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Kurtis Rourke (7) QB on Ohio Univeristy's football team awaits for the snap in Peden Stadium in Athens, OH on Sept. 16, 2023.

Football Column: Looking back on Ohio's wild overtime 2022 loss to Kent State

This time last year, Ohio's season wasn't off to an incredible start. Heading into the Kent State game, Ohio had lost 11 of its past 16 games. Ohio's defense was off to one of its worst starts in several seasons. The Bobcats gave up 35 or more points in each of its first four games and some of the eye-popping numbers continued against the Golden Flashes.

In Ohio's 31-24 loss to Kent State, the defense gave up 736 total yards, 36 first downs and gave up 7.7 yards per play. Despite all of this, the Bobcats found themselves in a position to win the game up a touchdown with less than four minutes to go. How? The Bobcats forced six fumbles (two more than the team had forced in its previous four games combined). Miraculously, the Bobcats only managed to recover two of those fumbles.

Additionally, the Golden Flashes had six different drives that saw the team march into Bobcats' territory but come up scoreless. These drives included multiple fourth-down stops from Ohio, a fumble recovery, a missed field goal, a blocked field goal, time expiring at the end of the first half and a drive that saw Kent State go to the Ohio 11 but settle for a punt.

Although the score was tied at the end of regulation, the Bobcats had eight punts to the Golden Flashes' two. Kent State had nine penalties for 80-yards, while the Bobcats had four penalties for 35-yards.

As had been the standard starting in 2022, Kurtis Rourke was dynamic for the Bobcats. Rourke threw for 322 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. The Bobcats' campaign for a MAC-opening win was denied in overtime; however, when the offense failed to convert on fourth and goal from the 5-yard line.

The most shocking aspect of Ohio and Kent State was the game's aftermath. Despite being thoroughly outplayed by Kent State, including being out-gained by nearly 300 yards, Ohio went on to win every single MAC regular season game the rest of the season.

Meanwhile, the Golden Flashes finished what appeared to be a promising MAC season with a mediocre 4-4 record. Coming off of a solid performance against the eventual National Champion, Georgia and a win over eventual MAC-East winner Ohio, Kent State lost three of their next four games. Kent State failed to make a bowl game and lost their head coach to Colorado.

As much as the thrilling loss stung for Bobcat players and fans, it taught both parties a lesson in resiliency after the most heartbreaking losses.


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