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Tyler Walton (4) WR position on Ohio University's Football team celebrate after the touchdown at Peden Stadium in Athens Ohio, Octo. 28, 2023

Myrtle Beach Bowl: Ohio takes on Georgia Southern without key offensive contributors

Ohio (9-3, 6-2 Mid-American Conference) is looking for its 10th win of the season in the Myrtle Beach Bowl against Georgia Southern (6-6, 3-5 Sun Belt Conference). What has been an, at times, disappointing season given the MAC Championship expectations, Ohio still has a chance to take the program to new heights. With a win on Saturday, Ohio would win 10 games in back-to-back seasons for the first time in program history.

The Bobcats will attempt to accomplish this feat without several key offensive contributors. Ohio will be without starting quarterback and second-leading passer in program history, Kurtis Rourke, leading receiver Miles Cross, fellow receiver Tyler Walton and both leading rushers, Sieh Bangura and O'Shaan Allison. All five players have entered the transfer portal and most likely will not return for 2024.

Defensively, Ohio is unlikely to have two-time All-MAC honoree Keye Thompson who also entered the transfer portal.

Graduate student and former UCF transfer Parker Navarro will lead Ohio's offense. Navarro saw action during Ohio's 27-10 win over Long Island University, completing 5 of 7 passes for two touchdowns and one interception.

There is little certainty regarding who Navarro will throw the ball to during the Myrtle Beach Bowl. After the losses of Cross and Walton to the transfer portal and the loss of Jacoby Jones at the beginning of the season, Ohio is down to Sam Wiglusz and its 5th and 6th receivers. Freshman Chase Hendricks is expected to get some playing time as one of Ohio's only remaining receivers with multiple catches.

There may be even less certainty over Ohio's running back position on Saturday. Ohio depended on Bangura and Allison the entire season and the tandem's departure will force younger running backs to step up. The only other Ohio running backs with multiple carries for Ohio in the 2023 season were freshman Rickey Hunt and redshirt sophomore Quintell Quinn. However, neither running back has much experience to fall back on. Hunt and Quinn combined for just 11 carries during the 2023 season.

Ohio's young players will have to play well for the team to prevail in its final game of the season.

Here is all you need to know before the Myrtle Beach Bowl. 

Game Information:

Opponent: Georgia Southern

Date and time: Saturday, Dec. 16, 11 a.m.

Location: Brooks Stadium, Conway, South Carolina

How to watch: ESPN

Ohio's opponent, Georgia Southern, had an odd season. The Eagles won six of their first eight games of the season to become bowl-eligible before ending the season on a four-game losing streak.

Additionally, the Eagles went just 1-5 on the season away from home, but the one win they picked up was against the only MAC school they faced: Ball State.


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