Ohio Game Notes (PDF)
ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio football team (2-3, 1-0 MAC) welcomes Mid-American Conference West Division foe Northern Illinois (1-4, 0-1 MAC) to Peden Stadium for a Homecoming matchup on Saturday (Oct. 12). Kickoff is slated for 3:30 p.m. ET.
Saturday's contest will be streamed live on ESPN+, with Doug Sherman and John Gregory 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. 12, 2019 | Ohio Bobcats (2-3, 1-0 MAC) vs. Northern Illinois (1-4, 0-1 MAC) | 3:30 p.m. ET | Peden Stadium | Athens, Ohio | ESPN+ | Ohio Sports Network from Learfield IMG College | TuneIn | Live Stats
Ohio is 10-4 in Homecoming games in the previous 14 seasons under head coach Frank Solich. Last year, Ohio rolled to a 49-14 win over Bowling Green on Homecoming on Oct. 20, 2018.
The Bobcats last met Northern Illinois on Homecoming on Nov. 7, 1982 - a 36-0 win for the Huskies.
OT WIN OVER BUFFALO
Redshirt freshman running back O'Shaan Allison scored a game-tying five-yard touchdown, then redshirt senior placekicker Louie Zervos converted the extra point to lift Ohio to a 21-20 victory over Buffalo in its 2019 MAC opener last Saturday (Oct. 5) at UB Stadium.
Ohio put a halt to a three-game losing skid with the win over Buffalo and won its MAC opener for the ninth year in a row and 12th time in 15 tries under head coach Frank Solich.
The overtime win marked Ohio's first since defeating Eastern Michigan on the road, 27-20, on Sept. 23, 2017, to open up conference play that season.
The Bobcats snapped a four-game losing skid in games played at UB Stadium, earning their first victory in Buffalo since a 27-24 triumph on Nov. 10, 2009.
ALLISON NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK
• Redshirt freshman running back O'Shaan Allison was named the MAC East Division Offensive Player of the Week for week six of the 2019 season, as announced by the conference office on Monday (Oct. 7).
Allison was recognized with weekly conference honors for the first time this season and first time in his career.
Allison scored the first two rushing touchdowns of his collegiate career to help lead the Bobcats to the win over the Bulls last Saturday. scored a one-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to help the Bobcats even the score at 14-all, then scored from five yards out in overtime to tie the contest at 20-all and give Ohio the opportunity to convert the game-winning extra point. Allison accounted for a career-high 96 of Ohio's 186 rushing yards in the victory. The Bobcats handed him the ball on all five plays of their overtime possession, and he delivered with 25 yards and the game-tying score.
LOOKING TO GO 2-0 IN MAC PLAY
• Ohio is looking to start MAC play 2-0 for the fifth time under Frank Solich and for the third time in the last five years. The Bobcats last won their first two conference games in 2016, earning a 17-7 road win over Miami on Oct. 1, then beating Bowling Green at home, 30-24, on Oct. 8.
The Bobcats are 7-7 in MAC home openers under Solich. Last year, Ohio rolled to a 49-14 win over Bowling Green in its conference home opener on Oct. 20, 2018.
• Ohio's overtime victory over Buffalo halted a three-game losing skid for the Bobcats.
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.
MOVING THE CHAINS
• Ohio ranks 19th in the country and first among MAC teams with a 47.0 percent (33-of-66) third-down conversion rate. The Bobcats converted eight of their 13 third down attempts in the win at Buffalo.
• Ohio is ranked seventh in the nation and first among MAC teams with just 178 penalty yards (35.6 per game) so far this season. The Bobcats have been penalized just 22 times, which ranks second among MAC teams and ninth in the country.
NOTABLES AT BUFFALO
• Senior quarterback Nathan Rourke added 63 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown while completing 12 of his 19 pass attempts for 155 yards.
• Senior linebacker Eric Popp forced his first career fumble in the third quarter, with redshirt senior safety Javon Hagan there to pounce on the ball for his fourth career fumble recovery. The takeaway marked the third of the season for the Ohio defense.
HOME IS WHERE THE WINS ARE
• The Bobcats went a perfect 6-0 at Peden Stadium in 2018, marking the first time Ohio has won all of its home games since 1968. Ohio went unbeaten at home for the first time since 1988, when the Bobcats finished their home schedule with a record of 3-0-1. Ohio has won 15 of its last 17 games played at Peden Stadium.
Ohio is set to play four of its next five games at Peden Stadium.
BOWLING FOR WINS
• Ohio is tied with Toledo for the most bowl wins (4) among MAC programs since Frank Solich took over as head coach in 2005. With its win over San Diego State in the 2018 DXL Frisco Bowl that followed a 41-6 triumph over UAB in the 2017 Bahamas Bowl, Ohio recorded back-to-back bowl wins for the second time in program history. In 2011, the Bobcats edged Utah State, 24-23, in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl to pick up their first bowl victory in program history, then rolled to a 45-14 triumph over ULM in the 2012 Advocare V100 Independence Bowl.
LIKE A FINE WINE
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.
CHASING WINS WITH THE GOAT
Frank Solich owns a career coaching record of 166-97. His 166 wins rank as the fourth most among active NCAA FBS head coaches.
Solich is 108-78 during his tenure as head coach of the Bobcats. His 108 victories rank him tied for second in program history with Bill Hess (108; 1958-77) behind Don Peden (121; 1924-46). With three more wins, Solich will pass Herb Deromedi (110, Central Michigan, 1978-93) for the most by a MAC head coach. Ohio has gone 71-42 in conference play since Solich's arrival in Athens. His 71 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 31 games with 29 starts over the last three seasons with the Bobcats and owns an 19-10 record as a starting quarterback. The Bobcats have averaged a staggering 37.1 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 (24 starts, 40.4 ppg), UCF's McKenzie Milton (33 starts; 40.6 ppg), Georgia's Jake Fromm (33 starts, 37.7 ppg) and Oregon's Justin Herbert (33 starts; 37.6 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 141.9, second with 5,649 passing yards, 46 career passing touchdowns and 182.2 passing yards per game, fourth with a career completion percentage of 57.5 percent (401-of-697), fifth with 14.1 career yards per completion and fourth with 401 career completions. He has also tallied 39 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 86 career touchdowns. He ranks third in program history with 40 career touchdowns scored and fifth with 240 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.
SPECIAL, SPECIAL TEAMS
• Louie Zervos is back for his redshirt senior season as placekicker. He ranks first in program history with 178 career extra points made and has made his last 86, second with 63 career field goals made and second with 367 career points scored. In the win over Rhode Island, Zervos accounted for 11 points after knocking down a 37-yard field goal in the second quarter and a 42-yarder in the third in addition to converting all five of his extra point attempts.
• Redshirt senior punter Michael Farkas earned All-MAC First Team honors a year ago and is second in school history in career punting average (41.4 yards). He also ranks fourth in program history in career punting yards (8,108) and fourth in career punts (193).
SERIES HISTORY VS. NORTHERN ILLINOIS
• Saturday's game marks the 23rd meeting between Ohio and Northern Illinois, with the Huskies holding a 12-10 advantage over the Bobcats in the all-time series.
• Ohio and Northern Illinois have met six times during the Frank Solich era, with the series tied at 3-3 during that time frame. The Huskies last visited Peden Stadium on Nov. 18, 2014 and came away with a 21-14 victory over the Bobcats. Ohio's last win over Northern Illinois at home came on Nov. 21, 2009 -- a 38-31 triumph for the Bobcats.
• The Bobcat and the Huskies met last season in DeKalb, Ill., with Northern Illinois prevailing, 24-21, on Oct. 13, 2018. Then-redshirt freshman wide receiver Isiah Cox racked up a career-high 147 receiving yards and scored a career-long 56-yard touchdown for Ohio in the loss. Then-junior quarterback Nathan Rourke completed 15 of 23 passes for 275 yards with two touchdowns but also threw an interception, lost a fumble and was sacked four times. The Bobcats were limited to just 46 yards on the ground.
SCOUTING NORTHERN ILLINOIS
• On January 18, 2019, Thomas Hammock, a former Huskie player and assistant coach, returned home to Northern Illinois as the 23rd head coach in the history of NIU football.
• The Huskies were predicted to finish third in the West Division in the MAC Media Preseason Poll. Northern Illinois has won the MAC West Division title seven times in the last nine years and has won the MAC Championship Game four times in that span, including a 30-29 triumph over Buffalo last season.
• Northern Illinois is off to a 1-4 start to its 2019 season, with its lone victory coming on Aug. 31 in a 24-10 win over Illinois State.
• The Huskies dropped their fourth game in a row last Saturday, falling to Ball State at home, 27-20, in a West Division clash in DeKalb. The Huskies led the Cardinals 17-3 at the half. Redshirt junior running back Tre Harbison picked up 146 yards and scored two touchdowns on 22 carries in the loss.
• Northern Illinois ranks 10th among MAC teams with an average of 17.4 points per game but ranks second in the league in total defense (362.4 yards per game) and fourth in scoring defense (27.6 points per game).
• Senior quarterback Ross Bowers has completed 103 of his 181 pass attempts (56.9 percent) for 1,297 yards (fourth-most in the MAC). He has thrown four touchdowns and four interceptions in five games.
• Harbison is ranked seventh among MAC running backs with 370 yards on 76 carries (4.9 yard average).
• Redshirt senior tight end Danie Crawford leads the Huskies with 19 receptions and 316 receiving yards while junior wide receiver Tyrice Richie accounted for two of the four touchdown receptions by Northern Illinois this season.
• Redshirt senior linebacker Antonio Jones-Davis leads the Huskies with 39 total tackles, including a team-high 22 solo stops and five tackles for loss. He has also accounted for one of the team's two interceptions, with redshirt sophomore cornerback Jalen McKie responsible for the other. McKie leads the team with five passes defensed and four pass breakups and has blocked two kicks.
• Redshirt freshman placekicker John Richardson has converted seven of his eight field goal attempts on the season with a long of 46 yards.
Ohio will be back at Peden Stadium next Saturday (Oct. 19) when it plays host to a MAC East Division matchup against Kent State. Kickoff is scheduled for noon ET. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network in addition to being broadcast live on the Ohio Sports Network from Learfield IMG College.