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Bobcats win 5th straight game with Battle of Bricks win

Ohio takes down Miami 37-21 in Oxford

OXFORD – Kurtis Rourke and Ohio continued to roll with a 37-21 victory against Miami on Tuesday night at Yager Stadium.

Rourke completed 25-of-35 passes for 363 yards and three touchdowns, and Sieh Bangura returned to action with 20 carries for 145 yards and a touchdown as the Bobcats won their fifth straight game.

Miles Cross had a career game receiving with six receptions for 133 yards, and Jacoby Jones caught a pair of touchdown passes.

Ohio won the Battle of the Bricks for the second straight year and for the 13th time in the last 16 meetings.

"This was a great team win," Ohio coach Tim Albin. "This team has been really resilient all year. It's a challenge to go into the game and have great growth after spending the day in the hotel, but they responded."

After a slow offensive start, the Bobcats (7-3, 5-1 Mid-American Conference) put up 27 points in the second half to put away the RedHawks. Ohio got a 25-yard Nathanial Vakos field goal to end the first half with a 10-7 lead and scored on a long drive to start the third quarter when Rourke completed a 13-yard pass to Bangura.

Brett Gabbert’s second of three touchdown passes to Mac Hippenhammer cut Miami’s deficit to 17-14, but it took only a few plays for Ohio to go back up by two scores. Cross caught a 22-yard pass before Jones made a defender miss and then scored on a 48-yard reception.

The RedHawks’ next possession ended a yard short on a fourth down, and the Bobcats got separation on their next drive. Cross landed hard on his back on a 29-yard catch that converted a third down and did not return, but Ohio finished the drive with Jones making an impressive grab of a 10-yard touchdown pass with 11:18 left to make it 31-14.

Hippenhammer’s 11-yard touchdown reception with 8:39 left kept Miami (4-6, 2-4 MAC) alive, down by 10 points, but Ohio’s second half rushing attack could not be stopped. With the RedHawks crowding the box, Bangura broke through for a 64-yard gain that led to a Vakos 25-yard field goal and a 34-21 lead.

Miami’s next possession ended quickly on downs when Gabbert was stuffed on a fourth-and-1 quarterback sneak. Ohio nearly ran out the rest of the remaining clock before Vakos kicked one more field goal from 21 yards out with just 28 seconds left.

"We felt like we had some unfinished business," Rourke said. "It's always a big game. Miami always plays us tough, so we had to be ready."

While the Bobcats were unstoppable on offense in the second half, they were not clicking in the first half. Their only touchdown came on a 1 yard run by Bangura that came after a 49-yard completion to Cross.

The RedHawks tied the game early in the second quarter on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Gabbert to Hippenhammer. Vakos missed on a 40-yard field goal try that could have put the Bobcats on top before he made the shorter try at the end of the first half.

While leading receiver Sam Wiglusz was limited to just four catches for 4 yards for Ohio, Cross, Jones and James Bostic (five catches for 83 yards) stepped up.

Gabbert went 20-of-26 passing for 244 yards, completing eight passes for 107 yards to Hippenhammer, but the RedHawks did not establish any type of running game, finishing with just 69 yards on 21 carries.

Ohio hits the road to take on Ball State at 7 p.m. next Tuesday at Scheumann Stadium on ESPN2 or ESPNU.

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