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Ohio Football Wraps Up 2018 Regular Season With Senior Day Showdown Against Akron

Ohio Football Wraps Up 2018 Regular Season With Senior Day Showdown Against Akron

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Ohio Game Notes (PDF)

ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio football team (7-4, 5-2 MAC) will look to close out the regular season strong and send its 2018 senior class out on a high note in their final home game as the Bobcats play host to Mid-American Conference East Division rival Akron (4-6, 2-5 MAC) on Friday (Nov. 23) at Peden Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. ET.

The Bobcats will be showcased on national television for the fifth week in a row and will appear on CBS Sports Network for the second time this season. John Sadak and Randy Cross will have the call.

Friday's game can also be heard on the Ohio IMG Sports Network. Russ Eisenstein returns for his 11th season as the "Voice of the Bobcats." Ohio alum Rob Cornelius, who has been a part of the broadcasts for close to two decades, is back in the booth. The 12-station network has an over-the-air coverage area that hits three states. In addition, the broadcasts are available online through OhioBobcats.com and TuneIn.com/OhioBobcats.com. They are also free on the TuneIn app.

WEEK THIRTEEN: Friday, Nov. 23, 2018 | Ohio (7-4, 5-2 MAC) vs. Akron (4-6, 2-5 MAC) | 12 p.m. | Peden Stadium | Athens, Ohio | CBS Sports Network | Ohio IMG Sports Network | Live Stats

• Ohio's senior class has teamed up to help lead Ohio to 38 wins, three-straight bowl appearances and a MAC East Division title in 2016.
• The Bobcats will honor 20 seniors prior to Friday's game. They include: offensive lineman Joe Anderson (Torrance, Calif.), defensive lineman Kent Berger (Mentor, Ohio), tight end Connor Brown (Miamisburg, Ohio), running back David Burroughs (Circleville, Ohio), linebacker Evan Croutch (Youngstown, Ohio), wide receiver Steven David (Toledo, Ohio), cornerback Jalen Fox (Cincinnati, Ohio), linebacker Tyler Gullett (LaGrange, Ohio), cornerback Cameron Gunnels (Cincinnati, Ohio), long snapper Jake Hale (Powell, Ohio), running back Maleek Irons (Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada), offensive lineman Kyle Kuhar (Avon Lake, Ohio), offensive lineman Joe Lowery (Tallmadge, Ohio), wide receiver Andrew Meyer (Canal Winchester, Ohio), safety Kylan Nelson (Lexington, Ky.), running back A.J. Ouellette (Covington, Ohio), defensive lineman Andrew Payne (Danville, Ohio), defensive lineman Darius Walker (Marysville, Ohio), wide receiver Papi White (Seminole, Okla.) and offensive lineman Durrell Wood (Columbus, Ohio).
• Ohio will be looking to win at least eight games in a season for the ninth time under 14th-year head coach Frank Solich. The Bobcats have clinched their 10th seven-win season under Solich's watch.
• The Bobcats have won 22 of their last 31 MAC games dating back to the end of the 2014 season.
• Ohio is bowl eligible for the 10th year in a row.
• The Bobcats are 5-0 in games played at Peden Stadium in 2018 and are looking to win all of their home games in a season for the first time since 1968. Ohio last went unbeaten at home in 1988, when the Bobcats finished their home schedule 3-0-1. This season, Ohio is averaging 49.8 points, 576.8 yards and 355.4 rushing yards per game at home.
• For the second year in a row, Ohio is putting up video game-type numbers in terms of scoring and offense. The Bobcats lead the MAC in scoring offense (40.5 points per game), total offense (470.8 yards per game), rushing offense (251.1 yards per game) and pass efficiency (160.3 efficiency rating). The Bobcats put up 433.1 yards per game in 2017, which ranks as the third-most in program history. The program record for yards per game is 455.8, which was set in 2011. Ohio set a program record in 2017 with 39.1 points per game in 2017 and is on pace to break that record. The 445 points scored by Ohio this season are already good for the second-most in a single season in program history with one regular season game to play. The 2017 squad set the program record with 508 points. Ohio's 32 rushing touchdowns this season lead the MAC and are tied for the third-most in a single season in program history. The 2017 squad set the program record with 44 rushing touchdowns. 

