The Ohio Bobcats celebrate their 21-10 win against Marshall with the Battle of the Bell trophy. Ohio will play Marshall in 2019.

Ohio Football: Looking at Ohio’s 2019 Out of Conference Football Schedule

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ATHENS, Ohio — It might be February but football season never stops, the final national signing day was Feb. 6th and on Feb 4th Ohio announced an update for games in their out of conference schedule until 2026.

Those matchups are a long ways away and most of the players who will be participating in the currently scheduled Cincinnati and South Alabama contests aren’t even in high school yet. However it’s not too early to start looking at what the Bobcats will be facing in 2019, with a team that will look younger on both sides of the football.

Ohio’s opening game of the season will once again be against an FCS opponent from the east coast. This time, Rhode Island will be making the trip to Athens. The Rams are coming off a 6-5 season and in their only game against an FBS opponent last season, the Rams fell 56-49 to Uconn, who boasted one of the worst defenses in FBS history. Rhode Island does not look to be a challenging season-opening contest, but few fans expected Howard to pose such a threat to the Bobcats last season. Their offense averaged 30.3 PPG last season and could put up points if the Bobcats defense is not sharp early on.

Ohio then travels to Heinz Field to take on the Pittsburgh Panthers from the ACC on Sept. 7th. Last season Ohio was scheduled to travel to face Virginia, but due to weather concerns the game was moved to Nashville where Virginia took down the Bobcats 45-31 in a high scoring affair. Last season Pitt shocked most of ACC country by advancing to the ACC title game before falling to eventual national champion Clemson. Pitt graduates their two 1,000-plus yard rushers — they helped the Panthers boast the 11th best rushing offense according to S&P+ last season. Pitt does return Kenny Pickett who threw for almost 2,000 yards and had a 2-1 touchdown to interception ratio as a Sophomore. Pitt is also returning 64 percent of their offensive and defensive production, which ranks 54th in total in the nation according to S&P+.

The third game of the season puts Ohio against rival Marshall on Sept. 14th for the first time since 2015 where the Bobcats defeated the Thundering Herd 21-10 in Athens. That game marked the end of seven straight seasons where the two teams clashed, and this rivalry dates back to 1905 where Marshall won 6-5, currently Ohio leads the Battle for the Bell 33-20-6. Last season Marshall relied on the 14th ranked defense in the nation according to S&P+ to a 9-4 and a bowl victory over South Florida.

For the final out of conference game for the Bobcats this season, they will welcome the Ragin’ Cajuns of Louisiana to Athens on Sept. 21st. Ohio has won both meetings previously and is scheduled to make a return visit in 2021. Louisiana is coming off a 7-7 season where they fell in the Sun Belt championship game to Appalachian State.

That’s the quick preview of the out of conference schedule for the Ohio Bobcats, it should be a fun fall in Athens once it comes and these games will provide the framework for the Bobcats who will be looking to compete in the MAC.