OHIO NOTEBOOK: Bobcats Set for Primetime Matchup with Purdue

OHIO NOTEBOOK: Bobcats Set for Primetime Matchup with Purdue

Pete Nakos
OhioBobcats.com Feature Writer

ATHENS, Ohio -- Every Wednesday during the 2017 season, OhioBobcats.com feature writer Pete Nakos will help prepare you for the Bobcats' upcoming game.

Head coach Frank Solich has never played a game against the Purdue Boilermakers as a coach or a player.

The 19th year head coach has coached in 232 games, but has never come across the Boilermakers. So, on Friday night Solich will experience his first game at Ross-Ade Stadium.

With the stadium comes a grass surface, something Solich claims he isn't worried about. The last time Ohio played on a grass surface was last season when the Bobcats fell to Tennessee 29-19.

"Right now, we are probably better served practicing on turf than grass to prepare for this," Solich said. "We have been on grass before, Penn State was grass and other non-conference schools were on grass. We seem to have adjusted very well on jumping from turf to grass, so I don't think it is going to be too much of a problem."

For the second straight week, Solich announced that redshirt sophomore quarterback Quinton Maxwell will get the start against Purdue, but Nathan Rourke will also see time.

As against Hampton, the Bobcats will hope to get Rourke into the game in the second quarter and evaluate quarterback play at halftime. Rourke was named the Mid-American Conference East Player of the Week.

If anything, the rushing touchdowns and award puts a larger spotlight on the position.

"He came in and did a great job," Solich said. "Right now we have two quarterbacks prepared to play and will continue to do that for a while. We need to make sure both have as much experience as possible by the time conference play comes around."

Although there's no true battle at quarterback—Maxwell has more experience and a longer timeline of success— the Purdue game will be a good test to see which one will handle the big stage against a BIG 10 team.

In his weekly opening statement, Solich identified the factors that were big in the 59-0 rout of Hampton last week, such as field position, red zone efficiency and third down conversion.

The Bobcats drove down to the red zone seven times, they punched it in all seven times. It's an FCS school, but it is an improvement from last year.

All Solich teams are known to key in on the field position battle, he stated that over the past four years when Ohio wins field position they're 21-3. That's impressive, it'll be even more important this week against the Boilermakers.

Along with a strong third down conversion rate, the Bobcats were able to get to Hampton's quarterback whenever it felt like it. It was a plus of the win, especially with losing three players of their front seven to the NFL.

Purdue, coming off of a close loss to Louisville, will be strong offensively. New coach Jeff Brohm will utilize two quarterbacks, like the Bobcats. A balanced offense, the Boilermakers are capable of beating Ohio in the air or on the ground.

It will be the first true test of the season for Ohio, playing on national television and outside of Peden Stadium.

"There is a lot of imagination in the offense," Solich said. "The athletes on the field are great, they have a diversified offense that can hurt you in multiple ways and they are big and physical on defense. It should be an interesting game and I am looking forward to it. We will see what happens."