The following is a look back at Ohio's MAC victories in 2018:
• Redshirt senior running back A.J. Ouellette rumbled for a career-high 196 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries and also caught a touchdown to pave the way to a 52-17 blowout win for the Ohio football team over MAC East Division leader Buffalo last Wednesday (Nov. 14) at Peden Stadium. Ohio piled up 646 total yards -- including a season-high 437 on the ground -- and dominated the time of possession, 43:42-16:18. Ouellette garnered MAC East Division Offensive Player of the Week honors for the second time this season for his efforts against the Bulls. In addition to Ouellette's big night, redshirt senior running back Maleek Irons rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown on 12 touches. Junior quarterback Nathan Rourke accumulated 77 yards and a touchdown on the ground on seven rushes. Rourke also went 17-of-26 for 209 yards, three touchdowns and one interception through the air. Redshirt senior wide receiver Papi White hauled in eight receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown while freshman wide receiver Jerome Buckner hauled in a 60-yard touchdown pass from Rourke at the start of the second quarter -- the first touchdown catch of Buckner's career. The Bobcats also came up big on defense, limiting Buffalo to 277 total yards -- including just 172 through the air -- and forcing four turnovers. Redshirt senior safety Kylan Nelson intercepted a pass while redshirt junior safety Javon Hagan both forced and recovered. Redshirt sophomore safety Jarren Hampton and redshirt freshman cornerback Tariq Drake also came away with interceptions.
• Junior quarterback Nathan Rourke threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more, and the defense and special teams combined for six takeaways and a blocked punt returned for a touchdown as Ohio rolled to a 59-14 win over MAC West Division foe Western Michigan on Nov. 1 at Waldo Stadium in Kalamazoo, Mich. The win clinched Ohio's 10th-straight season of bowl eligibility. The victory marked Ohio's first over Western Michigan since a 27-20 triumph on Oct. 7, 2006. The Bobcats earned their first win in Kalamazoo since a 37-35 victory on Sept. 26, 1998. The Bobcats scored 45 first-half points en route to the victory – the most scored in one half during 14th-year head coach Frank Solich's tenure – and matched the high water mark for points scored in a game under Solich with 59. Ohio's offense racked up 420 total yards – including 256 on the ground. 
• Ohio racked up 411 rushing yards in a dominant 52-14 victory over MAC West Division foe Ball State on Oct. 25  at Peden Stadium. The Bobcats' 411 yards via the ground game marked the eighth-most in a single game in program history and the most since Ohio piled up 414 rushing yards in a 38-21 win over Ball State on Oct. 22, 2005. Ohio scored six rushing touchdowns, the program's most in a single game since scoring six in a 47-7 rout at Eastern Michigan on Oct. 4, 1997. In all, the Bobcats piled up 554 total yards of offense and scored on eight-straight possessions.
• The performances against Ball State and at Western Michigan marked the first time an Ohio team has scored at least 50 points in back-to-back games since 2002, when the Bobcats beat Eastern Michigan, 55-27, on Oct. 12, then rolled to a 50-0 win at Kent State on Oct. 19.
• Redshirt senior running back A.J. Ouellette broke the 100-yard rushing mark for the first time in the 2018 campaign in the win over the Cardinals, racking up a game-high 135 yards on 13 carries and scoring two touchdowns. He was named the MAC East Division Offensive Player of the Week for the first time this season for his efforts against Ball State. Redshirt senior running back Maleek Irons picked up 102 yards of 16 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns. Junior quarterback Nathan Rourke rushed for 77 yards and a pair of touchdowns while going 11-of-19 for 127 yards, a touchdown and an interception through the air.
• The Bobcats held Ball State to just 242 total yards of offense -- the lowest output by an Ohio opponent in 2018. Ball State managed just one first down over the second and third quarters.
• Ohio earned a 49-14 Homecoming victory over MAC East Division rival Bowling Green on Oct. 20 at Peden Stadium. Junior quarterback Nathan Rourke accounted for five total touchdowns, throwing a career-high four touchdown passes and adding another on the ground. He completed of 8-of-12 passes for 193 yards and carried the ball 10 times for 101 yards. Redshirt senior wide receiver Papi White caught two touchdown passes and ran for another for his first three-touchdown performance of his career. He finished with a team-high 92 receiving yards. Redshirt senior running back Maleek Irons racked up a game-high 116 rushing yards, marking his second 100-yard rushing performance of the year.
• Ohio has scored 31 first-half points in each of the last three games.
• The Bobcats have won each of their last five home MAC games dating back to the 2017 season. Ohio is closing out the 2018 regular season by playing four of its final six contests at Peden Stadium.
• In its first matchup against a MAC West Division team this season, Ohio suffered its first conference loss, falling to Northern Illinois, 24-21, on Oct. 13 at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Ill. The Huskies scored 15 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to earn the victory over the Bobcats.
• Redshirt freshman wide receiver Isiah Cox put together a breakout performance at Northern Illinois, racking up a career-high 147 receiving yards and scoring a career-long 56-yard touchdown. He also recorded a career-long reception of 70 yards in the second quarter. Cox became the third different Ohio wide receiver to achieve a 100-yard receiving performance in 2018.
• Ohio opened up MAC play with a thrilling 27-26 come-from-behind win over East Division rival Kent State on Oct. 6 at Dix Stadium in Kent, Ohio. Ohio trailed 20-7 in the third quarter before storming back to earn the win. Junior quarterback Nathan Rourke kept it himself and scored the go-ahead touchdown with 1:28 to go, then redshirt senior safety Javon Hagan sealed the win for the Bobcats with 30 seconds left by coming up with an interception. The Bobcats have now won eight-straight MAC openers. 
• Ohio's 27-26 win at Kent State marked the first one-point game and victory for Ohio since a 24-23 win on Dec. 17, 2011, over Utah State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
• The victory at Kent State gave 14th-year head coach Frank Solich his 100th win at Ohio. Solich is now in the company of Don Peden (1924-46; 121 wins) and Bill Hess (1958-77; 108) as the only coaches in the history of the program to lead the Bobcats to at least 100 victories. The Bobcats have gone 104-75 (.581) during Solich's tenure -- including 69-42 (.605) in MAC play. Solich has guided Ohio to four MAC East Division titles (2006, '09, '11, '16) and three bowl victories in nine appearances.

