Ohio Game Notes (PDF)
ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio football team (4-6, 3-3 MAC) begins a two-game road trip to close the 2019 regular season on Tuesday (Nov. 19) when it visits Doyt Perry Stadium to battle Mid-American Conference East Division rival Bowling Green (3-7, 2-4 MAC) in a nationally televised matchup on ESPNU. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.
The Bobcats will be looking to halt a two-game losing skid and keep their hopes of bowl eligibility alive.
Jay Alter and Rocky Boiman will have the call on ESPNU.
Tuesday'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.
Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019 | Ohio (4-6, 3-3 MAC) at Bowling Green (3-7, 2-4 MAC) | 7:30 p.m. ET | Doyt Perry Stadium | Bowling Green, Ohio | ESPNU | WatchESPN | Ohio Sports Network from Learfield IMG College | TuneIn | Live Stats
BOBCATS FALL IN OT TO WESTERN MICHIGAN
Ohio forced overtime with a touchdown with nine seconds left in regulation but ultimately fell to MAC West Division foe Western Michigan, 37-34, tonight at Peden Stadium.
Western Michigan led 10-0 at halftime, but the Bobcats and the Broncos combined for 52 points in the second half, including 31 in the fourth quarter. The two teams wound up combining for 918 yards of offense.
In his final home game as a Bobcat, senior quarterback Nathan Rourke completed 20 of his 29 passing attempts for 225 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 93 yards on 13 attempts. Redshirt junior tight end Ryan Luehrman matched his career high with four receptions and led Ohio with 52 receiving yards. Redshirt freshman running back O'Shaan Allison gained 59 yards on nine carries while junior running back De'Montre Tuggle gained 39 yards and matched his career high by scoring two touchdowns on six carries.
Three Bobcats finished the game with double-digit tackles, with redshirt senior free safety Javon Hagan and redshirt junior middle linebacker Jared Dorsa tying for a game high with 16 total tackles apiece. Dorsa registered a team-high seven solo stops and finished with two tackles for loss. Redshirt freshman weakside linebacker Keye Thompson logged a game-high 2.5 tackles for loss and finished the contest with a career-high 13 total tackles.
SOLICH GOING FOR MAC RECORD
Frank Solich is 110-81 during his tenure as head coach of the Bobcats. His 110 victories are the second-most in program history behind behind Don Peden (1924-46; 121). With one more win, Solich will pass Herb Deromedi (110, Central Michigan, 1978-93) for the most by a MAC head coach. Ohio has gone 73-43 in conference play since Solich's arrival in Athens. His 73 MAC wins rank second to Deromedi's 90.
Solich owns a career coaching record of 168-100. His 168 wins rank as the fourth most among active NCAA FBS head coaches behind Alabama's Nick Saban (240), North Carolina's Mack Brown (231) and TCU's Gary Patterson (171).
MOVING THE CHAINS
Ohio ranks 10th in the country and first among MAC teams with a 49.6 percent third-down conversion rate (66 of 133). The Bobcats have converted at least half of their third down attempts in four of their first six conference game this season.
Ohio's red zone offense is tops in the MAC and 16th in the country, converting 90.7 percent (39 of 43) of its trips into points.
WE'VE GOT IT COVERED
Ohio's kickoff return defense is ranked second in the MAC and fourth in the country, surrendering just 15.21 yards per return.
CONNER NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT
Redshirt junior linebacker Dylan Conner represented the Ohio football team on the 2019 CoSIDA Academic All-District 5 Division I Team, selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), the organization announced on Nov. 14.
The 2019 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 CoSIDA 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 CoSIDA Academic All-America® ballot. First- and second-team (if applicable) Academic All-America® honorees will be announced in early December.
The CoSIDA Academic All-District® teams are divided into geographic districts across the United States and Canada.
Conner, who is a biological sciences major, has compiled a career-high 66 total tackles in 2019, which ranks second on the team. He has registered a career-high three tackles for loss, including half a sack. Conner has started all 10 games at strongside linebacker for the Bobcats so far this season.
• Air Canada is back for his senior season. Senior quarterback Nathan Rourke, a two-time All-MAC Second Team selection, has played in 36 games with 34 starts over the last three seasons with the Bobcats and owns a 21-13 record as a starting quarterback. The Bobcats have averaged a staggering 36.7 points per game with Rourke starting under center, which ranks behind only Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa (23 starts, 46.3 pgg), Clemson's Trevor Lawrence (21 starts, 45.4 pgg), UCF's McKenzie Milton (33 starts; 40.6 ppg), Oregon's Justin Herbert (37 starts; 38.2 ppg) and Utah State's Jordan Love (28 starts, 37.6 ppg) among Football Bowl Subdivision signal callers who have made a minimum of 20 starts.
