It was a clash of titans Wednesday night in Athens, as the East and West leaders met in a possible title game preview. The Ohio Bobcats came out victorious over the Toledo Rockets by a score of 38-10.
The Bobcats kicked off, and Diontae Johnson ran the ball back to the Toledo 25. Logan Woodside and the Rockets offense went to work, and Woodside was immediately sacked by Quentin Poling. Diontae Johnson kept the drive alive with an 18-yard third down reception, and Jon’Vea Johnson snagged the ball at the Ohio 40. Woodside continued the Johnson Show, hitting Diontae Johnson at the 20. On the first reception of the game by someone not named Johnson, Art Thompkins fumbled, and the Bobcats recovered, snapping Toledo’s 21-game streak of not losing a fumble.
From their own 8, Ohio quarterback Nathan Rourke ran for a first down on his own. On 3rd and 4, Rourke hit Papi White all the way down to the Toledo 12-yard line, but it was all for naught, as Rourke fumbled on 3rd and 20.
Woodside collected another third down conversion on the drive, connecting with Diontae Johnson at the Toledo 30 for a first. He couldn’t do it again though, getting sacked by Quentin Poling for a second time on 3rd and 6, forcing a punt.
Ohio took it from midfield, and AJ Ouellette took the ball for four yards. Rourke found White for a big gain, and Toledo was called for holding. Form the Toledo 18, Ouellette dragged the pile all the way to the five, and again for the game’s first score.
Diontae Johnson ran the kickoff back to the Toledo 45. On 3rd down, Woodside found Jordan Fisher for a big first down that was eventually reversed, bringing the punt team out again and ending the first quarter with Ohio leading 7-0.
A Rourke interception gave the Rockets the ball near midfield. Desmond Phillips was taken down for a loss on 1st and 20. 2nd and 25 became 4th and 17, and the Rockets punted.
Rourke completed to Andrew Meyer on 3rd and 10, but Meyer fell short, bringing on 4th and 2 and another punt. Danzel McKinley-Lewis did not fair catch, and was brought down deep in Toledo territory. Jon’Vea Johnson caught a pass at the Rockets’ 38, but fourth down came too soon, and the defensive battle continued.
After the punt, Rourke broke away on the ground, driving 29 yards to the Bobcats’ own 43. Another option play took Rourke all the way to the Toledo 22. Everything looked promising for the Bobcats until Ouellette fumbled and Toledo recovered. Shakif Seymour took the ball across midfield to the Ohio 40. Woodside went to the air on the next play and found Diontae Johnson for a 40-yard score, tying the game at 7.
Dorian Brown took the kickoff to the Bobcats’ 35, and Rourke was sacked. 3rd and long and a fumble out of bounds brought fourth down and a punt. With under a minute left, Diontae Johnson fumbled while in motion, and the Bobcats picked it up and ran it back into Toledo territory. A hasty pass on 3rd and 6 led to a field goal attempt, converted with 15 seconds left in the half. After a non-call after a review of a potential instance of targeting, Ohio went into the half with a 10-7 lead.
Ohio received the second half kickoff, and Dorian Brown was the workhorse driving Ohio toward the red zone, but it was Rourke who scored on another rush to extend Ohio’s lead to ten after the extra point.
Woodside was sacked for a third time by Tony Porter on the next drive, followed by short gains and incompletions. After the punt, Dorian Brown immediately broke for 62 yards and a touchdown.
Making up for lost time, Woodside and Diontae Johnson connected at the Ohio 40. Seymour found himself a bit short on third down, and the Rockets elected to go for the conversion on fourth down at the Ohio 15. A penalty knocked the Rockets back a bit, and they were forced to settle for a field goal instead, making the score 24-10 in favor of Ohio.
Brendan Cope slipped in the red zone, robbing himself of a sure Bobcats touchdown, and after the quarter break, redeemed himself by catching one in the air for six points.
Toledo’s first drive of the quarter proved unremarkable, until they went for it on 4th and 2 and failed, giving the ball back to the Bobcats in their own territory. Ohio made quick work with the ball, as White took it to the Toledo 2, and Brown muscled his way into the end zone for another touchdown, making the Rockets’ deficit four scores.
Toledo gasped for air as Diontae Johnson evaded defenders to take the kickoff all the way to the 50, but Woodside was sacked for a fourth time on the first play from scrimmage. Having nothing to lose down 38-10 with seven minutes to go, they went for it on 4th and 6. They converted on forward progress, and Jon’Vea Johnson caught another pass at the Ohio 22. The offense stalled again, however, and the Rockets faced another fourth down and another decision to go for it. The pass was incomplete, and the Bobcats took over.
On 3rd and 3, David Burroughs broke all the way to the Ohio 30, and the Bobcats went into victory formation, winning 38-10.
Toledo drops to 8-2 ahead of their clash at Bowling Green next Wednesday, while Ohio improves to 8-2 going into their trip to Akron next Tuesday.