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Despite playmakers' return, Ohio relies on defense

Bobcats hold off Owls 17-10

BOCA RATON, Fla. – Ohio got its key offensive playmakers back but still relied on its defense to take a 17-10 victory against Florida Atlantic on Saturday evening at FAU Stadium.

The Bobcats (2-1) held the Owls (1-1) to just 185 yards of offense, including only 5 net rushing yards, and made a trio of stops in the final five and a half minutes to preserve the victory.

After missing the last game and three quarters, Kurtus Rourke started slow, with an interception on his first pass attempt, but he eventually made enough plays for the Bobcats. He was 18-of-29 passing for 203 yards and a touchdown and ran for another 26 yards. His top targets from a year ago, Sam Wiglusz (four catches for 22 yards) and Jacoby Jones (two catches for 20 yards) also played for the first time.

Ohio scored 17 straight points after spotting FAU a 10-0 lead, not putting its first points on the board until a Rourke 13-yard touchdown pass to Will Kacmarek with 23 seconds left in the first half.

O’Shaan Allison scored on a 5-yard run on the second half’s opening possession to put Ohio on top, and the lead was pushed to seven on an Alex Kasee field goal with 5:26 remaining.

The Owls somehow managed three chances after that. They went three-and-out on the immediate possession after the field goal, and then after forcing a Bobcats punt, they had their best chance, moving to the Ohio 34-yard line, but a fourth-down pass went incomplete.

Using its timeouts, FAU got the ball back one more time at the Ohio 42-yard line after a LaJohntay Wester 29-yard punt return. But with only 19 seconds left, the Owls managed only 6 yards before a final pass was incomplete with no time remaining.

The Bobcats had miscues and missed opportunities early on offense. Kasee missed a 44-yard field goal on the possession after Rourke’s first interception, and the one after that ended on downs at the FA 36-yeard line.

Sieh Bangura lost a fumble on Ohio’s first possession of the second quarter, leading to the game’s first points on a Logan Lupo field goal with 6:54 to go before halftime. Rourke then had an interception returned 72 yards for a touchdown by Jarron Morris at the 5:12 mark to make it 10-0.

Allison led the Bobcats in rushing with 80 yards on 22 carries.

FAU’s Casey Thompson was 23-of-42 for 180 yards and was intercepted by Austin Brawley and Tank Pearson.

Ohio hosts Iowa State at noon Saturday at Peden Stadium.

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