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Ohio QB Tyler Tettleton’s status is unclear for game against UMass

Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton (4) breaks away from Northern Illinois linebacker Pat Schiller for an 18-yard touchdown during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game in Detroit, Friday, Dec. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton (4) breaks away from Northern Illinois linebacker Pat Schiller for an 18-yard touchdown during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game in Detroit, Friday, Dec. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) Purchase photo reprints »

A big blow for Ohio could be a break for the University of Massachusetts.

Senior quarterback Tyler Tettleton missed the Bobcats’ Saturday win over Norfolk State with an undisclosed injury and Ohio coach Frank Solich said the Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Year candidate’s status for Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. game against UMass was uncertain.

“We hope he’ll be ready to go in this next one. We’ll continue to give him a couple of days off. But if he’s going to get ready to play, he’s going to have to get ready by midweek. We’ll just see where he’s at,” said Solich, who dismissed the notion that Tettleton was held out because the Bobcats were facing a mediocre FCS opponent. “We take things one game at a time as coaches. If Tyler was healthy enough to have played in this last game, he certainly would have played.”

Solich said the injury occurred in Ohio’s 51-24 win over New Mexico State on Sept. 8.

“He played in the Marshall game with it,” Solich said. “In the second half it got to a point where it was really bothering him and he could not throw effectively and did not feel comfortable trying to throw deep.”

Replacement Derrius Vick was 14 for 20 for 199 yards and four touchdowns against Norfolk. He rushed five times for 14 yards.

“I thought Derrius Vick did a great job operating from the quarterback spot in his first start,” Solich said.

UMASS HEALTH — Sophomore wide receiver Marken Michel returned to practice Monday and freshman offensive lineman Michael Boland is expected to be back today giving the Minutemen more depth at both positions.

“We think Michael will be practicing tomorrow which would be a very positive thing for our offensive line. Marken look like he took some strides today. He was catching the ball, extending for it. I think he’s going to be fine come game time,” UMass coach Charley Molnar said.

Molnar wasn’t sure about sophomore linebacker Greg Hilliard.

“It would be premature for me to say,” said Molnar, who confirmed that senior linebacker D.J. Adeoba is out for the season after suffering a knee injury Saturday. He’s already redshirted so his career is over.

MAC BIG DAY — In one Saturday afternoon, the MAC’s constant quest for national respect got a big boost as its teams beat schools from the Big East (Ball State over South Florida, Western Michigan over Connecticut), the Big Ten (Central Michigan over Iowa) and the Big 12 (Northern Illinois over Kansas).

“It’s obviously a very good thing for our league,” Central Michigan coach Dan Enos said. “When the season is over and you’re out recruiting, having the ability to point out that the MAC plays these types of games really helps.”

HEISMAN CHASE — Three more touchdown passes and 338 yards passing against Maryland did nothing to diminish West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith’s favorite status.

If Florida State stays in the national title chase, keep an eye on Seminole QB E.J. Manuel. He completed 27 of 35 passes for 380 yards and rushed for 102 in FSU’s win over Clemson.

THE 700 CLUB — As UMass is well aware, it’s hard to get national attention for any accomplishment in the Colonial Athletic Association, but Old Dominion quarterback Taylor Heinicke managed to pull it off.

The sophomore set a new Division I record with 730 yards passing in the Monarchs’ 64-61 win over New Hampshire. Heinicke was 55 for 79 and threw five touchdown passes.

If the name Heinicke sounds familiar to UMass fans, it’s because last year as a true freshman he came off the bench and led the Monarchs to a 48-33 win over the Minutemen.

HIGH FLYING ROOKIE — Western Michigan true freshman wide receiver Jaime Wilson is third in the nation in yards receiving with 430 on 37 catches.

Western Michigan has two straight wins over UConn.

GAMES OF THE WEEK: Baylor at West Virginia, Saturday, noon, FX — People were writing Baylor off after Heisman winner Robert Griffin III graduated, but the Bears are 3-0. They’ll get a tough test Saturday against West Virginia and Heisman favorite Geno Smith.

Ohio State at Michigan State, Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ABC — Not that long ago, the Spartans looked like Big 10 favorites. After a loss against Notre Dame and a scare against Eastern Michigan, they need this one to stop a slide.

Wisconsin at Nebraska, Saturday, 8 p.m., ABC — Two disappointing performances masked by 3-1 starts. Both teams need this one badly for momentum.

MAC GAMES OF THE WEEK: Toledo at Western Michigan, Saturday, 7 p.m., ESPN3.com — This game will have huge implications in the MAC West. WMU quarterback Alex Carder injured his right throwing hand in Saturday’s win over UConn, making him uncertain for Saturday’s game.

Central Michigan at Northern Illinois 3:30 p.m. ESPN3 — Both teams are building off of wins over BCS conference programs (Iowa and Kansas, respectively). Central Michigan is trying to insert itself as the surprise team in the West, while NIU is defending its crown.

ON THE ROAD TO — A Florida State vs. Oregon national championship.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Follow UMass coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/GazetteUMass. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.

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