Six of Ohio's seven victories in 2018 have been of the comeback variety. The Bobcats trailed Howard 22-10 in the second quarter before rallying for a 38-32 win on Sept. 1 at Peden Stadium. Ohio trailed UMass by a 21-7 score in the first quarter before fighting back for a 58-42 win to close out non-conference play on Sept. 29 at Peden Stadium. Against Bowling Green, the Falcons scored a touchdown on their opening drive of the game before Ohio outscored them 49-14 the rest of the way. Against Ball State, the Cardinals led 7-0 after the first quarter before Ohio exploded for 52 points that went unanswered until Ball State scored a touchdown late touchdown in the fourth quarter. Last Wednesday, Buffalo scored a touchdown on the first drive of the game before Ohio scoured them by a 52-10 count the rest of the way.

Fourteenth-year head coach Frank Solich and the Ohio program pride themselves on the motto of 'No Limits', meaning the Bobcats will not put constraints on what can be achieved. That motto is being put to the test late in the season as Ohio is closing out a stretch in which it is playing its final six games of the 2018 regular season in a span of 35 days. 

Quarterback Nathan Rourke has reaffirmed his place as one of the MAC's top quarterbacks. Through 11 games in 2018, Rourke has completed 149 of his 238 pass attempts (62.6 percent completion percentage) for 2,141 yards (194.6 yards per game) and a career-high 22 touchdowns and has also run for 730 yards (66.4 yard per game) and nine touchdowns on 107 attempts, ranking second on the squad in both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. His 2,141 passing yards rank as the 10th-most in a single season in program history while his 22 passing touchdowns rank as the second-most in a single season in program history.

Rourke got the job done with both his arms and his legs in the victory over UMass, rushing for a career-high 189 yards and a touchdown on 16 attempts. He also passed for 270 yards and three touchdowns, going 27-of-32 through the air with one interception. Rourke earned MAC East Division Offensive Player of the Week honors for the fourth time in his career for his performance against the Minutemen. He was also recognized as one of the Davey O'Brien Award's "Great 8" honorees for his efforts against UMass.

Rourke followed up the performance against the Minutemen with another strong outing at Kent State. He completed 18-of-20 passes in the win, setting an Ohio record for completion percentage in a game by connecting on 90 percent of his attempts. He threw for 284 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also added 49 yards on the ground on 15 rushing attempts -- including the game-winning touchdown. He was recognized as the MAC East Division Offensive Player of the Week for the second week in a row for his efforts against the Golden Flashes.

Rourke earned his third MAC East Division Offensive Player of the Week nod in the month of October on Oct. 22 for his performance against Bowling Green.

Rourke enters week 13 of the 2018 season ranked 15th in the nation with 14.20 passing yards per completion, ninth with 8.95 passing yards per attempt and 10th with a passing efficiency rating of 163.3, with the latter being on pace to set a new single-season program record. He is seven touchdown passes from topping the program's single-season record of 28 set by Tyler Tettleton in 2011. He is averaging 194.4 passing yards per game, which would give him the eighth-highest average in a single season in program history if the season ended today. His 260.7 yards per game of total offense is good for 36th in the country. His average of 66.4 rushing yards per game ranks eighth in the MAC.

Rourke, who entered his junior season with his name appearing on the Manning, Maxwell and O'Brien award watch lists, is ranked second in program history with 39 career passing touchdowns. Rourke ranks fifth in program history with 4,344 passing yards and seventh with 310 career completions. Rourke has also tallied 30 career rushing touchdowns, which is tied for the third-most in program history. Rourke's 70 career touchdowns responsible for are the second-most in program history.

Quarterback Nathan Rourke burst onto the scene for Ohio in 2017, earning All-MAC Second Team honors for his efforts. He etched his name in the program's top-10 for passing yards (2,203; ninth), completions (161; tied-10th), touchdown passes (17; seventh) and passing efficiency (132.9; ninth) in a single season. He threw for the most yards by an Ohio sophomore signal caller since Tyler Tettleton passed for 3,302 yards in 2011.

Rourke proved problematic for opposing defenses not only because of his arm but because of his legs as well. He set the program record for rushing touchdowns in a single season with 21, which tied him for third-most in NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in 2017 with Washington running back Myles Gaskin and ranked as the most by a quarterback in the country last season. His 6.66 yards per carry a year ago rank as the fourth-highest in a single season in program history and ranked as the 11th-highest average in the country, finishing just behind former Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson (6.90) of Louisville. Rourke tallied five 100-yard games last season, tying him for the 10th-most in a single season in program history.

In all, Rourke accounted for 3,115 total yards of offense (sixth-most in a single season in program history), averaging 7.26 yards per play (second-most in a single season in program history) and 239.6 yards per game (fourth-most in a single season in program history. He set Ohio's single-season scoring record with 132 points (tied for sixth-most in the nation in 2017), 22 touchdowns scored (fifth-most in the nation in 2017) and 39 touchdowns responsible for. His 234 points responsible for tied him for ninth-most in the country last year.

Redshirt senior running back A.J. Ouellette is just 27 rushing yards away from reaching the 1,000-yard mark for the second year in a row. Only three other backs in the history of Ohio have run for 1,000 yards in a season more than once -- Arnold Welcher (1975, '76), Steveland Hookfin (1996, '98) and Kalvin McRae (2005, '06, '07). Ouellette currently ranks second in the MAC with 973 rushing yards on 169 touches and has scored a team-high 10 rushing touchdowns, which is good for third in the MAC and a career high. He has also caught two touchdowns this season, giving him a team-high 12 trips to the end zone.

Ouellette scored his first touchdown of the 2018 in Ohio's 34-30 loss at Cincinnati on Sept. 22, running into the end zone from nine yards out. In the win over UMass, he raced 49 yards for a touchdown on Ohio's first drive of the second half. At Kent State, Ouellette led the Bobcats on the ground with 72 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries in the win over the Golden Flashes. At Northern Illinois, Ouellette scored his fifth rushing touchdown of the season. He added two more rushing touchdowns to his total against Ball State, then ran one in from 17 yards out in the third quarter of the win at Western Michigan. 

Ouellette is currently in fourth place in school history with 3,451 rushing yards and is one of four backs in the history of the program to surpass 3,000 career rushing yards. His 675 career carries are tied for the fifth-most in program history with Kevin Babcock (1976-79), and his 12 career games with at least 100 yards rushing tie him with Beau Blankenship (2011-13) for the sixth-most in program history.

