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Ohio Football Falls At Pitt

Ohio Football Falls At Pitt

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PITTSBURGH -- Junior running back De'Montre Tuggle (Channelview, Texas) scored his third rushing touchdown in two games, but the Ohio football team (1-1) suffered a 20-10 setback to host Pitt (1-1) this afternoon at Heinz Field.

The Pitt defense limited the Ohio offense to its lowest point total since 2016 and its lowest output of total offense (212 yards) since '14.

Senior quarterback Nathan Rourke (Oakville, Ontario, Canada) went 15-of-27 passing for 177 yards but was sacked six times. Redshirt freshman wide receiver Jerome Bucker (Columbus, Ohio) led the Bobcats with four receptions and 60 receiving yards. On the ground, redshirt freshman running back O'Shaan Allison (Norristown, Pa.) led Ohio with 47 yards on 14 carries.

Defensively, three Bobcats registered double-digit tackles. Redshirt junior linebacker Dylan Conner (Fort Wayne, Ind.) led all tacklers with a career-high 11 total stops (six solo, five assisted). Redshirt junior safety Jarren Hampton (Fostoria, Ohio) set a career-high with 10 total tackles (nine solo, one assisted). Redshirt senior safety Javon Hagan (Jacksonville, Fla.) logged 10 total tackles (five solo, five assisted). Senior linebacker Eric Popp (Loveland, Ohio) tallied a career-high nine total tackles (six solo, three assisted) and accounted for Ohio's lone sack of the game. Redshirt sophomore defensive end Amos Ogun-Semore (Dacula, Ga.) set a career high with seven total tackles (four solo, three assisted).

Redshirt senior punter Michael Farkas (Mishawaka, Ind.) set a career high with 10 punts for 435 yards, averaging 43.5 yards per punt with a long of 56. Four of his punts landed inside the 20 yard line. Ohio's 10 were its most in a game since it punted 13 times at Virginia Tech in 2007.

The Panthers put up 481 yards of offense, led by junior quarterback Kenny Pickett, who finished the game 26-of-37 for 321 yards and a touchdown. Senior wide receiver Maurice Ffrench was Pitt's leading receiver with a game-high 10 receptions for 138 yards and a touchdown. Junior running back A.J. Davis finished with a game-high 89 rushing yards on 13 carries while freshman running back Vincent Davis rushed for 50 yards and a touchdown on 12 touches.

The Bobcats and the Panthers exchanged punts on their opening drives of the game. Ohio kept Pitt's second drive alive when the Bobcats were flagged for pass interference on a 3rd-and-2. Pickett made Ohio pay for the penalty, completing passes of nine yards to Ffrench, 12 yards and 18 yards to senior wide receiver Aaron Mathews and 12 yards to redshirt junior wide receiver Taysir Mack, putting ball on the Ohio 11. The Bobcats forced the Panthers to settle for a 27-yard field goal by redshirt junior kicker Alex Kessman, though, giving Pitt a 3-0 lead with just under eight minutes to play in the first quarter. 

Ohio drove to the Pitt 24 on its third drive, with Rourke completing passes of six yards to redshirt freshman wide receiver Shane Hooks (Orlando, Fla.) and eight yards to Buckner, and Allison picking up 17 yards on four rush attempts. A five-yard loss and a false start penalty backed the Bobcats out of field goal range, though, and Pitt forced Ohio to punt. Three plays later, Pickett connected with Ffrench on a 74-yard touchdown, pushing Pitt's advantage to 10-0 early in the second quarter.

After Ohio went three-and-out on the ensuing drive, the Panthers marched 47 yards in eight plays and capped it off with a three-yard touchdown run by Davis, making it a 17-0 lead for Pitt.

The Bobcats' offense came alive on their second drive of the quarter. Rourke found redshirt senior wide receiver DL Knock (Springboro, Ohio) for a gain of 19, then threw a 45-yard completion to Buckner to set Ohio up at the Pitt 13. Pitt forced Ohio to settle for a 23-yard field by redshirt senior kicker Louie Zervos (Tarpon Springs, Fla.), however, making it a 14-point contest with under seven minutes to go in the half.

Pitt had an opportunity to go back up by 17 on the next drive, but Kessman missed a 45-yard field goal attempt short, and the Panthers took a 17-3 lead into halftime. 

The Panthers tacked on three more points when Kessman ended an eight-play, 55-yard drive by converting a 41-yard field goal with just over six minutes to play in the third quarter.

Ohio then engineered a five-play, 75-yard scoring drive. Rourke completed passes of five yards to Hooks, 27 yards to redshirt sophomore wide receiver Isiah Cox (Jasper, Ala.) and 34 yards to Allison, setting up a seven-yard touchdown run by Tuggle to cut the Bobcats' deficit to 10 points with just over four minutes remaining in the third.

That's as close as Ohio got, though, as the Panthers shut the Bobcats out in the fourth quarter.

Ohio faces another road test in the week three of the 2019 season, paying a visit to Huntington, W. Va., to renew the its "Battle for the Bell" rivalry with Marshall (1-1). The Bobcats and the Thundering Herd will square off on Saturday, Sept. 14, in a 6:30 p.m. ET matchup at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. The contest will be streamed live on Facebook. Ohio and Marshall will be squaring off for the first time since Sept. 12, 2015 -- a 21-10 win for Ohio. Ohio last visited Huntington on Sept. 13, 2014. The Bobcats lead the all-time series with Marshall, 33-20-6.


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