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Ouellette, defense carry Bobcats to shutout win

Bobcats pick up 2nd straight bowl victory

FRISCO, Texas – A.J. Ouellette finished his career in grand fashion, and the Ohio defense was stout as the Bobcats rolled past San Diego State 27-0 on Wednesday night in the Frisco Bowl at Toyota Stadium.

Ouellette ran the ball 29 times for 164 yards and caught two passes for 33 yards against one of the nation's top-rated defenses. Nathan Rourke accounted for three touchdowns while the defense limited the Atztecs to 287 total yards of offense.

"The way the team finished the season is a tribute to our coaches," Ouellette said. "We have a hard-nosed head coach and it showed late in the season wearing other teams down. You can tell their bodies weren't used to the all the pounding from the season, but for us to go out this way is a tribute to our seniors."

Ohio (9-4) set the tone early, getting a pair of stops and defense and following with points on offense. Louis Zervos kicked a 30-yard field goal with 2:20 left in the first quarter, and Rourke scored on a 9-yard touchdown run with 7:57 left in the second quarter.

While the first two drives were long, the Bobcats were quick when they had to be. Taking over with just over a minute left in the half, Ohio was able to extend its lead to 17-0 before halftime with a Rourke 11-yard touchdown run with seven seconds left.

Zervos added a 26-yard field goal to start the second half, and Rourke threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Meyer in the fourth quarter on a flea-flicker toss back from Ouellette.

San Diego State (7-6) had opportunities to score in the second half. Sam McKnight recovered a third-down fumble at the Ohio 16 in the third quarter after the Aztecs crossed midfield for the first time in the game.

Then in the fourth quarter, San Diego State had a drive end on downs at the Ohio 17 and later got picked off at the goal line on the final play of the game.

"We've preparing for what it seems like a long time for this game and to come out come out and shut out a team like San Diego State it feels great," Ohio linebacker Croutch said.

Juwan Washington led the Atzecs with 129 yards rushing on 19 carries, but quarterback Ryan Agnew was just 11 of 24 for 126 yards.

Rourke was not much more accurate on a rainy night, going 10 of 22, but he made them count by throwing for 206 yards. Papi White had four catches for 90 yards in his final game, while Meyer’s two catches were good for 60 yards.

Croutch made 11 tackles, including 2.5 for loss with 1.5 of those sacks.

Both teams committed two turnovers, with one fumble lost and one interception.

It was the second straight year the Bobcats rolled to a victory in a bowl game after thumping UAB 41-6 last year in the Bahamas Bowl.

"I'm really proud of the guys," Solich said. "They have been special right from the start. We look back and look at spring ball and fall camp, you look at summer condition and what they went through and it's special. I've been around really good athletes, dedicated athletes, but as a group of athletes, this is about as good as it gets. Not only as what they put out on the field, but the offseason character, they way they do things in terms of leadership. It's a really special group and it's tough to see these guys go. We do have a structured group coming back that will also be really good for our program."

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