Ohio Football uses a brilliant defensive performance to shut down FAU, 17-10

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — 185 yards. Three offensive points. Two turnovers.  

Linebacker Bryce Houston celebrates a sack
Ohio Football linebacker Bryce Houston celebrates a sack. [Alex Eicher | WOUB]
That was the stat line for the Florida Atlantic offense. For the third week in a row, Ohio’s defense came to play.  

“We call ourselves the mutts on defense,” said defensive captain Keye Thompson. “We’re just constantly trying to be a dog.”  

An offense that put up 42 points and nearly 500 yards last week struggled to even reach Bobcat territory. Thompson was the leading tackler for Ohio with 1.5 tackles for loss and a pass break up.

Another guy that stepped up defensively was sophomore corner Austin Brawley. He picked off FAU quarterback Casey Thompson on the Owls very first offensive play. That makes it two weeks in a row with an interception for the breakout defensive back.

Junior corner, Tank Pearson, was the other player to pick off Thompson. Head Coach Tim Albin says it was the open field tackling he was most impressed with. 

“The thing that sticks out to me the most was our defensive ability to tackle those guys in space,” Albin said. “It’s probably gonna be the best skill we’ve seen all year. It was an unbelievable display of fundamental football on defense.” 

It wasn’t pretty, offensively, but they got it done. Quarterback Kurtis Rourke was back behind center after missing last week’s game against Long Island University. Sam Wiglusz also returned, and Jacoby Jones made his season debut.  

Rourke’s very first pass was picked off by FAU, but he settled in after that. He would eventually finish with 203 yards on 18-of-29 passing and a touchdown. He did throw a pick six that hit off the hands of Tyler Walton right into arms of FAU’s Jarron Morris.  

On the ground, Ohio ran the ball 45 times. Albin says that’s because of the Jake Miller and Matthias Reiber. 

“We doubled the amount of water in the hotel,” Albin said. “We made sure our guys were hydrated.” 

The offense thought they had the advantage late in the game because of that preparation, which is why they kept pounding the rock.  

The best story of the night was fifth year redshirt O’Shaan Allison finding the endzone for the first time since 2019.  

“It’s a great thing. It’s been a very long time. Just been grinding, trying to get back to feeling myself,” said Allison.

He finished the night with 22 carries, 80 yards, and the score.  

Ohio Football will face its biggest test in nonconference game play when Iowa State comes to Peden Stadium next week.