[Bryan Kurp | WOUB]

Offense guides Ohio Football past Eastern Michigan

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YPSILANTI, Mich. (WOUB) — Tuesday night’s showdown between Ohio and Eastern Michigan was expected to be an offensive battle.

The game lived up to the billing.

Both offenses went to work right away at “The Factory”, which has been the nickname for Rynearson Stadium since 2014 when the unique gray turf was installed.

Eastern Michigan players bust down the cinderblock wall before entering the field for their game against Ohio on Nov. 9, 2021.
Eastern Michigan football players break down the cinderblock wall before entering “The Factory” to face Ohio on Nov. 9, 2021.

Neither team punted the ball in the first half but Ohio’s offense reigned supreme — outgaining EMU 267-227 in the first half and leading on the scoreboard, 20-13.

Ohio’s defense made big plays in the second half to limit EMU’s offensive attack, which put up over 50 points in each of the past two games.

Ohio (3-7, 3-3 MAC) humbled Eastern Michigan (6-4, 3-3 MAC) as it picked up its second straight victory with a 34-26 win over the Eagles.

“I’m just so excited and happy for this football team,” head coach Tim Albin said.  “It was absolutely a great team win.  I think, coming in, nobody really gave us much of a chance.  The staff did a fabulous job and I couldn’t be prouder of our bunch of guys.”

Ohio’s offense once again clicked following a solid output against Miami last week.

The Bobcats put up 495 yards of total offense on a balanced attack.  Ohio ran for 265 yards while passing for 230.

“You know, being able to come together and actually being able to put up a lot of points as opposed to towards the beginning of the season when we were kind of struggling to put together drives and finish drives,” Ohio fifth year running back De’Montre Tuggle said.  “What you’re seeing is just the product of the offense just finally coming together.”

Kurtis Rourke, Number seven, prepares to take a snap in Ohio's game against Eastern Michigan on November 9, 2021.
Kurtis Rourke (7) prepares to take a snap in Ohio’s game against Eastern Michigan on Nov. 9, 2021.

Ohio utilized both Kurtis Rourke and Armani Rogers in the game.  Tim Albin stressed in media briefings the past few weeks that both quarterbacks will be given equal reps throughout the season.  Both quarterbacks were integral to the offense’s production.

“I thought it was the thing to do,” Albin said.  “Both those quarterbacks can help us win.  We utilized our skill set very efficiently as a staff.”

Kurtis Rourke threw two touchdown passes in the first quarter.  Rourke found Isiah Cox on the Bobcats’ opening drive for a 33-yard score.  On the following drive, Rourke hit De’Montre Tuggle on a wheel route for a 40-yard score.

Rourke finished the evening with 230 yards passing and three touchdowns.  Rourke also had 55 yards on the ground.

Rogers attempted two pass attempts but did not complete any.  Rogers ran for 66 yards on the ground and engineered a few drives for the Bobcats.

Isiah Cox led the Bobcats with 66 receiving yards.  In addition to the touchdown reception from Rourke, Cox also had a 20-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter to give Ohio the lead for good.

Ohio’s defense made a few big stops in the second half and forced a turnover — Tariq Drake picked off a Ben Bryant pass in the third quarter — to help squeak out the victory.

“I would just say our consistency.  We weren’t too up, too down.  We just kind of played the next play every single time,” Ohio linebacker Bryce Houston said.  “We knew they were a very big, fire-powered offense so we just kind of focused on the next play, focus on our jobs individually and the details.”

Going up against a defense that struggled with the run for most of the season, Eastern Michigan quarterback Ben Bryant threw the ball 57 times in the game, completing 41 of them, for 354 yards.

Bryant’s lone touchdown pass came in the third quarter to tie the game at 20.

EMU’s leading rusher was Samson Evans, who ran for 62 yards.

Ohio is back in action next Tuesday as it welcomes in Toledo for its final home game of the season.  Kickoff for the battle between the Bobcats and Rockets has not been determined.