After a tough loss in Cincinnati, the Bobcats travel home to play the University of Massachusetts in their last game before the start of #MACtion.
The game at Cincy looked promising going into half. The offense was clicking, the defense was getting stops and they took a 24-7 lead into half. After outscoring the Bearcats by 17 in the first half the Bobcats were outscored 27-6 in the second half. It wasn’t until a touchdown at the 3:24 mark in the fourth quarter that Cincinnati took the final lead of the game on a 3 yard rushing score.
Nathan Rourke ended up with 178 passing yards and 96 on the ground, with a pair of touchdowns. AJ Ouellette and Maleek Irons chipped in on the ground with 71 and 64 yards respectively. Cameron Odom led the team in receiving with 5 catches for 114 yards after only having 4 catches in the first two games.
With the loss Ohio falls to 1-2 in the still young season and Cincinnati improves to 4-0.
Now, the Bobcats will look to get back in the win column for the first time since week 1 as UMass will make their way towards Athens.
UMass is 2-3 this season with a win in week 0 against Duquesne and in week 4 against Charlotte. Their losses have been at the hands of Boston College, Georgia Southern, and FIU.
UMass is coached by Mark Whipple. Whipple is in his 11th year as the head ball coach of the Minutemen. His team is now led by Michael Curtis, a junior pro style quarterback, since Ross Comis and Andrew Ford are out with injuries. It is only his second start of the year. His first start was a win against Charlotte. In the game he was 12-19 with 189 yards and 2 touchdowns.
On the ground for the Minutemen, Marquis Young handles the workload. He is an explosive, quick running back who doubles as the return specialist. Last week the senior took the opening kickoff 93 yards to pay dirt. He has 327 yards and 4 rushing touchdowns on the season.
The Ohio offensive line will be focusing their attention towards UMass linebacker, Bryton Barr. Barr leads the FBS in tackles per game (14.2) and total tackles (71) this season. Interestingly enough, Barr is in his 7th, yes you read that correctly, 7th year of playing college football. He missed 3 full seasons with back injuries after transferring to UMass from Towson. So, if it looks like he’s a man among boys out there, well it’s because he is.
For Ohio, it looks like Rourke has found his rhythm. He’s getting back to playing like the QB we saw a year ago. Look for him to continue getting comfortable as the season goes on. AJ Ouellette has been lackluster thus far as his counterpart Maleek Irons has made more out of his opportunities carrying the ball. I would not be surprised to see Irons start splitting carries with Ouellette, or even taking over as the lead back.
Ouellette has 164 yards on 52 attempts, while Irons has 159 yards on only 32 carries. That’s more than double the yards per carry. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out as the season goes on, but for now it’s definitely something to keep an eye on.
A win this week against UMass could be just what the Bobcats need as they get set for Conference play, also known as #MACtion to those in the Mid American Conference, next week.
Kickoff: September 29, 2:00 PM
Location: Peden Stadium- Athens, Ohio
Line: Ohio -13, O/U 69.5
Featured photo via: Jordan Horrobin