Ohio welcomed Akron to Peden Stadium on Tuesday night in search of its first win of the 2020 season. It certainly wasn’t pretty, but the Bobcats were able to grind out a 24-10 win over the Zips.
Here are instant reactions from the Bobcats’ ugly win on Tuesday night.
Give a hug to Tuggle
Ohio has a lot to figure out about its offense, but one thing that’s currently clear is that De’Montre Tuggle is the Bobcats best option at running back.
Tuggle finished the game with 139 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries. His vision and elusiveness was vital in the Bobcats putting the Zips away late. As O’Shaan Allison battles through his health issues, Tuggle will continue to have to run the way his did on Tuesday to keep the Bobcats offense moving.
Rourke loves to fly to Hollywood
For the second week in a row, redshirt freshman quarterback Kurtis Rourke targeted receiver Shane “Hollywood” Hooks early, and it paid off for the Bobcats. On the first drive of the game, Rourke hit Hooks with a dart on a 3rd and 6 to move the chains. The very next play, Rourke bombed it back to Hooks, and the 6’4 deep threat hauled it in for a 40-yard gain, setting up Ohio’s first touchdown.
For a young quarterback like Rourke, having a go-to guy is important. As he tries to grow closer to some of his other targets like Cam Odom, Isiah Cox and the Luehrman twins Adam and Ryan, Rourke is going to depend on Hooks when the play crumbles around him.
So far, Hooks has proven to be a worthy lifeline.
Too close for comfort
Entering the game having lost its last 18, Akron didn’t seem to pose much of a threat to the Bobcats on paper. Thing about football, though, is it’s not played on paper, and the Zips took it to the Bobcats throughout the first quarter.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Zach Gibson led the Zips to 239 yards of total offense in the first half. His 10 completions, 131 yards and touchdown to Nate Stewart had the Bobcats looking wide eyed and bushy tailed. A main reason for Gibson’s success was his surprising agility. Gibson was able to make defenders miss multiple times and extend the play for first downs.
Gibson’s mobility paired with the backfield tandem of Teon Dollard and Jeremiah Knight kept the Bobcats confused for most of the half.
Welp, it’s official, Ohio’s not a good tackling team.
The Bobcats gave up 187 yards to running backs Teon Dollard and Jeremiah Knight, and most of those yards came after making contact with the two backs. At this point, the Bobcats need a hard course in tackling fundamentals. All night Dollard and Knight took advantage of the Bobcats’ poor form.
Helmets down, aiming high and not driving their feet on contact were the reasons why it seemed like when Dollard ran the ball a few green jerseys were blasted backwards before he’d finally hit the turf. Dollard and Knight aren’t considered the best backs the Mid-American Conference has to offer, and if the Bobcats don’t improve soon, they’ll continue to get ran over.
Kicks and giggles
In the first half of Tuesday night's game, redshirt freshman kicker Tristian Vandenberg looked like he had put last week’s nightmare behind him. After missing an extra point and a field goal in a game where Ohio only lost by three last week, all eyes were on the young kicker ahead of the Bobcats meeting with Akron.
Two extra points and a successful 44-yarder from Vandenberg had Bobcats fans at ease after two quarters. Their blood pressure would rise in the second half.
After having a short field thanks to interceptions by Jett Elad and Keye Thompson, Vandenberg missed two-field goals that kept Ohio’s lead stuck at seven. When De’Montre Tuggle finally put the game away with just over four minutes remaining, coach Frank Solich sent in freshman Jonah Fortkamp to kick the PAT.