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Offense struggles as Ohio falls to Bowling Green 21-10

Bobcats complete worse season in 18 years

BOWLING GREEN – Ohio could not get its offense in gear on a typically cold and windy day in northwest Ohio, ending its worst season in 18 years with a 21-10 loss to Bowling Green on Friday afternoon at Doyt L. Perry Stadium.

Th Bobcats (3-9, 3-5 Mid-American Conference) were held to just 223 yards, while the Falcons (4-8, 2-6 MAC) controlled the ball with long drives on offense and intercepted Kurtis Rourke three times on defense.

With the game tied at 10 at halftime, Bowling Green shut out Ohio in the second half and slowly put the game away with three field goals and a safety.

"I am proud of all our personnel," Ohio first-year head coach Tim Albin said. "The guys kept fighting. We just could not make enough plays offensively."

Bowling Green quarterback Matt McDonald navigated the winds to go 24-of-37 passing for 255 yards, while Rourke was just 12 of 24 for 103 yards and was sacked twice.

Ohio’s defense held multiple times to keep the game within reach until Nate Needham’s fourth field goal of the game, a 39-yarder with 1:19 remaining, made it a two-score game.

In addition to the three interceptions, another Bobcats mistake in the middle of the fourth quarter was just as bad as a turnover and set up the Falcons’ go-ahead score. Jonah Weiland bobbled a punt snap and was tackled in the backfield to give Bowling Green possession at Ohio’s 28-yard line, leading to a Needham 43-yard field goal to make it 13-10.

Early in the fourth quarter, McDonald threw incomplete on third-and-goal from the Ohio 1-yard line and then Nick Mosley was brought down in the backfield on fourth down, keeping the Bobcats down by only three. But after a false start moved Ohio half the distance to the goal, Armani Rogers was tackled in the end zone by Blaine Spires and Karl Brooks for a safety to make it 15-10 with 12:55 remaining.

Needham added a 40-yard field goal on the ensuing possession, extending the advantage to 18-10 with 7:03 to go.

A 25-yard completion from Rourke to Miles Cross moved the Bobcats across midfield, and a 7-yard completion to Cameron Odom resulted in another first down at the Bowling Green 31-yard line, but a holding penalty set the Bobcats back, and Rourke was picked off on fourth down by Trent Timms, who returned the ball 51 yards to the Ohio 28-yard line. That set up Needham’s final field goal.

Needham’s first field goal came on the game’s first possession from only 23 yards out.

Rogers scored the Bobcats’ only touchdown on a 1-yard run to start the second quarter, and after Ohio stuffed Mosley for a 1-yard loss when Bowling Green gambled on fourth-and-1 from its own 36-yard line, Stephen Johnson kicked a 22-yard field goal to extend the Bobcats’ lead to 10-3.

McDonald tied the game with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Austin Osbourne with 4:48 left in the half.

After Deshawn Jones Jr. intercepted Rourke, the Falcons had a chance to regain the lead before halftime, but Needham missed from 43 yards out, the only time he failed to convert in 21 attempts this season.

Osborne caught eight passes for 79 yards for the Falcons, while Cavon Croom made six grabs for 67 yards.

In his final game for the Bobcats, Ryan Luhrman led them in receiving with four catches for 42 yards.

Rourke led Ohio in rushing with 75 yards on nine carries, including one for 45 yards on a fourth-and-1 play that led to Rogers’ touchdown run. Tuggle ran nine times for 41 yards, but the Bobcats struggled to stay on the field with just 10 first downs and 52 plays, compared to 80 plays by the Falcons.

Ohio last finished below .500 overall and in the conference in the same year, 2008, when it was 4-8 and 3-5 in the MAC. The last time it posted a worse overall record was when it went 2-10 while coached by Brian Knorr.

"I felt like the football team gave us an opportunity in every ball game," Albin said. "Starting with me and this coaching staff, we've got to find a way to win the close games early."

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