AKRON, Ohio -- The Ohio football team (6-6, 5-3 MAC) closed out the 2019 regular season with a 52-3 rout of Mid-American Conference East Division rival Akron (0-12, 0-8 MAC) tonight at InfoCision Stadium. The victory clinched an 11th-straight of bowl eligibility for the Bobcats and a winning conference record for the fifth year in a row.
The Bobcats piled up 603 yards of total offense, with a season-high 352 through the air and 251 on the ground. Ohio recorded over 600 yards of total offense for the second week in a row and seventh time in program history after putting up a season-high 609 in a 66-24 triumph at Bowling Green on Nov. 19. Ohio's defense produced the most dominant performance in the last 15 years under the leadership of head coach Frank Solich, limiting the Zips to just 74 yards of total offense and marking the first time an opponent has failed to reach 100 yards of total offense in the last 15 years. Akron's 33 passing yards marked the fewest by an Ohio opponent since the Bobcats held Wofford to zero passing yards in a 33-10 win on Sept. 4, 2010. The Zips' 41 rushing yards marked the fewest by an Ohio opponent since the Bobcats limited Akron to just 32 in a 49-28 win in the 2018 regular season finale on Nov. 23, 2018.
"I love this football team," said Solich .They can play great football, and I'd be glad to take them anywhere and play anybody. They're an excellent group of guys. They've prepared well every week for their competition."
In his final regular season start, senior quarterback Nathan Rourke (Oakville, Ontario, Canada) put on a show, throwing for 308 yards and matching his career high four touchdown passes. He completed 20 of his 28 passing attempts. Rourke also added a one-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter, allowing him to set the program record for career touchdowns scored with his 50th, surpassing the previous high mark of 49 shared by Kareem Wilson (1995-98) and Kalvin McRae (2004-07). He gained 37 rushing yards on 10 attempts.
"We had some good drives there and some explosive plays, which is good to see," said Rourke. "Fifty two points speaks for itself."
Nine different receivers caught passes from Rourke. Rourke's first pass of the day went for 53 yards and a touchdown to redshirt senior wide receiver DL Knock (Springboro, Ohio), the longest reception of Knock's career. Redshirt freshman wide receiver Shane Hooks (Orlando, Fla.) tied for the team lead with five receptions, two of them going for touchdowns as he hauled in a 39-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter and an 11-yarder in the second. Rourke also threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to redshirt junior tight end Ryan Luehrman (Athens, Ohio) in the second quarter. Redshirt freshman wide receiver Ty Walton (St. Louis, Mo.) tied Hooks for the team lead with a career-high five receptions and finished with a career-high 82 receiving yards.
On the ground, junior running back De'Montre Tuggle totaled a game-high 78 rushing yards on nine carries, with a long run of 38 yards. Redshirt freshman running back O'Shaan Allison (Norristown, Pa.) picked up 71 yards, with a long run of 46 yards and a seven-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Redshirt junior running back Ja'Vahri Portis (Cincinnati, Ohio) gained 37 yards on a team-high 10 touches and scored Ohio's seventh and final touchdown on a three-yard run in the fourth quarter.
The Ohio defense finished with six tackles for loss and three sacks in its stifling performance. Redshirt junior linebacker Dylan Conner (Fort Wayne, Ind.) logged a team-high six tackles, including a sack. Redshirt sophomore defensive end Amos Ogun-Semore (Dacula, Ga.) added a sack while redshirt freshman linebacker Jack McCrory (Springfield, Ohio) and redshirt junior cornerback Xavior Motley (Centerville, Ohio) each accounted for half a sack. The Bobcats produced two takeaways in the fourth quarter, with redshirt sophomore safety Alvin Floyd (North Miami Beach, Fla.) producing his second career interception and redshirt freshman safety Isaac Gill (Philo, Ohio) recording his first.
Stay tuned to OhioBobcats.com in the coming days as Ohio awaits its bowl fate.
"It just feels like we're rolling and we don't want to call it quits, said Solich. "Obviously, everyone in the program would love to play another game. I know the kind of effort they'll take to the bowl site and what they'll be all about at the bowl site and will really represent Ohio and the MAC conference very strongly. In saying all of that, we just wait and see now."