The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

September 11, 2013

Sacking Tettleton no easy proposition for Marshall

By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor

— Many teams have been able to get pressure on Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton. Case in point: Louisville, which hurried Tettleton three times and forced him into 12 incomplete passes in a 42-7 win over the Bobcats on Sept. 1. Tettleton didn’t have a single rushing attempt against the Cardinals, currently ranked seventh in the country.

One thing the Cardinals could not do was sack Tettleton, and they’re not alone.

Sacking Tettleton has been easier said than done since he took over as the Bobcats starter in 2011. The senior’s proficiency in running Ohio’s option attack makes him among the most elusive signal callers around.

Marshall (2-0) will get one more crack at Tettleton when it visits the Bobcats (1-1) at 8 p.m. Saturday. Ohio has won two straight in the Battle for the Bell series, and Tettleton has been the main reason.

Tettleton has combined to complete 40 of 64 passes for 485 yards and six touchdowns in his two starts against the Thundering Herd, and he has 88 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.

The Herd has not sacked Tettleton in either game. With Marshall’s emphasis on getting pressure on the quarterback, that is a concern.

“It tells you what kind of player he is,” Marshall coach Doc Holliday said. “It's important to get pressure on him. That needs to happen, because if he can sit back there and break containment then he will create problems for you. That's something we have to make sure does not happen."

Tettleton, a native of Norman, Okla., like his teammate, tailback Beau Blankenship, had a breakout game against Marshall two years ago. He completed 20 of 29 passes for 285 yards and three touchdowns, and ran the ball nine times for 53 yards and a touchdown in a 44-7 win at Peden Stadium.

This year, Tettleton is 30-of-53 for 379 yards and two touchdowns, and was intercepted twice in last Saturday’s 27-21 win over North Texas.

And, he has not been sacked.

Tettleton plays behind an experienced offensive line that returns three starters and averages 6-foot-4 and 302 pounds tackle-to-tackle.

“You turn the tape on, and those guys you see playing are very solid,” Holliday said. “Coach (Frank) Solich has been with that program for a long time. He’s developed some guys, and there’s not much of a drop off from a year ago and what they're playing with now.

“When you think about Ohio, you think about their toughness and … Tettleton,” Holliday added. “He's a tremendous leader. He's a great quarterback, and it starts with him.”

— E-mail: gfauber