FRISCO, Texas -- The Ohio football team (9-4) became the first Mid-American Conference team to record a shutout in a bowl game, blanking San Diego State (7-6), 27-0, in the 2018 DXL Frisco Bowl this evening at Toyota Stadium.
The Bobcats earned their fourth bowl victory in program history and won back-to-back bowl championships for the second time in program history. Ohio defeated UAB, 41-6, in the 2017 Bahamas Bowl.
Ohio finished a season with at least nine victories for the second year in a row and for the sixth time in the last 14 years under head coach Frank Solich.
"I'm really proud of the guys," Solich said. "They have been special right from the start. We look back and look at spring ball and fall camp, you look at summer condition and what they went through and it's special. I've been around really good athletes, dedicated athletes, but as a group of athletes, this is about as good as it gets. Not only as what they put out on the field, but the offseason character, they way they do things in terms of leadership. It's a really special group and it's tough to see these guys go. We do have a structured group coming back that will also be really good for our program."
In his final game at Ohio, redshirt senior running back A.J. Ouellette (Covington, Ohio) ran for a game-high 164 yards on 29 carries and was named the 2018 DXL Frisco Bowl Offensive Player of the Game. Junior quarterback Nathan Rourke (Oakville, Ontario, Canada) went 10-of-22 for a game-high 206 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 44 yards and two scores. Redshirt senior wide receiver Papi White (Seminole, Okla.) snatched a game-high four receptions for a game-high 90 yards in his final game at Ohio. Redshirt senior wide receiver Andrew Meyer (Canal Winchester, Ohio) also made a final impact in his final game as a Bobcat, catching two passes for 60 yards -- including a 35-yard touchdown reception.
"The way the team finished the season is a tribute to our coaches," Ouellette said. "We have a hard nosed head coach and it showed late in the season wearing other teams down. You can tell their bodies weren't used to the all the pounding from the season, but for us to go out this way is a tribute to our seniors."
Senior linebacker Evan Croutch (Youngstown, Ohio) was named 2018 DXL Frisco Bowl Defensive Player of the Game, recording a game-high 11 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.
"We've preparing for what it seems like a long time for this game and to come out come out and shut out a team like San Diego State it feels great," Croutch said.
Ohio forced San Diego State to punt on the opening drive of the game. After Ouellette and White combined to pick up 42 yards on the ground to move the ball to the San Diego State 41-yard line, Rourke found Meyer for a gain of 25 on 2nd-and-13 to give the Bobcats a fresh set of downs at the 15. Ohio's drive stalled, but redshirt junior kicker Louie Zervos (Tarpon Springs, Fla.) gave the Bobcats a 3-0 advantage with just over two minutes remaining in the first quarter after converting from 30 yards out.
After the Aztecs went three-and-out, Ohio marched 72 yards in 15 plays. Ouellette was the catalyst once again, piling up 34 rushing yards on the drive. On 3rd-and-6 from the San Diego State 27, Rourke found White for a gain of 18. Two plays later, Rourke kept it himself and scored from nine yards out to help Ohio take a 10-0 lead.
The Bobcats took a 17-0 lead just before halftime. The drive was set up by a 30-yard punt return by redshirt senior safety/returner Kylan Nelson (Lexington, Ky.) that gave Ohio possession at the San Diego State 43. Rourke threw a 14-yard completion to redshirt sophomore wide receiver Cameron Odom (Bedford, Ohio) on first down, then found Ouellette on a 3rd-and-10 for a gain of 18 to keep the drive alive. On the next play, Rourke scored on an 11-yard run with seven seconds left.
Ohio received the second-half kickoff and moved 66 yards in seven plays, with a 54-yard strike from Rourke to White setting up a 26-yard field goal by Zervos to extend the Bobcats' advantage to 20-0.
The Bobcats added on to their lead on the first drive of the fourth quarter when Rourke found Meyer wide open for a 35-yard touchdown on a flea flicker
Ohio completed the shutout when redshirt freshman safety Alvin Floyd (North Miami Beach, Fla.) came up with an interception in the end zone on the final play of the contest.
For San Diego State, quarterback Ryan Agnew finished the game 11-of-24 for 126 yards, while running back Juwan Washington finished with 129 yards on 19 carries. Wide receiver Isaiah Richardson wrapped up the game with three catches for 58 yards.
DXL Frisco Bowl | Ohio vs. San Diego State | Postgame Notes
Final Score: Ohio 27, San Diego State 0
Location: Frisco, Texas (Toyota Stadium)
Records: Ohio 9-4 , San Diego State 7-6
Ohio Captains: A.J. Ouellette, Nathan Rourke, Evan Croutch, Kylan Nelson,
Weather: Temperature: 56 • Wind: 4 MPH WSW • Conditions: Rain
- Fourteenth-year head coach Frank Solich is now 106-75 all-time at Ohio and 164-94 in his career.
- The Bobcats are now 1-0 all-time against San Diego State, as is Coach Solich.
- Ohio becomes the first Mid-American Conference institution to earn a shutout in a bowl victory.
- It is the second-straight season that Ohio has won it's bowl game an the second time in program history that they have won back-to-back bowl games (2011-12).
- Redshirt senior running back A.J. Ouellette (Covington, Ohio) was named the 2018 DXL Frisco Bowl Offensive Player of the Game.
- Senior linebacker Evan Croutch (Youngstown, Ohio) was named the DXL Frisco Bowl Defensive Player of the Game.
- The victory is the fourth bowl win in program history.
- Ohio is now 1-0 all-time in postseason play against Mountain West Conference.
- The win was the first shutout of the season for the Bobcats.
- Junior quarterback Nathan Rourke (Oakville, Ontario, Canada) rushed for his 14th and 15th touchdown of the season, which ties him for third-most in a single season. The touchdowns were the 35th and 36th rushing touchdowns in his career, which is third all-time in Ohio history.
- The three touchdowns for Rourke gave him 38th touchdowns he's been responsible for this season and the 77th of his career.
- It is the fourth game this season that Rourke has at least two rushing touchdown.
- Ouellette surpassed 100 yards in the third quarter. It is the fourth-straight game that Ouellette has reached over 100 yards in the game, which is the longest active streak in FBS.
- Ouellette is currently fourth all-time in single season rushing yards with 1,306.
- Rourke passed for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, a perfectly executed flee flicker to redshirt senior Andrew Meyer (Canal Winchester, Ohio). It was Rourke's 23rd passing touchdown of the season and the 40thof his career.
- Meyer's touchdown was his fifth of the season.
- Redshirt junior defensive lineman Sam McKnight (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) recovered a fumble in the third quarter. It was the first fumble recovery on McKnight's career.
- Croutch finished the with 11 total tackles, 1.5 sacks for eight yards and 2.5 tackles for loss for nine yards.
- Redshirt freshman Alvin Floyd (North Miami Beach, Fla.) recorded his first career interception in the fourth quarter.
- The Ohio defense did not allow the opponent to score a touchdown for the second-straight bowl game.
- Redshirt junior kicker Louie Zervos (Tarpon Springs, Fla.) finished the game 2-of-2 on field goals, hitting a 26 and 30-yarder.
- Redshirt junior punter Michael Farkas (Mishawaka, Ind.) finished the game with six kickoffs for a total of 372 yards.
- Redshirt senior safety Kylan Nelson (Lexington, Ky.) registered a 30-yard punt return.