Ohio defeated Rhode Island 41-20 in its first game of the season Saturday at Peden Stadium. Nathan Rourke appeared to click with new receivers, but the defense allowed 375 yards to an FCS school and will have to improve in Week 2 against Pitt.
Here's a look at some of the notable performances from the game and what they mean going forward:
The junior running back scored two touchdowns on only three carries and broke off a 55-yard touchdown run that was Ohio's most explosive play of the game. Julian Ross and O'Shaan Allison are the top running backs heading into Week 2, but Tuggle is definitely worth watching and may force his way into more action if he shows the same vision against tougher opponents.
The offensive coordinator deserves credit for keeping Rourke and Ohio's offense crisp despite receiving just four drives in the first half. The Bobcats scored points on seven of their first eight drives, and the only drive that didn't result in points came at the end of the first half when Rourke took a knee.
The offensive line
The Bobcats returned only two starters — Austen Pleasants and Brett Kitrell from their offensive line last season. A shaky performance against the Rams would've spelled trouble, but the line held up well, and Rourke took just one sack. Solich said he was impressed with the offensive line in his press conference Monday.
The first half
Ohio never trailed, but a slow start from its defense prevented the Bobcats from breaking away as early as they might have preferred. Ohio committed offside penalties on a third and fourth down and limited the amount of time the Bobcats could've been on offense. That'll need to change against Pitt when Rourke must be on the field as much as possible.
The Bobcats allowed Rams quarterback Vito Priore, who had just six games of experience before Saturday, to go 22-of-42 for 291 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Ohio struggled to shut down top receiver Aaron Parker, who had nine receptions for 144 yards and a touchdown. The secondary played well enough for a win, but there's room for improvement.