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Ohio blows out Hampton, 59-0, in season opener

Bobcats post biggest win in 80 years

Lonnie McMillan Photo
ATHENS – Ohio opened the 2017 season with one of its most dominant performances in history, blowing out Hampton, 59-0, on Saturday at Peden Stadium.

The Bobcats scored their most points in a game since they put 63 on the board against Northern Illinois in 1976 and had their biggest margin of victory since an 80-0 win against Rio Grande in 1937.

Ohio took advantage of short fields all night because Hampton’s offense was unable to move the ball, finishing with just 108 yards of offense. The Bobcats finished with 420 yards.

“At first the yards were tough to come by, but our offense was able to keep itself on the field by making first downs,” Ohio coach Solich said. “I think it was a wear-down effect. That's the way it usually is if you have a very good running game and the plays get a little bit better in the third and fourth quarter. I was pleased with the running game and our linemen.”

Backup quarterback Nathan Rourke scored three rushing touchdowns, and third-string true freshman running back Julian Ross had a pair of touchdowns.

Despite the dominant effort throughout, it took Ohio most of the first half before it began to show on the scoreboard. The Bobcats went up 7-0 on a Papi White 16-yard touchdown catch from Quinten Maxwell early in the first quarter, but that remained the margin until less than seven minutes were left in the half.

Nathan Rourke finally pushed the lead to 13-0 with an 8-yard touchdown run. The extra point failed because of a bobbled snap. Ohio took advantage of a short field to go up 20-0 before the break. Hampton was stopped inside the 10-yard line on the kickoff, went three-and-out and got only a 23-yard punt. Ross, a freshman, then scored his first touchdown on a 1-yard run.

With full control of the momentum, Ohio continued to pile it on in the second half. Another short field led to a 10-yard Dorian Brown touchdown run, and the Pirates followed on their ensuing possession by snapping the ball over the punter’s head for a safety to move the score to 29-0.

Ross scored on a 2-yard run, and after Evan Croutch’s sack forced a fumble recovered by Chuwud Chukwu, Rourke scored on a 13-yard run. Louie Zervos’ 38-yard field goal made it 46-0 before the end of the third quarter.

Lonnie McMillan Photo
Rourke scored on a 21-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. Then when Hampton finally forced an Ohio punt, the ball touched Ronald Bell before Jake Hall recovered, and on the next play, walk-on running back Dylan Wears scored from 9 yards out.

"It was kind of a blur, and I tried to enjoy it as much as I can,” Rourke said. “It was great, you know. If you asked me what I imagined my output from this game I probably wouldn't have said three touchdowns on the ground, but it was great. Just, again, to get a team win like that and to have a starting point for the season and really gained a little bit of confidence."

A.J. Ouellette finished as Ohio’s leading rusher with 63 yards on 12 carries, while Brown had 10 carries for 49 yards. Rourke had 50 yards on just six carries and was 6-of-10 passing for 72 yards, while starter Quinten Maxwell was 6-of-10 passing for 72 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Playing in his first game, redshirt freshman Cameron Odom was the top receiving target with 75 yards on four catches. White had three receptions for 35 yards.

Nearly half of Hampton’s yards came on two plays. Wesley Wolfork made a 27-yard catch and finished with three grabs for 38 yards. Chase Powell had a 21-yard run late in the game and finished with four carries for 40 yards.

"We were very good against the run last year, and at least through this game we were very good again at stopping runs,” Solich said. “We are going to face teams that have stronger running backs and obviously we'll find out more as we go down the road."

Hampton quarterbacks Delmon Williams and Brendan Greene combined to go 6-of-24 passing for 61 yards.

Croutch finished with two sacks. Quentin Poling and Austin Conrad each had six tackles. Ohio had 10 tackles for loss.

Ohio faces Purdue at 8 p.m. Friday at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Indiana. The game will be shown on Fox Sports 1.

Additional Coverage:
Photos  (BobcatAttack.com)
Boxscore  (Ohio Bobcats.com)

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