Sep 10, 2022; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Ohio Bobcats quarterback Kurtis Rourke (7) drops back in the pocket during the first quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio University QB Kurtis Rourke (ACL) out for season

Ohio University standout quarterback Kurtis Rourke said Tuesday night that he tore the ACL and meniscus in his knee and underwent season-ending surgery.

Rourke injured the right knee in the Bobcats’ 32-18 road win over Ball State on Nov. 15.

“Over the weekend we got the news that I tore my ACL and meniscus and that I need surgery,” Rourke said during ESPN’s broadcast of Tuesday night’s game between Ohio and Bowling Green. “I got that pretty fast. There wasn’t a lot of swelling and I was able to get surgery right away.”

Rourke was enjoying a strong season with 3,256 yards, 25 touchdown and four interceptions. He is expected to be named the Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Year after the season.

The timing is rough for the Bobcats (8-3, 6-1 MAC) as they are still in the hunt to win the conference title. Ohio last won one in 1968.

CJ Harris made his first career start on Tuesday against Bowling Green.

“It’s a tough break for Kurtis,” Ohio head coach Tim Albin said in a statement. “He’s a great quarterback, captain and person, so this impacts us on multiple levels. Kurtis will play a key part in the coming weeks, helping CJ and the entire team prepare for the rest of the season. We will be right behind him through the rehabilitation.”

Rourke is the younger brother of Nathan Rourke, the starting quarterback for the CFL’s BC Lions.

“Our family was heartbroken to learn of Kurtis’ injury, especially after his incredible breakout year,” Nathan Rourke said on Twitter. “While we acknowledge that the road ahead of him will be long, we have full certainty that Kurtis will return to his playing form to play at the level that he has.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2022; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Nicholas Singleton (10) avoids a tackle while running with the ball during the first quarter against the Ohio Bobcats at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Nicholas Singleton helps Penn State pummel Ohio

Freshman Nicholas Singleton ran for 179 yards and two touchdowns as Penn State won its home opener, beating Ohio 46-10 on Saturday afternoon in State College, Pa.

Singleton scored on runs of 70 and 44, getting his yardage on just 10 carries in becoming the first Nittany Lions’ 100-yard rusher since Keyvone Lee in November 2020.

Penn State (2-0) ran for 234 yards, its most in 13 games, while two quarterbacks threw touchdown passes. Sixth-year senior Sean Clifford was 19 of 27 for 213 yards with both a passing and rushing score and freshman Drew Allar was 6 of 8 for 88 yards and two TDs.

Clifford got the scoring going with a 1-yard keeper midway through the first quarter, capping a drive that saw him go 6 of 6 for 62 yards and gain 16 yards on the ground. Singleton made it 14-0 late in the first via a 70-yard run.

Penn State got its first safety since 2018 early in the second quarter, one play after punter Barney Amor had his punt downed at the 1-yard line.

Ten years after winning in Happy Valley to open the 2012 season, Ohio (1-1) was outgained 572-259.

The Bobcats trailed 19-0 late in the first half before getting on the scoreboard, using a pair of trick plays, including a throwback to quarterback Kurtis Rourke to set up Sieh Bangura’s 1-yard TD run with 1:34 left in the second.

Rourke, who threw four TD passes and ran for another in a 41-38 home win over Florida Atlantic in the season opener, was 14 of 30 for 119 yards.

Penn State responded with a 7-yard TD catch by Mitchell Tinsley with 15 seconds remaining before halftime then scored the first 20 points of the second half.

Ohio continues a road swing against power-conference opponents when it visits Iowa State on Sept. 17, while Penn State hits the road for its second road game of the season by visiting Auburn.

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2021; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Northwestern Wildcats quarterback Andrew Marty (7) fumbles the ball on a keeper during the fourth quarter at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Howard-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern needs to protect the ball against Ohio

It’s a chance for improvement for two struggling programs when the Northwestern Wildcats host the visiting Ohio Bobcats on Saturday in Evanston, Ill.

The Wildcats (1-2) opened the season with a lopsided loss to Big Ten-rival Michigan State and still have plenty to fix before heading back into the rest of the nine-game conference slate. Northwestern has been weak offensively, ranking 104th nationally with 22.7 points per game, and now appears to be undergoing a switch at quarterback.

Starter Hunter Johnson was benched during the Wildcats’ 30-23 loss at Duke on Saturday after four first-half turnovers. Northwestern trailed 27-0 at the time. His replacement, Andrew Marty, led three scoring drives but was knocked out of the game late with an unspecified injury. The third quarterback, Ryan Hilinski, failed to move Northwestern.

If that wasn’t bad enough, coach Pat Fitzgerald also needs to solve his team’s turnover problem while also picking which quarterback gets the starting honors. Northwestern has seven lost turnovers in three games.

“We’ve got to play cleaner football,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s a point of emphasis. We can’t keep doing this stuff.”

The Wildcats will get no sympathy from Ohio, which has been awful in the three games under new head coach Tim Albin. Albin, who was elevated to the role after the sudden retirement of 16-year head coach Frank Solich in July, has a team that has done very little right so far.

Ohio ranks 120th (out of 130 teams) in scoring offense with just 16.3 points per game, and is tied for 114th nationally in scoring defense (35.3 ppg allowed). The Bobcats have been blown out by Syracuse (29-9) and Louisiana (49-14). Between those games, Ohio was stunned at home by an FCS team in a 28-26 loss to Duquesne.

“We’re looking at everything,” Albin said. “Personnel changes, making things simpler. Tackling better is going to help.”

Neither team has tackled well in the early going, and whoever can show progress there will have an upper hand.

Ohio is allowing 5.51 yards per carry and 253.7 rushing yards per game (124th nationally). The Wildcats are only marginally better, giving up 189.3 rushing yards per game and 5.07 per carry (106th).

–Field Level Media

Dec 5, 2020; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Syracuse Orange running back Sean Tucker (34) takes a direct snap in the second quarter against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

RB Sean Tucker powers Syracuse past Ohio

Sean Tucker rushed for a career-high 181 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries to power visiting Syracuse in a 29-9 win over Ohio in a nonconference matchup on Saturday night in Athens, Ohio.

Syracuse (1-0) won for the seventh time in its last eight season openers and claimed its eighth straight victory against the Mid-American Conference. Quarterback Tommy DeVito completed 11 of 17 passes for just 92 yards, but he added 49 rushing yards and a score on the ground.

Ohio (0-1) lost the head coaching debut for Tim Albin, the program’s long-time offensive coordinator who was elevated to the head role in July following the retirement of Frank Solich. Kurtis Rourke hit on 21 of 28 passes for 142 yards with an interception and even caught a 38-yard pass for the Bobcats, who managed just nine points on three trips into the red zone on the night.

Jerome Buckner hauled in seven catches for 102 yards, De’Montre Tuggle added 65 yards rushing, and Stephen Johnson kicked three short field goals of 22, 30 and 25 yards for Ohio.

Syracuse pulled away with a pair of third-quarter scores to take a 22-6 lead into the final frame. Andre Szmyt kicked a 20-yard field goal, and then Tucker found paydirt on a 6-yard touchdown run for the 16-point lead with 40 seconds left in the quarter.

Ohio pulled to within 22-9 with 11:21 left on Johnson’s third field goal, but Syracuse answered with Cooper Lutz’ 11-yard touchdown run with 5:15 left for the 29-9 final score.

Orange receiver Taj Harris had six catches for 29 yards and broke his tie with Marvin Harrison for sixth place on the Syracuse career receptions list. Syracuse finished with 280 rushing yards on 44 carries, and averaged 6.4 per attempt.

Ohio out gained Syracuse 171-139 in the first half and had a better than a seven-minute edge in time of possession … but trailed 12-6 at the break.

The Bobcats’ first drive took 12 plays and eight minutes off the clock but ended with a missed 50-yard field goal. Syracuse took the lead just five plays later when DeVito kept the ball on a read for a 6-yard touchdown run.