Redshirt senior running back Maleek Irons scored a pair of one-yard touchdown runs in Ohio's 45-31 loss to Virginia on Sept. 15 in Nashville, Tenn. Irons scored his first touchdown since Nov. 3, 2016, against Buffalo with his one-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. With his two rushing touchdowns, he recorded his second career multi-touchdown game and first since Oct. 8, 2016 against Bowling Green. In the victory over UMass, Irons rumbled for a career-high 140 yards and matched his career high with two rushing touchdowns on 13 carries. The win over Ball State marked his third effort of the season with multiple touchdown runs.

Through 11 games in 2018, Irons ranks third on the team and fifth in the MAC with a career-high 705 rushing yards on 108 carries. He is also third on the team with a career-high eight rushing touchdowns. In the loss at Cincinnati, he hauled in a 12-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter for his first career receiving touchdown.

Ohio's rushing attack ranks 12th in the nation and first in the MAC with 251.1 yards per game. The solid play of the offensive line is owed a large amount of credit for that success, with redshirt junior right tackle Austen Pleasants, redshirt senior right guard Durrell Wood, sophomore center Brett Kitrell, redshirt senior left guard Joe Anderson and redshirt senior left tackle Joe Lowery paving the way. Junior Steven Hayes filled in at center for an injured Kitrell in Ohio's wins over Ball State, Western Michigan and Buffalo.

The offensive line has also done a nice job of keeping the opposition's hands off the quarterback, allowing only 17 sacks so far this year, which ranks as third-fewest sacks allowed by a MAC team.

Ohio's offense is the best in the MAC in third down conversions, moving the chains 48.5 percent of the time, which is good for 11th in the country.

Redshirt senior wide receiver Papi White, who began his career at Ohio as a running back, is poised to depart Athens as one of the most prolific pass catchers in the history of the program. White has racked up 2,467 receiving yards so far in his collegiate career and needs 45 more receiving yards to break Ohio's career receiving yards record, which is currently held by LaVon Brazill (2,511; 2007-11). He also needs three more touchdown receptions to give him a program-record 22 for his career, which would surpass the 21 scored by Donte' Foster (2010-13). White's 154 career receptions rank as the fourth-most in program history.

White enters Friday's matchup against Akron ranked second in the MAC with nine receiving touchdowns, which is tied for the second-most in a single season in program. He needs three more touchdown catches to break the single-season record of 11 set by Brazill in 2011. White's career-high 834 receiving yards rank second in the MAC while his 75.8 receiving yards per game rank third. White's career-high 55 receptions this year are tied with Sebastian Smith (2016) for the ninth-most in a single season in program history.

In the win over UMass, White caught six passes for 84 yards and set a new career high with two touchdown receptions. He enjoyed a career day in the win over Howard, racking up a career-high 154 receiving yards on a career-high eight receptions and hauling in a touchdown. He became the first Bobcat wide receiver to register 150-plus receiving yards since Smith achieved the feat on Sept. 17, 2016 against then-No. 15-ranked Tennessee.

Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Cameron Odom enjoyed a breakout performance at Cincinnati, producing his first career 100-yard receiving game by finishing with a career-high 114 yards on five receptions. Ohio had at least one receiver record at least 100 yards in four-straight games dating back to the 2017 Bahamas Bowl, a streak that ended in the victory over UMass.

Odom has hauled in a career-high 29 receptions this season to rank third on the team and ranks third on the squad with 404 receiving yards, which is also a career high.

Redshirt senior wide receiver Andrew Meyer gained a team-high 90 receiving yards on four receptions and hauled in his third career touchdown in the comeback win at Kent State. With the Bobcats trailing the Golden Flashes 20-7 in the third quarter, Meyer helped ignite Ohio's comeback when he caught a pass from junior quarterback Nathan Rourke in stride and raced 59 yards for a touchdown. The reception marked the longest of Meyer's career. A finance major, Meyer was recognized as the MAC Male Scholar Athlete of the Week on Oct. 10 after his performance against Kent State.

Meyer has caught four touchdowns over the last seven games. He hauled in a 24-yard scoring reception in the second quarter against Bowling Green, snatched a 21-yard touchdown with two seconds left in the first half against Ball State and then caught an 18-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter at Miami. He ranks second on the team this year with 34 receptions, 445 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns.

In the loss to Virginia, redshirt freshman wide receiver Isiah Cox caught his first career pass, which went for 36 yards and a touchdown. Freshman wide receiver Jerome Buckner also hauled in his first two career receptions and finished the game with 44 receiving yards.

Cox pulled in a 10-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter of the win at Western Michigan -- his third receiving touchdown of the season.

In the loss at Northern Illinois, redshirt senior tight end Connor Brown caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Nathan Rourke in the third quarter -- the first touchdown catch of Brown's career.

Redshirt sophomore tight end Adam Luehrman -- a native of Athens -- snagged his first career reception for his first career touchdown off an eight-yard pass from junior quarterback Nathan Rourke in the victory at Western Michigan, helping to make it a 38-0 lead for the Bobcats in the second quarter.

Adam moved up to the No. 2 spot at tight end on the depth chart as his twin brother, Ryan Luehrman, sat out with an injury. The Luehrman twins starred for Athens High School, helping to lead the Bulldogs to a 2014 Ohio High School Athletic Association Division III State Championship Game alongside current LSU starting quarterback Joe Burrow, who is the son of Ohio's 14th-year defensive coordinator, Jimmy Burrow.

Ohio's roster has the unique distinction of having two sets of identical twins in redshirt sophomore tight ends Adam Luehrman and Ryan Luehrman and redshirt sophomore cornerbacks Ilyaas Motley and Xavior Motley. All four have contributed this season.

Through the first four games of the 2018 season, Ohio's defense allowed the opposition to average 38.2 points and 518 total yards per contest. Since MAC play began, however, the Bobcats have buckled down, surrendering 19.9 points per game and 333.6 total yards per game.

Ohio ranks second in the MAC in rushing defense, allowing 145.2 rushing yards per game.

Redshirt senior defensive lineman Kent Berger is pacing Ohio with five sacks this season. A finance major, Berger was named to the 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-District 5 Division I Team last Thursday (Nov. 18). The 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-District Football Team, selected by CoSIDA, recognizes the nation's top student-athletes for their combined performances on the field and in the classroom. The Google Cloud Academic All-America® program separately recognizes football honorees in four divisions — NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and NAIA. First-team Academic All-District® honorees advance to the Google Cloud Academic All-America ballot. First and second-team (if applicable) Academic All-America honorees will be announced in early December.

Berger has compiled a career-high 31 tackles in 2018 and has tallied a career-high 6.5 tackles for loss to rank second on the team.

Ohio has produced 29 takeaways through the first 11 games of the 2018 season, which is the most in the country. Perhaps some of the credit for the takeaways can be attributed to the Ohio defense's new sideline prop: The Turnover Belt, which is a WWE-replica championship belt that is awarded to individuals who force the opposition to turn the ball over.

The Bobcats lead the country with 15 fumble recoveries in 2018 and lead the league with 14 passes intercepted. Senior linebacker Evan Croutch, redshirt senior safety Kylan Nelson, junior safety Javon Hagan, redshirt sophomore linebacker Jared Dorsa and redshirt sophomore safety Jarren Hampton have each tallied two interceptions to tie for the team lead. Sophomore cornerback Marlin Brooks has forced a team-high three fumbles and is tied with redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Will Evans with two fumble recoveries.

Senior linebacker Evan Croutch leads Ohio with a career-high 48 solo tackles and leads the team with 69 total tackles. He recorded a career-high two sacks at Miami and ranks second on the team this year with three sacks. Croutch is the lone returning starter from the front seven of the 2017 Ohio defense.

Redshirt junior kicker/punter Michael Farkas is one of the MAC's top punters, ranking second in the conference with an average of 44. 3 yards per punt. Through 11 games in 2018, he has tallied 1,683 punting yards, giving him a career total of 6,930, which ranks as the sixth-most in program history. He has punted 167 times in his career, which ranks sixth in program history. His 41.5 career punting average is second-best in program history.

In the season-opening victory over Howard, Farkas set career highs with eight punts and 368 punting yards in the win.

In the loss to Virginia, Farkas recorded six punts for 282 yards. His longest punt of the day went for 59 yards in the first quarter, and he also produced a 52-yard punt in the first quarter and a 57-yard punt in the fourth quarter, helping him average 47 yards per punt. Three of his six punts ended up inside Virginia's 20 yard line. Farkas also kicked off four times, with all four going for touchbacks for a 65-yard average. He successfully executed an onside kick in the second quarter that was recovered by junior linebacker Eric Popp. Farkas was recognized as the MAC East Division Special Teams Player of the Week for his efforts against Virginia, earning such honors for the second time in his career and first time since Oct. 3, 2016.

