Photo credit: Sean Neidig

Ohio Football Dominates Hampton In Season Opener

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It was all Ohio in their first game of the season as they defeated the Hampton Pirates 59-0 on Saturday night to start the year off with a victory. The Bobcats lead from start to finish as they kept an opponent scoreless for the first time since 2015 when they shut out Kent St. 27-0.

Ohio dominated on the ground, totaling 248 yards and seven touchdowns. It was the first time since 2002 that they rushed for seven touchdowns in a game and the first time since 2014 that two players rushed for two or more scores.

Sophomore quarterback Nathan Rourke totaled three rushing touchdowns while freshman running back Julian Ross tacked on two more scores of his own.

“At first the yards were tough to come by, but our offense was able to keep ourselves on the field by completing first downs and I think it was the wear down effect,” head coach Frank Solich said.

The team also did its part in the passing game through the combination of quarterbacks, Quinton Maxwell and Rourke. The two of them put up 172 yards through the air together, on 13-of-19 passing and one interception.

“We’re a young offense, but we wanted to prove that we can put up a lot of points this year. We want to make sure that if we’re in the red-zone, that we’re punching it in,” redshirt freshman wide receiver Cameron Odom said.

While the offense did their part and put up all the points, the defense did its job as well, keeping the Pirates off the scoreboard for the full 60 minutes. In addition to holding Hampton scoreless, the Bobcats gave up just 108 yards of total offense, forced two turnovers, and tacked on three sacks.

After seeing the departure of multiple key defensive players from last season’s team, the defense looked like it hadn’t skipped a beat with the way they played from the opening kickoff to the final whistle. Players were flying around the field, hitting hard, and showing they are still the same Bobcat defense that the team has prided itself on throughout the Solich era.

“We lost those guys, but it’s time for our young players to step up,” senior nose tackle Cleon Aleose said.

Despite last season’s unit getting a lot of praise, this year’s defense already has one accomplishment that last year’s never achieved. A shutout victory.

With the season opener out of the way, the Bobcats have a much tougher task ahead of them next Friday when they travel to West Lafayette, Indiana, to take on the Purdue Boilermakers.

“I don’t feel like I need to worry about them getting themselves prepared or ready to go. They’ll do that on their own,” Solich said.

Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. next Friday at Ross-Ade Stadium.