[Bryan Kurp | WOUB]

Ohio Football Struggles Again At Northwestern, Falls To 0-4

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EVANSTON, Ill. (WOUB) — It was a battle of the ‘Cats at Ryan Field on Saturday as Ohio visited Northwestern.

The Bobcats went up against their second power-five opponent of the season, still searching for their first win of the season.  Northwestern (2-2) dominated its way to a commanding 35-6 win over Ohio (0-4).

This marks the Bobcats’ first 0-4 start since the 2008 season.

“I’m not excited about the outcome but we’re going to keep getting better,” Ohio head coach Tim Albin said.

The issues Ohio faced in the first three games recurred on Saturday.

Northwestern runningback Evan Hull runs inside the pylon and into the endzone for his first touchdown of the day against the Bobcats on September 25, 2021.
Evan Hull (26) runs into the end zone for his first touchdown of the game. [Bryan Kurp | WOUB]
The Bobcats allowed 373 yards rushing to the Wildcats.  Evan Hull led the Northwestern attack with 216 yards and a pair of touchdowns.  Ohio has now allowed 250 or more rushing yards in three of its four games.

“For us, it’s just stopping the run,” Ohio defensive tackle Kai Caesar said.  “That’s something we need to get better at.  They kept running the ball.  We just got to stop the run.”

Things were not pretty for Ohio on the offensive side either.

The Bobcats embarked on a promising opening drive, which was the Bobcats’ best drive of the entire day.  Tristan Vandenberg, who was just promoted to starting placekicker after Stephen Johnson was ineffective the first few weeks, missed a 31-yard field goal.

The Bobcats could not move the ball downfield the rest of the game.  The only score came from an Armani Rogers touchdown run on the final play of the game.

“We got to get the ball in the end zone fellas,” Albin said.  “It can’t be a field goal, it’s got to be touchdowns.  We got to complement the defense.  We got to help them.”

Rogers led the Bobcats with 68 rushing yards, thanks in large part to that 55-yard touchdown scamper as time expired.  Rogers completed just one of his three pass attempts for three yards.

Kurtis Rourke completed 20 of his 29 attempts for 166 yards.  Rourke fumbled away the ball in the second quarter, which led to a Northwestern touchdown, and later threw an interception in the fourth quarter that was picked off by the Wildcats’ star safety Brandon Joseph.

In total, the Bobcats had three turnovers in the game that resulted in 14 points for Northwestern.

“I think all three of them were inside the 50,” Albin said.  “We can’t put our defense in that situation with the physicality of [Northwestern’s] o-line.”

With a turbulent non-conference schedule over, the Bobcats will now look ahead to beginning MAC play with a 0-0 record.

“It will be our third-straight road game and we are very, very excited about going to Akron,” Albin said.  “We are where we are but I’m definitely excited about starting league play for sure.”

Kickoff between Ohio and Akron is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2 from InfoCision Stadium.