Photo Credit: Joe Medlen

Rourke, Bobcats Roll Over Miami on Halloween

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The Rourke train rolls on.

Sophomore quarterback Nathan Rourke led the Ohio Bobcats (7-2, 4-1) to a 45-28 statement win over the Miami Redhawks (3-6, 2-3) at Peden Stadium on Tuesday night. The Canadian ran for 54 yards and three touchdowns and threw for 294 yards and three more touchdowns.

“I mean I’d like to get over 300 yards,” Rourke said postgame. The six total touchdowns are the most by any NCAA player in a game this season.

Rourke started early by pushing Ohio to a 14-0 lead after dropping a 40-yard pass into the hands of Brendan Cope, who returned this week from injury. Miami, relying on receiver James Gardner, pulled it back even at 14-14.

But the Rourke train kept rolling, Rourke dashed in for a 7-yard TD run and dropped a TD pass into the hands of a fading Papi White from 14-yards out. Just like that Ohio led 28-14.

Rourke now has 16 rushing touchdowns, the most by any Ohio quarterback in a single season.

“He’s a little prettier getting in the end zone,” redshirt junior running back A.J. Ouelette said postgame about his quarterback’s rushing touchdown barrage. Ouellette later referred to Rourke as “Air Canada”, a loving nickname for the team’s quarterback.

The Bobcats struggled at times containing the Miami passing attack, allowing ten catches for 166 yards and three touchdowns to RedHawk junior wide receiver James Gardner. Miami quarterback Billy Bahl finished with 350 yards in the air but threw two interceptions.

The passing attack kept head coach Chuck Martin’s Redhawks in the game and with his team down just seven early in the fourth quarter Miami had hope until junior linebacker Junior McMullen lost his cool.

McMullen stomped both feet into the turf and screamed at two separate officials after being called for a pass interference penalty on Papi White. After receiving one unsportsmanlike conduct penalty McMullen continued to yell at the officials, with teammates trying to hold him back. The tantrum continued and it didn’t take long for another flag to be thrown.

McMullen was flagged for the pass interference and two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties leading to his ejection and, more importantly, moving the Bobcats from their own 41 to the Miami 24. Nathan Rourke ran in for his third rushing score seven plays later. Ohio led 42-28, and the hope had faded away.

With the win, the Bobcats are now tied with Akron atop the Mid-American Conference East Division.

Ohio has now won five straight versus Miami and head coach Frank Solich’s career record against Miami now sits at 11-2.

In the national spotlight, against Miami, Nathan Rourke played the game of a lifetime. Some would consider it amazing, but Solich doesn’t, “It’s not amazing if you got the right quarterback.”