Dec 5, 2020; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Syracuse Orange running back Sean Tucker (34) takes a direct snap in the second quarter against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

RB Sean Tucker powers Syracuse past Ohio

Sean Tucker rushed for a career-high 181 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries to power visiting Syracuse in a 29-9 win over Ohio in a nonconference matchup on Saturday night in Athens, Ohio.

Syracuse (1-0) won for the seventh time in its last eight season openers and claimed its eighth straight victory against the Mid-American Conference. Quarterback Tommy DeVito completed 11 of 17 passes for just 92 yards, but he added 49 rushing yards and a score on the ground.

Ohio (0-1) lost the head coaching debut for Tim Albin, the program’s long-time offensive coordinator who was elevated to the head role in July following the retirement of Frank Solich. Kurtis Rourke hit on 21 of 28 passes for 142 yards with an interception and even caught a 38-yard pass for the Bobcats, who managed just nine points on three trips into the red zone on the night.

Jerome Buckner hauled in seven catches for 102 yards, De’Montre Tuggle added 65 yards rushing, and Stephen Johnson kicked three short field goals of 22, 30 and 25 yards for Ohio.

Syracuse pulled away with a pair of third-quarter scores to take a 22-6 lead into the final frame. Andre Szmyt kicked a 20-yard field goal, and then Tucker found paydirt on a 6-yard touchdown run for the 16-point lead with 40 seconds left in the quarter.

Ohio pulled to within 22-9 with 11:21 left on Johnson’s third field goal, but Syracuse answered with Cooper Lutz’ 11-yard touchdown run with 5:15 left for the 29-9 final score.

Orange receiver Taj Harris had six catches for 29 yards and broke his tie with Marvin Harrison for sixth place on the Syracuse career receptions list. Syracuse finished with 280 rushing yards on 44 carries, and averaged 6.4 per attempt.

Ohio out gained Syracuse 171-139 in the first half and had a better than a seven-minute edge in time of possession … but trailed 12-6 at the break.

The Bobcats’ first drive took 12 plays and eight minutes off the clock but ended with a missed 50-yard field goal. Syracuse took the lead just five plays later when DeVito kept the ball on a read for a 6-yard touchdown run.

On the following kickoff, returner Tuggle muffed the return and was tackled on his own 1-yard line. Ohio’s next play was a dive to Tuggle, and he was swarmed under for a safety, and Syracuse led 9-0 with 6:24 left in the first quarter.

The Bobcats got on the board with 13:33 left in the half on Johnson’s 22-yard field goal. Syracuse answered with Szmyt hitting from 29 yards, and Ohio closed the half with Johnson’s 30-yard field goal with just 19 seconds remaining.

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2020; Boise, Idaho, USA; Ohio Bobcats players dump french fries on head coach Frank Solich during the second half of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl against the Nevada Wolf Pack at Albertsons Stadium. Ohio won 30-21. Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio head coach Frank Solich retires to focus on health

Frank Solich retired after 16 seasons as head coach at Ohio to focus on his health.

The 76-year-old previously coached at Nebraska, where he replaced Tom Osborne in 1998 and posted a 58-19 record with the Cornhuskers.

Ohio had two winning seasons in 22 years prior to Solich’s arrival. He led the program to 11 bowl games.

Associate head coach and offensive coordinator Tim Albin was named Ohio head coach, agreeing to a four-year contract on Wednesday, the Bobcats announced.

“After fifty-five years in coaching, including 16 at Ohio University, it is time for me to step away to focus on a cardiovascular health issue,” said Solich, the MAC Coach of the Year in 2006. “I’ve appreciated the support of Bobcat fans over the years, and I know they will continue to support Coach Albin. After working directly with Tim for 21 consecutive years, including six at the University of Nebraska, it’s clear to me he is prepared to continue our work and move the program forward. I am happy for Tim and his family.”

Solich has a career record of 173-101, which includes his previous time at Nebraska, where he hired Albin as a graduate assistant in 2000. He was previously head coach at Northwestern Oklahoma State for three seasons, including a 13-0 season in 1999 as NAIA national champions.

“It is truly an honor to lead the Ohio University football program and I want to express my gratitude to President Sherman and Director of Athletics Julie Cromer for their belief in me,” Albin said. “I am forever indebted to Coach Solich for all that he has offered me and taught me through the years, and I know he will always be part of our program. Our team will provide an unmatched student-athlete experience both on and off the field and we will graduate young men prepared to succeed in life. With the help of our incredible staff I know great things lie ahead, and our work continues.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 7, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; Buffalo Bulls running back Jaret Patterson (26) runs with the ball during the second quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo-Ohio canceled, allowing Bulls to clinch title-game spot

Saturday’s game between the University of Buffalo and host Ohio University was canceled on Friday due to COVID-19 issues in the Ohio program.

The cancellation allowed Buffalo to clinch the Mid-American Conference East Division title and a spot in the conference title game.

The Bulls reportedly learned they were division champions about 2 1/2 hours into the approximately 390-mile bus ride from Buffalo to Athens, Ohio. The Bulls reportedly stopped at a rest stop in Mentor, Ohio — located just east of Cleveland — and turned the bus around on Interstate 90 to head back to Buffalo after learning of the cancelation.

