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Maleek Irons runs the ball during the first half Thursday against Ball State at Peden Stadium.

Football: Ohio rolls to 52-14 win over Ball State

Ohio scored 52 straight points and cruised to a 52-14 win over Ball State on Monday night at Peden Stadium. 

A high-scoring second quarter turned into a second-half lull as the Bobcats extended their winning streak to two and improved to 5-3 overall and 3-1 in the Mid-American Conference. They’re now just a win away from bowl eligibility. 

Headed into last week’s game against Bowling Green, Ohio knew it would need to win out if the Bobcats wanted a chance to knock off Buffalo and make the MAC Championship Game.

On Thursday, the Bobcats continued to trend in that direction. They finished with a total of 554 yards, 411 of which came on the ground. Quarterback Nathan Rourke and running backs A.J. Ouellette and Maleek Irons each finished with two rushing touchdowns. 

Rourke was 11 of 19 for 127 yards and a touchdown. He also finished with 77 rushing yards on eight carries. He only had to play one drive in the second half — Ohio was able to rest most of its starters for the majority of the half. 

Irons finished with 102 yards, his second 100-yard game of the season. Ouellette carried the ball 13 times and muscled his way to 135 yards for his first 100-yard game this year. 

Getting off to a good start continues to be the thorn in Ohio’s side. Rourke threw an interception on the Bobcats second drive of the game on a bad read, which linebacker Christian Albright picked off. 

The Bobcats fell behind early on a Ball State touchdown pass from Riley Neal to Riley Miller on the following drive. On 3rd and 18, Neal was able to evade pressure and find Miller for a tip-toe touchdown. 

Ohio put together an eight-play, 70-yard drive that ended at the start of the second quarter on an Irons 6-yard run off the speed option. 

After the slow start to the game, Ohio’s defense slowed down the Ball State offense, allowing a season-low 242 yards. The Bobcats’ touchdown frenzy was spurred by a forced fumble by Marlin Brooks after the first Bobcat touchdown of the game. Neal dropped back to pass and found an open Miller, and Brooks popped the ball loose, which Dylan Conner recovered. 

After the forced fumble, the Cardinals (3-6, 2-3 MAC) unraveled as the Bobcats continued to dump points on them. 

Ohio returns to play Nov. 1 at Western Michigan in the first of a two-game road stretch. 

@Pete_Nakos96

pn997515@ohio.edu

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