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Ohio forces 4 turnovers, get first win over BG in 5 years

Bobcats win 3rd straight game

ATHENS – Ohio forced four turnovers, built a 20-point lead and held on to beat Bowling Green for the first time in five years, getting a 30-24 homecoming victory Saturday at Peden Stadium.

“It is a good win to get under our belt,” Ohio safety Toran Davis said. “we have definitely been embarrassed by them the past four years. It is a good feeling to come out on top, especially on homecoming.”

Redshirt freshman Javon Hagan had his second interception and forced his fourth fumble this year as the Bobcats took a 30-10 lead in the third quarter.

“First off I feel like we have the best D-line in the MAC,” Hagan said. “Second off, our secondary has a lot of talent and I feel like the press thinks that since we are young we cannot make plays. So every week we go in to it with a chip on our shoulder, we feel like we have to make a play since they do not think we can. I think it is overblown, but they should keep doing it.”

Maleek Irons had 64 yards on 10 carries before exiting with an injury early in the third quarter, leaving Bo Hardy as the Bobcats’ only healthy running back. He gained 83 yards on 16 carries.

Ohio’s defense stepped up to hold Bowling Green to a 19-yard Jake Suder field goal after Brandon Harris intercepted Greg Windham and returned it inside the 10-yard line early in the second half.

The Bobcats (4-2, 2-0 Mid-American Conference) bounced back on offense, converting a third-and-10 with an 18-yard run by Hardy and then scoring on the next play on a Windham 5-yard run to make it 30-10.

Bowling Green (1-5, 0-2 MAC) cashed in on its next possession, getting a 13-yard touchdown pass from James Morgan to Teo Redding on fourth-and-8. With a chance to further cut into its deficit, Bowling Green was unable to convert a fourth-and-2 from the Ohio 4-yard line when Morgan’s pass for Redding was incomplete.

London Miller’s interception then gave the Bobcats a chance to put away the Falcons but they were stopped for no gain on third-and-1 and then Louie Zervos missed a 38-yard field goal try wide left with 5:05 remaining.

On fourth-and-27 on Bowling Green’s ensuing drive, Morgan lofted a ball into a group of players in the end zone. The ball was deflected forward, where it was caught by Scott Miller, who was able to fall forward into the end zone, drawing the Falcons to within six with 1:24 to go.

Jordan Reid recovered the onside kick, and Ohio ran out the clock.

“In my opinion, we let off the gas a little bit,” Windham said. “We got comfortable and we have to work on that next game. I know our offense can score on every possession we have. We have to have a mindset that we have to score on every possession and if we do get a big lead we have to continue to add points. Today, I felt we got a little comfortable, but we will get better with that and it won’t happen again.”

Hagan’s forced fumble led to the first points of the game. After Randy Stites recovered at the Ohio 44, the Bobcats managed a 45-yard Zervos field goal to make it 3-0 with 5:38 to go in the first quarter. Chad Moore’s interception later in the first led to a 17-yard touchdown run by Irons early in the second.

Bowling Green got the points back quickly, scoring on an 8-yard Fred Coppet run to bring the score to 10-7 with 12:01 left in the first half.

Hagan’s interception then led to a 15-yard touchdown pass from Windham to Sebastian Smith, and the Bobcats added a 2-yard touchdown run by Irons before halftime to take a 23-7 advantage.

Windham had an efficient game passing, going 20 of 27 for 190 yards and a touchdown. He also added 43 yards on nine rushing attempts. Smith had 72 yards on five catches, Jordan Reid made four receptions for 54 yards, and Mangen had 41 yards on four catches.

Ohio added four more sacks on defense, including 1.5 each from Quentin Poling and Tarell Basham, who now has 6.5 on the season. Blair Brown and Hagan each made nine tackles, and Poling finished with eight.

Morgan was 22-of-38 passing for 253 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Miller and Redding both had six catches for 56 and 54 yards, respectively, and Coppet led the Falcons in rushing with 66 yards on 19 attempts.

Ohio’s Michael Farkas had a 74-yard punt that was downed at the 2-year line, had another punt downed at the 1 and forced a fair catch on another at the 6.

The Bobcats host Eastern Michigan at 2 p.m. Saturday at Peden Stadium.

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