For the second time during its fall camp, Ohio hosted a scrimmage during one of its practices. The scrimmage was the second time Ohio has played live action football in which all players minus quarterbacks can tackle.

While some starters — primarily the back seven of the starting defense — were held out, there was still enough evidence to gather some analysis for the Bobcats.

Here are The Post’s takeaways from the scrimmage.

1. The defense has high potential

Despite missing seven of its 11 starters, the Bobcats’ defense by far had the stronger day compared to the offense.

The defensive line generated a consistent pass rush that forced hurries, sacks and interceptions all within the two-hour scrimmage.

Cornerback Tariq Drake stood out with an interception and the defensive end Amos Ogun-Semore generated a heavy pass rush that got the best of all three quarterbacks throughout the morning.

2. Who’s No. 2?

Nathan Rourke was the solidified starter at quarterback the moment last season ended. But the question as to who will be the second string is still unanswered.

In the past few days of camp, it appeared Kurtis Rourke, Nathan’s younger brother, was going to be the backup quarterback. The younger Rourke has predominantly taken more reps with the second team than his competition in redshirt freshman Joe Mischler.

Mischler put up a resounding fight in Saturday’s scrimmage, however, for the backup spot. He went 10-for-15, highlighted by a 42-yard pass-and-catch to redshirt senior D.L. Knock.

Rourke was solid, too, and went 8-for-8 with a touchdown pass to Knock on an eight-yard slant. While he was strong in the passing game, Rourke had trouble with snaps and hand off exchanges on option plays.

Luckily for coach Frank Solich and the offensive coaching staff, they still have at least another week to establish who will back up the older Rourke.

3. Special teams reign supreme

If there’s going to be a player to do well for Ohio and to do it unnoticed, it’s going to be Knock.

Even though the Bobcats did not practice special teams in a live setting, Knock was returning kicks and punts alike and announced a big goal  he wants to achieve this season.

“One of my goals is to be the MAC Special Teams Player of the Year,” he said.

4. Running back depth was magnified, and it performed well

The Bobcats and their fans have become akin to the walk-on stories. A.J. Ouellette was a walk-on before he turned into one of the most prolific running backs in program history.

Ja’Vahri Portis and Jonathan Barna are hopeful to reach that same status.

While they only took reps against the third team defense, the two showed they have some talent and natural instincts from the backfield.

Barna had 11 carries for 33 yards and three receptions for 17 yards while Portis had eight carries for 38 yards.

5. Rhode Island prep is imminent

Once the scrimmage concluded and Solich spoke with members of the media, he made it clear that Ohio will start sprinkling in some preparation for its week one opponent in its last week of camp.

Last season, the Bobcats opened the year off with FCS opponent Howard and won in a tight 38-32 contest.

As Ohio starts to prepare a week in advance for its opponent, it could be assumed that the atmosphere and energy in practice will shift from the monotonous flow of fundamental drills to a sharp focus on winning a game. 


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