebreaker, who beat the Golden Flashes on the road last week). It’s not a great team by MAC standards, but it has a conference-high four wins, including an upset win at the University of Illinois three weeks ago. What has worked best for the Bobcats is their defense: They currently rank 15th in the nation in passing yards allowed per game and have picked off seven passes compared to allowing eight TDs. Ohio has traveled to Rutgers, Missouri and Illinois (plus a silly game against I-AA Tennessee-Martin); If you count the team’s five conference games, they have allowed just 15 points and 278 total yards per game. In a normally-high-flying MAC, that’s pretty good. The Bobcats have eight returning starters on offense, and they’re showing up there, too, especially on the ground: During this four-game winning streak, Ohio has averaged 26.5 points and 210 yards rushing per game. At the same time, they have the 108th-best passing offense in Division 1 football; It’s really a mini-Nebraska about three yards and a cloud of dust.

On the road against Eastern Michigan this week, I think it will work. The Eagles rank 106th nationally in rushing yards allowed per game (181 total) and give up 4.9 yards per carry. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a flashing red light. Eastern Michigan held Western Michigan to 178 rushing yards last weekend, Toledo to 175, Bowling Green to 159, Louisiana-Lafayette to 179, Central Michigan to 176… Whoops, you get the point. These huge rush-defense numbers don’t go overboard: the Eagles are challenged on the defensive side of the ball. Plus, on offense, Jeff Janick’s squad has allowed a MAC-worst 16 points per conference game. Three different quarterbacks have started for the Genniks — Andy Schmidt, Tyler Jones and Dontayo Gage — but the team’s sacks and interceptions outnumber their touchdown passes. Overall, Eastern Michigan is 1-7, and 1-4 in MAC play.

Ohio is probably better at home than on the road, although their only conference loss came in Athens. Eastern Michigan has hosted just two games so far this year and will play three of its next four in Ypsilanti. The line opened at 4.5 in Ohio, but quickly zoomed to 6.5. But trends look good for bobcats, too. During this modest winning streak they are 4-0 against the spread and 4-1 ATS in their conference games this year. Eastern Michigan, for its part, is 1-4 ATS against winning teams, and 2-5 ATS as a home underdog. Most of all, I love the Solich running game, powered by Calvin McRae and his 11 touchdowns, to dominate the clock and scoreboard against rush-defense-challenged Eastern Michigan. The march to the MAC title game continues this weekend and I’ll take Ohio (-6.5) at Eastern Michigan.

Last week: Ohio State didn’t bother to make it entertaining, shutting out the hapless Gophers 44-0 against Minnesota. Taking the Buckeyes and giving up 27 points was the right thing to do, and it makes me so happy that I recommend you do it. That cover puts us at 6-3 against the spread so far this year.

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