ATHENS, Ohio – A big day passing from sophomore quarterback Nathan Rourke plus a 100-yard rusher resulted in Ohio's second win of the football season on Saturday (Sept. 16) afternoon at Peden Stadium as the Bobcats defeated Kansas 42-30.
The dual-threat quarterback, in his first collegiate start, threw for 152-yards, two touchdowns and rushed for a touchdown. Rourke was 11-for-16 on the day.
"I thought he (Rourke) showed well right at the beginning," head coach Frank Solich said. "He put points on the board right away for us. So I was pleased with how he responded to starting.
Redshirt junior running back A.J. Ouellette picked up 102 yards and a touchdown on the ground, the first Bobcat this season to rush over 100-yards. The last time he rushed over 100-yards came on Nov. 24, 2015, at Northern Illinois, a 140-yard game.
Ouellette averaged 10.2 yards a carry in the contest.
The Bobcats (2-1) beat a Power Five school for the fifth time under head coach Frank Solich. Ohio is now 3-0 all-time against the Jayhawks.
Joining Ouellette in the 100-yard club was redshirt senior wide receiver Brendan Cope, who finished with game-high 104 yards off of four receptions. The longest catch of the day came in the second quarter when redshirt junior quarterback Quinton Maxwell found Cope for a 58-yard connection down the Ohio sideline.
Ohio finished the day with 450 yards of total offense and controlled the time of possession, 32:38. The last time the Bobcats finished over the 400-yard mark against an FBS opponent was last year against Eastern Michigan.
Thanks to a big third quarter, which saw the Bobcats rush for 77-yards, Ohio was able to pull away for the win. In that quarter, the Bobcats scored two touchdowns and had the ball for 11:29 of the quarter.
"A game like this can turn into a situation where you are battling at the end if you are not careful," Solich said. "Never felt completely comfortable, but I was proud of the way those guys hung in there."
Redshirt senior Troy Mangen pulled in two touchdown catches, one being his first catch of the year. The tight end finished the game with three receptions for 35 yards.
Redshirt senior linebacker Quentin Poling led the defensive charge with nine tackles including eight solo stops. Originally a game-time decision, Poling led a defense, which held Kansas to an average of 5.7 yards per play.
"We simplified things a little bit and we handled the pace much better this week," Poling said. "I took it upon my shoulders to get us set up on the defense as opposed to getting a call in. We did a lot better job at getting lined up and that was the big thing last week; we just found ourselves out of position."
Ohio totaled five sacks in the game, the most since playing Buffalo in 2016. Redshirt senior defensive end Trent Smart and junior linebacker Evan Croutch each recorded 1.5 sacks as Conner Dylan picked up one. The Bobcats totaled nine tackles for loss.
The Jayhawks rushing attack was held to 108 yards, averaging just 3.4 yards per carry.
In the third quarter, redshirt junior Jalen Fox intercepted Kansas quarterback Peyton Bender, returning the ball to the Jayhawks 32-yard line. It was Fox's first career interception.
The Bobcats jumped out to an 18-0 lead, with 11 points in the first quarter and the first touchdown of the second quarter.
Ouellette opened the game up with a 63-yard rush down the Ohio sideline, but the Bobcats were forced to kick a field goal on the drive. Redshirt sophomore Louie Zervos hit a 41-yard field goal to put Ohio up 3-0.
Ohio put together an 11 play, 64-yard drive on its second possession of the game, topped off by a Rourke spinning, rushing touchdown from three yards out. On the drive, Rourke completed four passes for 48 yards.
Capping off the 18-0 start, Ohio scored early in the second quarter on a Rourke to Mangen 10-yard touchdown pass. The score was set up by a 23-yard pass to redshirt junior wide receiver Andrew Meyer and a 28-yard run from redshirt senior running back Dorian Brown.
The Bobcats open Mid-American Conference play next week at Eastern Michigan. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET.