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Ohio Football Opens MAC Play Today at Buffalo

Ohio Football Opens MAC Play Today at Buffalo

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Ohio Game Notes (PDF)

ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio football team opens Mid-American Conference play on the road with an East Division matchup at Buffalo (2-3, 0-1 MAC) on Saturday (Oct. 5). Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET from UB Stadium in Amherst, N.Y.

Saturday's contest will be streamed live on ESPN+, with Michael Reghi and Dustin Fox on the call.

Saturday's game can also be heard on the Ohio Sports Network from Learfield IMG College. Russ Eisenstein returns for his 12th season as the "Voice of the Bobcats." Ohio Alum Rob Cornelius has been a part of the broadcasts for two decades. WXTQ (Power 105) in Athens returns as the 11-station  network's flagship.The broadcasts are also available online through TuneIn.com/OhioBobcats and on the TuneIn app.

Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019 | Ohio Bobcats (1-3) at Buffalo Bulls (2-3, 0-1 MAC) | 3:30 p.m. ET | UB Stadium | Amherst, N.Y. | ESPN+ | Ohio Sports Network from Learfield IMG College | TuneIn | Live Stats

• In the previous 14 seasons under the leadership of head coach Frank Solich, Ohio has gone 70-42 in MAC play and has captured four East Division titles. The Bobcats are 11-3 in conference openers under Solich and have won their last eight MAC openers.

• Coming off of a bye week, the Bobcats are seeking their second victory of the 2019 season and are looking to end a three-game losing skid.

Non-conference play concluded with Ohio suffering a 45-25 setback to Louisiana on Sept. 21 at Peden Stadium. The loss halted a school-record home winning streak at 10 games. The Ragin' Cajuns outgained Ohio, 489-380. The Bobcats could not overcome five turnovers. Ohio trailed by just six with under eight minutes to play, but the Bobcats turned the ball over three times and the Ragin' Cajuns scored two touchdowns over the final four-plus minutes.

• Redshirt senior placekicker Louie Zervos was named the MAC East Division Special Teams Player of the Week for week four of the 2019 season on Sept. 23.

Zervos was recognized with weekly conference honors for the first time this season. The Bobcats have now tallied three MAC East Division Player of the Week honors in 2019.

Zervos accounted for seven points in the loss to Louisiana, In the second quarter, he matched his season high by connecting on a 48-yard field goal attempt, then knocked down a 49-yarder to set a new season high. He also finished the contest with one made extra point. Zervos has now made 63 career field goals (second-most in program history and 175 career extra points (most in program history) for 364 career points (second-most in program history). He has made his last 83 extra point attempts.

• Redshirt junior running back Ja'Vahri Portis scored his first two career rushing touchdowns in the loss to the Ragin' Cajuns. He scored from one-yard out in the third quarter, then from three yards out in the fourth. With redshirt sophomore running back Julian Ross and redshirt freshman running back O'Shaan Allison sitting the contest out due to injuries, Portis set career highs in attempts (9) and rushing yards (35).

• Senior quarterback Nathan Rourke attempted a career-high 38 passes in the loss to Louisiana. He threw for 277 yards -- his most since throwing for 275 at Northern Illinois on Oct. 13, 2018. He passed Sammy Shon (1978-81; 5,412 yards) for the second-most career passing yards in program history, with his total now up to 5,494. Rourke tossed one touchdown pass in the loss to the Ragin' Cajuns, bringing his career total to 46 (second-most in program history). He increased his school record for touchdowns responsible for to 85.

• Redshirt freshman wide receiver Shane Hooks tallied a career-high three receptions for a career-high 96 yards in the loss to Louisiana. He hauled in a 21-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter, giving him two touchdown catches in the last two games.

• Redshirt junior tight end Ryan Luehrman matched his career high with four receptions and set a new career high with 69 receiving yards.

• Redshirt junior safety Jarren Hampton came up with his first career fumble recovery in the loss to the Ragin' Cajuns.

• Redshirt senior safety Javon Hagan registered his first career sack in the loss to Louisiana.

• Ohio was voted as the preseason favorite to win the MAC. The Bobcats were selected as the unanimous favorite to win the East Division in both the media and coaches polls. The Bobcats earned a league-high 13 votes to win the MAC Championship Game in the media poll.

Frank Solich is the dean of MAC head coaches as he is in his 15th year leading the Bobcats. He is tied with Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy for fourth among active NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) head coaches in terms of longest tenure with their current school. Only Iowa's Kirk Ferentz (21 years), TCU's Gary Patterson (20 years) and Utah's Kyle Whittingham (16 years) have served as head coach at their respective institutions longer. Prior to arriving in Athens, Solich spent six years as head coach at his alma mater, Nebraska. Solich's 21 years of experience tie him with Ferentz (21 years) for the third-most among active NCAA FBS head coaches, ranking behind only North Carolina's Mack Brown (30 years) and Alabama's Nick Saban.

With the retirement of longtime Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder following the 2018 season, Solich is the leader in life experience among NCAA FBS head coaches at 74 years old. Solich turned 75 on Sept. 8.

Frank Solich owns a career coaching record of 165-97. His 165 wins rank as the fourth most among active NCAA FBS head coaches, trailing only North Carolina's Mack Brown (240), Alabama's Nick Saban (240) and TCU's Gary Patterson (168).

Solich is 107-78 during his tenure as head coach of the Bobcats, ranking him third in program history behind Don Peden (121; 1924-46) and Bill Hess (108; 1958-77). With four more wins, Solich will pass Herb Deromedi (110, Central Michigan, 1978-93) for the most by a MAC head coach. Ohio has gone 70-42 in conference play since Solich's arrival in Athens. His 70 MAC wins rank second to Deromedi's 90.