The MAC released a statement that said, “The University at Buffalo at Ohio University football game on Saturday, December 5 has been canceled due to roster issues with the Ohio football team related to positive COVID-19 tests and subsequent contact tracing. The game has been declared a no-contest.”

Buffalo (4-0, 4-0 MAC) would have preferred to clinch the spot in the Dec. 18 title game at Detroit on the field.

“While we are disappointed our game at Ohio has been canceled, the health and safety of our student-athletes continues to be our top priority,” Bulls coach Lance Leipold said in a statement. “I’m extremely proud of our student-athletes, coaches and staff. They have done everything the right way during these difficult times. In fact, we didn’t have a single positive case this week. We were looking forward to playing Ohio, but we will now shift our attention to our next opponent, Akron.”

The Bulls are scheduled to host Akron on Dec. 12. The Bobcats (2-1, 2-1) visit Kent State on the same day.

Buffalo is led by star running back Jaret Patterson, who rushed for 409 and eight touchdowns in last week’s 70-41 win over Kent State. The yardage was second-most all-time behind Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine, who had 427 against Kansas in 2014.

–Field Level Media

Get a Grip: The Week in Sports Betting and Sports: PA Launch Has Arrived

The post Get a Grip: The Week in Sports Betting and Sports: PA Launch Has Arrived appeared first on SportsHandle.

It’s information overload everywhere, and there’s not time enough to sleep and eat and stay fully apprised of what’s happening on this crazy blue dot of ours (two out of three ain’t bad).

Here’s the weekend Sports Handle item, “Get a Grip,” recapping the week’s top stories, and rounding up key stories in sports betting, gaming, and the world of sports at large. You may have missed them, and they are worth reading.

12 Billion Reasons There Is So Much Hype Around Pennsylvania Sports Betting; Launch Pad Readies at Hollywood Penn 

The Hollywood Casino in Pennsylvania will make history on Saturday when it fully opens the first legal sportsbook in PA to the public. More than a year after legalizing sports betting, Pennsylvanians will finally be able to legally place a bet — and the state will begin to reap expected financial gains from sports betting. They already have, actually, in the form of $10 million application fee apiece from the six properties so far to apply for a sports wagering license.

Of the eight states that have legalized sports betting, Pennsylvania is the only that that has just about two of everything — NFL teams, MLB teams and NHL teams. The only pro sport with only one Pennsylvania franchise is the NBA.

 
 

Read more Get a Grip: The Week in Sports Betting and Sports: PA Launch Has Arrived on SportsHandle.

Key Sports Betting Lawmakers: Who Survived the Election, and Who’s Out

The post Key Sports Betting Lawmakers: Who Survived the Election, and Who’s Out appeared first on SportsHandle.

Besides the 36 gubernatorial races decided on Tuesday, the Nov. 6 elections will have an impact on the future of sports betting in some states. Several key lawmakers in states actively considering legalizing sports betting lost their seats or were term-limited out, while others retained their posts and may see their influence elevate.

In Indiana, two key legislators, Ben Smaltz, whose Public Policy Committee held an intensive hearing on sports betting last month, hasn’t filed legislation, but could be a key drive. So could Ron Alting, Smaltz’s Senate counterpart. Both held off Democratic challengers to retain their seats.

In Kentucky, Adam Koenig, who retained his seat with 55 percent of the vote, hasn’t filed a bill yet, but hosted a comprehensive hearinghttps://sportshandle.com/ky-lawmakers-closing-in-on-sports-betting-bill-to-pass-in-19-hone-in-on-final-key-issues/ in October and appears to have taken the point on sports betting in the Bluegrass State. And in Massachusetts, chairman of the Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies Joe Wagner, who ran unopposed, is carrying the torch.

 

 
 

Read more Key Sports Betting Lawmakers: Who Survived the Election, and Who’s Out on SportsHandle.

Ohio Lawmakers Hold Meetings in Preparation of Drafting Sports Betting Bill

Ohio lawmakers on Tuesday hosted two meetings as the first step to crafting passable sports betting legislation. The meetings, hosted by senators John Eklund and Sean O’Brien (D-District 32), left Eklund feeling like lawmakers are on the right path.

“We’re taking the information we gathered at these meetings and the sponsors will get together and see if we can put some meat on the bones,” he said. “We’ll draft a bill and then entertain comments and suggestions, and I’d hope we might have a substantive bill ready to go. If not, we might need some more meetings.”

Eklund is aiming to have an outline done in a couple of weeks and, with any luck, a bill drafted shortly after that. Both the Ohio Senate and House have up to six sessions on the calendar in November and up to seven each in December. The goal would be to pass legislation before the end of 2018, otherwise, a new bill would need to be introduced at the start of the 2019 session.

 

Read more Ohio Lawmakers Hold Meetings in Preparation of Drafting Sports Betting Bill  on SportsHandle.

Where The Midwest Is at on Sports Betting Legislation

The post Where The Midwest Is at on Sports Betting Legislation appeared first on SportsHandle.

In the first half of the year, midwestern states in general weren’t able to legalize sports betting, but some began to lay the groundwork for passable legislation to be crafted. For Illinois, Michigan and Ohio lawmakers, the summer months were all about learning, negotiating and educating with the goal of finding common ground.

While none of the three states has introduced any new legislation of late, all have the chance to legalize sports betting before 2019, or at the start of the 2019 session.

 

Read more Where The Midwest Is at on Sports Betting Legislation on SportsHandle.