Welcome Guest!
Create an Account
login email:
site searchwhere to watchcontact usabout usadvertise with ushelp
Ohio Football
   >> News Stories Archive
Maxwell sparks Ohio as it holds off Howard, 38-32

Bobcats win despite giving up 645 yards to Bison

Lonnie McMillan Photo
ATHENS – Quinton Maxwell provided just enough of a spark to help Ohio overcome a slow start and then hold on for a 38-32 victory against Howard in the season opener Saturday afternoon at Peden Stadium.

Maxwell went 17-of-25 passing for 233 yards and two touchdowns with two more rushing touchdowns after replacing a struggling Nathan Rourke, and the Bobcats erased an early 13-point deficit and then held off Caylin Newton and the Bison late.

Newton, the brother of NFL quarterback Cam Newton, was 26-of-52 passing for 439 yards and three touchdowns and added 21 carries for 93 yards and a score. The Bison racked up 645 yards of offense.

“Wins don't come easy,” Ohio coach Frank Solich said. “They’re a program that has shown they’re able to get some things done at a higher level. They have some good personnel. We did not play very well. I don't think we played especially well on either side of the ball. When you give up as many yards as we did, you don't win football games that way. We have a lot of work to do defensively, no question about it.”

DL Knock’s kickoff return for a touchdown to start the second half put Ohio in the lead for good, and Papi White had a huge game with eight catches for 154 yards and a touchdown.

All-Mid-American Conference quarterback Rourke led Ohio to just three points on three drives before being replaced by Maxwell, who began last season as the starter before Rourke burst onto the scene as an explosive dual threat.

"I think the coaches did a great job when I got in, getting me some early completions, kind of getting me settled in; offensive line did an incredible job,” Maxwell said. “Howard was stout up front. They played well up front and our guys handled it very, very well and we got guys on the outside like this making my job easy and running back, everyone did a great job. Making my life easy, all I had to do was come in and do was execute, manage the offense, and distribute the ball."

With Ohio trailing 16-3, Maxwell finally got the Bobcats going on his third series at quarterback, leading a touchdown drive that included completions of 24 yards to White, 24 yards to Cam Odom, 10 yards to White and then 11 yards to White for a score to make it 16-10.

Then when the Bison answered with a Newton 6-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Anthony to go back on top by two scores, 22-10, with 1:47 left in the half, Maxwell needed just over a minute of clock time to help Ohio answer, throwing a 13-yard scoring pass to Odom in the final minute of the half.

Knock put the Bobcats in front by beginning the second half by returning the kick 99 yards for a score. Despite not being known for his speed, once he got past the kicker, no one ran him down.

"I caught the ball, ran, bingo, blocked the one like he's supposed to,” Knock said. “Saw the kicker; he was right, went left. No one was there. Pretty simple. Dog it out. My 4.7 40."

Ohio’s struggling defense then came up with a big play with Eric Croutch picking off Newton at the Howard 33-yard line, eventually leading to a Maxwell 1-yard touchdown run to make it 31-22 just two minutes into the second half.

Newton and the Bison kept it interesting. He threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to Jequez Ezzard on a third-and-18 play to cut the deficit back to two, and two possessions after a Maxwell 10-yard touchdown run, Howard got within six on a 40-yard Dakota Lebofsky field goal with 7:46 to go.

The Bison had two possessions to try to take back the lead. They were stopped on downs at the Ohio 36 with 2:59 to go but got the ball back one more time with 1:56 still left and no timeouts. Howard moved to just shy of midfield but Ilyas Motley picked off Newton on a fourth-and-9 play with 12 seconds left.

Lonnie McMillan Photo
"We just have to do more,” Newton said. “I made some big mistakes when we needed it the most, so I feel like that I guess I made the game go the way it did. But I have to play better, you know, we've got talent.”

If not for a pair of fumbles in the first half, Ohio’s deficit might have been more. Newton connected for a 59-yard completion to Ezzard on Howard’s first play. Jalen Fox forced and recovered a fumble at the end of the play.

“I don't believe they knocked us all over the place and like I said, when we have turnovers like that in critical situations — first play of the game – turnover is a big pickup,” Howard coach Mike London said. “There are so many things that can cause you to lose, but I'm extremely proud of this team and there's a lot of heart, total grit, resilience and never-die attitude.”

A trick play set up a Howard score on its next possession, with Jason Collins throwing a 45-yard pass to Ezzard, leading to a 4-yard Newton rushing touchdown. Faraji Joseph kicked a 26-yard field goal to make it 10-0 with 5:06 left in the first quarter.

Collins had a 38-yard touchdown pass from Newton to push the Bison lead to 16-3 with 9:37 left in the half. They had a chance to add to that lead when Collins fumbled after making a 20-yard catch to the Ohio 28-yard line.

To that point, Ohio had little going on offense. It went three-and-out, and then on the next possession, Louis Zervos missed a 45-yard field goal try off the right upright. Ohio got on the board when Zervos connected on a 22-yard field goal, but it was a missed opportunity for a touchdown at the 5-yard line.

"The three series were not good series,” Solich said. “And we planned on playing Quinton in the game, not at the end, but early. We never give him series – we never say we'll give you three series and then another guy is coming in. I never do that. It's a matter of feel and trying to win the ball game. We gave Quinton a shot, and it seemed to be working."

Rourke was just 2-of-8 passing for 44 yards and ran five times for 16 yards.

Solich said it does not change things going forward.

“It is what it is, fellas,” he said. “I'm not going to make this into a big quarterback controversy. Nathan's won a ton of games for us. I think he was present today and he'll be the quarterback he is. Quinton had an excellent day today. We still have two quarterbacks that can help us win."

Ezzard had a huge day by making eight catches for 223 yards, while Anthony had nine receptions for 223 yards.

Ohio never got its running attack going. A.J. Auellette had 59 yards on 17 carries, while Maleek Irons carried nine times for 52 yards.

Playing without starting cornerback Jamal Hudson and All-MAC safety Javon Hagan, the Bobcats gave up 484 passing yards.

“Those two guys with their experience and talent level, it made a difference,” Solich said. “It is what it is, but they still got way too many yards in the air. So we missed them, no question. We gave our young guys time to get playing time. Some of it was hard on them. Some of them I thought played really well in the last couple drives, but they made some great defensive plays.”

The Bobcats have extra time to try to make corrections with a bye week coming before facing Virginia at 3 p.m. Sept. 15 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Additional Coverage:
Photos  (BobcatAttack.com)
Box score  (Ohio Bobcats.com)

Copyright ©2021 BobcatAttack.com. All rights reserved.  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Use
Partner of USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties