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Ohio Football Plays Host To Key MAC East Division Matchup Against Kent State Today

Ohio Football Plays Host To Key MAC East Division Matchup Against Kent State Today

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Ohio Game Notes (PDF)

ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio football team (2-4, 1-1 MAC) plays host to an important Mid-American Conference East Division matchup on Saturday (Oct. 19) as first-place Kent State (3-3, 2-0 MAC) visits Peden Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for noon ET.

Saturday's contest will be televised live on CBS Sports Network, with Dave Ryan, Corey Chavous and Angel Gray 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. 19, 2019 | Ohio Bobcats (2-4, 1-1 MAC) vs. Kent State (3-3, 2-0 MAC) | Noon ET | Peden Stadium | Athens, Ohio | CBS Sports Network | Ohio Sports Network from Learfield IMG College | TuneIn | Live Stats

Senior quarterback Nathan Rourke threw two touchdown passes, hauled in a touchdown reception and ran for another score, but Ohio suffered a heartbreaking 39-36 Homecoming loss to MAC West Division foe Northern Illinois last Saturday (Oct. 12) at Peden Stadium.

The game featured a combined 75 points and 948 yards of total offense, with each drive in the fourth quarter ending in points.

The Bobcats trailed the Huskies after three quarters of play, 22-21, but rallied to tie the game twice in the fourth quarter. The Huskies got the ball back with 3:38 to play, though, and drove 56 yards in nine plays, setting up redshirt freshman placekicker John Richardson to knock down a 37-yard game-winning field goal to seal the win for Northern Illinois.

• Senior quarterback Nathan Rourke led the way for an Ohio offense that generated 438 total yards. He completed 19-of-31 passes for 258 yards and added a team-high 80 yards on 12 carries. His eighth completion of the day allowed him to move past Anthony Thornton (408; 1987-90) for the third-most in program history, and he has now completed 420 passes in his career after Saturday's effort. Rourke ran for an eight-yard touchdown in the first quarter, caught a two-yard touchdown on a trick play in the second quarter, threw touchdown passes of eight yards to redshirt junior tight end Ryan Luehrman and 47 yards to redshirt freshman wide receiver Shane Hooks in the fourth quarter. He has now thrown for 48 touchdown passes in his career (second-most in program history, run for 40 (third-most in program history) and hauled in two touchdown receptions, increasing his program record for touchdowns responsible for to 90. Rourke became the first Ohio quarterback to run for a touchdown, pass for a touchdown and catch a touchdown in a single game since Boo Jackson achieved the feat against Buffalo in 2010.

• Redshirt junior cornerback Ilyaas Motley produced his second career interception and first of the season and also recorded his first career forced fumble in the loss to the Huskies.Motley intercepted a pass by Northern Illinois redshirt senior quarterback Ross Bowers midway through the second quarter. The takeaway set up a six-play, 30-yard scoring drive for the Bobcats.

• Redshirt freshman wide receiver Shane Hooks hauled in a career-high seven receptions for a career-high 131 yards to lead all receivers and snagged the game-tying 47-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Through six games, Hooks is tied with redshirt sophomore wide receiver Isiah Cox and redshirt junior tight end Ryan Luehrman for the team lead with 15 receptions, leads the squad with 322 receiving yards and is tied for the team lead with Luehrman with three touchdown catches.

• Redshirt senior offensive lineman Austen Pleasants scored a two-yard rushing touchdown off a lateral from senior quarterback Nathan Rourke in the second quarter to help extend Ohio's lead to 21-10.

• Redshirt senior wide receiver DL Knock threw the first touchdown pass of his career on the "Philly Special" play in the second quarter, a toss that went for two yards to senior quarterback Nathan Rourke. Knock also compiled a career-high 137 kickoff return yards on a career-high tying five opportunities.

• Redshirt senior center Steven Hayes returned to the starting lineup after missing the last three games due to an injury.

• On the defensive line, redshirt sophomore Marcus Coleman made his first career start at defensive tackle in place of injured redshirt senior Cole Baker. Redshirt junior Austin Conrad made his second-straight start at right defensive end while redshirt sophomore Kai Caesar made a second-straight start at nose tackle in place of redshirt senior Brian Arp, who has been dealing with an injury.

• Northern Illinois scored the first points of the game on a blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown. It marked the first time an opponent has blocked an Ohio punt since 2012 against Bowling Green and the first time the Bobcats have allowed a special teams touchdown since 2016 at Kansas.

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 166-98. His 166 wins rank as the fourth most among active NCAA FBS head coaches.

Solich is 108-79 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 71-43 in conference play since Solich's arrival in Athens. His 71 MAC wins rank second to Deromedi's 90.

• Ohio is 44-25-2 all-time against Kent State in a series that dates back to 1936.

• The Bobcats are 9-5 against the Golden Flashes during the Frank Solich era, including a 4-3 mark in games played at Peden Stadium. In Kent State's last trip to Athens, Ohio rolled to a 48-3 victory on Oct. 21, 2017. 

• In the last meeting between Ohio and Kent State on Oct. 6, 2018, the Bobcats opened up MAC play by edging the Golden Flashes, 27-26, at Dix Stadium. The victory gave Frank Solich his 100th win as head coach at Ohio.

• Kent State is in its second season under the leadership of head coach Sean Lewis and has gone 5-13 under his watch. Lewis had served as the co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at both Bowling Green (2015) and Syracuse (2016-17) before being named the 22nd head coach in the history of Kent State's football program on Dec. 21, 2017.

• The Golden Flashes were predicted to finish fourth in the East Division in the MAC Media Preseason Poll. Kent State went 2-10 in 2018, including a 1-7 mark in conference play.

• Kent State enters Saturday's game with a 3-3 overall record but is off to a 2-0 start in MAC play after posting 62-20 home win over Bowling Green on Sept. 21 and a 26-3 road victory at Akron last Saturday. Junior defensive back Elvis Hines was named the MAC East Division Defensive Player of the Week after tallying a career-high 11 total tackles in the win over the Zips, including a sack.

• Junior quarterback Dustin Crum has completed 83 of his 115 passing attempts (MAC-best 72.2 percent) for 874 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions.

• Sophomore wide receiver Isaiah McKoy is tied for second in the MAC with four receiving touchdowns and is fifth in the league with 381 receiving yards.

• Senior running back Jo-El Shaw leads Kent State with 298 rushing yards and has found the end zone twice.

• Defensively, redshirt junior defensive back Qwuantrezz Knight leads the Golden Flashes with 40 total tackles (team-high 31 solo) while graduate linebacker Matt Bahr is right behind him with 39. Senior defensive lineman Theo Majette leads Kent State with five tackles for loss and four sacks. Senior cornerback Jamal Parker has logged a team-high two interceptions.

• Redshirt junior punter Derek Adams has punted 29 times for 1,272 yards (43.9 yards per punt), with 11 of them winding up inside the opponent's 20-yard line. Sophomore kicker Matthew Trickett has knocked down 11 of his 14 field goal attempts, including 5-of-5 from 40-49 yards away with a long of 45.

Ohio will play its final Saturday game of the 2019 regular season when it travels to Muncie, Ind., to take on MAC West Division opponent Ball State on Oct. 26. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET. The game will be streamed live on ESPN+ in addition to being broadcast live on the Ohio Sports Network from Learfield IMG College.


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