Ohio needed a quick start to the second half — it was trailing Howard by five. DL Knock and Evan Croutch gave the Bobcats exactly that.
Knock’s 99-yard kick return touchdown began the second half, and the Bobcats took their first lead. On the ensuing Howard possession, Croutch intercepted Bison quarterback Caylin Newton along the far sideline, and the Bobcats scored four plays later. They never gave up that lead Saturday on their way to a 38-32 win over Howard at Peden Stadium.
Knock’s kick return was the third longest in Ohio history. After Croutch’s interception and the score that followed, Ohio had 14 points in just a minute and a second to start the second half.
In what was a weird day at Peden Stadium, quarterback Quinton Maxwell relieved starter Nathan Rourke after the first quarter. Rourke, who has been the starter since early last season, was just 2-of-8 for 44 yards before being pulled. Maxwell came in and provided a boost to the Ohio offense. He finished 17-of-25 for 233 yards and two touchdowns to go along with 21 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Following the quick second-half scores, it appeared Ohio would coast to a season-opening win. But Howard didn’t back off. The Bison responded two drives later with a scoring drive that included a 55-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to two heading into the fourth quarter.
Maxwell drove Ohio down the field to punch in another score to extend the lead to nine.
But again, Howard responded. A 40-yard field goal made it a one-score game with 7:46 to go, and the Bobcats punted on the following possession. Howard threatened and made it to Ohio territory, but the Bison turned the ball over on downs.
Ohio dug itself out of a 13-point first half hole. Newton and the Bison offense was efficient early on, striking on two deep passes. After falling behind 10-0, the Bobcats finally got on the board with a Louie Zervos field goal, but then Howard’s offense went back to work. Newton connected with a wide receiver for a 38-yard touchdown pass to extend its lead to 13, Howard’s largest of the game.
It was apparent early on the Bobcats were without star safety Javon Hagan, who missed the game due to an injury. He’s a security blanket in the back end, and without him, the secondary looked lost.
News and notes
- Papi White had a career-high 154 yards receiving on eight catches and a touchdown.
- The kick return was the third longest in Ohio history, and it was the first kick return touchdown for the Bobcats since 2014.
- Although Maxwell only played three quarters, he was just 3 yards short of a career-high in passing yards.