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Frank Solich becomes MAC’s winningest coach in Ohio’s rout of Bowling Green

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Amidst negotiations on yet another contract extension, Frank Solich has added yet another notch to his résumé.

Thanks in part to Nathan Rourke‘s four total touchdowns (three passing, one rushing), Ohio took Bowling Green State to the woodshed in a 66-24 road rout Tuesday night.  The Bobcats averaged 8.6 yards per carry in rushing for 342 yards, led by O’Shaan Allison‘s career-high 175 yards on the ground.  Allison also ran for three touchdowns after coming into the game with just two in his career.

The win is the 111th for Solich during his time at Athens, making him the all-time winningest head coach in MAC history.  The 75-year-old Solich surpassed Herb Deromedi, who won 110 games at Central Michigan from 1978-93.

“It seemed like it stalled itself out a little bit for a while, but we’re interested in winning football games, and this record goes with it,” Solich, in the midst of his 15th season with the football program, said in quotes distributed by the school. “I feel really good about it, but a lot of people were involved in this. A lot of great players over the years that have come through Ohio that have set the tradition to where we were able to recruit well and win football games.

“There have been tremendous athletes and tremendous coaches. If you have that combination, you’re going to have a few wins. A lot of people have been involved in winning some football games, so I appreciate everything that people have been done during my time at Ohio. I will say this, it is as good as I could ever hope for in a coaching business in terms of those 15 years and how it all worked.”

With the win, Ohio also moved to 5-6 and within one more win of becoming bowl-eligible.  With a win over winless Akron next Tuesday, Ohio would qualify for the postseason for the fifth straight season and 11th time overall under Solich.

Frank Solich, Ohio working toward another contract extension

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With his old contract a little over a month away from expiring, the oldest head coach at the FBS level is eyeing a new one.

Late last week, Frank Solich acknowledged at a press conference that he has been engaged in discussions on a contract extension to continue on as Ohio University’s head football coach.  Solich, who turned 75 in September, is in the midst of his 15th season at the MAC school.

Since signing his original contract in 2005, Solich’s deal has been extended or renewed seven different times, the last of which came in June of last year.

“Yeah, there’s been discussions,” Solich stated by way of the Athens Messenger, before coming back a short time later to add, “I just want to make sure that everyone knows I feel good about where the discussions are going.”

According to The Post in Athens, Ohio, Solich’s current deal expires on January 3 of 2020.

Solich has posted a 110-81 record during his time with the Bobcats.  With a 4-6 record this season, Ohio needs to win its last two games — tonight at 3-7 Bowling Green, at winless Akron a week from today — to become bowl-eligible for the fifth straight season and 11th time overall under Solich.

Ohio has also claimed four MAC East titles during Solich’s time in Athens as well.

John Mackey Award names eight semi-finalists for top tight end award

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Eight of the nation’s top tight ends were officially named semi-finalists for this season’s John Mackey Award on Monday. The award, named after Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end and former Syracuse player John Mackey, is presented to the nation’s top tight-end as determined by a select voting panel.

This year’s semi-finalists are:

  • Harrison Bryant, Florida Atlantic
  • Hunter Bryant, Washington
  • Brycen Hopkins, Purdue
  • Brevin Jordan, Miami
  • Charlie Kolar, Iowa State
  • Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri
  • Colby Parkinson, Stanford
  • Giovanni Ricci, Western Michigan

A couple of notable omissions from this list stand out. Florida’s Kyle Pitts, who has the second-most receptions and fifth-most receiving yards among the nation’s tight ends somehow slipped through the voters here. The sophomore for the Gators has averaged 4.2 receptions per game and has accounted for 566 yards and five touchdowns for the Gators. No other tight end in the SEC has more yards per game than Pitts. Penn State’s Pat Freiemuth being omitted was also slightly surprising. Freiermuth has seven touchdowns, easily more than any other Big Ten tight end this season and tied for third-most in the conference this season.

Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson won the John Mackey Award in 2018. Other past winners of the award include Dallas Clark of Iowa, Tyler Eiffert of Notre Dame, Jake Butt of Michigan, Austin Seferian-Jenkins of Washington, and Aaron Hernandez of Florida.

This year’s Mackey Award winner will be announced on Dec. 11th.

New Mexico State, Rice win; Akron now lone remaining winless FBS team

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And then there was one.

Heading into Week 12, New Mexico State and Rice were two of three winless teams at the FBS level.  Playing FCS Incarnate Word at home, NMSU cruised to a 41-28ricericrice win to secure its first “W” of the season; heading east to Murfreesboro, Rice hung 31 points on Middle Tennessee State in the first half and then hung on in the second for a tight 31-28 win.

The Aggies’ win snapped an 11-game losing streak — they have still lost 14 straight to FBS teams — while the Owls, who came in as 14-point underdogs, had lost nine in a row prior to today.

So, with those twin wins, it leaves Akron as the lone FBS that has yet to win a game this season — and, based on past performance and future opponents, there’s no win in sight.

Akron has played 10 games this season, and, obviously, lost them all.  The closest they’ve come to a non-defeat?  An eight-point loss to a UMass team that’s 1-10 on the season.  The other nine games, they’ve lost by a combined score of 326-77.

For Week 13, Akron has drawn Miami (OH), which is one win away from winning the MAC East.  The following week, they get a 4-6 Ohio team that has beaten them 10 of the last 11 times they’ve played.

So, yeah, good luck Zips.

Mobile Alabama Bowl gets a new title sponsor

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The game previously known as the Dollar General Bowl (and a handful of other names since 1999) has a new title sponsor. LendingTree is the new title sponsor of the bowl game, now called the LendingTree Bowl.

This season’s LendingTree Bowl will be played on Jan. 6, 2020. The game is slotted to pit teams from the MAC and Sun Belt Conference in the game. Troy beat Buffalo in last season’s game. The Sun Belt Conference has won each of the last four LendingTree Bowl matchups against the MAC.

Like many lower-tier bowl games, the Mobile Alabama Bowl has had a number of names over the years. The game went by the name of the Mobile Alabama Bowl for its first two years in 1999 and 2000 before picking up a sponsor to become the GMAC Bowl from 2001 through 2010. GoDaddy.com took on the naming rights for the GoDaddy.com Bowl from 2011 through 2013 and went by the simpler name of the GoDaddy Bowl from 2014 through 2015. Dollar General became the title sponsor from 2016 up until the company dropped the sponsorship earlier this year.