Coming off back-to-back wins, Ohio readies for more #MACtion as they head to Northern Illinois. 13 fourth quarter points were needed last week against Kent State to come from behind and escape Kent, Ohio with a win. Nathan Rourke continued his hot streak throwing for 284 yards on an efficient 18/20, and threw a touchdown pass to Senior Wide Receiver, Andrew Meyer. Rourke rushed for 49 yards and one trip to paydirt on the day as well. Star Receiver Papi White caromed five passes for 89 yards on the day, and Senior Running Back, AJ Ouellette rushed for 72 yards and two scores.
A pair of interceptions from Javon Hagan and Marlin Brooks along with a pair of sacks from defensive linemen Kent Berger and Will Evans paced the defense. The team will be looking for big performances from the aforementioned players Saturday as they head to Northern Illinois.
The Northern Illinois Huskies are .500 on the year at 3-3. Their three wins have all been against other MAC teams, and are currently in first place in the MAC West. Though the season is still young these two teams are two of the favorites to make the trip to the Motor City for the MAC Championship game this fall.
The Huskies are led by Sophomore signal caller Marcus Childers. Childers has thrown for 804 yards and 8 touchdowns in 6 games. However, he has been sacked 16 times. This will give Ohio players like Evan Croutch, Kent Berger, Will Evans and other pass rushers the opportunity to do what they have not been able to do much of this season; sack the quarterback.
With the defensive line being in position to pass rush, the defensive backfield will be better suited to cover a receiving core that is led by D.J. Brown. Brown is Childers’ favorite target, he’s hauled in 32 passes for 299 yards and three touchdowns. The Huskies do not score much, averaging just 17.7 points per game. This game could serve as a big confidence booster for the Jimmy Burrow coached Bobcats defense. Ohio, on average is allowing 35.8 points per game. Luckily for the D, the offense has been putting up big numbers themselves.
The match up of Nathan Rourke and the Ohio offense against NIU’s defense should be interesting to watch. The Bobcats are averaging over 36 points per game and over 455 yards a game. NIU’s defense is allowing teams to rack up more than 350 yards on average this season. Rourke has been in a groove after winning back the starting job. Over the last three games he has racked up 1,066 total yards. The ‘Cats have won two of those three games and were in control for most of the loss against Cincinnati. Rourke could look to add some more big numbers this week.
These two teams have played each other 21 times in their history, with the last being in 2015. The 2015 match up was won by the Frank Solich led Bobcats. NIU has been victorious in 11 meetings and Ohio in 10. With a big day from the Ohio defense and their offensive captain, Rourke, they could even the series at 11 wins a piece.
Game: Saturday, 3:30 at Bringham Field, Dekalb, Illinois
Line: NIU -4, O/U 53