• Air Canada is back for his senior season. Senior quarterback Nathan Rourke, a two-time All-MAC Second Team selection, has played in 30 games with 28 starts over the last three seasons with the Bobcats and owns an 18-10 record as a starting quarterback. The Bobcats have averaged a staggering 37.7 points per game with Rourke starting under center, which ranks behind only Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa (20 starts, 47.2 pgg), Utah State's Jordan Love (23 starts, 41.5 ppg), UCF's McKenzie Milton (33 starts; 40.6 ppg) and Oregon's Justin Herbert (32 starts; 38.3 ppg) among Football Bowl Subdivision signal callers who have made a minimum of 15 starts.

• Rourke is ranked first in program history with a career passing efficiency rating of 142.5, second with 5,494 passing yards, 46 career passing touchdowns and 183.3 passing yards per game, fourth with a career completion percentage of 57.4 percent (389-of-678), fifth with 14.1 career yards per completion and fourth with 389 career completions. He has also tallied 38 career rushing touchdowns, which ranks as the third-most in program history, and has rushed for more touchdowns than any other quarterback in NCAA FBS over the last two-plus seasons. Rourke has been responsible for a school-record 85 career touchdowns. He ranks third in program history with 39 career touchdowns scored and fifth with 234 career points scored. Rourke is a two-time winner of the Joe Cornish Trophy, which is awarded annually to the most outstanding Canadian player in NCAA Football. He has helped guide Ohio to a pair of bowl victories, with the Bobcats topping UAB, 41-6, in the 2017 Bahamas Bowl and shutting out San Diego State, 27-0, in the 2018 DXL Frisco Bowl.

• Ohio will be joining the MAC, the NCAA and ESPN in celebrating the 150th anniversary of college football in 2019. The campaign will culminate when Ohio takes on archrival Miami in the 'Battle of the Bricks' on Wednesday, Nov. 6 at Peden Stadium in a nationally televised matchup on ESPN2 that will be played on the 150th anniversary of the first-ever college football game. Ohio will look to make history that day with a call to students and fans to create the first-ever sellout of a MAC midweek game.

• Ohio is 15-10 all-time against Buffalo, including an 8-6 mark over the last 14 seasons under the direction of head coach Frank Solich. The Bobcats have gone 6-1 at home against the Bulls under Solich but are 2-5 against them in games played in Buffalo. Ohio's last win at Buffalo came on Nov. 10, 2009 -- a 27-24 victory for the Bobcats. The Bobcats last visited UB Stadium in the 2017 regular season finale, falling to the Bulls by a score of 31-24 on Nov. 24, 2017. Ohio will be looking to snap a four-game losing streak in games played at UB Stadium.

• In the last meeting between the Bobcats and the Bulls, Ohio dismantled the eventual MAC East Division champions, 52-17, on Nov. 14, 2018, at Peden Stadium. 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 the blowout win.

Ohio piled up 646 total yards -- including a season-high 437 on the ground -- and dominated the time of possession, 43:42-16:18. In addition to Ouellette's big night, redshirt senior running back Maleek Irons rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown on 12 touches. Then-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.

• The Bulls are led by fifth-year head coach Lance Leipold. He was named the 2018 MAC Coach of the Year after guiding the Bulls to a 10-win season, a MAC East Division title and an appearance in the Dollar General Bowl a year ago.

• Leipold served as an administrative assistant/recruiting coordinator under Frank Solich at Nebraska from 2001-03.

• Buffalo has started the 2019 season 2-3, with both of its victories coming at the friendly confines of UB Stadium -- a 38-10 win in the season opener at UB Stadium on Aug. 29 and a 38-22 victory over Temple on Sept. 21.

• The Bulls were predicted to finish third in the MAC East Division in the league's preseason media poll. Buffalo opened conference play with a 34-20 road loss to Miami in an East Division clash last Saturday (Sept. 28) in Oxford, Ohio. The Bulls turned the ball over four times in the loss. Buffalo fell despite sophomore running back Jaret Patterson rushing for 183 yards and a touchdown and sophomore running back Kevin Marks adding 101 yards and a score.

• Buffalo owns the second-best rushing offense in the conference with 240.2 yards per game while leading the league in rushing defense by allowing just 95.6 yards per game on the ground. The Bulls rank first in the MAC in total defense, giving up a conference-low 310.4 yards per contest.

• Patterson currently ranks second among MAC running backs with 546 rushing yards and third with 109.2 per game. His four rushing touchdowns are tied for third-most in the league.

• Redshirt freshman quarterback Matt Myers has completed 49 of his 105 passing attempts for 602 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions.

• Buffalo's leading receiver is junior Antonio Nunn, who leads the Bulls with 14 receptions and 215 receiving yards. Junior tight end Zac Lefebvre has hauled in a team-high two touchdown receptions.

• Senior safety Joey Banks leads the Buffalo defense with a team-high 30 total tackles, including a team-high 19 solo stops. Banks, redshirt senior cornerback Devon Russell and sophomore cornerback Aapri Washington have all logged an interception. Washington has also recovered a fumble. Junior defensive end Malcolm Koonce and senior defensive end Ledarius Mack are tied for the team lead with three sacks apiece.

• Redshirt freshman kicker Alex McNulty has converted four of his seven field goal attempts this season, including two from at least 40 yards out with a long of 45.

Ohio welcomes MAC West Division foe Northern Illinois to Peden Stadium for a Homecoming matchup on Saturday, Oct. 12. Kickoff is slated for 3:30 p.m. ET. The contest will be streamed live on ESPN+ in addition to being broadcast live on the Ohio Sports Network from Learfield IMG College. Click here for ticket information.


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