Photo Credit: Keegan Shaw

Ohio Football Starts Fast to Leave Kansas in the Dust

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The quarterback battle between Quinton Maxwell and Nathan Rourke is far from over as both shined in the Ohio Bobcats (2-1) 42-30 victory over the Kansas Jayhawks (1-2).

Rourke started the game under center, but senior running back A.J. Ouellette set the tone early with an explosive 63-yard run up the middle, resulting in a 41-yard field goal off the foot of Louie Zervos. Even though the defense closed up holes on Oullette, he finished the game with 103 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries, while Dorian Brown rushed for 70 yards on just 12 carries.

The next drive was where Rourke really began to show head coach Frank Solich why he deserved the start.

Rourke did a brilliant job keeping plays alive with his legs throughout the game. The sophomore showcased shifty feet while breaking a few tackles to find the end zone on a 3-yard scamper capping off Ohio’s second drive of the game. On the Bobcats next trip down the field, Rourke found senior tight end Troy Mangen for a 10-yard touchdown, his first of the season. Rourke was told earlier in the week he’d be the starter but didn’t let it affect his preparation.

“Didn’t think too much of it because we were still going to play both quarterbacks. So just had the same approach as I did the other two weeks,” Rourke said.

Rourke had one poor drive prompting the insertion of Maxwell for his first action of the game and he didn’t disappoint. Maxwell connected on a deep ball to senior wide receiver Brendan Cope for 58 yards and later found Mangen for his second touchdown catch of the day, capping off the drive going 4-of-4 with 87 yards passing. Maxwell threw a pick in the red zone later in the game and only come back in to milk the clock in the fourth quarter. The redshirt sophomore finished the game 5-of-6, for 102 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.

Rourke started and played most of the second half, finishing 11-of-16, for 152 yards, and three total touchdowns.

While the Ohio offense was clicking, the run defense continued their struggles from last week’s tilt with Purdue. Kansas running back Khalil Herbert kept the Jayhawk offense afloat, rushing 19 times to the tune of 140 yards and two touchdowns. However, the passing attack was a non-factor until late in the game when Kansas quarterback Peyton Bender was able to put together a few scoring drives in garbage time. Bender finished the day 30-of-47 for 343 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception.

With a clean performance throughout the game, Solich was happy to bounce back after a tough loss against Purdue last week.

“I was pleased with what we got done today. There’s still somethings we gotta get better at, need to improve at but it was a good win for us,” Solich said.

There was one glaring downside for the Bobcats.

Wide receiver and return man Papi White is out for a few weeks with a hand injury. White won’t be dressed when the ‘Cats travel up north next Saturday to take on the Eastern Michigan Eagles, their first conference game of the year.