The Ohio Bobcats, led by quarterback Nathan Rourke, welcome the Ball State Cardinals to town for midweek #MACtion.
It’s the best time of the football season, midweek #MACtion. Bettors and football enthusiasts alike love this time of year. There’s essentially football every day of the week. Thursday we get Nathan Rourke and the Ohio Bobcats hosting Ball State.
The importance of this game for Ohio is huge. A win will set them at 3-1 in conference play and 5-3 overall. The win could move them into a good position in the standings at one game behind Buffalo, which is 4-0 in conference play and tied with Miami, who is now 3-1 in the MAC.
Before the 2018 campaign started Ohio was projected by a lot of people to emerge as the MAC Champions, including myself. However after a slow start they are now in a spot where they are playing in all must win games. Upcoming on the schedule are the two teams ahead of them in the MAC East, Buffalo and Miami of Ohio. In their sights now is Ball State.
Ball State sits at 3-5 on the season and 2-2 in MAC play. Their first game of the season was a 24-16 loss at Norte Dame. The Cardinals are led by Riley Neal, a junior quarterback. Neal has thrown for 1841 yards on the season with 10 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.
Ohio’s weakness this year has been their pass defense. The junior, Neal will be a tall task for the Bobcats. The Bobcats allow an average of 311 passing yards per game. The Bobcats will be trying to get to Neal and disrupt his throws.
Ohio is the favorite in the game and will rely on their offense to win them the game. Rourke, who was the MAC East player of the week last week will look to add another solid game to his resumé. He’s passed for 1490 yards and rushed for another 492 on the ground. He’s accounted for 17 touchdowns on the season after a slow start. Rourke has thrown 6 of his 13 touchdowns to his favorite target Papi White this season.
White has caught 35 passes for 632 yards this season. His 6 receiving touchdowns are a team high. Ohio’s offensive attack is pretty balanced though. The trio of Rourke, AJ Ouellette and Maleek Irons control the ground game. The team averages over 208 rushing yards a game. Rourke leads the team with Irons close behind with 445 yards. Ouellette is 3rd on the team with 403 yards on 107 carries. Ouellette has struggled this season for getting the most carries of any player on the team.
Overall, Ohio has to lean on their balanced attack and hope for a strong night for the defense as they look to climb the ladder in the MAC East rankings in hopes of making it to Detroit for the MAC Championship Game.
Game: Thursday 10/25 at 7:00 PM at Peden Stadium, Athens, Ohio.
Line: Ohio -11, O/U 64
Featured photo via Mac Reporter