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Bobcats dominate 2nd half to beat Zips 25-14

Rourke passes brother for 2nd place on Ohio passing yards list

AKRON – Ohio dominated the second half to erase an 11-point halftime deficit and end the regular season with a 25-14 victory against Akron on Friday at InfoCision Stadium.

The Bobcats (9-3, 6-2 Mid-American Conference) trailed 14-3 at halftime but outscored the Zips 22-0 in the second half. Ohio had a 206-28 yards advantage after halftime and has a shot at double-digits wins for the second season in a row.

Sieh Bangura finished with 122 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries, while Kurtis Rourke passed brother Nathan Rourke for second place on the school’s all-time passing yards list by going 19-of-30 for 208 yards and a touchdown. Miles Cross made seven catches for 85 yards and a touchdown.

The game turned immediately in the second half, with the Bobcats forcing a punt and then driving for a touchdown. Tyler Foster’s 31-yard reception set up a Rourke 4-yard touchdown run, and then Rourke threw a two-point conversion pass to Tyler Walton to make it 14-11.

Cross took a short pass 42 yards on the next possession and that led to a Rourke 1-yard touchdown pass to Cross to put the Bobcats in front 18-14.

Bryce Houston picked off Akron quarterback Jeff Undercuffler Jr. before the end of the third quarter, and Ohio eventually found the end zone on its third straight possession, though it did not come easily. Tristan Cox ran for 7 yards on a fake punt shy of midfield, and the Bobcats converted another fourth down with a Rourke pass to Cross. Bangura scored his touchdown a short time later on a 1-yard run.

With Akron (2-10, 1-7 MAC) unable to do anything offensively, that was more than enough for Ohio to close out the victory.

In the first half, the Bobcats moved the ball but had little to show for it. They settled for a Gianni Spetic 26-yard field goal on the game’s opening drive for their only points in the first two quarters. Spetic missed field goal tries of 52 and 48 yards in the second quarter.

Lorenzo Lingard turned a short pass from run-first quarterback Tahj Bullock into a 43-yard touchdown catch and a 7-3 Akron lead with 10:01 left in the first half. Akron converted a fourth down on its next possession, which ended with a Bullock 5-yard touchdown run to make it 14-3 with 1:50 to go.

But in the end, the Zips managed little offense. Undercufff was 16-of-27 passing for 103 yards and was sacked four times. Lingard had five catches for 54 yards. Akron had just 38 yards rushing.

The Bobcats await word on their bowl destination.

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