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Ohio comes up short 20-13 in opener at San Diego State

Rourke leaves game after one quarter


SAN DIEGO – Ohio fell short, but if Kurtis Rourke is OK, it probably could be considered a win.

Rourke, who underwent ACL injury after an injury late last season, left a 20-13 loss to San Diego State in the first quarter Saturday evening at Snapdragon Stadium.

Ohio’s offense struggled without him, and the status of the reining Mid-American Conference player of the year was unclear. Rourke stayed down on the field following a sack on the final play of the first quarter, but eventually jumped up and ran off the field. However, he reportedly was not on the sideline later in the game.

Perhaps Rourke’s absence was precautionary, but the Bobcats sputtered on offense without him. CJ Harris completed just 18-of-42 passes for 203 yards with three interceptions. He did, however, lead a late touchdown drive, and the Bobcats had a chance to tie in the final minute.

Harris was intercepted on a fourth-down play, and Marcus Ratcliffe returned it 100 yards to the end zone for what would have given San Diego State a 27-6 lead, but a roughing the passer penalty instead gave Ohio a first down, and Harris threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Miles Cross, making it a one-score game with 1:59 remaining.

Alex Kasee’s onside kick attempt went out of bounds, but the Aztecs were unable to run out the remainder of the clock. The Bobcats used both of their remaining timeouts and got a fourth-down stop to get the ball back at their own 35-yard line with 55 seconds to go.

After a first-down completion to Sieh Bangura, Harris completed a fourth-and-2 pass for 14 yards to Will Kacmarek to the San Diego State 33-yard line. Two plays later, New Zealand Williams intercepted Harris to end Ohio’s comeback hopes.

Jack Browning kicked a 49-yard field goal for the Aztecs on the game’s opening possession, and after Rourke led the Bobcats down the field, they had to settle for a tying 19-yard field goal by freshman Gianna Spetic when the drive stalled out at the 2-yard line.

Austin Brawley recovered a fumble to give Ohio possession near midfield, and after one first down, a holding call set the Bobcats back and eventually led to the play where Rourke was sacked and injured, forcing a punt.

On Ohio’s next possession, Harris’ first pass attempt was tipped and intercepted by Trey White, though San Diego State wound up with nothing to show for it after a missed 38-yard field goal. Instead, it was the Bobcats who went up 6-3 late in the first quarter on a 40-yard make by Spetic with 4:44 left in the half.

After forcing a punt, Ohio was in position to add to its lead, reaching the red zone, but Harris was intercepted again by Cedarious Barfield. With 44 seconds left in the half, the Aztecs had just enough time to answer, with a pair of 22-yard completions to Mekhi Shaw eventually leading to a 13-yard touchdown pass to Mark Redman on the final play of the half, putting San Diego State on top 10-6.

Ohio seemed to have a response to start the second half, but a drive stalled again, and this time, Spetic missed a 31-yard field goal attempt. Browning made one from 21 yards early in the fourth quarter to make it a 13-6 game.

San Diego State went on a long drive on its next possession, capping it with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Redman with 5:39 to play that made it a two-touchdown game.

Quarterback Jalen Mayden finished 17-of-27 passing for 164 yards and two touchdowns to Redman, who had five catches for 62 yards. Jaylon Armstead had a 48-yard run as part of his 79 yards rushing on eight carries.

Bangura ran 15 times for 65 yards, while O’Shaan Allison was back after missing last season with an injury and ran six times for 27 yards. With Jacoby Jones missing the game, Sam Wiglusz was the primary target on the night, making 10 catches for 103 yards. Also back from an injury, Ty Walton had six receptions for 55 yards.

Before leaving the game, Rourke was 8-of-10 passing for 75 yards.

Bryce Houston topped the Bobcats on defense with 13 tackles.

Ohio hosts LIU at noon Saturday at Peden Stadium.








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