Ohio Football Falls To Louisiana As Johnson Torches Bobcats With Four Rushing Touchdowns

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LAFAYETTE, La. (WOUB) — The Bobcats (0-3) are off to their worst start since the 2002 season after the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (2-1) ran all over the field Thursday night for more that 300 yards en route to a 49-14 win Thursday night in Lafayette, Louisiana.

The Ohio rushing defense had been a concern for the team in the first two games of the 2021 season.

It was again a liability as four Ragin’ Cajuns rushed for more than 61 yards. The Bobcat defense again struggled with tackling as Louisiana seemed to break at least one tackle on nearly every positive run they had during the game.  

Running back Montrell Johnson led Louisiana to the endzone with four rushing of the team’s five rushing touchdowns on the night. It set an early career-high for the freshman from New Orleans.

Ohio’s rushing defense has now given up an average of 254 yards per game.

The Bobcats also had to face one of the most prolific Group of 5 quarterbacks in Senior Levi Lewis.

After Ohio’s first drive of the game stalled out after picking up two first downs, Lewis and Louisiana got to work from their own nine-yard line. He uncorked a 46-yard bomb to sophomore wide receiver Peter Leblanc to put them inside the Ohio 20-yard line. Lewis capped off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver John Stephens, Jr. in the back of the endzone to make it 7-0.

Lewis finished the night 21-29 with 212 yards and added 61 yards on the ground on 12 carries.  

The Bobcats sent in backup redshirt fifth year quarterback Armani Rogers to start the Bobcats second drive, and Ohio started to get it going on the ground. Rogers and redshirt junior running back O’Shaan Allison combined for over 61 yards on the drive. However, the Bobcats were not able to get any points on the drive as redshirt senior kicker Stephen Johnson missed a 31-yard field goal.

The Ragin’ Cajun’s responded with a 10 play, 80-yard drive with Johnson picking up his first of four touchdowns on the night to make it 14-0.  

 The Bobcats got their first score of the night with under three minutes to go in the half. Rogers took the snap, threw it back to redshirt sophomore quarterback Kurtis Rourke, who then fired to Allison in the endzone for an impressive 25-yard touchdown pass. The Bobcats cut the lead to 7. 

The Ragin’ Cajuns got one last opportunity to score with three seconds left in the 2nd. They decided to go for the touchdown rather than take the field goal and were rewarded for their gamble as Johnson fought his way in for his second score of the night. That would make it 21-7 as the teams went into halftime. 

Louisiana used the momentum to score on the first drive out of the half.

 The Bobcats offense would get their second and final touchdown in the third quarter after redshirt sophomore safety Alvin Floyd intercepted Lewis for Lewis’ first INT of the season and Ohio’s first forced turnover of the season. Rourke would  hit redshirt junior receiver Tyler Walton in the endzone for 21 yards for a score to make it 28-14.

Walton was one of the few bright spots for Ohio as he finished with five receptions for 50 yards and a touchdown reception.  

The 49-14 final is the Bobcat’s most lopsided loss since they fell 62-24 to Bowling Green in 2015.

 The stat sheet of the game tells you what you’d expect. Louisiana had 562 yards of total offense on the night compared to just 250 for the Bobcats. The Ragin’ Cajuns had 33 first downs compared to just 17 for Ohio.  

The Bobcats are off to their worst start since the 2002 season, three years before Frank Solich’s first season as head coach.

They lost by 20 to Syracuse, lost to Duquesne, their first time losing to an FCS opponent in over 16 matchups against FCS teams, and got blown out by Louisiana on national television. The Ragin’ Cajuns, however, are one of the better Group of 5 teams in the nation.

If they lose to Northwestern next Saturday, a Big 10 team that made their conference championship last year, they will be going into MAC play 0-4 for the first time since that 2002 season when they went 4-8 under then head coach Brian Knorr.  

They will travel to play Northwestern next Saturday at 12:00 p.m.

The Bobcats will have to use this game to figure things out before they open MAC play against Akron on Oct. 2.