[Ayden Crowley | WOUB]

Kurtis Rourke etches himself into the record books in a thrilling win over Fordham

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) In a statement game where 111 points were scored, the Ohio Bobcats (2-2) prevailed victorious.

After losing back-to-back away games against superior opponents, Ohio bounced back at home against the Fordham Rams (3-1) in a battle of high powered offenses.  

The Rams senior quarterback Tim DeMorat led the FCS in yards (1,302) and touchdowns (16) to start the season. DeMorat, an established veteran, continued his phenomenal season, throwing for 503 yards and 7 touchdowns.

Fordham’s offense has put up massive numbers so far this year, scoring 48 or more points in every game this season.

Before the battle on Saturday, the Rams were ranked 18th in the FCS poll.  

The game was all gas, no brakes.

It seemed like neither teams defense had answers for the opposing offense. At one point in the beginning of the third quarter, 21 points were scored in a matter of four minutes.

Quarterback Kurtis Rourke (7) smiles on the sideline with teammates
Quarterback Kurtis Rourke (7) smiles on the sideline with teammates [Maria Monesi | WOUB]
Wide open receivers were a commonality and both Ohio and Fordham found success in the deep ball. Out of the ten passing touchdowns shared between the teams, eight came on passes of 20+ yards or more, giving the game an electric feel to it.

Although there were only three lead changes in the contest, both teams kept it close and competitive.  

After a touchback on the opening kickoff, Ohio quarterback Kurtis Rourke methodically drove the offense down the field and capped off the drive with a one yard rushing touchdown, his first of many on the day. The seven minute drive painted a picture of a game won in the trenches, but the air-raid style of football was in full form for both teams.  

In an action packed second quarter, Fordham kept closing in on the Bobcats and eventually got within ten points going into the half, 31-21.

They would have made it a one-score game, but a Jacoby Jones 21 yard touchdown with six seconds left in the half gave Ohio all the momentum heading into halftime.

Coach Tim Albin said he usually waits to make big adjustments until after the game, but the first half play of the Bobcats gave him reason to shore out these issues.

“I challenged them at halftime,” Albin said. “I thought we did a couple things out of character in the first half that needed to get addressed.” 

The third quarter was dominated by the Rams.

DeMorat and go-to wide receiver Fotis Kokosioulis linked up twice for two crucial touchdowns that bookended the quarter. It was a slug fest in the 15 minute debacle, as Fordham outscored Ohio 28-7.

Not only was the DeMorat-Kokosioulus connection prominent in the third quarter, but also throughout the game. The two linked up 13 times for 320 yards and four touchdowns.

Entering the fourth and Fordham up by 11, Ohio looked like it was going to lose to FCS opponents in back to back years.  

Yet, Kurtis Rourke flipped that narrative.

Two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including one with 52 seconds left to win the game, put Rourke’s performance in the record books.

Wide receiver Jacoby Jones (8) comes down with the game winning catch late in the fourth quarter
Wide receiver Jacoby Jones (8) comes down with the game winning catch late in the fourth quarter [Maria Monesi | WOUB]
Rourke obliterated the Ohio Football single game passing record, previously held by Donny Harrison since 1983. Harrison’s 409 yard performance against Kent State was shredded by Rourke, who put up 537 yards in the win against Fordham.

Rourke recognized he broke the record and relished the achievement for a second before conceding that he is happier they got the win. Rourke’s finished the day going 41 for 50 for 537 yards, and five total touchdowns. 

“He’s doing things at a much quicker pace and a very high level right now,” Albin said.  

The touchdown to put the Bobcats up and eventually win the game was all on Rourke. A five yard fade into the back left corner of the end zone pulled down by Jacoby Jones.

“We actually didn’t run the play, I kind of just told [Jones], go score,” Rourke said. “I knew he wanted the ball and I knew that he could catch the ball.”

Rourke putting up the monstrous performance a week before MAC play begins is huge for the Bobcats mindset.  

Ohio will look to continue its win streak Saturday at Kent State as kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.