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Central Michigan holds off Ohio 30-27

Penalty kills late drive by the Bobcats

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – Central Michigan’s defense held late and the Chippewas open the season with a 30-27 victory against Ohio on Tuesday night at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

Jarren Hampton's tackle for no game on fourth-and-1 gave the Bobcats possession with 2:10 remaining at their own 33-yard line, and Ohio moved inside the Central Michigan 30-yard line. A questionable holding penalty, though, negated a Kurtis Rourke run inside the 15. On fourth down, Troy Brown broke up a pass intended for Ryan Luerman to lock up the win for Central Michigan.

"I'm hoping that the mistakes that were made were correctable mistakes," Ohio coach Frank Solich said. "And I believe that will be true."

Ohio took the lead 27-20 at the start of the second half on De’montre Tuggule’s 93-yard kickoff return, but a pair of third-quarter fumbles helped the Chippewas move back in front. Tuggle fumbled on a rush attempt, and that set up Kobe Lewis’ 8-yard rushing touchdown to make it 27-27.

Later in the third quarter, Rourke fumbled after Ohio had moved across midfield, and then on their next possession, the Bobcats offense stalled and freshman kicker Tristan Vandenburg missed badly on a 45-yard field goal try.

Ohio’s defense got a stop near the goal line on Central Michigan’s ensuing possession, but a a 22-yard field goal from Marshall Meeder put the Chippewas ahead 30-27 with 9:05 remaining. The Bobcats were three-and-out on two possessions, but the defense gave the offense one final chance that came up short.

Central Michigan opened the game with a long touchdown drive capped by a Daniel Richardson 1-yard run. Rourke answered by throwing a 21-yard touchdown pass to Shane Hooks, but the Chippewas came back quickly with Richardson throwing a 50-yard touchdown pass to Kalil Pimpleton.

Rourke threw a 58-yard touchdown pass to Isiah Cox, but the extra point was wide, leaving Ohio down a point 14-13. Lewis’ 2-yard touchdown run extended the Central Michigan lead, but its extra point also was missed.

Transfer quarterback Armani Rogers led Ohio on a rushing-heavy drive as halftime approached when the lights in the stadium went out. The teams took an early break as the issue was worked out, and when they returned, Tuggle capped the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run.

In his first career start, redshirt freshman Rourke was 12 of 19 passing for 231 yards, completing four passes to Cox for 102 yards. Rogers also saw time at quarterback and ran seven times for 37 yards but was just 1 of 3 passing for 4 yards. Tuggle had 16 carries for 79 yards.

Richardson, also a redshirt freshman, was 23 of 41 passing for 243 yards. Pimpleton had five catches for 65 yards, while Lewis went for 112 yards on 28 carries on the ground.

Central Michigan finished with five sacks, including three by Troy Hairston.

The Bobcats host Akron at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Peden Stadium on CBS Sports Network.

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