Ohio Still Winless In Bowls
by Dave Congrove
December 26, 2009
NOTE: The Motor City Bowl became the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on 9/2/09.
Marshall sprung to a 21-0 lead, then held on to defeat Ohio 21-17 in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl at Ford Field in Detroit.
The 21-0 lead was built on a pair of Martin Ward rushing touchdowns sandwiched around a 58-yard Andre Booker punt return. The Thundering Herd was driving to potentially make it 28-0 before Darius Marshall fumbled and Shannon Ballard returned it 75 yards for Ohio's first points.
Two punt blunders by Marshall helped Ohio cut the lead to 21-17 in the 3rd quarter. A 15-yard punt gave the Bobcats the ball at the Marshall 37-yard line and Terrence McCrae scored on an 8-yard TD reception from Theo Scott five plays later.
Marshall's next possession ended in a blocked punt that led to a 46-yard Matt Weller field goal to close the scoring.
Ohio leads the series 29-18-6, but Marshall has won the last five meetings.
Despite having campuses that are less than 90 miles apart, these teams had not met since Marshall left the MAC after the 2004 season to join CUSA. 2010 will mark a renewal of the rivalry during the regular season.
The Herd dominated the MAC during its brief stay, capturing the conference title five times in its 8-year league history. Marshall won four straight conference titles during its first four years of MAC membership, lost the title game in its fifth year, and recaptured the crown in its sixth. The Herd played in each of the Motor City Bowl's first four games and won the last three after dropping the first.
It was the 11th consecutive bowl loss for MAC teams and the 3rd straight in this bowl.
Ohio fell to 0-4 overall in bowl games while Marshal improved to 6-2.
Ohio was making its first appearance in the Detroit bowl, but was playing its second consecutive game at Ford Field. The Bobcats may not want to see it again anytime soon after ending the season with two straight losses at the venue, including a 20-10 setback to Central Michigan in the MAC Championship game on December 4. Had Ohio won that game, it would have secured its first MAC title since 1968, and its first 10-win season since that same year. Ohio also lost here to Central Michigan in the 2006 MAC title game.
Marshall was playing under interim head coach Rick Minter. He was defensive coordinator under head coach Mark Snyder who was fired after the team returned from an embarrassing 52-21 loss at UTEP (4-8) in the final regular season game.
Ironically, Minter was Cincinnati's head coach when Marshall beat the Bearcats 25-14 in the 2000 Motor City Bowl. Minter spent 10 seasons at Cincinnati in his only head coaching job and compiled a record of 53-63-1 overall, 1-3 in bowl games. He is 1-0 with the Herd, but it now becomes John "Doc' Holliday's team.
Frank Solich saw his overall bowl record drop to 3-5, including 0-2 with Ohio.
The bowl made history as Brandon, Mississippi's Sarah Thomas, a married mother of two boys, became the first woman to officiate a college bowl game.
Formerly called the Motor City Bowl for the first 12 years of its existence, the new title sponsor and name change were announced in September.