Ohio hasn’t faced a Football Championship Subdivision opponent in two years. That will change when it hosts Duquesne at Peden Stadium for what will be its final home game until Oct. 9.
Both teams lost their first games, with the Dukes (0-1) losing to Texas Christian 45-3. After a rough outing against a Power 5 opponent to begin the season, the Bobcats (0-1) get a change of pace by hosting an FCS team. That doesn’t mean they don’t see the Dukes as a challenge, however.
Ohio has the opportunity to fix both offensive and defensive issues that plagued it against Syracuse. The offense’s struggles in the red zone are a must-fix, and the defense needs to stop the running back duo of Billy Lucas and Garrett Owens after Syracuse’s Sean Tucker and Cooper Lutz ran over them. Whether or not the necessary improvements have been made will be seen when Ohio kicks off Saturday at 2 p.m.
Below is The Post’s game day guide with broadcast information, depth charts, things to watch for and predictions:
How to watch: The game will be broadcast on ESPN3. Doug Sherman and Jay Richardson will have the call.
How to listen: The game can be heard for free on the Ohio IMG Sports Network through OhioBobcats.com. Russ Eisenstein and Rob Cornelius will be behind the mic.
How to find stats: Live stats are provided here.
Provided from each team’s game notes.
Ohio Special Teams
Three things to watch for
Alongside running backs Lucas and Owens, the Dukes also have a threatening wide receiver corps topped by Cyrus Holder, Davie Henderson and Joey Isabella.
With a solid lineup in the running and passing game, Ohio’s defense will need to be on its toes. Holder, Henderson and Isabella will likely be receiving passes from quarterback Darius Perrantes, who took over when starter Joe Mischler suffered a knee injury against Texas Christian. Perrantes went 3-for-9 for 76 yards but has had a full week of practice as a starter.
More to see from Jerome Buckner
Buckner was on fire in Ohio’s game against Syracuse. A career-high 102 yards on seven receptions is a great start to the season for the wide receiver, and he has the opportunity to continue his hot start. Quarterback Kurtis Rourke seemed more comfortable throwing to Buckner than the rest of his receiving corps. That might be an omen for the rest of Buckner’s season.
Buckner will be starting again against Duquesne. If given the same attention he received in Ohio’s season opener, he’ll be a pain the neck for Duquesne’s defense.
Ohio’s young talent getting time
Coach Tim Albin mentioned in his Monday press conference that he wanted to utilize younger Bobcats in games more often, including the likes of wide receiver Miles Cross. The freshman caught just one reception against the Orange but could play a bigger role for the Bobcats against the Dukes and in the future.
If Ohio gets a big enough lead against Duquesne, Cross and other young players could see significant playtime Saturday.
When Ohio has the ball: Despite the offense’s struggles in the red zone, Rourke went 21-for-28 with 142 passing yards against Syracuse. That’s not a bad start, and he can depend on the rushing duo of De’Montre Tuggle and O’Shaan Allison to keep things moving on the ground. Duquesne has some experienced players mixed throughout its lineup, but the majority of its defense is still young. If Ohio can find a good rhythm, it’ll have a successful afternoon.
When Duquesne has the ball: Perrantes is Duquesne’s starting quarterback now that Mischler is down for the count. Perrantes worked with what he had against Texas Christian, but 76 passing yards and completing 3-of-9 pass attempts isn’t outstanding. They do have quality receivers in Holder and Henderson, who might be able to create some solid drives. Ohio’s defense struggled against Syracuse last week, and it has to do better against an FCS team.
Special Teams: Both teams only scored field goals last week. Duquesne managed to put up a 26-yard field goal in the third quarter against Texas Christian. Meanwhile, Ohio kicker Stephen Johnson hit three of his four field goal attempts, missing only a 50-yard attempt in Ohio’s opening drive.
- Coach Tim Albin’s weekly press conference
- Stock watch for Ohio following its loss to Syracuse
- Evaluating standout week one performances in the MAC
- Duquesne scouting report
Sports Editor Jack Gleckler: Albin said in his weekly press conference that Duquesne will present a unique challenge to Ohio. What that challenge is remains to be seen. It can be difficult to not root against Duquesne, especially following its performance against Texas Christian. Duquesne is a strong FCS school and routinely competes in the Northeast Conference championship, but without Mischler its offense is bound to struggle. Ohio’s offense may have hit a rough patch last week, but it’s been presented the opportunity to rebound. Ohio wins 31-10.
Assistant Sports Editor Eli Feazell: Duquesne was already fighting an uphill battle by coming to Peden after Ohio’s first loss. The loss of its starting quarterback makes the hill that much steeper. Ohio’s pass defense was effective against Syracuse, and if it can stop the run the same way, it can shut down Duquesne completely. Ohio has a chance to clean up its play on both sides of the ball Saturday before going on a three-week road trip. Ohio wins 27-10.