ATHENS, Ohio – The Atlantic Coast Conference announced today the kickoff time for Ohio’s Sept. 15 football matchup at Virginia as part of their early-season football television selections. The game will kickoff at 3 p.m. ET and will be carried live on ACC Network Extra.
Ohio returns three out of its four top receivers from last season including Papi White, who, although he missed four games with an injury, led Ohio with 36 catches and 631 yards while scoring three touchdowns and averaging a team-high 17.5 yards per catch.
Arguably the hardest hit position group for the Ohio football team is the defensive line where the Bobcats lost its entire starting lineup to graduation following the 2017 season. Gone are defensive ends Kevin Robbins and Trent Smart and interior lineman Tony Porter and Cleon Aloese who played in all 13 games last season.
The Ohio linebacking corps has some big shoes to fill after losing first team All-MAC performer Quentin Poling and second team All-MAC selection Chad Moore, two of its three starters, to graduation this offseason. The Bobcats also lost its top backup at the position Cody Grilliot who appeared in nine games after suffering an injury in 2017
Ohio returns most of its running backs from last year including RS senior A.J. Ouellette who became the first Bobcat running back to reach 1,000 rushing yards since 2012 last season, racking up 1,0006 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. Ouellette also caught 10 passes for 97 yards and a score.
Ohio returns both of its starters from last season at safety in RS junior Javon Hagan and RS senior Kylan Nelson so the back end of the Bobcats defense, which was already solid in 2017, should do nothing but elevate as the crop of young up and comers add to the mix.
The Ohio offensive line is a mostly complete group from a year ago where they helped the Bobcats offense become one of the most powerful in the Mid-American Conference. Ohio returns four of five starters along the offensive line as center Jake Pruehs departs due to graduation. Ohio also lost tackle Jared McCray who was hampered with injuries but was a regular starter through most of his career.
Ohio returns both signal callers from a year ago who saw all the action under center for Ohio including second team All-MAC selection Nathan Rourke who will suit up for his senior season for the Bobcats after bursting onto the scene as a sophomore in 2017.
Ohio’s cornerback group lost a big piece with the graduation of Bradd Ellis who set an Ohio record with 19 pass breakups last season, while also picking off two passes which he returned for two touchdowns.
Ohio assistant coach Brian Haines will have one of its toughest challenges filling the holes left by departed starting tight ends Troy Mangen and Mason Morgan as the Bobcats continue to work through spring camp. The good news for Haines and the Bobcats is the specialist group returns each of its backups and starters from last season.