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Bobcats Set For Afternoon Tilt Against Kansas

Bobcats Set For Afternoon Tilt Against Kansas

By Pete Nakos
OhioBobcats.com Feature Writer

ATHENS, Ohio -- The way that Brendan Cope looks at it, the Ohio football team got embarrassed on national television last Friday.

A 44-21 loss to Purdue, a beatable Power Five school in the Bobcats mind. The defense—supposedly the core of this 2017 Ohio football team— was torn apart; the secondary allowed seven plays of 20 yards or more. The two offensive leaders—running backs Dorian Brown and A.J. Ouellette—both fumbled the ball and didn't touch the field in the second half.

It's an embarrassment that Cope and his teammates are taking to heart and hope to change on Saturday when the Bobcats (1-1) host Kansas (1-1) at 12 p.m. ET.

"We just need to keep doing what we're doing," Ouellette said. "We need to watch film, get people to understand the mistakes they made and fix it for this week."

The Bobcats offensive attack didn't seem to be a threat until the second half as it was held to just a touchdown in the first half. The team's second leading rusher at halftime, off of just one carry, was punter Michael Farkas who scrambled for 16 yards on fourth down.

Quinton Maxwell got the start against Purdue, but it was Nathan Rourke who finished the game for the Bobcats. Rourke looked sharp, stretching plays by using his legs and leading all three drives that the Bobcats scored touchdowns on.

Head coach Frank Solich didn't announce a starter for Saturday's game as it will be a game time decision.

"We took it to heart," Cope said. "We took this week to prepare for Kansas and we're ready to show everybody that that team last Friday wasn't who we are. 

Saturday's matchup could be a pivotal point for both teams. Kansas will try to halt a road losing streak of 41 games, while Ohio will try to put itself back on course for a run through Mid-American Conference play.

Unlike the two teams Ohio has played this year, the Jayhawks play a strictly man-to-man secondary, something Cope mentioned he's excited about. It allows for more contact and at time allows wide receivers to make more openings for themselves. Instead of a zone defense, where the defense waits for the wide outs, it allows the cornerback to "press" the wide receivers.

Cope says it may be an advantage for Ohio, as it may be refreshing compared to the zone that they have seen recently.

"It gives our wide receiver core an opportunity to really go make some plays," he said. "Some good explosive plays. Shake off the press and go and play."

Cope, one of two senior receivers on Ohio's roster, still has the sour taste in his mouth. It'll be there for awhile, but the key will be to learn from the loss heading into Saturday's game.

Around the team this week was the loss, but also a sense of urgency. An urgency to get back on track before MAC play next week at Eastern Michigan, but to not overlook any teams. They did that once and they don't on planning on doing that again.

"We can't go out there and do what we did last Friday," captain Javon Hagan. "It's embarrassing to our city, it's embarrassing to our program. It's a bad look to our tradition.

"We have to take (Kansas) like it's our last game. We have to treat every game like it's a championship game."


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