• Rourke is ranked first in program history with a career passing efficiency rating of 142.9 AND 187.2 passing yards per game, second with 482 completions, 6,738 passing yards, and 53 career passing touchdowns, fourth with a career completion percentage of 58.2 percent (482-of-828) and tied for fifth with 14.0 career yards per completion. He has also tallied 46 career rushing touchdowns, which ranks as the second-most in program history. He has rushed for more touchdowns than any other quarterback in NCAA FBS over the last two-plus seasons and is four rushing touchdowns away from breaking the program record of 49 set by Kareem Wilson (49, 1995-98). His 2,485 rushing yards rank 10th in program history. Rourke has been responsible for a school-record 101 career touchdowns. He ranks third in program history with 48 career touchdowns scored and fifth with 288 career points scored. Two more touchdowns will give him the school record, passing Kalvin McRae (49, 2004-07) and Wilson. 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.
• Through 10 games in 2019, Rourke ranks ninth in the MAC in rushing yards (718) and tied for second in rushing touchdowns (10), both of which lead Ohio. He's ranked fifth in the league with 2,101 passing yards. His 2,819 yards of total offense rank second in the MAC while his 11 touchdowns scored are tied for third.
• Javon Hagan is back for his redshirt senior season as the starting free safety. Hagan has earned All-MAC recognition in each of the last three years, earning First Team honors twice (2016, '18) and Second Team recognition once (2017). A starter in 45 of the 49 career games he has played in, Hagan has compiled 308 career total tackles (184 solo, ninth-most in program history; 124 assisted), with 9.0 career tackles for loss, has accounted for 31 career passes defensed (ninth-most in program history), has tallied six career interceptions for 132 career interception return yards, has notched 25 career pass breakups (tied for eighth-most in program history) and has forced eight career fumbles with four career fumble recoveries. As a redshirt freshman in 2016, he was named to the Sound Mind Sound Body Freshman All-America Team by the Football Writers Association of America and earned MAC Freshman of the Year honors after picking off a career-high three passes and totaling 120 interception return yards and forcing a career-high six fumbles -- good for third in the country and first in the MAC -- with one fumble recovery.
• Through 10 games in 2019, Hagan has compiled a career-high 92 total tackles to lead the team (team-high 39 solo) with three tackles for loss, one sack and a team-high six pass breakups.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
• Louie Zervos is back for his redshirt senior season as placekicker. He ranks first in program history with 199 career extra points made and has made his last 107, second with 68 career field goals made and second with 403 career points scored. Zervos is seven points away from breaking the program's record for career points scored and moving into second place in MAC history. Those spots are currently held by Matt Weller (2009-12), who scored 409 career points. 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) and career punts (213). He also ranks third in program history in career punting yards (8,816).
• Redshirt senior Devin King returns as starting long and short snapper after earning the job as a walk-on a year ago. King was added to the Patrick Mannelly Long Snapper Award Watch List last month. The Patrick Mannelly Long Snapper Award celebrates the best long snappers in college football.
CROMER ERA BEGINS FOR OHIO ATHLETICS
• The season opener against Rhode Island marked the first official day of work for new Director of Athletics Julie Cromer.
Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis appointed Cromer to the position on Aug. 15. She joins the Bobcats as Ohio's first female athletics director in University history.
Cromer comes to Ohio University from the University of Arkansas, where she has served most recently as senior deputy athletics director, associate vice chancellor and senior woman administrator for Razorback Athletics. In addition to her executive role at Arkansas, Cromer is a respected leader within college athletics nationally. She currently serves on the NCAA Division I Board of Directors and is a member of the Board of Directors of Women Leaders in College Sports.
Prior to Arkansas, Cromer spent 10 years of her career in the NCAA national office, including as the director of academic and membership affairs, working to advance NCAA academic reform and other policy initiatives. She left the NCAA to join Indiana University as the executive associate athletics director, where she was one of the first women in the Big Ten to supervise all elements of a collegiate football program.
AYE AYE, CAPTAIN
• Redshirt senior safety Javon Hagan, redshirt senior offensive lineman Austen Pleasants, senior quarterback Nathan Rourke, redshirt junior wide receiver Cameron Odom and redshirt senior defensive lineman Will Evans will serve as Ohio's five team captains in 2019.
Hagan enters his third season serving as a team captain while Rourke is in his second. Evans, Odom and Pleasants are all serving as captains for the first time.
DEGREES IN HAND
• Ohio's roster features four players who have already earned their undergraduate degrees -- punter Michael Farkas (Communications Studies), free safety Javon Hagan (Sport Management), long snapper Devin King (Health Services Administration) and offensive lineman Austen Pleasants (Physical Activity and Sport Coaching).
