Well, it won't be a perfect 2019 season for the Green and White. The Bobcats walked away from Heinz Field disappointed, suffering a 20-10 defeat to the Pittsburgh Panthers. The defense hung tough with the ACC outfit led by Pat Narduzzi, but Ohio's offense was sluggish and could only muster 10 points against a solid Panthers front seven.
The cloud hanging over the game was the illness of Nathan Rourke, who had his worst full game of his career according to ESPN's QBR metric. But how did the fine folks at Pro Football Focus grade the Ohio Bobcats. These grades are used in scouting evaluations for 30 of 32 NFL teams, and give us insight beyond the numbers. A 60-69 grade indicates average performance, while the 70's indicate above average performance, 80's is a great performance, and 90's is an elite performance.
Top 5 Individual Grades
Ohio appeared to check every box vs the Rhode Island Rams in a 41-20 win. It moved Frank Solich to 14-0 vs FCS opponents, and Solich is now 10-5 in season openers. The Bobcats were in control from start to finish, and it's hard to find things to be upset about. Of course Ohio made some silly mistakes on special teams, but that's something that Solich and the Ohio staff have corrected time and time again.
It's interesting, and important, to take a deeper look at the Bobcats performance as they move into their toughest 3-game stretch of the season. Starting with a visit to Heinz Field to battle ACC representative Pittsburgh and coach Pat Narduzzi.
The folks who take that deeper look? Pro Football Focus. Here's how they saw Ohio's performance on Saturday.
Top 5 graded Bobcats
Lukas Moore --
After what seemed an eternity, football will finally be back at Peden stadium this Saturday. Peden was a fortress for Ohio a year ago, the Bobcats finished 6-0 on their home turf. That 6-0 mark was one of many impressive numbers the talented 'Cats have produced in back-to-back seasons. However, missing out on Detroit has created a sense of urgency for the Bobcats. The pressure is on for Ohio, they're proverbial favorites to win the MAC, and falling short this year would sting.
Entering Peden to open the season is an FCS opponent, Rhode Island. The Rams went 6-5 last season, and they feel genuinely excited about the future of their program. Jim Fleming and the Rams will come to play, and have their eyes on an upset. But, when Frank Solich plays the FCS, victory has been a guarantee. Solich is 13-0 vs the FCS, with the closest contest coming a year ago in a 38-32 win against Howard.
The Bobcats still have to execute to win, but a tally in the win column isn't the only goal for a team with eyes on a MAC title.
How will the interior defensive line play?