By Rob Ogden
After completing a desperation touchdown pass with no time remaining, Ohio lined up to go for two and win the game. But as quarterback Boo Jackson released the ball, his receiver fell down, the ball fell to the ground and Marshall’s sideline erupted in celebration.
Jackson’s 36-yard touchdown heave to Terrence McCrae as time expired was not enough as the Bobcats fell to the Thundering Herd 24-23 in heart-breaking fashion.
Though Ohio coach Frank Solich said the Bobcats’ decision to go for two was debated, the players were behind the call.
“With the momentum we had, we felt we were unstoppable,” Jackson said. “It was a good call by coach. We had the momentum and if we would have caught that ball we wouldn’t be sad right now. “
Solich also stuck behind the call.
“When it doesn’t work, it’s tough for everyone within the program. When it works, everyone is jumping up and down,” he said. “We thought we had a shot and that’s why we took it.”
Ohio led 17 to 16 entering the fourth quarter, but a 14-play, 70-yard touchdown drive in which Marshall converted four third-down plays gave the Herd the lead for good.
“It was clearly a big disappointment for our ball club,” Solich said. “But, I thought we did some things in the second half that shows we are a team that has character and a team that never quits.”
Jackson and fellow quarterback Phil Bates switched off under center throughout the game with Jackson playing on the majority of third and fourth down plays.
Bates left the game with a shoulder injury in the third quarter and did not return.
Jackson completed 11 of 20 passes for 155 yards, two touchdowns and one interception while Bates led the team with 65 yards rushing and completed one pass for 46 yards.
“There were certain things we were going to use Phil for in the ball game, but then he got hurt,” Solich said. “I thought Boo played his best football of the entire year.”
In spite of the success they had with the dual-quarterback system, Solich said he doesn’t expect to stick with that formula in the future.
“Boo’s got to do a little running and Phil’s got to do a little throwing,” he said. “You don’t have a chance to game plan it so we were able to do that tonight. But you have got to be a more complete quarterback.”
Despite the loss, the Ohio players seemed up beat after the game, and optimistic about the team’s future.
“It’s a great thing that our offense is finally clicking,” Jackson said. “From preseason until now, everyone has been talking about the talent we have. Everyone was on the same page for the first time this season.”