BOWLING GREEN, Ohio -- It was one for the record books tonight at Doyt Perry Stadium as 15th-year head coach Frank Solich became the winningest head coach in the history of the Mid-American Conference courtesy of the Ohio football team (5-6, 4-3 MAC) dominating East Division rival Bowling Green (3-8, 2-5 MAC), 66-24.
Solich picked up his 111th victory to surpass former Central Michigan head coach Herb Deromedi (110 wins; 1978-93) as the conference's wins leader.
"It seemed like it stalled itself out a little bit for awhile, but we're interested in winning football games, and this record goes with it," said Solich. "I feel really good about it, but a lot of people were involved in this. A lot of great players over the years that have come through Ohio that have set the tradition to where we were able to recruit well and win football games. There have been tremendous athletes and tremendous coaches. If you have that combination, you're going to have a few wins. A lot of people have been involved in winning some football games, so I appreciate everything that people have been done during my time at Ohio. I will say this, it is as good as I could ever hope for in a coaching business in terms of those 15 years and how it all worked."
The Bobcats' 66 points tied for the seventh-most in a single game in program history and marked the first time Ohio has scored at least 60 points in a game since putting up 63 in a 63-15 win over Northern Illinois in 1976. Ohio set a season high 609 total yards, including a season-high 342 yards on the ground. The Bobcats scored nine total touchdowns, with six coming via the running game.
Redshirt freshman running back O'Shaan Allison (Norristown, Pa.) put together a career high, rushing for a career-high 175 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries. Junior running back De'Montre Tuggle (Channelview, Texas) carried the ball once and took it for 53 yards and a touchdown. Redshirt junior running back Ja'Vahri Portis (Cincinnati, Ohio) gained 36 yards and scored a touchdown on five carries.
"I haven't had one of these type of nights in a while, so it felt really good," said Allison. "I just felt confident out there. Their defense was aggressively slanting, the backside was open a lot of times and the line just played lights out today."
Senior quarterback Nathan Rourke (Oakville, Ontario, Canada) completed 14 of his 21 passing attempts for 267 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran the ball eight times for 25 yards and a score. Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Isiah Cox (Jasper, Ala.) caught four passes for 83 yards and a touchdown. Redshirt freshman wide receiver Shane Hooks (Orlando, Fla.) hauled in three catches for 79 yards. Redshirt freshman wide receiver Jerome Buckner tallied two receptions for 54 yards and a touchdown. Redshirt sophomore running back Julian Ross (Kansas City, Mo.) caught his first career receiving touchdown for 22 yards.
"It was fun," said Rourke. "I enjoy winning, and I know this program does as well. I'm really happy to be able to be a part of things that Coach Solich has accomplished and the milestone he hit today."
Solich wasn't the only one setting records Tuesday night. Redshirt senior placekicker Louie Zervos (Tarpon Springs, Fla.) made a 33-yard field goal and converted all nine of his extra points, giving him 415 points for his career and setting the new program record. The mark was previously held by former placekicker Matt Weller (2009-12), who scored 409 career points.
After surrendering 24 points in the first half, Ohio's defense shut out Bowling Green over the final two quarters. The Bobcats came away with a season-high five takeaways, including four fumble recoveries, after managing just six over the previous 10 games. Redshirt senior safety Javon Hagan (Jacksonville, Fla.), redshirt senior defensive end Sam McKnight (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) and junior cornerback Marlin Brooks (Miami, Fla.) all forced fumbles, with Brooks recovering his. Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Marcus Coleman (Upper Marlboro, Md.), redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Kai Caesar (Cache, Okla.) and redshirt freshman linebacker Jack McCrory (Springfield, Ohio) all recovered fumbles as well. Redshirt freshman cornerback John Gregory (Indian Land, S.C.) came up with up his first career interception late in the fourth quarter.
Bowling Green landed the game's first punch, marching 84 yards in 14 plays on the game's opening drive, with redshirt junior quarterback Grant Loy capping it off with a 26-yard touchdown pass to junior tight end Quintin Morris.
Ohio answered back quickly, however, as Rourke threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Cox on the team's second play from scrimmage.
The Falcons retook the lead on their second drive of the contest, scoring in six plays on a march that covered 80 yards. Loy completed a 44-yard pass to redshirt freshman wide receiver Julian Ortega-Jones, and redshirt senior running back Davon Jones scored on a run from six yards out on a drive in which he accounted for 31 yards on the ground.
The Bobcats scored in two plays once again on their second drive, with Allison running it in from a career-long 54 yards out to tie the game once again.
Ohio got the ball back when Hagan forced a fumble by Jones on the first play of the ensuing drive for Bowling Green, with Coleman there to recover for the Bobcats at the Falcons' 18-yard line. The Bobcats broke the tie when Zervos knocked down a 33-yard field goal to put Ohio in front, 17-14.
Ohio's defense forced another fumble on the third play of Bowling Green's next drive, with Brooks both forcing and recovering a fumble on a 13-yard run by senior wide receiver RB Marlow. On Ohio's first play of its next drive, Rourke connected with Buckner for a 45-yard touchdown, extending the Bobcats' lead to 24-14 with just over two minutes to play in the first quarter.
Bowling Green cut Ohio's lead to three points on the first drive of the second quarter, ending a seven-play, 68-yard march with a 21-yard touchdown run by redshirt junior running back Bryson Denley.
The Bobcats responded with a 13-play, 73-yard drive that ended with Allison running for a seven-yard touchdown, giving Ohio a 10-point lead with
Ohio added another touchdown with 1:16 left in the half, as Rourke capped off a five-play, 67-yard drive with an eight-yard touchdown run, help the Bobcats push their lead to 38-21.
Bowling Green made it a 38-24 ballgame going into halftime when Lawler made a 38-yard field goal with two seconds left, capping a nine-play, 66-yard drive by the Falcons.
It was all Ohio in the final 30 minutes, though, as the Bobcats produced a 28-0 second half. The Bobcats picked up right where they left off in the first half when Allison scored a 53-yard rushing touchdown on the third play of the third quarter. Ross caught a 22-yard touchdown pass from Rourke with just over four minutes left in the third quarter, Tuggle rumbled for a 53-yard score just under two minutes later and Portis scored from 11 yards out with 2:03 remaining in the third to help the Bobcats register their final points of the evening.
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+.