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Bobcats get Solich MAC coach record win in style

Ohio racks up 609 yards in 66-24 blowout of Falcons

BOWLING GREEN – Frank Solich became the all-time Mid-American Conference leader in coaching wins in style. Ohio blasted Bowling Green 66-24 to give Solich his 111th career victory with the Bobcats on Tuesday night at Doyt Perry Stadium.

Solich had been tied with former Central Michigan coach Herb Deromedi with 110 wins.

“It seemed like it stalled itself out a little bit for a while, but we're interested in winning football games, and this record goes with it,” Solich said. “I feel really good about it, but a lot of people were involved in this. A lot of great players over the years that have come through Ohio that have set the tradition to where we were able to recruit well and win football games. There have been tremendous athletes and tremendous coaches. If you have that combination, you're going to have a few wins.”

It was the most points Ohio (5-6, 4-3 MAC) has scored in a game since 1953 when it scored 67 points against Western Michigan. The Bobcats also racked up a season-high 609 yards, mostly in the first three quarters before the backups came in and play calling became ultra conservative.

Nathan Rourke was 14 of 21 passing for 267 yards and three touchdowns, and O’Shaan Allison had a career day with 12 carries for 175 yards and three touchdowns.

But it was not until a 28-0 fourth quarter that the defense settled in and did its part to put the Falcons (3-8, 2-5 MAC) away.

Leading 38-24, Ohio began the second half with a quick strike with an Allison 53-yard rushing touchdown less than a minute into the quarter.

Ohio’s next possession ended with Rourke fumbling on a bad option pitch as he was hit by a defender, but the Bobcats forced a punt quickly and went 99 yards. Shane Hooks made a one-handed grab for a 38-yard completion to help set up a Julian Ross 22-yard touchdown catch, making it 52-24 with 4:33 left in the quarter.

After another Bowling Green punt, De’Montre Tuggle broke off a 53-yard run for a touchdown. On Bowling Green’s first play, quarterback Grant Loy was sacked by Sam McKnight and lost the football, which was recovered by Kai Ceasar. Two plays later, Ja’Vahri Portis scored on an 11-yard run to make it 66-24 with 2:03 remaining in the third quarter.

"It was fun," Rouek said. "I enjoy winning, and I know this program does as well. I'm really happy to be able to be a part of things that Coach Solich has accomplished and the milestone he hit today."

Early on, the game looked to be a shootout, with neither team getting many stops.

Bowling Green took the lead on a long drive that culminated with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Loy to Quintin Morris on a fourth-and-6 play. Ohio answered back quickly with Isiah Cox getting wide open for a 55-yard touchdown catch from Rourke.

The Falcons regained the lead, 14-7, on Davon Jones’ 6-yard touchdown run, but Allison answered only two plays later with a 54-yard touchdown run.

Jones fumbled on Bowling Green’s next possession, with Marcus Coleman recovering to give Ohio field position at the Bowling Green 18. The Bobcats settled for a Louis Zervos 33-yard field goal to take a 17-14 lead.

Bowling Green was not so fortunate after another fumble. Marlin Brooks forced and recovered it, and on the next play, Rourke connected with Jerome Buckner for a 45-yard touchdown pass to make it 24-14 late in the first quarter.

Bryson Denley scored on a 21-yard run to get the Falcons back to within 24-21 early in the third quarter, but the Bobcats capped a long drive with an Allison 7-yard touchdown run to go back in front by 10, 31-21. Rourke scored on an 8-yard run with 1:16 left in the half, and Bowling Green managed a Mason Lawler 38-yard field goal just before halftime to make it 38-24.

Loy was 21 of 32 passing for 250 yards, while Jones had 16 carries for 95 yards for Bowling Green. Morris had six catches for 86 yards, and Julian Ortega-Jones caught three passes for 90 yards.

Cox led Ohio’s receivers with four receptions and 83 yards, while Hooks made three catches for 79 yards.

The Bobcats amassed 342 yards rushing for an average of 8.6 yards per carry, although Rourke ran eight times for just 25 yards.

True freshman Kurtus Rourke and redshirt freshman Joe Mischler both had opportunities at quarterback late in the game.

After leading the nation in turnovers forced last year, the Bobcats had struggled this year but forced five of them – including four fumbles – on Tuesday.

“A lot of people have been involved in winning some football games, so I appreciate everything that people have been done during my time at Ohio,” Solich said. “I will say this, it is as good as I could ever hope for in a coaching business in terms of those 15 years and how it all worked."

Ohio will try to gain bowl eligibility when it closes out the regular season against winless Akron at 6 p.m. Tuesday at InfoCision Stadium.

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