In the loss at Cincinnati, Farkas punted four times for 190 yards, averaging 47.5 yards per punt with a long of 55 yards in the second quarter. The win at Kent State saw Farkas post his highest punting average of the season, averaging his highest punting average of the season with 53 yards per punt -- including one in the first quarter that went for 59 yards and tied his season high. In the loss at Northern Illinois, Farkas punted five times for 199 yards. He matched his long punt of the season once again with another 59-yarder and placed two of his punts inside the opponent 20-yard line. Farkas was once again named MAC East Division Special Teams Player of the Week for his efforts. 

Redshirt junior kicker Louie Zervos made all three of his field goal attempts at Cincinnati -- including a season-long 47 yarder in the fourth quarter. He then made three more field goals in the victory over UMass. He is 11-for-15 (73 percent) on the season after making a 22 yarder in the second quarter last Wednesday against Buffalo. He has knocked down all 58 of his extra point attempts this year after making all seven of his attempts last week against the Bulls, marking the fifth time this year he has made at least seven extra point attempts in a game. His 58 extra point attempts this year rank as the second-most in a single season in program history, and he needs to make four more to pass his own record that he set in 2017. He is one of just three kickers in the history of the program to make over 100 extra points, leading the way with 154. He passed Matt Weller (120; 2009-12) as the program's all-time leader in extra points made in the loss at Northern Illinois after making his third of the contest.

Zervos was named MAC East Division Special Teams Player of the Week on Oct. 29 after making all seven of his extra point attempts and converting a 23-yard field goal in the victory over Ball State.

Redshirt junior wide receiver/kick returner DL Knock helped swing the momentum of the contest against Howard in favor of the Bobcats when took the second-half kickoff back 100 yards for a touchdown to tie a school record. Ohio was trailing Howard, 22-17, at halftime, but Knock's return sparked a stretch in which it scored two touchdowns in 1:37 to flip the script. Knock became the first Ohio player to bring a kick back 100 yards since Daz' Patterson went 100 yards to the house against Buffalo on Oct. 6, 2012. It marked the first time Ohio returned a kickoff for a touchdown since Nov. 25, 2014 at Miami when Kylan Nelson brought one back 84 yards. Knock finished the game with three kickoff returns for 125 yards. Knock was named the MAC East Division Week One Special Teams Player of the Week on Sept. 3.

In the win at Western Michigan, Knock blocked a punt by Western Michigan freshman Nick Mihalic in the first quarter, and the loose football was scooped up by redshirt freshman safety Alvin Floyd and returned for a touchdown. Knock's blocked punt marked the first by an Ohio player since Grant Cunningham blocked one against Eastern Illinois in 2014, and Floyd's return of the blocked punt for a touchdown marked the first by a Bobcat since Melvin Payne ran one back 15 yards for a score in 2009 at Akron. Floyd was named MAC East Division Special Teams Player of the Week last Monday (Nov. 5).

The Bobcats then scored a touchdown via a blocked punt for the second week in their game at Miami. Miami redshirt junior punter Kyle Kramer could not cleanly get the punt off, and redshirt sophomore linebacker Jared Dorsa blocked the attempted kick. Redshirt sophomore linebacker Dylan Conner was there to scoop up the loose ball and return it 28 yards for a touchdown with just over nine minutes remaining in the contest.

In the loss at Cincinnati, redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Will Evans blocked his first career field goal. The Bearcats sent out freshman kicker Cole Smith to attempt a 49-yard field goal before time expired in the first half. His try was blocked by Evans, however, and Ohio took a 24-7 advantage into halftime.

Ohio leads the all-time series with Akron, 19-14-1. The Bobcats are 10-3 (.769) against the Zips under head coach Frank Solich. Ohio has gone 6-0 at home against Akron during the Solich era -- including a 9-3 victory on Nov. 22, 2016, that clinched a MAC East Division title for the Bobcats in the Zips' last visit to Peden Stadium. Akron outlasted Ohio at home, 37-34, on Nov. 14, 2017, in the last meeting between the two teams.


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