On the following kickoff, returner Tuggle muffed the return and was tackled on his own 1-yard line. Ohio’s next play was a dive to Tuggle, and he was swarmed under for a safety, and Syracuse led 9-0 with 6:24 left in the first quarter.

The Bobcats got on the board with 13:33 left in the half on Johnson’s 22-yard field goal. Syracuse answered with Szmyt hitting from 29 yards, and Ohio closed the half with Johnson’s 30-yard field goal with just 19 seconds remaining.

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2020; Boise, Idaho, USA; Ohio Bobcats players dump french fries on head coach Frank Solich during the second half of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl against the Nevada Wolf Pack at Albertsons Stadium. Ohio won 30-21. Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio head coach Frank Solich retires to focus on health

Frank Solich retired after 16 seasons as head coach at Ohio to focus on his health.

The 76-year-old previously coached at Nebraska, where he replaced Tom Osborne in 1998 and posted a 58-19 record with the Cornhuskers.

Ohio had two winning seasons in 22 years prior to Solich’s arrival. He led the program to 11 bowl games.

Associate head coach and offensive coordinator Tim Albin was named Ohio head coach, agreeing to a four-year contract on Wednesday, the Bobcats announced.

“After fifty-five years in coaching, including 16 at Ohio University, it is time for me to step away to focus on a cardiovascular health issue,” said Solich, the MAC Coach of the Year in 2006. “I’ve appreciated the support of Bobcat fans over the years, and I know they will continue to support Coach Albin. After working directly with Tim for 21 consecutive years, including six at the University of Nebraska, it’s clear to me he is prepared to continue our work and move the program forward. I am happy for Tim and his family.”

Solich has a career record of 173-101, which includes his previous time at Nebraska, where he hired Albin as a graduate assistant in 2000. He was previously head coach at Northwestern Oklahoma State for three seasons, including a 13-0 season in 1999 as NAIA national champions.

“It is truly an honor to lead the Ohio University football program and I want to express my gratitude to President Sherman and Director of Athletics Julie Cromer for their belief in me,” Albin said. “I am forever indebted to Coach Solich for all that he has offered me and taught me through the years, and I know he will always be part of our program. Our team will provide an unmatched student-athlete experience both on and off the field and we will graduate young men prepared to succeed in life. With the help of our incredible staff I know great things lie ahead, and our work continues.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 7, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; Buffalo Bulls running back Jaret Patterson (26) runs with the ball during the second quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo-Ohio canceled, allowing Bulls to clinch title-game spot

Saturday’s game between the University of Buffalo and host Ohio University was canceled on Friday due to COVID-19 issues in the Ohio program.

The cancellation allowed Buffalo to clinch the Mid-American Conference East Division title and a spot in the conference title game.

The Bulls reportedly learned they were division champions about 2 1/2 hours into the approximately 390-mile bus ride from Buffalo to Athens, Ohio. The Bulls reportedly stopped at a rest stop in Mentor, Ohio — located just east of Cleveland — and turned the bus around on Interstate 90 to head back to Buffalo after learning of the cancelation.

The MAC released a statement that said, “The University at Buffalo at Ohio University football game on Saturday, December 5 has been canceled due to roster issues with the Ohio football team related to positive COVID-19 tests and subsequent contact tracing. The game has been declared a no-contest.”

Buffalo (4-0, 4-0 MAC) would have preferred to clinch the spot in the Dec. 18 title game at Detroit on the field.

“While we are disappointed our game at Ohio has been canceled, the health and safety of our student-athletes continues to be our top priority,” Bulls coach Lance Leipold said in a statement. “I’m extremely proud of our student-athletes, coaches and staff. They have done everything the right way during these difficult times. In fact, we didn’t have a single positive case this week. We were looking forward to playing Ohio, but we will now shift our attention to our next opponent, Akron.”

The Bulls are scheduled to host Akron on Dec. 12. The Bobcats (2-1, 2-1) visit Kent State on the same day.

Buffalo is led by star running back Jaret Patterson, who rushed for 409 and eight touchdowns in last week’s 70-41 win over Kent State. The yardage was second-most all-time behind Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine, who had 427 against Kansas in 2014.

–Field Level Media