Ohio quarterback Nathan Rourke (12) breaks a tackle during Ohio University’s homecoming football game against Central Michigan on Saturday. (Austin Janning/WOUB)

Rourke’s Polarizing Performance Leads Ohio to Victory Over BGSU

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For much of the game, Nathan Rourke still looked shaken up from his season-high four turnovers in the Ohio Bobcats (5-2, 2-1) loss to Central Michigan last week.

Down 23-21 in a must-win game to keep pace in the Mid-American Conference East Division Race, Rourke broke through, literally, for a 75-yard rushing touchdown to put the Bobcats up for good. The offense found it’s rhythm, cruising to a 48-30 road win against the Bowling Green State Falcons (1-6, 1-2) Saturday afternoon.

While Falcon running backs Andrew Clair and Josh Cleveland gashed the Ohio defense to the tune of nearly 200 first half rushing yards, Ohio didn’t waiver. The Bobcats cauterized the wound with a bend but don’t break defense, highlighted by an interception returned 15-yards by Bradd Ellis for a touchdown.

Ellis’ scoring play on defense was huge considering that Rourke and the offense looked abysmal throughout the first half.

Before the Ohio’s last scoring drive of the opening half, Rourke was just 2-of-8 for 10 yards and two interceptions. The turnovers and offensive inefficiency by Rourke kept the Falcons in the game.

Backs pinned against the wall as they trailed late in the third quarter, Rourke finally stepped up and pulled off a play to make up for last week’s blunders.

A 75-yard read option quarterback keeper that gave the offense the spark it desperately needed. The final four Bobcat possessions ended in touchdowns.

While it wasn’t his finest outing through the air (7-of-22, 105 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT,) Rourke’s long touchdown run finally opened up the Bobcat passing attack. The following drive, he connected with Andrew Meyer on a beautiful 40-yard touchdown.

That set the stage for A.J. Ouellette to do what he does best, finish games. The backfield bruiser exploded in the second half, hammering the Falcons defense in route to 123 rushing yards.

Rourke capped the offensive explosion with a one-yard keeper of his own as the trio of Rourke, Ouellette and Darian Brown finished with 335 yards rushing, proving to be too much for the Falcons to overcome in the second half.

The defense kept it close by shutting down Falcons’ quarterback James Morgan all afternoon, allowing the Bobcats to stick with their dynamic running game. The sophomore signal caller went 16-of-41 for 182 yards as the Bobcats’ defensive front pressured him throughout the contest

The Bobcats stay in Athens all of next month as they have three home games in Peden Stadium along with a bye week.

The team welcomes Kent State to Peden Stadium next week, kickoff is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday.