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Bobcat Football Returns To Peden Stadium To Face Akron In Home Opener

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — Six days after coming up short against Central Michigan, the Ohio University Bobcats have their home opener at Peden Stadium to take on MAC-East rival Akron Tuesday night at 7 p.m.

Akron Head Coach Tom Arth and the Zips did not start off their 2020 season the way they hoped when they were decisively defeated by Western Michigan, 58-14 this past Wednesday.

It has been a rough few seasons for Akron. Last year the Zips finished 0-12 on the season and were ranked 130 out of 130 by CBS Sports in their ranking of FBS teams.

Akron has a new quarterback in Zach Gibson, a redshirt-freshman from Alpharetta, Georgia who was able to see some time last year. He threw for 425 yards before his redshirt went into effect. Against Western Michigan, Gibson was 18-30 for 125 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Ohio head coach Frank Solich praised the young QB in his weekly press conference.

Ohio Football Austin Conrad
Ohio’s Austin Conrad awaits the coin toss ahead of the Bobcats’ 2020 season opener at Central Michigan [Bryan Kurp | WOUB]
“They’ve got a new quarterback and obviously they are building around him,” he said.  “(Gibson) runs and throws really well and so I think they are trying to come off that in terms of their offensive scheme and give him all the help he can get. Zach has displayed really good ability and athleticism and so you always worry about that. Also, he made some really tough throws and got them in there, so you know that that ability is there.”

For the Bobcats, they look to get their first win of the season on their home field. Attendance is limited to only family members of the players and the Marching 110 allowed in the stands.

One of the biggest questions about Ohio coming into the season was who would be the starting quarterback, Kurtis Rourke or grad-transfer Armani Rogers?

Against Central Michigan, Rourke started, but both quarterbacks received playing time and would switch depending on which one had the hot hand.

The offense had a different look for each QB. Rourke mostly directed the air attack going 12-19 for 231 yards and two passing touchdowns, while touchdown Rogers stuck to the ground with 32 yards on seven carries.

Solich gave us a glimpse on what to expect going forward.

“Both guys will still play,” he said.  “I think if you have any knowledge of the game of football, I know you could see that both guys bring something to the table. We plan on trying to utilize the abilities of both Kurtis and Armani. Over all my years in coaching it’s never easy to play two quarterbacks, but you do the best you can, they do the best they can and we continue to move on forward.”

The Bobcats’ best performance from week one came from running back and kick returner DeMontre Tuggle, who was honored with the MAC-East Player of the Week. He had 3 kickoff returns which netted 160 yards, including a 93-yard touchdown return to start the 2nd half. That gave him an average of 53.3 yards per attempt. Tuggle also had 16 carries for 79 yards and one rushing touchdown.

Be sure to follow @Bobcatshowcase on Twitter for live updates throughout the game and for postgame coverage.