ST. PETERSBURG — Ohio's 23-day layoff before the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl gave Daz'mond Patterson the rest that his sprained left ankle required to get him back to an acceptable playing level.
Adrenaline took him to an even higher one.
Playing before dozens of family and friends, the Plant City High alumnus finished with a season-best 105 total yards and 156 all-purpose yards in the Bobcats' 37-20 loss. He had OU's first TD on a 17-yard swing pass from Tyler Tettleton.
"My mom told me early to make sure I focused on the game and not worry about everybody that was gonna be there," said Patterson, who had 89 people on his ticket list.
"That really hit home to me. … Pregame I just told (teammates) not to talk to me, not to bother me, which they didn't listen."
SOLICH GOING STRONG: Ohio's Frank Solich, at 69 the second-oldest coach in Division I, indicated before the game that he has no thoughts of retirement.
The casual college fan might remember Solich's previous life, when he replaced Tom Osborne at Nebraska and amassed a 58-19 record (.753) in six seasons before being dismissed. Current Cornhuskers coach Bo Pelini is 56-24 (.700) in a half-dozen years.
"One thing that's really huge to me is the support from our president and (athletic director)," Solich said. "If it wasn't for that kind of support, who knows if I'd still be coaching. But I've got a lot of energy, I feel great, I love our players and being around them."
ON DECK — ACC: Starting in 2014, the ACC arrives as a Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl tie-in.
As part of the new six-year deal, the ACC will provide a team to the bowl in 2014 and '16, when it will face an American Athletic Conference team (if one is bowl-eligible). Conference USA gets the tie-in against an American foe in 2015.
The American and C-USA had the tie-ins for Monday's game, but Ohio (from the MAC) stepped in when the American didn't have enough bowl-eligible teams.
BEEF'S BITS: ECU received the opening kick for the 24th consecutive game, the nation's longest such streak. … Pirates junior WR Justin Hardy set the school's career receiving yardage mark with a 15-yard first-quarter catch. He now has 3,047 for his career. … With his 228 passing yards, Tettleton, a senior, became the first Bobcat to surpass 9,000 for his career. … ECU's bowl-record 87 plays were eight more than the mark set by USF against Memphis in 2008.