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Athens Ohio, Ohio University, Peden Stadium, Ohio University vs Fordham University, Sept 24 2022,

Football: Ohio's defense struggles once again in 59-52 win over Fordham

 In Ohio’s 2-2 start to the season, there have been quite a few inconsistencies. The offense has been up-and-down; Kurtis Rourke has 882 passing yards in the two wins and 313 in the two losses.

The defense has maintained consistency, but that is not a good thing for Ohio.

The Bobcats have allowed at least 38 points in all four games this season. After allowing 46 and 43 points to Power 5 opponents Penn State and Iowa State, Saturday’s game against Fordham was the defense’s worst performance.

Ohio allowed 52 points to the Football Championship Subdivision team, including a stretch of eight drives in which Fordham scored seven touchdowns. On the one drive in that stretch that did not end in a touchdown, Fordham got the ball with one second remaining in the first half and simply took a knee heading into halftime.

Fordham came into the game averaging 619.7 yards per game, first in FCS by far. After earning 640 yards in its only FBS game of the season, that average will increase.

Star quarterback Tim DeMorat, who entered the game as the FCS leader in both yards and touchdowns, gained most of that yardage. He extended both of those leads by throwing for 503 yards and six touchdowns, taking his totals for the season to 1805 yards and 22 touchdowns in just four games.

More concerning for Ohio, however, was the fact that DeMorat averaged a whopping 14.4 yards per passing attempt Saturday. Fordham consistently broke off big plays, many of which went to wide receiver Fotis Kokosioulis, who had 13 catches for 320 yards and four touchdowns.

The offense must pick up the slack when the defense struggles the way it has for Ohio. Fortunately for Ohio, in its two home games, they have been able to do so.

“We’d love it if we got the stops,” Rourke said. “But there’s some games that are going to look like this and we’ve got to be able to go out there and put a lot of points on the board.”

Ohio put points on the board Saturday, and it will need to keep it up if the defense in Mid-American Conference play looks anything like it has during its nonconference schedule.

There is one silver lining to Saturday’s performance. Despite allowing 640 yards of offense and 52 points to an FCS team, the defense stepped up when needed.

The Bobcats’ defense allowed just three points in the fourth quarter Saturday, allowing them to get back into the game, and held the Rams scoreless on each of their final three drives.

For the second time this season, Ohio’s opponent got the ball in the final two minutes trailing by one score. And for the second time, Ohio’s defense got the stop and finished the game.

“These guys just don’t quit,” head coach Tim Albin said. “I could not be prouder.”

@willocunningham

wc425318@ohio.edu 

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