HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall Defensive Coordinator Chuck Heater holds memories of days as Temple's defensive coordinator when he faced Ohio University quarterback Tyler Tettleton.
They are not fond ones.
"We had the third-ranked scoring defense in the country two years ago - Alabama, LSU, Temple," he said. "We played that game and with eight minutes left in that game they scored 14 points and we could not keep them from scoring."
Both Ohio fourth-quarter touchdowns in the 35-31 Bobcats win came from Tettleton's arm, the last with 1:41 left in the game. The quarterback has gained mountains of Heater's respect both on and away from the field. And Heater knows that neutralizing Tettleton will be a major goal with the Thundering Herd visits the Bobcats on Saturday at 8 p.m. (ESPNews).
Heater realizes that's easier said than done. Tettleton is 20-9 as the Bobcats' starting quarterback, no small feat for a Mid-American Conference team that will challenge opponents from larger conferences.
Tettleton scored win No. 20 last week, throwing for 239 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions on 19-for-30 passing to beat North Texas.
It's Tettleton's ability to keep plays alive that makes him so dangerous, Heater said. He remembered Tettleton's game-winning pass in that 2011 Ohio-Temple game, a sidearm throw while rolling to his left in an instance where there was no real reason to throw the ball. But he got it to Donte Foster for a five-yard touchdown anyway.
The Bobcats are averaging just 17 points in two games, mainly because of a 49-7 loss to Louisville, but Heater doesn't expect Ohio to flounder with Tettleton under center.
"He's what you want in a quarterback," Heater said. "He finds a way to win games. It's a challenge. But that's what good quarterbacks are. They win games. He's mobile, athletic, just kind of heady and he's got the 'it' factor."
* * *
HERD OFFENSIVE coordinator Bill Legg isn't planning for any surprises from Ohio's defense Saturday night. In his mind, the Bobcats are a great squad without them.
"They're the same today as they were yesterday as they will be tomorrow," Legg said. "There's no tricks. They pride themselves in being a physical football team. They pride themselves in swarming to the football. And they pride themselves in being sound fundamentally and executing their plan, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of every single call they make."