ATHENS, Ohio -- The history book said that Ohio University might as well have had one cleat stuck in the mud before kickoff against Western Michigan in what was a pivotal Mid-American Conference game for both teams. The Bobcats haven't defeated anyone from the mighty West Division other than Eastern Michigan since 2011. One of those losses was by three touchdowns to the Broncos last season in Kalamazoo.

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ATHENS, Ohio -- The history book said that Ohio University might as well have had one cleat stuck in the mud before kickoff against Western Michigan in what was a pivotal Mid-American Conference game for both teams.

The Bobcats haven't defeated anyone from the mighty West Division other than Eastern Michigan since 2011. One of those losses was by three touchdowns to the Broncos last season in Kalamazoo.

The agony for Ohio continued as Western Michigan's host of speedy and strong running backs ran for 430 yards in a 49-14 victory before 22,855 on Saturday at Peden Stadium.

The Broncos ran for all but 29 of their yards in the second half.

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"It's something I can't explain other than watching the film (to see what happened)," Bobcats coach Frank Solich said. "It looked like we made it too easy in the second half. It was kind of baffling to me to fall apart against the run. We have a lot of work to do."

The Broncos (3-3, 2-0) got a 67-yard touchdown run by Jamauri Bogan and a 56-yard touchdown from Levante Bellamy. They averaged 9.8 yards per carry. Bellamy ran for 149 yards, Bogan for 135 and feature back Jarvion Franklin for 95.

Ohio (5-2, 1-1) had ranked fourth in the MAC in rushing defense but played a majority of the second half without linebackers Quentin Poling, Blair Brown and Chad Moore of Grove City because of injuries.

"I thought in the first half we did a very good job as a unit," defensive lineman Kurt Laseak said. "In the second half, I don't know if they game-planned us or what, but they hit the right gaps. It was missed opportunities and missed jobs."

Laseak said it will be important for the players to avoid pointing fingers at one another leading to Saturday's game at Buffalo.

On the flip side, Ohio redshirt senior quarterback Derrius Vick completed only 18 of 34 passes for 167 yards. Too often he way off target or locked on to receivers and threw into coverage.

The Bobcats ran only eight times in the first half against a defense that was allowing 211.2 yards rushing per game to rank 10th in the conference.

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"We still have stuff to work on," receiver Sebastian Smith said. "We came in 5-1 with a full head of steam. It went downhill (after halftime)."

Running back Daz Patterson didn't have any answers.

"We just couldn't get anything going," he said. "They had a pretty good defense, but sometimes we shot ourselves in the foot. This is eye-opening. If you don't play your best you know you can be taken advantage of."

The game began turning in the latter stages of the second quarter, beginning with an 8-yard scramble by Terrell to the Ohio 18. On the play, cornerback Ian Wells was ejected for targeting, taking the ball half the distance to the goal line to the 9.

Two plays later, receiver Daniel Braverman caught the ball while falling backward for a 7-yard touchdown with 3:33 left in the half.

There would be a lot more pain for the Bobcats. On the ensuing kickoff, redshirt freshman Papi White suffered a leg injury being swarmed under at the 13-yard line.

After Vick again couldn't get anything going, Braverman returned a punt 36-yards to the Ohio 32. Two plays later, he caught a 27-yard touchdown pass.

The Bobcats made it 14-7 on a 35-yard touchdown reception by Sebastian Smith in a corner of the end zone with 17 seconds left before halftime.

Western Michigan went into overdrive in taking a 35-7 lead after three quarters. Bogan ran for a 66-yard touchdown, Terrell for a 4-yard touchdown to cap a 72-yard march and Franklin for a 20-yard score.

mznidar@dispatch.com