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Bobcats blow out Falcons, 49-14, in homecoming game

Rourke contributes to 5 TDs, White scores 3

Lonnie McMillan Photo
ATHENS – Ohio had its most dominant effort of the season, scoring the final 35 points in a 49-14 homecoming blowout of Bowling Green on Saturday at Peden Stadium.

With the score tied at 14 early in the second quarter, Ohio reached the end zone three times before the break to take a commanding lead and continued to roll in the second half, shutting out Bowling Green for the final 43 minutes.

Papi White scored Ohio’s first three touchdowns, and he got plenty of help as the Bobcats (4-3, 2-1 Mid-American Conference) racked up 597 yards of offense and 32 first downs while the defense had its best outing by limiting the Falcons (1-7, 0-4 MAC) to 314 yards.

"I think our guys played very well today,” Ohio coach Frank Solich said. “It might have been the first four-quarter ball game we played at this level. That was really good to see. I thought all three units did some excellent things. Offense, defense and special teams, as you go through it, all they played a complete ball game.”

White’s two touchdown catches totaled 92 yards and he scored on a 17-yard run. Nathan Rourke continued his efficient play, completing 8 of 12 passes for 193 yards and four touchdowns while also rushing 10 times for 101 yards and a touchdown.

Ohio’s improving defense was shaky early, giving up a 57-yard touchdown pass from Jarret Doege to Nate Needham on the game’s first possession and a 7-yard touchdown run to RB Marlow III early in the second quarter, but it was all Bobcats after that.

On the first play after Bowling Green’s game-tying touchdown, Rourke completed a 76-yard pass to White to give Ohio the lead for good, 21-14. Eric Croutch’s interception led to a Rourke 24-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Meyer.

"We've been waiting for a complete game all year and finally being able to do that, that's how our defense should be and that's how it is every week and we need to bring that. It did feel a lot better,” Croutch said.

Then Ohio’s defense forced a punt, but White muffed the catch, and Bowling Green’s Robert Jackson recovered. Will Evans made up for the mistake by recovering a Falcons fumble, with that leading to a Rourke 20-yard touchdown run late in the first half, making it 35-14.

Rourke threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Odom in the third quarter, and with the game well in hand, Quinton Maxwell took over at quarterback in the fourth quarter. He scored on a 5-yard run with 9:20 remaining for the game’s final score. Maxwell had a second touchdown run negated by a penalty, and Ohio ended up running out the clock after reaching the Bowling Green 3-yard-line.

The Bobcats’ offense was virtually unstoppable from the beginning. White’s touchdown on a reverse tied the game at 7, and he caught a 16-yard touchdown pass on the next possession to give Ohio a 14-7 lead.

"We'll have to continue to go to (White),” Solich said. “He's that kind of a player and he accepts that responsibility. The great thing about him is that he had two throws and nine total catches and that's not a lot for him being a really talented player. The best part is his attitude and demeanor, it's great. He's a great team player. His catches today were big and explosive and it shows what he's all about.”

After struggling to run the ball against Northern Illinois, Ohio was dominant in that facet Saturday, gaining 392 yards on 50 attempts. Bowling Green had just 100 yards rushing on 26 carries.

“When the runs are going well, it's easier to pass and when the passes are going well, sometimes it opens up a run,” Rourke said. “We kind of went into this game knowing we needed to establish the run early. It was something that teams had done well against Bowling Green and we knew it was a great game to get our run game back, believe in it and what that did was set up some run action stuff and some big plays in the passing game as well."

Dodge went 19 of 24 passing for Bowling Green for 214 yards.

Lonnie McMillan Photo
The Falcons were playing their first game since the firing of coach Mike Jinks at the start of this week.

"I really felt like we had a good week of practice,” Bowling Green interim coach Carl Pelini said. “It was an emotional week for everyone. We looked a little flat today. But that's on me to get them ready to play. I felt the energy all week, I thought we had a good week of preparation, but we weren't ready. We didn't put our best performance out there today. I apologize to all the Bowling Green fans for not having my team ready."

Ohio has a quick turnaround, hosting Ball State at 7 p.m. Thursday at Peden Stadium.

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

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