Ohio Game Notes (PDF)
ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio football team (1-1) faces another road test in week three of the 2019 season, paying a visit to Huntington, W. Va., to renew its "Battle for the Bell" rivalry with Marshall (1-1). The Bobcats and the Thundering Herd will square off this evening in a 6:30 p.m. ET matchup at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
Saturday's contest will be broadcast live on Stadium Facebook, with Noah Coslov, Ike Ndukwe and Amina Smith on the call.
Saturday's game can also be heard on the Ohio Sports Network from Learfield IMG College. Russ Eisenstein returns for his 12th season as the "Voice of the Bobcats." Ohio Alum Rob Cornelius has been a part of the broadcasts for two decades. WXTQ (Power 105) in Athens returns as the 11-station network's flagship.The broadcasts are also available online through TuneIn.com/OhioBobcats and on the TuneIn app.
Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019 | Ohio Bobcats (1-1) at Marshall Thundering Herd (1-1) | 6:30 p.m. EST | Joan C. Edwards Stadium | Huntington, W. Va. | Stadium Facebook | Ohio Sports Network from Learfield IMG College | TuneIn
• Ohio suffered a 20-10 setback to host Pitt (1-1) last Saturday (Sept. 7) at Heinz Field. Junior running back De'Montre Tuggle scored his third rushing touchdown in two games while redshirt senior kicker Louie Zervos converted a 23-yard field goal.
• The Bobcats and the Thundering Herd are set to square off on the gridiron for the 60th time on Saturday, with Ohio holding a 33-20-6 lead in the all-time series. The Bobcats won the last meeting, 21-10, on Sept. 12, 2015 at Peden Stadium.
The rivalry did not officially become known as the "Battle for the Bell" until 1997. Marshall owns a 10-5 advantage in the series since then. Under Frank Solich, Ohio has gone 4-3 against the Thundering Herd, with a 1-2 mark in games played at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. The Bobcats' lone win in Huntington under Solich came on Sept. 15, 2012 -- a 27-24 triumph.
• Ohio announced a future home-and-home series with longtime rival Marshall last week. The Bobcats will visit Huntington, W. Va., on Sept. 20, 2025. Ohio will then play host to the Thundering Herd on Sept. 11, 2027 in Athens.
• Ohio is coming off of a 2018 season in which it went 9-4 (6-2 MAC), finishing in a tie for second with Miami in the Mid-American Conference's East Division. The Bobcats earned at least nine wins for the sixth time in 15 years under head coach Frank Solich. Ohio capped off the year by shutting out San Diego State, 27-0, in the 2018 DXL Frisco Bowl in Frisco, Texas. The Bobcats accounted for the MAC's lone bowl win in 2018 and earned the distinction of being the conference's first team to pitch a shutout in a bowl win.
• Ohio was voted as the preseason favorite to win the MAC. The Bobcats were selected as the unanimous favorite to win the East Division in both the media and coaches polls. The Bobcats earned a league-high 13 votes to win the MAC Championship Game in the media poll.
• The Bobcats went a perfect 6-0 at Peden Stadium in 2018, marking the first time Ohio has won all of its home games since 1968. Ohio went unbeaten at home for the first time since 1988, when the Bobcats finished their home schedule with a record of 3-0-1. Ohio has won its last 10 home games dating back to the 2017 season, which is a school record, and has won 15 of its last 16 games played at Peden Stadium.
• Ohio is tied with Toledo for the most bowl wins (4) among MAC programs since Frank Solich took over as head coach in 2005. With its win over San Diego State in the 2018 DXL Frisco Bowl that followed a 41-6 triumph over UAB in the 2017 Bahamas Bowl, Ohio recorded back-to-back bowl wins for the second time in program history. In 2011, the Bobcats edged Utah State, 24-23, in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl to pick up their first bowl victory in program history, then rolled to a 45-14 triumph over ULM in the 2012 Advocare V100 Independence Bowl.
LIKE A FINE WINE
Frank Solich is the dean of MAC head coaches as he is in his 15th year leading the Bobcats. He is tied with Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy for fourth among active NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) head coaches in terms of longest tenure with their current school. Only Iowa's Kirk Ferentz (21 years), TCU's Gary Patterson (20 years) and Utah's Kyle Whittingham (16 years) have served as head coach at their respective institutions longer. Prior to arriving in Athens, Solich spent six years as head coach at his alma mater, Nebraska. Solich's 21 years of experience tie him with Ferentz (21 years) for the third-most among active NCAA FBS head coaches, ranking behind only North Carolina's Mack Brown (30 years) and Alabama's Nick Saban.
With the retirement of longtime Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder following the 2018 season, Solich is the leader in life experience among NCAA FBS head coaches at 74 years old. Solich is set to turn 75 on Sunday (Sept. 8).