STANDOUTS IN THE CLASSROOM
• The Bobcats return nine players who earned Academic All-MAC honors in 2018 -- linebacker Austin Clack, linebacker Dylan Conner, defensive lineman Austin Conrad, linebacker Jared Dorsa, cornerback Tariq Drake, offensive lineman Brett Kitrell, running back Jake Neatherton, linebacker Eric Popp and quarterback Nathan Rourke. Conner, Kitrell and Rourke all earned MAC Distinguished Scholar Athlete recognition.
SERIES HISTORY VS. BOWLING GREEN
Dating back to 1945, Ohio is 28-40-2 against Bowling Green, including 7-7 in the Frank Solich era. The Bobcats are 4-3 in games played at Doyt Perry Stadium against the Falcons under Solich. Ohio snapped a two-game losing skid in games played in Bowling Green by coming away with a 48-30 victory in its last visit to Doyt Perry Stadium on Oct. 14, 2017.
In last year's matchup with the Falcons, Ohio rolled to a 49-14 Homecoming win over Bowling Green on Oct. 20, 2018, at Peden Stadium. Then-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 in the victory. Then-junior defensive lineman Cole Baker tallied his first career forced fumble and then-redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Will Evans pounced on its for his first career fumble recovery. Bowling Green had possession of the ball just three times in the final 30 minutes of the ballgame.
SCOUTING BOWLING GREEN
• Scot Loeffler was named the 20th head coach in Bowling Green history on Nov. 28, 2018. Loeffler came to the Falcons following previous stints as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Temple (2011), Auburn (2012), Virginia Tech (2013-15) and Boston College (2016-18).
• The Falcons were predicted to finish sixth in the East Division in the MAC Media Preseason Poll. Bowling Green went 3-9 in 2018, including a 2-6 mark in conference play.
• Bowling Green enters Tuesday's game having lost three of its last four games, most recently sufering a 44-3 road loss to MAC East Division leader Miami on Nov. 13 in Oxford, Ohio.
• The Falcons currently own a 3-2 record in games played at Doyt Perry Stadium. In its last home game on Nov. 2, Bowling Green rolled to a 35-6 victory over MAC East Division rival Akron.
• Bowling Green ranks 10th in the MAC in total offense (322.4 yards per game) and 11th in scoring offense (16.1 points per game). The Falcons are ranked 10th in the league in total defense (441.1 yards allowed per game) and 11th in scoring defense (34.8 points allowed per game).
• Redshirt junior running back Bryson Denley has rushed for a team-high 463 yards and has scored three rushing touchdowns.
• Redshirt junior quarterback Grant Loy has started five of the 10 games he's played in for the Falcons in 2019, completing 92-of-167 passes for 882 yards, five touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He has also rushed for 402 yards and four touchdowns, with the latter tying him for the team lead with junior running back Andrew Clair.
• Junior wide receiver Quintin Morris has hauled in a team-high 48 receptions for a team-high 528 yards. He's also tied for the team lead with three touchdown catches with Denley.
• Defensively, redshirt senior linebacker Brandon Perce leads the Falcons with 93 total tackles, including a team-high 44 solo stops, and two interceptions. Redshirt senior defensive lineman David Konowalski has registered a team-high 9.5 tackles, ranks second on the squad with three sacks and has recovered a team-high two fumbles. Sophomore defensive lineman Karl Brooks has notched a team-high 4.5 sacks. Redshirt senior defensive back Jamari Bozeman leads Bowling Green with nine passes defensed, including eight pass breakups.
• Redshirt junior kicker Nate Needham has converted 5-of-9 field goal attempts with a long of 32 yards.
• Redshirt junior punter Matt Naranjo has punted 58 times for 2,347 yards (40.5 average), with 13 of his punts going for 50-plus yards, including a long of 72, and 20 punts ending up inside the opponent's 20-yard line.
BOBCATS IN THE NFL
As the NFL celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2019, the Bobcats are represented by three alumni in the league.
Cornerback T.J. Carrie (2010-13) is in his sixth year in the league and his second as a member of the Cleveland Browns. Outside linebacker Tarell Basham (2013-16) is in his third season in the NFL and his second as a member of the New York Jets. Linebacker Quentin Poling, who spent the 2018 season on the practice squad of the Miami Dolphins, was signed to the Oakland Raiders practice squad on Sept. 25 and was promoted to the active roster on Nov. 7.
Former quarterback Tyler Tettleton (2009-13) is beginning his first season as the offensive quality control coach for the Cleveland Browns in 2019.
Ohio will play its 2019 regular season finale on Tuesday, Nov. 26, when it visits InfoCision Stadium to take on MAC East Division rival Akron. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET., and the contest will be broadcast live on ESPN+.