ATHENS, Ohio — Ohio red shirt senior running back Dorian Brown ran for a touchdown and broke 100 yards for the first time this season while sophomore quarterback Nathan Rourke passed for two touchdowns as Ohio defeated Kent State 48-3 on Saturday at Peden Stadium.
Brown finished with 108 yards on 13 carries, the highlight being a 39-yard touchdown run up the middle late in the third quarter.
For the second straight week, Ohio ran for over 300 yards, finishing with 336 yards. Along with Brown, redshirt junior running back A.J. Ouellette had 91 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown. With that, Ouellette cracked the top ten in career rushing yards at Ohio with 2,264 yards.
The win made Ohio 6-2 on the year and 3-1 in the Mid-American Conference. With the six wins, it becomes bowl eligible for the ninth consecutive year.
"There wasn't anybody that talked about becoming bowl eligible with this win," head coach Frank Solich said. "I think this is a great step for our program. We don't even consider that, and they're thinking about other things, which I think is great."
The Bobcats offense as a whole finished with 474 yards and scored over 40 points for the fifth time this season, a record in the Solich era.
Starting his fifth game at Ohio, Rourke ran 59 yards and a touchdown in the first half, his 13th rushing touchdown of the year, which ranks first in the country.
But the dual-threat quarterback shined throwing the ball also, finishing 8 of 17 for 132 yards to balance the offense. His two touchdown passes both went to redshirt senior tight end Mason Morgan, his first two of the season.
With the two touchdown passes, Rourke's total number of touchdowns moves to 23, 15 short of the single-season record at Ohio.
Redshirt junior wide receiver Papi White returned to play and made an impact, catching two passes for 82 yards. The long came in the third quarter when Rourke connected with White for 49 yards.
The Bobcats pulled ahead for good in the third quarter when they reeled off four touchdowns in six minutes, 28 unanswered points.
A 39-yard run from Brown, then a 37-yard run from Ouellette, which was highlighted by a stiff arm at the 10-yardline before Ouellette reached the end zone. After that, Rourke connected with Morgan from six and four yards out the following two drives.
Rourke was pulled out at the end of the third quarter and redshirt sophomore Quinton Maxwell finished out the game.
The Kent State offense was forced to three and out multiple times in those six minutes.
Its offense was held to just 166 yards on the day, as the Bobcats forced two turnovers, producing 14 points off of them. The Golden Flashes didn't score a point after their field goal with 6:40 left in the first quarter. As a team, Ohio totaled four sacks in the game.
Redshirt senior linebacker Quentin Poling had seven tackles, including a tackle for loss and teammate, redshirt senior linebacker Chad Moore collected his third interception of the year along with five tackles.
The Bobcats scored off of the interception as part of their 28 points in the third quarter. It was their last score of the quarter, as Rourke connected with Morgan for a four-yard touchdown pass.
"I think that we've shown that we are a really good second-half team," said Rourke. "Going into this game we knew that they were going to have a game plan specifically for us, that's what they've been doing every week and we've had a game plan for every team that we've played. We just had to go out and figure out what that was in the first half and first quarter. The second half we went out and did the exact same thing and so we knew where we were going and we just executed a little bit better. That's how we got into a rhythm, and that's how we were able to pull this (win) out."
The fumble recovery came with 10:35 left in the second quarter when Moore forced a fumble and redshirt junior safety Kylan Nelson jumped on it. The Bobcats took advantage of the recovery, driving down the field in 53 yards in 11 plays, chewing up 5:16 of the clock.
Ohio was able to capitalize with a touchdown, as Rourke executed the speed option and kept it himself for a six-yard run, his only rushing touchdown of the game.
Kicker Louie Zervos finished the day with two field goals from 34 and 43-yards, collecting six of Ohio's points.
"As I think back after each of our games I felt really comfortable and proud of our football team in terms of effort and in terms of toughness," Solich said. "That, to me, means an awful lot. You're not going to have those kinds of teams, maybe every year, but if you don't then you don't have much of a shot. We go out with that in mind and those guys respond to that very well."
Ohio returns to action on Tuesday, Oct. 31 when it hosts Miami for an 8 p.m. ET kickoff in the Battle of the Bricks.