CHASING WINS WITH THE GOAT
Frank Solich owns a career coaching record of 165-95. His 165 wins rank as the fourth most among active NCAA FBS head coaches, trailing only North Carolina's Mack Brown (240), Alabama's Nick Saban (240) and TCU's Gary Patterson (168).
Solich is 107-76 during his tenure as head coach of the Bobcats, ranking him third in program history behind Don Peden (121; 1924-46) and Bill Hess (108; 1958-77). With four more wins, Solich will pass Herb Deromedi (110, Central Michigan, 1978-93) for the most by a MAC head coach. Ohio has gone 70-42 in conference play since Solich's arrival in Athens. His 70 MAC wins rank second to Deromedi's 90.
• Air Canada is back for his senior season. Senior quarterback Nathan Rourke, a two-time All-MAC Second Team selection, has played in 28 games with 26 starts over the last three seasons with the Bobcats and owns an 18-8 record as a starting quarterback. The Bobcats have averaged a staggering 38.5 points per game with Rourke starting under center, which ranks behind only Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa (17 starts, 46.4 pgg), Utah State's Jordan Love (20 starts, 41.8 ppg), UCF's McKenzie Milton (33 starts; 40.6 ppg) and Oregon's Justin Herbert (30 starts; 39.0 ppg) among Football Bowl Subdivision signal callers who have made a minimum of 15 starts.
• Rourke is ranked first in program history with a career passing efficiency rating of 143.9, second with 42 career passing touchdowns and 178.6 passing yards per game, fourth with 5,002 career passing yards, fourth with a career completion percentage of 57.9 percent (356-of-615), fifth with 14.1 career yards per completion and fourth with 356 career completions. He has also tallied 37 career rushing touchdowns, which ranks as the third-most in program history, and has rushed for more touchdowns than any other quarterback in NCAA FBS over the last two-plus seasons. Rourke has been responsible for 80 career touchdowns -- the second-most in program history and the third-most in NCAA FBS over the last two-plus seasons. He ranks third in program history with 38 career touchdowns scored and sixth with 228 career points scored. Rourke is a two-time winner of the Joe Cornish Trophy, which is awarded annually to the most outstanding Canadian player in NCAA Football. He has helped guide Ohio to a pair of bowl victories, with the Bobcats topping UAB, 41-6, in the 2017 Bahamas Bowl and shutting out San Diego State, 27-0, in the 2018 DXL Frisco Bowl.
POSTGAME NOTES FROM PITT
• The Pitt defense limited the Ohio offense to its lowest point total since 2016 and its lowest output of total offense (212 yards) since '14.
• Redshirt senior punter Michael Farkas set a career high with 10 punts for 435 yards, averaging 43.5 yards per punt with a long of 56. Four of his punts landed inside the 20 yard line. Ohio's 10 punts were its most in a game since it punted 13 times at Virginia Tech in 2007. Farkas is second in school history in career punting average (41.36 yards). He also ranks fourth in program history in career punting yards (7,549) and fifth in career punts (182).
• Defensively, three Bobcats registered double-digit tackles. Redshirt junior linebacker Dylan Conner led all tacklers with a career-high 11 total stops (six solo, five assisted). Redshirt junior safety Jarren Hampton set a career-high with 10 total tackles (nine solo, one assisted). Redshirt senior safety Javon Hagan logged 10 total tackles (five solo, five assisted). Senior linebacker Eric Popp tallied a career-high nine total tackles (six solo, three assisted) and accounted for Ohio's lone sack of the game. Redshirt sophomore defensive end Amos Ogun-Semore set a career high with seven total tackles (four solo, three assisted).
• Marshall went 9-4 in 2018 and capped the year off with a 38-20 win over USF in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. The Thundering Herd entered the 2019 season as the favorite to win the Conference USA East Division title in the league's media preseason poll.
• Doc Holliday is in his 10th season as the head coach of the Thundering Herd. He has guided Marshall to six bowl wins, which ranks as the most by any head coach in the program's history.
• Marshall is off to a 1-1 start to the 2019 season. The Thundering Herd opened the year with a 56-17 win over VMI but suffered a tough 14-7 setback at Boise State last Friday (Sept. 6).
• The Thundering Herd averages 31.5 points per game while giving up just 15.5.
• Redshirt sophomore quarterback Isaiah Green has completed 62.2 percent (28-of-45) of his passes for 294 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.
• Redshirt sophomore running back Brenden Knox is the team's leading rusher with 114 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
• Defensively, redshirt junior linebacker Tavante Beckett leads Marshall with 20 total tackles (nine solo, 11 assisted).
Ohio closes out its 2019 non-conference schedule when it hosts Louisiana on Saturday, Sept. 21 in a Parents Day weekend contest at Peden Stadium. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN+.