Ohio Bobcats Week 1 Preview: The Howard Bison

The Bobcats of Ohio University are set to kick off the 2018 season at home against Caylin Newton and the Bison of Howard University.

The game is slated for a 2 o’clock start at Peden Stadium in Athens, Ohio. Fresh off syllabus week, tailgaters will fill the parking lots of the campus as they prepare to cheer on the Bobcats in hopes that the Frank Solich coached team can finally get the team back on top and win it’s first MAC Championship since 1968.

The Bobcats are led by a second year starting quarterback, Nathan Rourke and a redshirt senior running back, AJ Ouellette. The Ohio offensive line, led by LT Joe Lowery will have it’s hands full with the Howard defensive line. The Bison return Aaron Motley, who led the team in sacks (5) a year ago and also return defensive linemen Isaiah Fludd and Tyler Fuller. The Howard secondary is led by Bryan Cook. He was an all MEAC selection a season ago. With returning seven starters the Howard defense will look to put pressure on Rourke all day long on Saturday. They will need to force turnovers to have a chance in this game. Rourke will need to make good choices in the pocket and smart reads on options.

Howard’s Mike London coached offense is led by Caylin Newton. Caylin is the younger brother of Carolina Panther’s quarterback, Cam Newton. The Bobcats will be focusing a lot of their defensive attention on the QB who was named to the FCS Player of the Year Award watchlist. He is a versatile playmaker who can make plays on the ground and in the air. The Ohio defensive line will look to get to Newton quick and force the second year signal caller into making mistakes. The Ohio secondary is led by safety Javon Hagan. A year ago Hagan recorded 45 tackles and one interception as a sophomore. Newton vs Hagan will be a key matchup to watch Saturday.

Look for Ohio to overpower Howard on the ground and wear their defense down. Both Rourke and Ouellette should be poised for big games on the ground. Also watch for star receiver Papi White to make some plays, either on the ground or in short quick passes.

What you need to know:

Game: September 1, 2018 at Peden Stadium in Athens, Ohio at 2 p.m.

Ohio’s keys to the game:

Offense:

  • Establish run game early. Win the battle in the trenches and allow AJ Ouellette and Nathan Rourke to get out in the open and make people miss.

Defense:

  • Contain Caylin Newton. Will Evans and Amir Miller need to keep Newton in the packet and let the blitz get to him.
  • Howard keys to the game:
  • Offense
    • Give Caylin Newton time to do Caylin Newton things. In order to pull off the upset Newton will need to make a lot of big plays.

    Defense:

    • Try to force turnovers early. The less time the Bobcats have the ball the better. Their ground game drains clock and in order to have a chance to win the Bison will need to force the Bobcats into making mistakes.
  • Injury Report:
    • Ohio- WR Andrew Meyer hamstring- Questionable, WR Tyler Tupa leg injury- Out, WR Elijah Ball leg injury- Out
      Howard- N/A

    Record Last Year

    Ohio: 9-4 (5-3 MAC)

    Howard: 7-4 (6-2 MEAC)

  • When & Where to watch:
  • The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ at 2 p.m.
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