[Joe Collins | WOUB]

Ohio Football keeps it close in 31-24 overtime loss to Kent State

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KENT, Ohio (WOUB) – On fourth down and five in overtime, it was either win or go home for Ohio Football (2-3) who opened up Mid-American Conference play against Kent State (2-3). 

It was a game that was taken down to the final wire, and ultimately ended in a 31-24 loss for the Bobcats. 

The game was propelled by offense for Ohio. The defense showed improvement from its game against Fordham, but it still struggled giving up 736 total yards throughout the afternoon. 

On the opening drive, Ohio failed to pick up a first down and was quickly forced to a three and out. Kent State’s offense answered with a scoring drive of its own ending with a three-yard rushing touchdown from Marquez Cooper. The Bobcats defense left a variety of holes for Kent State’s offense to create big plays.

“At the end of day we got to communicate,” defensive tackle Kai Caesar said. “We got to be on the same page, all eleven have to be on the same page at all times. That was the problem.”

Sieh Bangura goes up against Kent State's defense while running the ball
Sieh Bangura goes up against Kent State’s defense [Alex Eicher | WOUB]
Ohio’s offense continued to be the bright spot. Rourke completed 25 of 39 passes with 322 yards. One pass included a 19-yard dime to Miles Cross that had Ohio marching down the field. Nathanial Vakos capped off the drive with a 28-yard field goal which put Ohio in the lead for the first time in the game, 10-7.

The game remained close in the second half between both teams. A field goal from the Golden Flashes tied the game at ten. Rourke later had the Bobcats offense moving as Sieh Bangura rushed 50-yards to the house to put the Bobcats up seven, 17-10.

In the last four minutes of regulation, things got interesting. A pass to Dante Cephas in the end zone was originally called incomplete, but then was later ruled a touchdown for Kent State to tie up the game making it 17-17. 

Rourke said not so fast, and responded to the Golden Flashes as he went deep to Sam Wisglusz for a 71-yard touchdown, 24-17. It was back to the Golden Flashes to see if they could make magic happen. Collin Schlee kept the ball and ran it past the goal line for another score, 24-24. 

It all came down to one second remaining in regulation where Kent State had a field goal attempt that was blocked by Caesar to give the Bobcats life again. The game headed to overtime and the fight from both teams was intense. Kent State quickly found the end zone with a score from Cooper, 31-24. 

For Ohio, it had one last drive to either score or go home. 

A huge gain for Bangura put the Bobcats in position to score. But four chances near the end zone wasn’t enough. A pass from Rourke to Miles Cross on fourth and five fell incomplete and Kent State walked away with the victory.

Ohio will host Akron on Oct. 8 in its homecoming game still in search of its first MAC win.