ATHENS, Ohio -- Ohio football assistant head coach Tim Albin has been named the 2018 FootballScoop Running Backs Coach of the Year presented by AstroTurf.
The FootballScoop Coaches of the Year awards presented by ProGrass are the only set of awards that recognize the most outstanding position coaches in college football. The finalists, which included Jay Boulware (Oklahoma), Tashard Choice (North Texas), Tony Elliott (Clemson), Eddie Gran (Kentucky), DeAndre Smith (Utah State) and Albin, were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors, and athletic department personnel.
The prior winners selected this year's winner. Previous winners of the Running Backs Coach of the Year award are Burton Burns (Alabama, 2008), Willie Taggart (Stanford, 2009), Jim Mastro (Nevada, 2010), Frank Wilson (LSU, 2011), Calvin Magee (Arizona, 2012), Jeff Lebby (Baylor, 2013), Bryan McClendon (Georgia, 2014), Lance Taylor (Stanford, 2015), Jeff Horton (San Diego State, 2016) and Tony Elliott (Clemson, 2017).
Albin will receive his award and be recognized at an event at the American Football Coaches Association Convention in January.
Albin, who serves as offensive coordinator/pass game coordinator/running backs coach for the Bobcats, just completed his 14th season on the Ohio coaching staff under head coach Frank Solich. The Bobcats finished the 2018 season with an overall record of 9-4 and a 6-2 mark in Mid-American Conference play. Ohio won nine games in a season for the second year in a row and sixth time in the Solich era. The Bobcats earned a fourth-straight bowl berth and made their 10th bowl appearance in the last 13 years. Ohio shut out San Diego State, 27-0, in the 2018 DXL Frisco Bowl on Dec. 19 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, giving the Bobcats their fourth overall bowl championship and second in a row.
Under Albin, the Ohio rushing attack ranked sixth in the nation with a conference-high 6.03 yards per rush (highest average in program history), eighth in the nation with a conference-high 3,358 rushing yards (third-most in program history) and 10th in the nation with a conference-high 258.3 rushing yards per game (sixth-highest average in program history). The Bobcats tied for the sixth-most rushing touchdowns in the country with a conference-high 40 rushing touchdowns (tied for the second-most in program history). Ohio recorded over 200 rushing yards nine times in 2018, over 300 five times and over 400 twice -- including a season-high 437 (fourth-most in program history) in a 52-17 rout of eventual MAC East Division champion Buffalo on Nov. 14 at Peden Stadim in Athens.
Ohio boasted a three-pronged rushing attack in redshirt senior running back A.J. Ouellette (Covington, Ohio), junior quarterback Nathan Rourke (Oakville, Ontario, Canada) and redshirt senior running back Maleek Irons (Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada).
Ouellette earned All-MAC First Team honors for the first time in his career after being named to the Second Team in 2016. He became the first Ohio running back to be named to the All-MAC First Team since Kalvin McRae achieved the feat for the third year in a row in 2007. Ouellette ranked 12th in the country with a career-high 1,306 yards (fourth-most in program history) to lead the MAC. His career-high 100.5 rushing yards per game (eighth-most in program history) ranked 23rd in the nation and led the MAC. He became just the fourth player in program history to rush for 1,000 yards in multiple seasons. His career-high 12 rushing touchdowns ranked second on the team and tied for the ninth-most in a single season in program history while his career-high 14 total touchdowns scored tied him for the sixth-most in a single season in program history. Ouellette rushed for over 100 yards five times this year, going for over 165 yards in each of the last four games, which included a career-high 196 yards in the victory over Buffalo. He was named MAC East Division Offensive Player of the Week in 2018. Ouellette moved into third place on Ohio's all-time rushing list with 3,784 career rushing yards. His 32 career rushing touchdowns rank as the fourth-most in program history. He tallied 14 career 100-yard rushing games, which tie him with Arnold Welcher (1974-77) for the fifth-most in program history.
Rourke, who garnered All-MAC Second Team recognition for the second year in a row, ran for 860 yards (66.2 yards per game; eighth-highest average in the MAC) to rank second on the team. He tallied over 100 yards twice -- including a career-high 189 in a 58-42 victory over UMass on Sept. 29 at Peden Stadium. Rourke led the squad with 15 rushing touchdowns, which ranked second in the MAC and tied him with McRae (2006) and Beau Blankenship (2012) for the third-most in a single season in program history. He scored multiple rushing touchdowns four times -- including a career-high four in a 49-28 win over Akron on Nov. 23 at Peden Stadium. Rourke has recorded 36 career rushing touchdowns to rank third in program history.
Irons finished the year ranked second on the team with a career-high 831 rushing yards. His 75.5 rushing yards per game ranked as the third-highest average in the MAC. Irons also ranked third on the team with a career-high eight rushing touchdowns.
Three All-MAC selections on the offensive line helped pave the way for the Ohio rushing attack -- redshirt senior left tackle Joe Lowery (Tallmadge, Ohio) and redshirt senior left guard Joe Anderson (Torrance, Calif.), who earned First Team honors, and redshirt senior right guard Durrell Wood (Columbus, Ohio), who earned Second Team recognition.
Overall, the Ohio offense ranked 12th in the nation with a conference-high and program-record 521 points scored and 40.1 points per game. The Bobcats posted a conference-high 6,068 yards of total offense (second-most in program history) to rank 11th in the nation, with Ohio's 466.8 total yards per game leading the MAC and setting a program record.