Ohio’s season opener ended with disappointment as it lost to Central Michigan 30-27 at Kelly/Shorts Stadium in Mount Pleasant, Michigan on Wednesday night.
From Ohio’s first drive, it was evident that the Bobcats had a lot of strengths and just as many weaknesses. Here are a few quick thoughts on the Bobcat’s season opener.
Two quarterbacks, two playstyles
It became clearer and clearer Wednesday that Kurtis Rourke and Armani Rogers were competent in the exact opposite ways, and weak where the other was strong.
Rourke was the starting quarterback Wednesday, making it clear that Solich had faith that his arm would carry the Bobcats early. His faith was mostly well-placed as Rourke managed a few strong passes that kept Ohio competitive with Central Michigan, including a 58-yard pass to Isiah Cox in the second quarter.
Rogers, on the other hand, is as confident running the ball as Rourke is throwing it. Rogers’ first drive was exclusively rushing between him and De’Montre Tuggle, and Ohio managed to tie the game thanks to Rogers’ strong run game.
The two quarterbacks were switched out constantly for the second and third quarters, with Rourke closing out the game. Although both had strong performances, it’ll be awhile until Ohio picks an official starter, if it does at all.
The defense needs work
The Bobcats’ defense knew it was going to be difficult to contain Central Michigan’s offense from the first drive. The Chippewas had two first-team all-MAC receivers Kalil Pimpleton and JaCorey Sullivan, as well as a strong running back in Kobe Lewis.
Ohio had trouble holding the offense back, due to the bold throws of Chippewas quarterback Daniel Richardson and Lewis’ ability to outsmart the defense.
De’Montre Tuggle shined
Tuggle has always been a lynchpin player for the Bobcats, being the bulk of Ohio’s offensive power alongside fellow running backs O’Shaan Allison and Julian Ross.
Wednesday was Tuggle night in the spotlight, however. After he scored on a 93-yard kick return to give Ohio the lead in the third quarter. The senior managed to rush for 79 yards on 16 carries.
Special Teams was not good
With a special teams crew made up entirely of underclassmen, it’s understood that there will be growing pains. Wednesday was the first indication that it might be more painful than first believed.
Tristan Vandenberg was flimsy at best Wednesday, missing an extra point attempt and duck-hooking a field goal attempt left and short by 15 yards. Ohio lost by three points, and the four points Vandenberg missed were what could’ve handed them the game.
Jack Wilson’s 26-yard punt in the second quarter will also put him under the microscope for scrutiny.