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Bobcats run for 300-plus yards again in blowout of Golden Flashes

Ohio defense also dominates

ATHENS – Ohio scored four touchdowns in six minutes in the third quarter on its way to a 48-3 blowout of Kent State on Saturday at Peden Stadium.

The Bobcats (6-2, 3-1 Mid-American Conference) piled up 336 rushing yards while limiting the Golden Flashes’ struggling offense to only 166 yards total, including just 64 passing yards.

Still, Kent State (2-6, 1-3 MAC) was hanging tough into the second half after trailing 13-3 at halftime. Dorian Brown’s 39-yard touchdown run at the 7:59 mark began Ohio’s third-quarter onslaught and came two plays after a roughing the kicker penalty extended the Bobcats’ drive after punting.

By forcing a three-and-out, Ohio got possession across midfield on its next possession, and on the second play, A.J. Ouellette broke a 37-yard touchdown run. A 49-yard completion from Nathan Rourke to Papi White set up a Rourke 6-yard touchdown pass to Mason Morgan at the 4:09 mark in the third quarter, and a Chad Moore interception led to another Morgan touchdown catch, a 4-yarder with 1:49 still showing on the clock, bringing the score to 41-3.

The Bobcats added a touchdown late in the game on a 12-yard run by Dylan Wears.

"I think that we've shown that we are a really good second-half team," Rourke said. "Going into this game, we knew that they were going to have a game plan specifically for us, that's what they've been doing every week and we've had a game plan for every team that we've played. We just had to go out and figure out what that was in the first half and first quarter. The second half we went out and did the exact same thing and so we knew where we were going and we just executed a little bit better. That's how we got into a rhythm, and that's how we were able to pull this out."

Brown led Ohio with 108 yards and 13 carries, while Ouellette had 91 yards on 11 attempts. David Burroughs, who had a 60-yard run to set up the game’s final score, had 69 yards on four carries, while Rourke finished with 10 attempts for 59 yards.

It took the Bobcats some time to get going, however. Ouellette fumbled, and Juantez McRae recovered near midfield to start the game. Ohio’s defense held and forced a punt, but after a quick Bobcats punt, a 36-yard Wil Matthews completion from George Bollas led to a 33-yard Shane Hynes field goal to make it 3-0 at the 6:40 mark in the first quarter.

Early in the second quarter, Ohio evened the score with a Louie Zervos 34-yard field goal, and Kylan Nelson’s recovery of Justin Rankins’ fumble forced by Moore set up a Rourke 6-yard touchdown run that put the Bobcats in front, 10-3, with 8:15 left in the half.

Zervos added a 43-yard field goal in the final minute of the second quarter.

"As I think back after each of our games I felt really comfortable and proud of our football team in terms of effort and in terms of toughness," Solich said. "That, to me, means an awful lot. You're not going to have those kinds of teams, maybe every year, but if you don't then you don't have much of a shot. We go out with that in mind and those guys respond to that very well."

Rourke was 8-of-17 passing for 132 yards and two touchdowns. In his first game back from injury, White had two catches for 82 yards. While White was back, fellow receiver Brendan Cope sat out with an injury.

Bollas was just 6-of-14 passing for 61 yards – 36 of which came on the first-quarter screen pass to Matthews. Rankin ran seven times for 47 yards, and Bollas carried 11 times for 31 yards.

The victory made Ohio bowl eligible with at least six wins for the ninth straight season.

"There wasn't anybody that talked about becoming bowl eligible with this win," Ohio coach Frank Solich said. "I think this is a great step for our program. We don't even consider that, and they're thinking about other things, which I think is great."

With Akron’s loss to Toledo on Saturday, the Zips and Bobcats are tied atop the MAC East standings. Miami is 2-2, while the other three teams in the division all are 1-3.

Ohio begins midweek MACtion when it hosts Miami at 8 p.m. Halloween night at Peden Stadium.

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